HouJie Town(厚街，Mandarin: HòuJīe) is a town in DongGuan City, China, on the east bank of the Pearl River. It has a permanent population of 93000, and more than 400000 as a temporary population. Like much of the surrounding area, economic activity is dominated by manufacturing.
While the town spans to the east, the city center is approximately HouJie Avenue and KangLe Road. HouJie Avenue is a six lane divided highway running west to east (roads do not follow cardinal directions, it's more northwest to southeast). Going east on HouJie street will take you past the Haiyatt Garden Hotel and eventually to the GuangShen Expressway, which runs between GuangZhou and ShenZhen. KangLe Road is the town's main drag -- a two lane road that runs through the busy main shopping area towards the south. HouJie's large square is one block south of HouJie Avenue on KangLe Road. Paralleling KangLe road a block south is GuanTai Road, a massive 8 lane divided highway that Sheraton and HJ International hotels are found on. North on GuanTai Road leads to DongGuan City, while HuMen Town is to the south.
Most visitors to China will require an advance visa, which should be obtained from your embassy. See Visas for details.
The majority of international visitors arrive via the Hong Kong International Airport, or Guangzhou Airport (BaiYun).
Train & Bus
The Airport Express (100HKD) can take you direct from the Airport to Hong Kong Central, which links up to the MTR. From there, take the red line, green line, then light blue line to Lo Wu (48HKD). Cross the border on foot, and in the coach station find bus #2 to HouJie (45RMB, last bus at 9p). This will take you to the bus station near HouJie square.
Alternatively, the cheapest method is as follows: Board the S1 bus at HKIA (3.2HKD), get off at the Tung Chung MTR station. Board the orange line, transfer to the red, green, light blue to Lo Wu. Continue on the coach bus at Lo Wu same as above.
The coach station, on the street level at Lo Wu (LuoHu), has a bus to the station near HouJie square. 45RMB, 1-1.5 hour, last bus leaves at 9PM.
From FuTian port, the ShenZhen railway can take you to ShenZhen North, and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. This high speed train takes 17 minutes from ShenZhen North to HuMen. A taxi from HuMen to HouJie costs 30-40RMB.
A taxi from ShenZhen to HouJie will cost between 220-260RMB.
The coach station at GongBei has a bus to DongGuan City (60 RMB) that will drop you at the highway exit in HouJie if that's the destination you buy a ticket for. There you will find a limited number of private drivers waiting to take you downtown. The fare to downtown should be about 20RMB, but they will often charge up to 50RMB.
A taxi from downtown costs about 90RMB. Public Buses are also available.
From Guangzhou BaiYun International Airport (CAN), there is a coach bus to the DongGuan Airport satellite location . 08:25-21:30. 50RMB. From Dongguan, a taxi to HouJie is about 70-90RMB.
Guangzhou downtown has coach buses that run to Dongguan, from the DongGuan bus depot, one can catch a public bus or a taxi into HouJie.
Taxis can usually be hailed on busy streets, though they are a bit harder to find on multilane divided highways. Drivers seldom speak english, and fares should be negotiated before getting in the cab. A short trip under a mile should be 10RMB. Across town is about 20RMB. 40RMB should easily take you to the next town over.
Bicycle taxi is fun and easy way to get around the downtown area. They can be identified by the padded seat in back, and carry up to 2 (or 3!) people. A trip anywhere around downtown should cost 5RMB. Most won't overcharge, but it's not a bad idea to agree on price in advance. It's worth noting that riding on the back of a bicycle in Chinese traffic is not an experience for the faint of heart.
Massage is a terrific and relaxing way to spend extra hours in China. It's much more affordable than in the West, and the service is very good. Contrary to popular belief, it's very unlikely you will be offered any "special" service.
Body massage lasts 90-120 minutes. There is often an option with or without massage oil, and the price is slightly higher with oil.
Most high end hotels offer massage services, but they cost more than the independent options. Expect 1.5x to triple the price of other places, for the same quality of service.
Badminton, Basketball, and Ping Pong are popular sports in China.
Ubiquitous in China, these clubs will rent you and up to 20 friends a private room for karaoke. Most non-budget hotels will have KTV facilities.
Places to eat fall into three distinct categories. Budget includes hawker stalls, alley barbeques with plastic chairs, and the like -- most of which are outdoors. Midrange covers indoor sit down restaurants, that mostly cater to local Chinese. While splurge restaurants generally offer foreign foods aimed at western palates.
Most open minded people will find that good food can be found at any price point. Budget and mid range options usually do not speak English. Any knowledge of Mandarin helps, but one can also get by pointing -- at picture menus, at things they have sitting out, or at items that other patrons are eating.
Like most of Asia, some discretion should be taken with what you eat. As a rule, it's safe if it has been thoroughly cooked (boiled, fried, or grilled), peeled in the case of fruits or vegetables, or opened from a sealed container (bottled, canned). Food from any budget range is usually safe to eat accordingly. As far as water is concerned, do not drink tap water. However, water and tea served in restaurants is safe if it arrives hot - this means it has been boiled. Ice is generally always fine to consume, as the water is purified.
Hawker stalls selling various items can be found in busy areas, many on KangLe Street near the main square. Popular items include a chinese style pizza, fruits, fermented tofu, chestnuts, steamed buns. Food quality at these stalls varies.
Alley outdoor eating is very rewarding and cheap, and is ubiquitous in sidestreets of HouJie. They are easily distinuishable by the small tables and even smaller plastic chairs. Most places will have a selection of meats and vegetables on a stick you can choose, which will be grilled and seasoned spicy. With no Mandarin you can get by picking these out, and they'll be delivered to your table. Beer is served cold in large bottles. These same restaurants also will have various other items available to order including fried rice, fried noodles, hot pot, etc. If it's the rainy season, look for places that can pull out an awning. Items on a stick are 1RMB, a 600ml beer will run you 5-7RMB, fried rice 5-7RMB, hot pot about 25-35RMB.
Some locations include the diagonal street connecting the HaiYatt and Sheraton Hotel (Yuefanshan Avenue), the side street across KangLe Road from the Sunshine Mall, and streets paralleling KangLe Road on either sides (KangLe Cross Street just north of Shan Hu Road; Xing Long Road).
Most high end hotels have pricey italian, japanese, chinese, and general-international restaurants, quality varies but they are usually pretty good. Outside of the hotels:
A popular drinking experience in HouJie is simply finding a table at an outdoor restaurant and whiling away the hours on 600ml bottles of TsingTao (5-7 RMB).
HouJie Bar Street (厚街酒吧街, Mandarin: HouJieJiuBaJie). edit is a small bar street on KangLe Folk Street, an angle street a ways south on KangLe Road. There are a couple trendy-seeming dance clubs with hired dancers, who will play chinese dice with you when they aren't on stage. A live band will typically play two sets also, usually sappy sounding Chinese ballads. 350ml beers can be bought for 30RMB each, although they are a much better deal when bought in quantities of 12 (150-200RMB). Opening time is around 9p, but things don't get going until at least 11p.
There are western bars around town that will serve beer, wine, and spirits. Most wait staff speak English, and may sit down and chat with you if business is slow and you're alone. Prices for drinks at these bars are far above the local standards, TsingTao is often six times the price at local stalls/restaurants. If on a budget, avoid these and drink with the locals.
Note that open containers and consumption in public areas is acceptable.
Budget hotels will have fair room prices posted usually. High end hotels post room rates that are significantly higher (up to 3x) than a corporate rate. If you are working with a company in DongGuan or elsewhere in China, it is a good idea to see if they can get a corporate rate with the hotel.
Budget and Midrange hotels often will not have English speaking staff, but with a basic understanding of Mandarin or a game of charades, you should be able to work out your arrangements.
A number of hotels are located along KangLe South Street, in the range of 130-170RMB. Expect clean, but very basic private rooms.
Hotels in this range generally compare to a three or four star hotel in a Western country. All include buffet breakfast with western and asian fare options. An Italian, Japanese, and Chinese restaurant inside the hotel is pretty standard.
Weekends in HouJie can be a bit slow for expats. For information on getting to these places, see the Get Out section.
DongGuan can be reached by a taxi for about 90RMB, or by a number of public buses on GuanTai road.
At the bus station adjacent to the big square, coach buses run to ShenZhen LuoHu (1-1.5hr, 45RMB), ZhuHai GongBei(2hr, 60RMB), and GuangZhou(1-1.5hr, 45RMB). A short taxi ride to the HuMen train station will also connect you to the high speed train to ShenZhen North, and Guangzhou.
To get to Macau, take the bus ZhuHai GongBei. The border is a short walk from the bus station. On the Macau side there is an underground bus station. Public buses run to the area with casinos, hotels, and the old town. A bus to The Grand Lisboa will get you into walking distance of everything.
To get to Hong Kong International Airport, the same direct vans return from your hotel - hotels are able to book a ticket for you. 230RMB, 2.5-3hrs. See Get In.
For downtown/Kowloon, take the bus to ShenZhen LuoHu. Walk across the border, and take the MTR the rest of the way (~46HKD).
HouJie is for the most part safe, given some precautions. Due to the sheer numbers of people in most areas, violent crime is uncommon although it's best to stay to the beaten path. Instances of bag snatching from motorcycles are known of, so it is good to ensure you're well connected to any bags if you're carrying one. Less populated areas, such as TingShan in the east, are best avoided at night.
Instances of overcharging is only common when bargaining is part of the exchange, but there isn't a hard and fast rule to what's negotiable. Food and drink, posted prices for services like massage, public transport, and store items with a posted price generally aren't negotiated (at least, not by more than 10-15%). Taxis and shops without posted prices may or may not be charging double or more.