Foshan (佛山 Fahtsāan in Cantonese, Fóshān in Mandarin) is an industrial city in Guangdong. Though it has about seven million people, it is relatively little known and feels almost like an extension of Guangzhou; hence the saying "Guangzhou and Foshan are the same city" (广佛同城). It is regarded to be the birthplace of Cantonese opera. Perhaps its biggest claim to fame is as the birthplace of famous martial artists Wong Fei-hung (黄飞鸿) and Ip Man (叶问), the latter of whom was the martial arts teacher of Chinese-American film star Bruce Lee.
Shunde is an autonomous district of Foshan, one of the wealthiest areas in mainland China, and a popular destination for foodies.
Cantonese is the main local language spoken in Foshan, though most locals are able to speak Mandarin as well, albeit often heavily accented. Like other prosperous southern Chinese cities, Foshan is home to many migrants from other parts of China who speak Mandarin but not the local language. As with elsewhere in China, English is not widely spoken, though some younger people may speak basic English.
There's also Foshan Shadi Airport (FUO IATA) in Foshan, with flights to a handful of domestic destinations.
There is a train station in Foshan. The station is served mostly by local trains heading west towards Guangxi and Hainan. There are only a handful of trains a day to Guangzhou (1 hour), so if you are coming in from Guangzhou it's much more convenient to use buses or the metro.
There are coaches that arrive in Foshan from Guangzhou every fifteen minutes. It takes approximately one hour to get there from Guangzhou. It will cost approximately ¥10-20. Coaches depart from the Guangfo Bus Terminal in Fangcun (Fancun Dadao Xi - metro Line 5 Jiaokou) and serve both the Nanhai bus station and the downtown bus station in Chancheng district. There are also buses from most other cities in Guangdong as well as a handful of longer-distance services from Nanning and Guilin. However, for most long-distance destinations it's more convenient to travel to Guangzhou and then use the metro.
If you are going to Nanhai District from Guangzhou, another option is to take public bus 232 from Fangcun Long Distance Bus Station (Metro Line 1 Kengkou station) which costs ¥2 (Yangchengtong cards are accepted) and reaches Nanhai Square via Pingzhou Town in approximately 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes.
The Guangfo Line, China's first intercity rapid transit line, connects Foshan to the Guangzhou subway system. From downtown Guangzhou to downtown Foshan costs approximately 5 yuan and takes around 1 hour. The Guangfo line starts from Xilang (at the eastern end of Line 1) and runs to Kuiqiang Lu in Foshan's Chancheng district, running via Nanhai district. Trains run every few minutes from 6am to 11pm and can be packed at the weekend when many Foshan residents head to Guangzhou to go shopping.
Since Foshan is a very dense and industrial city with very few foreign tourists, getting around can be a challenge. Fortunately, the main part of the city has many shopping centers, stores, attractions and restaurants within a 20 minute walk. However, if you are not familiar with the area the best way to get around the city would be by taxi. Driving a car or riding a motorcycle is not recommended unless you are used to the hectic traffic typical in dense Chinese cities. See Driving in China for details.
Foshan's roads are prone to flooding after heavy rain. If you're planning to travel to, from, or within the city after a rainstorm, prepare for traffic disruptions and give yourself lots of extra time.
The metro is an efficient, convenient, understandable way of getting around. However, there is only one metro line, so many sites cannot be reached by metro. The line is known as the Guangfo line and is integrated with the metro system of Guangzhou. Fares depend on the distance traveled, with ¥2 as the minimum fare.
Additional lines are under construction, with several scheduled to open between 2019 and 2022.
This is the most convenient way to get around, since they can be found all over. However, during rush hour or when it is raining, meaning you will have to wait to find an available taxi. Fares are very inexpensive by Western standards - ¥7 for the first 2.6 km and increasing by ¥1 increments as you go farther. Drivers are supposed to add a ¥1 fuel surcharge to the fare displayed on the meter, but some may forget to do this. Most drivers speak Cantonese, though some only speak Mandarin (but they can usually understand Cantonese). It is very rare to find a taxi driver who can speak or even understand English, so it is best to have your destination written or printed out in Chinese characters if you cannot speak Chinese.
The public bus system is the most inexpensive way to get around the city, the fare is only ¥2 (make sure you have exact change). Most of the busses are modern and air conditioned. However, the bus system is only recommended if you are familiar with the routes and the city or if you know which bus to take and which stop to get off. Most people will not know any English so you will have trouble finding directions if you get lost and cannot speak Chinese.
- Zumiao Temple (佛山祖庙, Fóshān zǔmiào), No. 21 Zumiao Road, Chancheng District; 佛山市禅城区祖庙路21号, Fóshānshì chánchéngqū zǔmiào lù 21hào (Bus Routes: 101, 104B, 105, 106, 107, 109, 110, 111, 112, or 116 to bus stop Zumiao; 祖庙. Metro: Guang-Fo Line, get off at Zumiao station). 8:30am-6pm. Inside is a Confucius temple, Memorial Hall of kung Fu legends Wong Fei Hong and Ip Man, and among other things regarding Foshan history. 20rmb.
- Liangyuan Park. Formerly the residence of the Liang clan, the park is actually a large garden housing a number of traditional Chinese-style buildings. Well worth a visit.
- 1 Zhongshan Park (中山公园; Zhōngshāngōngyuán) (Along Fenjiang River). Offers nine specific scenic areas and family entertainment facilities.
- 2 Leigang Park (In the center of Nanhai. Metro Guangfo: Leigang). The park hosts children's attractions and a large lake.
- 3 Sanshui Lotus World (三水荷花世界; Sānshuǐ Héhuā Shìjiè). The largest lotus ecological park in the world.
- Renshou Temple (仁寿寺), Zumiao Road. Founded in 1925. The temple originally belonged to the Vajrayana school, but later was converted into a Chan (Zen) temple. Houses an exotic pagoda, and is an interesting mix of colorful Vajaryana icons and simple Chan aesthetics.
- 4 Nanfeng Kiln (Shiwan's Nanfeng Ancient Furnace). A great place to see ceramics being made, and then to buy them. Founded during Zhengde period of Ming Dynasty (1506-1521). A reminder of Foshan's once great porcelain industry.
- 5 Wong Fei-hung Memorial Hall. Museum commemorating this martial arts master.
- South China Sea Temple. The South China Sea a Buddhism goddess Guanyin temple was built in 990 ad. (namely Song Taizong Chunhua five years), dating back more than one thousand years of history, blocks north to south, excellent scenery, as the Lingshan resort.
- Southern Taoyuan (南国桃园). Southern Taoyuan peach hometown, tree beautiful, bud, flower color of fresh, long flowering period. Here picturesque scenery, green grass, forest covers an area of more than 90%. Every year before the Spring Festival, large tracts of peach trees in early puberty, peach strains, clump, bunch, sinks into the red.
- 6 Sanshui Forest Park (三水森林公园, Sānshuǐ Sēnlín Gōngyuán), 13 Yundonghai Avenue (云东海大道13号). A huge, beautiful park in Sanshui District. Attractions within the park include a giant reclining Buddha statue (108 meters long), a Confucian temple, and a lake with imported crocodiles. Free. ¥25 for the Confucian temple, ¥20 for the crocodile lake.
- 1 Taoci Town (陶瓷城; Táocíchéng, Ceramic City). A small village with a long tradition of pottery making. An excellent place to find some pieces of traditional-style Chinese porcelain.
- 2 Baihua Square (Baihua Plaza). One of the tall buildings in Foshan, containing a great shopping mall with restaurants offering Japanese and continental cuisine. It is near the Zumiao temple.
The Shunde area is known as the "food capital of Guangdong", with a wide variety of different restaurants to choose from.
The bar areas are scattered in different locations in Foshan. The most famous chill out area is near Jihua Garden called Bar Street (Jiubajie).
A couple of decent clubs include
- Mini Club.
- Rave Party.
Foreign visitors were once restricted to staying in high-priced official hotels. Tour groups tend to use these hotels but do so at rates far below those published. In general, restrictions on where foreigners can stay have become less and less frequently enforced. Hostels and western-style travel hotels are almost universally open to foreign guests. The lowest end Chinese accommodations - zhāodàisuǒ (招待所) - are generally inaccessible to the foreign community. However, for those determined to get a bargain, you may be able to get a room if you speak Chinese. Many of the hostels are in Chancheng District and Nanhai District. Discounted rates start around ¥30 for dorms and just below ¥200 for doubles in the cheapest hostels.
There are a large number of three and four star mid-range hotels throughout the city and in all districts. The listed rates for these kind of hotels are often in the range of ¥500-1,000 but you can often get a discount of around 50%.
Some 'expensive' hotels are in the city centre, especially in chancheng District, and on the eastern 3rd Ring Road in Chaoyang District, however by Western standards these hotels are still relatively cheap. For the most expensive hotels, the listed rates start at around ¥4,000, but are often discounted to a level around ¥1,500.
There a lot of hotels that charge between CNY100 and CNY300, such as HTHT, Like Business Hotel, family inns, and Home Inn.
- 1 Golden Hotel (戈登酒店, Gēdēng Jiǔdiàn), North Tongfu Road, Sanshui District (三水区西南同福北路), ☏ . Comfortable and clean three-story hotel with free breakfast, soft beds (by Chinese standards), and free wifi. The location is a little isolated though—it's hard to walk to anything. Rooms start at ¥168.
- 2 Traveles (暇侣酒店 Xiálǚ Jiǔdiàn), 南丰大道13号万达广场3座1幢9楼 (Look for the red LED sign saying "大城小寓 蔓菲公寓", go in and take the elevator to get to reception on the 9th floor), ☏ . Large, clean rooms and free wifi. The rooms include fun items like ukuleles, go sets, dartboards, or traditional Chinese tea sets. Staff don't speak English. From ¥98.
3 star hotels are a good choice.
- Swissotel Foshan, 1 Chengmentou West Road, Chancheng, ☏ . Tallest building, first international hotel in Foshan. Restaurants and bars.
- Guangzhou, the provincial capital with centuries of history as an international trading port
- Shunde, perhaps the most famous culinary destination in Guangdong