No Man is an Island: Ways to Meet People in Guangzhou

No Man is an Island: Ways to Meet People in Guangzhou
By Mary Calleja ,

Arriving in a new place can be a daunting experience, perhaps even more so when you are faced with the likes of Guangzhou with its tall buildings and crowded streets. Or maybe you’ve been in Guangzhou for a while and fancy checking out a new scene. Of course, you can go to the bar or join a sports group to meet new people, but what else can you do? Here are just a few options on what social groups exist to give you ways to meet people and make friends in Guangzhou.

1) Book Lovers Unite - Guangzhou International Book Club

The Guangzhou International Book Club meets on the 23rd (or closest weekday to that) of every month at the New Page Book Shop. Book lovers from all over the globe have previously discussed a wide range of titles which are chosen according to a member’s suggestion, lobbying and a vote. Recently celebrating its first birthday, the club is run jointly by Frank Butler Consultants (FBC) and by New Page Bookshop. As well as discussing books, the Club has three rules about subjects (not) to talk about: work, housing and family. Meetings are very informal and the group usually head off for a pint or two afterwards.

Guangzhou International Book ClubView In Map
Add: New Page, Level 4, Tiyu Xi Lu Book Store, No. 123, Tianhe Road, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 3886 1468

2) Get Speaking - GEM Toastmasters and GZ Galaxy Toastmasters
Toastmastersdoes not get its name from mastering the art of toasting bread, but from one of the main types of public speaking which is after-dinner speaking, also known as toastmastering. JoiningToastmasters gives you more benefits than just perfecting the art of public speaking: you will make new friends, expand your networks, learn new skills, gain experience, and most importantly, have fun! Every Monday and Thursday night at 19:15, the Jin Qiao Language School hosts fun and dynamic meetings with a passionate group of Chinese and foreigners. Non-members are welcome to come along for 10 RMB. It just takes one meeting to get hooked on Toastmasters, and to understand why it has more than 260,000 members in over 12,500 clubs in 113 countries.

GEM Toastmasters and GZ Galaxy Toastmasters View In Map
Add: Jian Qiao Language Centre, Linhe Zhong Rd, Tianhe District (next to Guangzhou East Railway Station), Guangzhou
Tel: 135 6019 5664 
See website for information about other branches in Guangzhou

3) Drink and Run - Hash House Harriers
Joining a sports club in Guangzhou is one way to expand your network and get fit, however Hash House Harriers coins itself as ‘a drinking club with a running problem’. Joining Guangzhou’s Hash House Harriers is a great way to learn more about Guangzhou and experience the nearby countryside and mountains outside the city. You don’t have to run very far or fast in order to join in (walkers take part too), but it does help if you won’t die after running 100 meters and have a sense of humour. The Hash meets at the Gold Mango Bar every Saturday at 13:30. Registration is 50 RMB each time, which entitles you to transportation and beverages (beer, water, soft drinks) for during and after the hash. The ‘on on dinner’ is usually held afterwards at a local reasonably priced restaurant, with the bill being split amongst all the hashers.

Guangzhou Hash Harriers
Meeting Point : Gold Mango Bar 金芒果酒巴 View In Map
Add: No. 361 Huanshi East Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市越秀区环市东路361号
Tel: 020 8359 7564

4) Connect with other Women - Guangzhou Women’s International Group (GWIC)
Having been in Guangzhou for the past 25 years, GWIC is a well established organisation with over 400 (all female, of course) members from different countries around the world. GWIC promotes social and cultural exchange through meetings, activities and charity contributions. It is well versed with the needs of foreign women, and as a community go out of their way to help anyone anywhere in need. Membership fees of 400 RMB include the morning coffee and afternoon tea on offer at five star hotels with excellent food. Guests can come along to a meeting at a charge of 75 RMB. GWIC also has many links with smaller expat groups, so check out their website and get in touch with their Newcomers Coordinator for more information.

Guangzhou Women’s International Group

5) Make a Difference - Guangdong International Volunteer Expatriate Service (GIVES)
GIVES has been changing the lives of many less fortunate people in Guangdong for more than ten years. Getting involved with GIVESas a volunteer will present you with the opportunity to learn more about the issues in Guangdong and build genuine friendships with other volunteers and the underprivileged. Volunteers are not required on a weekly basis but are expected to help out with organizing fundraisers. One other opportunity for volunteers is to write stories or take pictures about the inspirational stories of individuals and organizations involved, which will hopefully encourage others to get involved. Working with GIVES will give you an opportunity to make positive contributions to needy people in China and get to meet others also interested in making a difference.

Guangdong International Volunteer Expatriate Service (GIVES)

But that’s not all!

You can join theChambers of Commerce of your native country to get in touch with other expat business people in Guangzhou to get a better idea of the different fields of work available. Take Chinese lessons and meet other expats in your shoes who are lost for words in China. Join an online community like to find out about the latest events in Guangzhou or take part in mindless banter. Or it’s just as easy to make friends the old fashioned way: walking out and about. Be receptive to people (both Chinese and foreign) who first strike you with friendly conversation at different places, you’ll never know what could come from this mix of fates. Also, make the random effort to say ‘hello’ to a fellow expat in your apartment lobby, the shops, bar…anywhere! After all, you already have one thing in common with other expats, namely that - being an expat. 

Warning:The use of any news and articles published on without written permission from constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: meeting people Guangzhou making friends Guangzhou social clubs Hangzhou Hanghou expat community


All comments are subject to moderation by staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.