THERE AND BACK Guangzhou's transport links, though massively improved in recent years, are still strained by the 100,000 people that the fair brings to town. If flying direct, check availability and prices on China Southern's slick website at cs-air.com. And if coming by train from Hong Kong, telebook return tickets well in advance by dialing (852) 2947-7888. In Guangzhou, if the hotel shuttles aren't your style, take a cab: the fare to the fair site from the city center is about $4.
ROOM AT THE INN There are no hotel bargains to be had during Guangzhou's trade fair. Showing their entrepreneurial best, the city's hoteliers routinely double prices through the fair weeks, at the end of April and October. That said, rip-offs come in varying degrees. Among the handful of five-star hotels, the elegant White Swan on colonial Shamian Island has rooms from $290 a nightócall (86-20) 8188-6968 for reservations. Accommodation at the China Hotel, a mere stone's throw from the fair site, starts around $300; call (86-20) 8666-6888. Closer to the city center and most nightspots is the Garden Hotel, tel: (86-20) 8333-8989, with rooms from $268. The nearby Guangdong International Hotel, tel: (86-20) 8331-1888, is running specials from $228. For those on a tighter budget, the charming Victory Hotel on Shamian has rooms from $173, or $108 at its older annex building a few doors down; call (86-20) 8186-2622. All the hotels run free daily shuttles to and from the trade-fair site.