Guangzhou is the third Chinese city that will allow, starting on August 31, 72-hour visa free transit for citizens of 45 countries. This same 72-hour transit visa was introduced to Beijing (used to have 24 hour) and Shanghai (used to have 48 hour) on January 1, 2013 (read more about the previous change here). There is a piece on South China Morning Post about this that you can access here.
There are few things that you need to note here:
– You need to be in transit to a third country e.g. China cannot be your destination even if for less than 72 hours
– This would only be applicable when you are not returning to your home country e.g. if you live in Australia, you cannot have the stopover on your way back home from Europe (Edit: this per the newspaper article above – maybe available both ways in reality)
– It is not applicable for bus, train or boat arrivals from Macau or Hong Kong
When I look at the usual transit rules for China Timatic states:
Note: For transit purposes through China (People’s Rep.), Hong Kong (SAR China) and Macao (SAR China) are considered as third countries, as they have their own entry regulations.
This would mean that flying in to Guangzhou from Macau or Hong Kong and continuing to third country should be fine. Also, the SCMP article would imply that leaving Guangzhou by boat, bus or train to Macao or Hong Kong should be ok.
I have transited in Guangzhou, but I have never stayed in the city that is more likely after this change. You can have a quick peek of Shanghai or Beijing in 72-hours, but that is not enough to explore these mega cities.