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Foshan Tourist Guide (March 2010)
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Local Attractions
Within this modern mix, there are occasional gems remaining from ancient times; old traditional houses, peasant fishermen, and the only remaining and working Dragon Kiln in the whole of China, commissioned during the Ming Empire Circa 1600. Let's start our tour in the City Centre...

Ancestral Temple
The Ancestral Temple in the Centre of Foshan dates back many centuries and was originally constructed in 1085; but is latterly most famous as the home of Master Ip Man, who was Bruce Lee's mentor. Bruce was a regular visitor to Foshan, although his parental home lies some distance away in Shunde Daliang. It is relatively large and may need several hours to see all. There are performances including traditional Buddhist music and Lion Dance, but check out the times when you enter. This is also a good place to find reasonably priced and genuine souvenirs. There is also a museum and hall dedicated to the memory of Deng Xiao Ping - the founder of Shenzhen and the Policy of Openness.

The temple is known as 'Jo Mu' in Cantonese, correctly 'zhou mu'; and is Zu Miao ( 祖庙 ) in Mandarin. It is located in the heart of the city along Zumiao Road, and a minutes walk from Bai Hua (The big green building with a ball on top - pictured left). The entrance is centrally situated, with the ticket office set to the left hand side. This area is beset with beggars, and foreigners are their number one target. However, do not let this put you off visiting this great attraction.

Immediately to your left upon entry is a stand that makes and sells jade seals (Stamp in candlewax). They will make to your own design within an hour. Further left is the Kung Fu memorial hall, which features rooms dedicated to Ip Man, Bruce Lee, Wong Fei Hung, and other great Masters. Heading deeper into the complex and keeping left, you will find a craftsman making Foshan Paper Cuts. Left from here is the Kung Fu school complex, with two practice arenas. There is also a museum of musical instruments situated here, and adjacent to a mural depicting the atrocities committed by foreign forces in the late Qing Empire, with a description in English. Behind the latter and up some stairs in the wall is a fantastic shop selling all manner of authentic Chinese souvenirs at sensible prices. It is hard to find! Be careful here, as one door leads down and out into a sidestreet.

Returning to the paper cutter, you will enter a complex behind his stall, which serves as Buddhist temple complete with many rare artifacts. Several interlinked rooms lead out to an open air pool full of carp and terrapins (A Chinese thing all temples have). Progress through this and right a touch to an open air theatre complex and restaurant, combined. This is where Cantonese (Yue) Opera is performed. Progressing along the right hand side of the complex you will find the memorial halls dedicated to Deng Xiao Ping and Cantonese Opera. Foreign tourists will find this quite missable, unless you are into this sort of thing, in Chinese writing only? However, outside are several interesting stalls selling knickknacks, some of which can be personalised or made to order in a few minutes. Dotted around this area are several displays of dilapidated antique things, such as traditional boats and sowing machines set in large glass cases. There is another restaurant here, and the public toilets are located nearby down a nondescript alley. Behind the alley and fronting the main road outside is a garden area. Bearing right brings you back to the entrance - or should that be exit?

Opening times: 8.30 am to 6 pm
Ticket Price: Y20
Tel: 0757 82221680

Foshan Folk Art Museum
Nearby Foshan Folk Art Museum and Studio is a good place to look for souvenirs, including excellent Chinese Cloisonné, silks, Jade, Papercuts (Foshan's leading art), calligraphy and other local arts and crafts. This is located along the road from Zumiao, so with the temple to your right, walk straight ahead and over a main road with traffic lights. It is 5-minutes walk. This is also a great place for gaining an understanding into the lessons learned during the Cultural Revolution, including the modernisation of agriculture. In the corner of the Temple grounds next door you will also find an excellent vegetarian restaurant, although you may need to ask for help in finding it even though it is quite large. This complex is due to be relocated.

Opposite the Folk Arts Museum is the Carris Anne Hotel, which is the second most popular hotel used by Westerners (After The Foshan Hotel). Both hotels have business centres and excellent standards of spoken English. They also offer direct coaches to places such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong - which include various destinations for both the Airport, Hong Kong Island, and Kowloon.
Website (Chinese Only except this page):

Ancient Nanfeng Kiln
Located in Guzao Street, Shiwan Town (At the intersection of another road and where Jia Hua 4 Road becomes Jia Hua 3 Road [Cantonese: gwi wa sai Lo] ) and very near China Ceramics City. It is 5-minutes taxi from Bai Hua city centre.

The complex is home to the last working Dragon Kiln in all of China. A Dragon Kiln is one set going up the side of a hill, with continuous firing from bottom to top. Ceramics are moved up during the firing process, and this was China's answer to technical problems associated with high temperature firing required by some special glazes.

Across the courtyard is a large shop selling locally made products of all ceramic descriptions. To the right wall and central is an area set aside for displays by a Master Potter, which usually runs at certain times each week-end, and for tour groups by appointment. This is actually a lot of fun, as afterwards you get to play with some clay and make your own pottery. They later fire the results in the Dragon Kiln, and you can pick up your finished item a couple of weeks later.

Virtually opposite the main road entrance is a great Hunan Cuisine restaurant, whilst veering right will bring you to Foshan Artists Street. This is home to many small retailers selling all manner of ceramics and associated glassware's. There is a proper artist's street within this complex, but it is hard to find, even for Foshan local residents. Both this area and Nanfeng Kiln back onto a lovely park with massive central water feature. Restaurants, bridges, and walkways about, and it is a most relaxing place to chill for a while. Near the Artists Street is a fantastic mural about 20 feet high and 50 yards long. This begins with a pair of the largest female things I have ever seen, and is back dropped by what can best be described as a long waterfall made from toilets. There are literally thousands of the things all set in the wall!

Liang Yuan Garden
Liang Yuan is one of the Pearl River Delta's most historic gardens built by a family of famous poets and artists of the period. Artistically arranged gardens and ponds surround elegant residential buildings.

Cantonese Opera
Foshan is also the Birthplace of Cantonese Opera; which is similar to, and should never be confused with Beijing Opera. There are always Cantonese Opera shows and performances, plus special display halls and a Memorial museum dedicated to the Stars. From this spring a local industry based on costumes and masks.

We took this one step further for a recent summer camp (College Ages), and dedicated one day to making our own Cantonese Opera performance. Make-up takes several hours, and then there was dressing in the exuberant costumes. We did a small display that was great fun and shown on local TV. Some of the Players were Westerners ... Life is what you make it I guess?

Kung Fu
XiQiao is perhaps the most significant Pearl in this vast River Delta. It is a renowned scenic spot, Buddhist temple complex, and home to everything that embodies ultimate and state of the arts Chinese Kung Fu. Teachings are based upon 'HuangFeiHong' (Wong Fei Hung in Cantonese, versions) style 'Gongfu'. Huang Fei Hong came to Foshan as a young boy, with his Father and other disciples as they fled Imperial persecution from the Shaolin Temple in neighbouring Fujian Province. They settled in Nanhai (The name of Foshan City District at that time), and in a new home - which you can still visit today. There is now a very major Martial Arts School there. Lessons are available, and easily booked - if you know how? Contact China Expats if you want this, and we will sort it all for you + options for spouse and friends who think you are maybe a little crazy?

Below is a quotation from the latest edition of Foshan Tourist Guide:
"Foshan Hong Sheng Martial Arts Academy was established in 1851 by a martial Master named Zhang Yan during the Qing Dynasty. Time honoured and deeply influential, the centre boasts a lot of followers. The members of Hongsheng played a positive role in the past anti-feudalism and anti-imperialism wars. Hongsheng Martial Arts Centre has established branches in Hong Hong and abroad".

Opening times: 9 am to 5 pm
Bus numbers: 133, 141, 143
Tel: 0757 83217908

Xi Qiao
Xi Qiao (Si tew in Cantonese) also features 4 other main tourist attractions in addition to the Kung Fu Centre listed above. Buses will deliver you to the small town of Xi Qiao, which nestles under the Northern wing of the mountain. It is 'OK' in a nondescript sort of way. Left and West a bit is the back entrance to the hills complex of attractions. I mellowed away a very comfortable afternoon here some years ago, which included some shopping at local stalls, and an excellent foot massage. This area also contains a few small fairground attractions for kids.

There is also a formal entrance on the East side, but both are a tad hard to locate unless your driver understands exactly where you are headed for? This mountain has a 'AAAA' rating regards tourism, whatever that implies? Main attractions are: Yun Hai Lai Tai, Huang Daxian holy Land, Baiyun Cave, Tian Hu (Heaven) Lakes, Stone Swallow Rock and Sifang Bamboo Garden.

Most attractions are open during daylight hours, but some are restricted to closing at midday, including: Bodhisattva Culture Garden and Tianhu Lake Scenic Spot = 7.30 am to 12 midday only.

General opening times: 7.30am - 6pm
Through ticket price: Y50 inclusive for all attractions
Enquiries: 0757 86886646

Foshan is also the Leading Chinese City for ceramics - the earliest settlers came here because of the local China Clay. Nowadays this is mainly devoted to Thousands of square miles of factories producing toilets and other national and export related ceramics

However, Foshan still produces the most exquisite China and porcelain in the whole of this vast country. Take time-out to visit Ceramic Artist's Street = Breathtaking! During the dawn of the Han Empire Circa 220BC, Foshan was accorded the title of One of the Four leading ceramics cities in the whole of China - and today it remains China's largest producer by volume of export ceramics (Toilets, sinks, tiles, and bathrooms). It is also China's leading producer of 'Brownware' figurines, technically referred to by artist's as 'Mud-works'. However, you can find some excellent craftsmanship amongst the dross; for example: heavy metal crystal glazes and hand-painted pottery relief's. There is also a burgeoning and complimentary glassworks industry, which features the sole designs of local artists. Some of these artworks are truly awesome!

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 only
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