We caught the train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou (03/04), planning to get the train from here to Hainan. We were told that we couldn't book the overnight train from Guanzhou until we were back in China. However, we arrived at the station and waited in a queue for about an hour for a women who didnt speak english to simply say 'no' and send us away. By this time it was late afternoon so we set out to find somewhere to stay.
Guangzhou was absoloutely rammed with people. We didnt have enough money to pay for a hostel so walked for about 2 hours with a large rucks sacks on trying to find a cash point that would take our card - Nightmare!. we finally got a room in the hostel next to the station thinking it would be easier to get the train the next day.
Guangzhou itself was , to be frank, dirty, overpasses everywhere and just people sleeping on the streets outside the train station. To be fair there are probably some really nice parts out of town.
The next day we decided it may be too much of a rush to go to Hainan then try and get to the Vietnam border on time, so we decided to get an overnight train to Nanning instead which is only 3 1/2 hours from the border. But the tickets for this were also sold out so had to stay another night.
We went further a field down by the rivier which was nicer than the town center, there were neon light everywhere lighting up trees and bridges. We managed to book a ticket to nanning for the following afternoon (05/04)- finally. We booked a hotel in advance to save our backs. Heres hoping Nanning is more chilled out.