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Foshan Tourist Guide (March 2010)
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Where to Shop:

Bai Hua
In the main shopping plazas you will find all the famous international brands, and if this is what you want to see, then please enjoy. I would prefer to show you the real China, the real people, the local communities, and street markets that literally buzz with humanity - come with me and haggle with a market trader over the price of an orange, or let us choose a live fish from one of the many fish tanks for our dinner.

The main shopping centre is Baihau Plaza (Ba Far in Cantonese), and this is the green building with a ball on top. Set to the side is a smaller and busier Chinese mall that specialises in clothes and shoes. Prices here are very reasonable and the array of offerings admirable. Expect to haggle with the traders, but not too much.

Outside are several other malls within a minutes walk, although some may not be obvious until you enter Crossing Zumiao Road here and bearing right will bring you to a pavement of high street shops. Bai Hua also features: MacDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut; all set around the same interchange.

Dong Jian
The other main shopping area is centred around Dong Jian Century Plaza on Jia Hua 5 Road. This is OK and has a restaurant occupying the top floor (Normal for Chinese malls). This mall also has toilets on the ground floor, set towards the rear and left a bit. There is a Western style WC in the associated KFC for those that prefer a little comfort.

If you were to stand facing KFC, then on your right is a busy sideroad which is crossed bring you to a China Unicom mobile phone shop. This is one of the few places you can obtain China Unicom top-up cards; as Foshan mainly uses China Mobile, whose shops are everywhere. Continue a few yards up this road and you will see the Bank of China on your left. This has one of the most reliable international ATM machines in Foshan. If you have a visa card that does not work in most Chinese ATM's then the middle machine is the one you want. However, please note it is usually out of order between 10 and 11 each morning due to servicing and topping up with cash. If your card is not so pedantic, then the right-hand machine should work for you, as will ATM's of ICBC.

You are now adjacent to a very busy crossroads, and one of the best places to catch a taxi during rush hours. Opposite the Bank of China is a small private hospital that is excellent. Some of the staff speak English to enough of a degree, and Doctors are readily to hand. I don't recall there being a consultation fee, but expect to be taken to their pharmacy to purchase medications for your treatment. Injections are administered intravenously via a drip, and this can take a while - but is excellent for your body. You really don't want to go anywhere near a major Chinese hospital without a Chinese friend and a lot of time to kill.

Next to this hospital is a doorway, being the entrance to a Chinese hotel. Rooms are very adequate although basic, and prices very cheap. Another 100 yards further along this road brings you to the Kingdom Hotel, which is a lot higher class. This road is also lined with restaurants, some of which are described elsewhere on this page. At the southern end of this block is a RBT restaurant - a sort of trendy bar thingymagig. On your left and across a block is the red light district. Authorities run purges from time to time, the locations and girls change, but it carries on regardless. Carrying straight onwards brings you to more restaurants, one of which is notable for excellent fish. Bear right and walk down a bit of a boring road. The next interchange features two good restaurants on your right, and street bars across the road and left. These open around 5pm. If you duck down the obliquely set alleyway of a China Town, then the other end brings you out into another streetbar area.

Head right from here, back towards the main road. on your left is a large and tranquil park. The right side features many restaurants, most of which are open late or very late at night. You can complete this block by turning right again, which brings you back to the small private hospital. On your left is a large mall featuring all manner of electrical appliances, and is hosted by Suning Group. Internally this block is made from a warren of interconnecting streets, and is quite safe to enter - although expect locals to stare at you. There is an excellent wet market here, many more local style eateries of questionable hygiene standards, and I am told, rooms available for Y400 per month. Second-hand furniture sales are also located in some of the garages hereabout. Lets continue our tour by heading back to the pedestrian walkway near KFC.

Opposite we arrive outside the main bus stop which fronts a Chinese supermarket called 'Gwi Wah Fo' Chong' in Cantonese. This is the local landmark everybody knows. The ground floor is dedicated to food sales, whilst upstairs (Up a ramp) is clothing, household items and consumer electronics. The exit of the supermarket leads you into an area of perfumeries, and outside, across the road is another modern mall featuring goods by the very top international brands (Gucci etc). Underneath is a Hong Kong supermarket called Park n Shop. The entrance is an escalator set to the front of the building near Starbuck's and Pizza Hut.

If you were to exit the Chinese supermarket and turn right, then this would bring you to 'Superline', another mall featuring cheap clothes and related items. It is well worth a visit, especially if you are looking for quality at sensible prices. However, do not rely on the label to judge any sizes, as often these goods are slightly flawed seconds, the major season being they have the wrong size label on them.

Outside is a MacDonald's with another Bank of China located nearby. Foshan's largest English School is located in the street opposite, and you will need to find a place to cross the busy main road if this is your target. Again, across this road and right a little is a great shop selling genuine Chinese souvenirs. Adjacent to Superline is a square, the other side of which is a reasonable and cheap 'Chinglish' restaurant called Golden Sun. A little further along is the Golden Lake Hotel.

The small square itself leads to a bridge which is renowned as a lovers paradise. If a couple walk across this bridge three times at consecutive National Day celebrations, then their wedding will be blessed. On the other side is the main China Telecom building for this area (Landlines and internet), however, be careful here, as Chinese internet here of the 4MB speed is actually 4 x 1Mb outlets ideal for a small office, and not one dedicated 4Mb connection. Behind this is a very large wet market with excellent reputation.

Let's retrace out steps back to the Chinese supermarket on Jia Hua 5 Road, and reaching the pedestrian walkway, continue walking away from Park n Shop (Do not re-cross the road). Crossing a small road junction that also leads to Superline, passed a bank with interesting lions no Chinese understand the meaning of, you will meet an area set back slightly from the main road. The first alleyway leads to another wet market behind, but you need to know which stalls to go to in this one. However, they do sell beef here, which can be rare in Canton.

Without venturing into the wet market, the first door will have a few girls hanging around, and the stairs lead up to a very large and nice Hair-Washey and massage centre. Girl Number 51 is excellent, although number 21 is also pretty damn good.

Outside there are a very streetbar's that used to be very busy before the main road was upgraded. These are missable, except for the far end where there is a stall in the wall selling Chinese 'Ham-bo-ba's'. This is Xi'an cuisine associated with the restaurant above. However, for Y5, the Donkey kebab is truly excellent, with a little coriander and chilli sauce. Other meats available are pork and beef, but the Donkey is the one to have, and is red meat in colour out of a package in the refrigerator.

Continue along this road, but there really isn't much to see unless you fancy visiting the Mongolian style restaurant which is bright orange and green. A great eating experience, but expensive if done correctly. At the end of this block and just around the corner is a hole in the wall with escalators that don't work. At the top of the steps is an English language school, and further inside (Trust me on this one), is an excellent printing company. I get my business cards printed here, and 300 cost around Y100, with collection 1-hour later! This are full colour with picture, bi-lingual, and produced by me in a normal word document. There are cheaper options of course, but the 1-hour does it for me every time.

If you are not interested in business cards or other printing services, then you will not the main road has disappeared into an underpass. Opposite are silver domes erected for the Guangzhou Asia Games 2010. Not your thing either? Then cross right to the newly completed Wallmart. This is another very large supermarket and worth a visit, although their stocks of truly Western produce appear to fluctuate on a whim. Their Pizza at Y4 for a very large slice is very good value. This is slowly becoming a shopping mall also, and yet another KFC is already open and very busy. MacDonald's will open here soon also. The goods sold in shops here is probably of higher standard in general than Dong Jian, but lower than the Park n Shop mall retail stores.

We are almost full circle now, so permit me a little indulgence of these streets I know so very well. The main road here is now called Lingnan Dong Lu, although everybody still calls it 'Dai Fut Lo'. Walk the short block below where I used to live, and take the first sidestreet on your right, called Fu Hua Lu in Mandarin. The modern political capital building of Foshan is opposite, and whilst the first block of this street is a tad boring. It is a short distance however. The first street on your left leads to The Rose Garden, a complex of vaguely interlinked quality housing, and the very best upscale wet market in Foshan. However, continue ahead and pass Wallmart multi-storey car park on your right. You will see a few retail outlets set as very small local shops here. The one in the middle is a very talented seamstress who we have purchased business suits for both men and women from on several occasions. Her prices are very fair, with a ladies business suit complete with both skirt and trouser alternatives + two blouses, all made to measure; coming in at around Y800. She doesn't speak English, but is very good at what she does. She will walk with you to a proprietary shop nearby so you can show her the designs you want her to make for you. Allow 1-week for completion, with a fitting scheduled somewhere in between.

Standing outside at the road junction, you are facing the Snake restaurant, with the red light district to your left. Let's turn right here and cross the road. On the first corner is a DVD shop that sells good quality DVD's and similar discs. Expect to pay Y7 for most items, and look out for special value packs. One of the staff may try to load the price, so settle for what you are happy paying as fair. You can check DVD's before purchase, and return them for another disc or full refund if they won't play on your own machine. Nearly all Chinese DVD's etc, and multi-regional and play on any machine anywhere in the world.

Heading onwards you will pass a couple of car-washey's, and turning left at the major road, find a 24 hour China Telecom top-up card machine. If you try and top-up your phone yourself, then press 2 at first question for English language, and follow the prompts. Press '1 + hash' to top up your own phone, as this is not quite clear, and saves you having to enter your phone's own number. These machines accept Chinese notes in denominations of Y30, Y50, Y100, and Y300.

Continuing along this road brings you back to Dong Jian Century Plaza, whilst bearing left at the end of the block takes you past another 'Hair-Washey' and a couple of vaguely Thai restaurants. Continue walking to the end of the short block, and facing the Agricultural Bank of China (One of China's best banks, and the one that does Western Union incoming only, look left and find a welcome at Martino's proper Western restaurant. Chill with a draught beer, or have Guinness or cider from bottles and cans. The owner is Bill, a Canadian Chinese bear of a man, and very hospitable. He will cook you anything regardless of the menu, although you may need to pre-order some specialty dishes. This closes at 2am, and has a multi-channel TV, video, and music system. However, it is renowned for a relaxing ambience and comfortable couches.

Almost opposite is a very small Chinese Moslem restaurant. These people are open 24/7, and are distinguished by wearing small white hats. Whilst communication resorts to quite basic levels, they are welcoming and have pictures of virtually all their main dishes plastered around the walls. I usually go for the Chinese 'Ham-bo-bah' late at night, and to order this simply describe a circle with your finger - they will understand. One of their dishes featured on the wall is actually a most excellent doner meat, but I never worked out just how to get them to put this into the kebab. Hey-ho!

If you just walked the above in one day, then the major locations listed above may just come to 3-miles, excepting shopping. I would allow one full day to do all this, beginning at Dong Jian Century Plaza and crossing towards superline for lunch at the Golden Sun. I would head back for dinner (6pm) at Martino's, before exploring the other options for evening entertainment listed previously.

Jusco is the name of the very best Western supermarket in Foshan, which is a one-stop for virtually everything you may need to purchase. It is also a mall, and centre for another of Foshan's shopping extravaganza's. There are actually two Jusco's in Foshan, and this one is located just inside Nanhai district, fairly near the Foshan main bus and railway stations.

Adjacent is Tour Mall, which is another shopping extravaganza, and behind is one of Foshan's best KTV complexes = head down the alleyway and covered streetmarket thingymagig. Opposite Jusco's main entrance it a traditionally fronted Chinese Mall. This is home to thousands of restaurants featuring different flavours of Chinese cuisine, and those from other Asian climbs such as Vietnam. If you have never before witnessed a shopping centre comprised only of restaurants, then this will blow your mind!

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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