Chaozhou is in the easternmost part of Guangdong Province in the north of the delta of the Han River, which flows through the city. It borders Shantou to the south, Jieyang to the southwest, Meizhou to the northwest, the province of Fujian to the east, and the South China Sea to the southeast.
Fast trains run several times a day from Guangzhou East and South stations to the Chaoshan station, located about halfway between Chaozhou and Shantou. From there, you can take a bus (8 RMB, 30 minutes) which will make several stops in the Chaoshou city center.
From Shantou, you can take taxies （~45mins - 1 hour, ¥15) at the intersection of the Shantou Radio & Television station (汕头市广播电视台） along Chaoshan road (潮汕路）. The taxi drivers will stop along the way to pull additional passengers in.
You can also take buses (~45mins - 1 hour, ¥13) from Shantou Car Terminal (汕头汽车总站).
As with elsewhere in mainland China, standard Mandarin is the only language taught in schools and the main language in the official broadcast media so expect all educated people to be fluent in Mandarin. The Teochew (潮汕片) variant of Minnan (Southern Min 闽南语) is the main language here, and it is only marginally mutually intelligible with mainstream Minnan (闽台片泉漳话) (Hokkien-Taiwanese). Teochew (潮汕话) differs from mainstream Minnan (闽南话) spoken in the neighbouring Southern Fujian and Taiwan significantly in pronunciation, and use of slang which are unique to the area. Locals who speak the Teochew (潮汕话) dialect can understand a fair bit of the mainstream Minnan (闽南话) albeit with some difficulty, as most do not necessarily speak it.
The locals are very proud of their local language despite government attempts to standardise Mandarin as a common language. Most people of the Chaoshan region speak both the local dialect and Mandarin daily. Any attempts to speak mainstream Minnan (闽南话) (although Teochew 潮汕话 is preferred) will be met with encouragement, and may even get you preferential treatment in shops and restaurants. If you are a Mandarin-speaking foreigner, you will be able to communicate with locals and get around as most services have staff who speak Mandarin.
English is not widely spoken, though staff at the higher end hotels will be able to speak English. As Chaozhou is part of Guangdong province and the influence of the Cantonese language media, many people speak Cantonese as a third language.
Despite many residents having relatives in the much more international city of Hong Kong, non-Chinese vistors are not currently common here so expect some friendly curiosity and attempts at conversation from people if you visit, especially from kids/teenagers who know a little bit of English. However, when shopping or dining you'll be treated the same as if you are a local resident. The city is developing with China's economic expansion, so visitors and facets of western culture, while still infrequent, are becoming more common.
Chaozhou considers itself the "Ceramic Capital of China" and you will notice that there are a lot of ceramics for sale, often at very inexpensive prices.
Chiuchow (Teochew) cuisine, the cooking style originating from Chaozhou.