Guangzhou Changlong Wildlife Zoo and International Circus

While my mum and aunties were busily shopping at Guangzhou city center, Tracy, Harshad, Mike and I made our way to the famous Changlong Wildlife Zoo and Changlong International Circus. Tracy got us a package deal. The HKD456 package includes a one-way 3-hour bus ride from Hong Kong to Changlong and tickets to both zoo and circus. Not bad for a short weekend getaway.

This is one zoo that allows visitors to be in close proximity with the animals. The name says “wildlife” but most of these so-called “wildlife animals” aren’t people or camera-shy. In fact, we suspected the animals are retired-circus performers.

My first impression was “this looks like our world’s best zoo” back in Singapore. A pretty decent copycat, I thought. It has both day and night zoo. Animals are sorted by their region origins (namely Africa, India, Australia etc). Big open enclosures, natural habitats, cleverly barricaded with natural obstacles (bushes, canals, valleys) to prevent the animals from escaping. The in-zoo breeding program seems successful. There are lots of tigers, pandas and koala bears here. We saw many tiger cubs at the nursery. What impressed me most was the close proximity between the visitors and the animals. Imagine we were just “5cm-glass-wall” away from the Siberian Tiger. Not sure if this is healthy for the animals.  The close proximity allows visitors to observe the animals closely but I am sure the prolonged noise and flashlights from the visitors will stress the animals badly.

On foot, the entire zoo-walk stretches about 3km. At the end of our walk, we hopped on a tram and it brought us into an open “Safari” where the savanna animals roam freely along the driveway. The zoo-keepers placed food by the driveway so the animals were drawn close to the tram. The more dangerous predators (lions, cheetahs, brown bears, hippopotamus, rhinoceros) were kept behind barriers.

Later in the evening, my mum and aunties joined us at the Changlong International Circus. It is mentioned on many travel websites that the Changlong International Circus outclassed Macau’s Cirque du Soleil’s ZAIA. Yes, the reviews are right! The 90-min show is a mixture of ZAIA, The House of Dancing Water and the typical animal circus. The acts took place on and off stage and over the audience. There were some elements of surprises. It was very entertaining, fun and spectacular. Certainly more lively and exciting than ZAIA.

Based on the package price (transport, zoo and circus), it is definitely worth a visit! I would love to stay over at the Changlong Hotel! It is amazing to see white tigers running freely by the hotel lounge. A brilliant hotel concept of blending wildlife and people!

2 Responses to Guangzhou Changlong Wildlife Zoo and International Circus

  1. Selvi Surajat says:

    hi, I was reading through your blogs regarding zhuhai ocean kingdom trip, and safari trip with your dad and this one with your mom. I need serious advice regarding transport as you gave such complete recommendations.

    We are travelling as a group of 5 adults (my 2 sisters, my parents and I). My mom has difficulty walking long distances. So i am really seeking your expert advice. We intend to visit Zhuhai Ocean Kingdom, do the safari park in Guangzhou and a dilemma between the guangzhou circus or the night zoo.

    We are flying into Hongkong. But since touchdown will be fairly late (7.30pm), we may need to stay overnight in Hongkong.

    My questions:
    1. from hongkong, to Zhuhai first, or Guangzhou first? And how to proceed? By ferry, or by train? From which station or terminal?

    2. is Marriott Tianhe, Guangzhou a good choice and near distance to the stations?

    3. I read in your blog:

    “Heading to Zhuhai – Take a 1-hour direct train from Guangzhou East Train Terminal to Zhuhai Train Station”

    but also “The next morning, we took a 1-hour train from Guangzhou to Zhuhai. The new and massive Guangzhou South Train Station was an eye-opener for him.”

    so if we are heading to guangzhou first, then to Zhuhai, is it better from Guangzhou East or Guangzhou South train station?

    4. if we are to do the safari park + circus/night zoo, will it be too late to head back to Marriott Tianhe for the night?

    • Wahbiang says:

      Hi Selvi,

      Sorry for the late reply as I was away from my blog last week. Hope my reply comes handy for you:

      I would suggest you take a rest in Hong Kong first and head to Guangzhou and then to Zhuhai. Reason: There is a direct ferry from Zhuhai back to Hong Kong Airport! It is best to travel all the way out and then make the journey back to Hong Kong.

      1) Arrive in Hong Kong – park yourself near a hotel near Hung Hom Train Station for the night. Take a direct train from Hung Hom Train Station to Guangzhou the next day. You need to pre-book the train tickets here: There are a few trains a day to Guangzhou. The train journey from Hong Kong to Guangzhou takes 2 hours. It is a direct train. Make sure you have your China visas ready.

      2) At Guangzhou Train Station – If you pre-book your hotel and staying at Chimelong Safari Hotel, you can arrange for direct bus transfer to Chimelong Safari Hotel. There is a counter for you right after immigration. If you are staying in other hotels, then you have to walk outside the train stations and take a taxi. Do note that the taxi queues will be long and there will be a lot of “private drivers” offering rides. Since there are 5 of you, you might want to get the hotel to pre-book a ride for you. Most taxis take only 4 pax.

      3) Hotel in Guangzhou – I am not familiar with the hotels. But relatively, it is easy to move around in Guangzhou. As you will be carrying and moving with luggages with 5 pax, it is best to get your hotel to arrange a car/van to get you to the train station. Also, you can reserve your train tickets (Guangzhou South Station to Zhuhai) booking at the hotel. Ask the hotel to book it for you. The train station to get to Zhuhai is Guangzhou South (not East). East Station is the station you arrive from Hong Kong.

      4) In Guangzhou – Do visit the Guangzhou Circus and get the VIP seats. It is quite a good show for the family. I have never done the night safari. Depending on the season you are coming, it may be overly hot, humid in summer. Circus would be fun and more comfortable for your mum. If you decided to do all 3 activities, it won’t be too late, there is always taxi at the Chimelong Safari Hotel. You can ask the hotel staff to get you a cab. Regarding Tianhe Hotel, I have no experience on the locality. But relatively, all of the city hotels are well located.

      5) Guangzhou to Zhuhai – If you have done Circus in Guangzhou, do skip the Circus in Zhuhai. It is similar and I find the Circus in Zhuhai less interesting. When you arrive at Zhuhai Train Station, you can find a taxi queue right outside and you can queue for a taxi to your hotel.

      6) Zhuhai Jiuzhou Port to Hong Kong Airport – Once you are going to depart Zhuhai, you can decide if you want to go back to Hong Kong or even visit Macau (which is just next door!). You can head to Jiuzhou Port in Zhuhai and buy tickets to Hong Kong Airport directly! Check the time-table here:

      As usual, China will be packed with tourists – so always travel safe and keep a watch on your items. Here are the places that you may want to mentally prepared:

      a) Guangzhou Train Station – arriving at 3-6pm can be a nightmare because it is peak hours and there may be little cabs. So, it is highly recommended you pre-arrange your transport from the hotel.
      b) At all China Train Stations – there will always be “private drivers” offering rides at expensive prices. A RMB30 ride can cost up to RMB100.
      c) Train Tickets / Ferry Tickets – Always get them 1-2 days before departure. Tickets can run out pretty fast

      Enjoy! And have a great time with your family. 🙂

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