Guides for China
Guide (March 2010)
My name is Jonno, and I live in the City of Foshan,
Pop 4 million. Foshan is one of the few Cities in China
where foreigners are a relatively common sight and have
been for millennia. Foshan means Buddha Mountain, whilst
my home District called Chancheng means Zen City. Foshan
City will be host to a large proportion of the 2010
Asia Games (Guangzhou) with International standard swimming
pools and sports arena's newly built for the purpose.
Foshan is a very old city, with a history dating back
more than 7, 000 years, and written records for over
4 millennia. Throughout this history, it has been know
by two names - either Foshan (Chan Cheng) or Nanhai
(Gui Cheung). Early trade maps may use the name 'Pan
Yu', which is today a large town/small city near Nanhai
and Shunde; and just within the southern extremities
neighbouring Guangzhou City District. However, the port
referred to in such maps is actually quite close physically
to modern Nanhai port. There is a local rivalry here
I won't go into, so visitors should consider Foshan
and Nanhai to be the same thing. The Buddha Mountain
is actually situated in Nanhai city district and is
called Xi Qiao (Si Tew) ... and is the big hill West
and slightly South a bit as seen from the city centre.
Foshan City comprises the City of Foshan, and four other
areas of massive proportions best described as 'Counties'.
These five are: Foshan, Nanhai, San Shui, Gaoming, and
Shunde. Nanhai 'Gui Cheung' is the centre of Nanhai,
and also a physical part of Foshan City proper. Foshan
City District is bounded by the mighty Pearl River (West)
to the West, which in ancient times was the boundary
between the fledgling Chinese Empire and what is know
as 'The Badlands' or 'Bandit Country'. However, that
was the view of Northern Emperors, as this area was
all part of the Yue or 'Cantonese' Empire also.
Foshan is one of only 3 cities in China that has always
been 'Open' throughout Chinese history (Kaiping and
Hong Kong being the others). This openness relates not
only to Trade, but also to thinking, and language
Foshan people speak one of the 4 main Cantonese dialects,
called "'Ba't wah". This is Guangzhou Cantonese
as spoken throughout Guangdong Province, neighbouring
Guangxi Province, and Northern Vietnam. The other main
form of Cantonese is extremely similar, whilst Taishanese
is not. The version of Cantonese used in all modern
Western phrasebooks' is a small and insignificant dialect
peculiar to rich and influential people from Hong Kong
- you could consider it analogous to Queen's English,
as spoken in greater UK currently. If you veer off the
beaten track and go exploring some of the warrens of
back streets (Quite safe), then local people may reveal
their local language to you. It is Guangzhou Cantonese,
but with local quirks mainly centring around the pronunciation
of vowels and greater use of scale and pitch.
Out and About
Modern Foshan is a lively, clean city, with everything
you would expect - cars everywhere, MacDonald's on every
corner, large Western style shopping centres, hypermarkets,
nightclubs, and street bars where you can drink and
The main roads are wide, clean, and washed regularly;
although a tad chaotic! Local industry makes this a
truly vibrant place, although there is a problem with
air pollution that is slowly being addressed - this
is the only bad thing I have found in this great city.
Factories are now moving into the nearby countryside
with Government assistance, and new premises are very
Amongst the high rise, you will be delighted to find
a plethora of parks and green spaces which team with
life in the evenings, and most offer various local forms
of entertainment. The one nearest me has a round for
Latin Dancing and Waltzes - a tad odd as a Chinese pastime,
but very entertaining
For an informative overview of Foshan, please have a
look at the local government sponsored website, which
is a mine of local information. I live in ChanCheng
area, and my apartment is one of the big ones behind
the picture of the Foshan Radio Tower - left (The Eiffel
Tower with a ball in it). There are also pages relating
to the other Foshan Districts, please use their menu's
for navigation. This website rewritten in 2009 and you
can find basic pages here
Foshan lies within the Tropic of Cancer, and officially
has sub-tropical weather. All I can say is that for
most of the year it is very hot, dry, and humid with
average summer temperatures stuck at 36 degrees 24/7.
Winter is January and February, and is very cold as
they are simply not geared-up for cold weather at all.
The rest of the year ranges from pleasant to very hot.
Although always very verdant, it only rains twice a
year = 4-weeks around the beginning of June, and monsoon
season for another month starting the end of August.
Otherwise umbrella's are normally used to protect from
Local people are very warm, welcoming and friendly.
They will be very curious about you, and be very happy
to socialise. Please read the Social
sections for more information
Throughout a history stretching back over 2, 000 years,
Cantonese have always been Open and Outwards looking.
Ask your local restaurant owner anywhere in UK, and
it is highly probable their family roots actually lie
with Foshan. Small World!
Foshan is primarily a business centre, and many visitors
are here to invest or export, although there are a few
import specialists also. As early as the Qin Empire
Circa 220BC Foshan was regarded as one of the four foremost
ceramics cities in the whole of China. Today ceramics
still plays a central roll in the city's economy, which
includes the manufacture of fine vases and delicate
miniature figurines. However, most trade is related
to bathroom products such as baths, showers, and bathroom
The nearby town of Long Jiang in Shunde county is China's
leading manufacturer of furniture. The sheer scale of
manufacture is quite astounding, covering an area 20
miles long by several miles wide. Within this are major
permanent exhibition centres, the most notable being
located 5 miles from Foshan city centre at Le Cong.
Not only does this area support many factories and showrooms,
but it also includes all the support industries such
as specialists in wood and leather. The industry is
so massive that some exhibition halls are dedicated
to particular types of furniture, such as: Office, Hotel
and Home furnishings.
Many business people also use Foshan as a convenient
centre for attending the Canton Fair, which is now housed
exclusively at Pazhou. With the opening of Foshan light
railway (Metro) due in summer 2010, access to this and
Guangzhou will be made extremely easy, as will connections
to Hong Kong.
Foshan is the world centre for Kung Fu, and offers tourists
many opportunities for training and learning about the
history of Kung Fu. This history dates back several
centuries to when the Shaolin Temple was sacked by the
forces of the then Emperor, and survivors fled to Foshan.
Huang Fei Hong's Father settled in Luzhou Village, which
lies at the foot of Xiqiao Mountain, and this area is
one of the main Kung Fu centres today with several Martial
Arts schools and memorial halls located thereabouts.
This should be the preferred destination for Kung Fu
enthusiasts, whilst the city centre is more suited for
Kung Fu tourism. The Ancestral Temple lies in the heart
of the city and is home to the Ip Man (Yip Man) memorial
Ip Man was a real life person and Wing Chun Grand Master
who lived in Foshan City. During the hardships and atrocities
of the Japanese invasion during WW2, Ip Man became a
champion of the ordinary people, and showed a spirit
that could not be broken. He was Grand Master Wing Chun
style Kung Fu and Bruce Lee's Sifu. Bruce Lee was a
regular visitor to the city and we have links to training
videos shot of them practicing together. There is also
a dedicated Bruce Lee memorial hall and museum located
in the nearby county town of Daliang in Shunde. This
is located at the village where Bruce's Father lived,
and Bruce visited on one occasion. Please see our Kung
Fu pages for further information.
We have compiled an extensive guide to Foshan City,
which is divided into sections for easy reference. Please
use the Foshan Menu on your left to navigate these pages,
which highlight all major activities and things you
may like to do or know about. The categories are self
explanatory, and deal with areas such as: Transportation,
Hotels for all budgets, Restaurants and Nightlife. The
basic pages are now complete (27th March 2010), although
we will continue to add more information as required.
We also take a look at traditional Chinese culture and
highlight places of special interest.
All other guides to Foshan city do not differentiate
between location, therefore you will find information
concerning an attraction physically located several
hours drive distant, grouped with sights within easy
walking distance of the City centre. We do not consider
this to be helpful to visitors, so have broken this
down into three sections: Foshan city attractions, Foshan
County venues, and also include destinations that are
relatively nearby but outside of Foshan City District
- good examples being beautiful Zhao Qing city; and
another is Chime Long Amusement Park, Circus, and Zoo.
Foshan has several great shopping areas which we describe
in detail. One is located around the city centre known
as Bai Hua. A second is located nearby at Dong Jian,
and here we actually walk the streets with you and not
only show you the best shopping plazas and streets,
but also provide options for snacks, juices, and restaurants
where you can relax and take the strain off your feet
for a while.
Vibrant, export driven, always 'Open' and Outward looking
- whatever you want from China as a whole, you will
find in abundance in this microcosm of humanity - but
don't take our word for it, come and see for yourself.....
Welcome to Foshan
This information is as supplied by China Expats and
our friends, as dated 10th July 2010, and/or other reliable
sources. Please check this information yourself as it
may alter without notice, and whilst we try our best
to ensure it is correct, please do not hold us responsible
for any errors - this is intended as a simple guide