Zhongshan (中山; Jūngsāan in Cantonese, Zhōngshān in Mandarin) is a city in Guangdong Province just north of Zhuhai. Zhongshan is most famous as the birthplace of Chinese national hero Sun Yat-Sen (for whom the city was renamed after his death). It's now something of a manufacturing center, like the rest of the Pearl River Delta, but it's quieter than the other cities in the area and still has lots of farmland and small towns.
Zhongshan is in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong Province, on the west bank of the Pearl River estuary. It is connected by road and rail to Guangzhou (capital of Guangdong Province) to the north and Zhuhai to the south. Hong Kong can be reached by ferry and Macao via Zhuhai.
Zhongshan covers an area of 1,800 km² and has a permanent population of some 1.4 million. The city is in a subtropical humid zone with an annual average temperature around 23°C.
Zhongshan has nurtured numerous prominent historical figures throughout its history. On November 12, 1866, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (also Sun Zhongshan) the great leader of China's republican revolution, was born at Cuiheng village of Zhongshan. In memory of him, the county of Xiangshan, which was set up in 1152, was renamed after Dr. Sun as Zhongshan in 1925. It's one of very few cities in China named after a person.
Zhongshan was also the location of a strong guerrilla force during World War II, and the villages that hid the guerrillas are a short drive away through wooded lanes.
Zhongshan has a vibrant downtown river area, some beautiful Buddhist temples. It is a affordable place to live and work with housing being about one third that of its bigger sister cities nearby.
Zhongshan is a linguistically diverse city, with Cantonese being the lingua franca, and several other closely-related dialects being spoken by residents in different districts. The main dialect in Shiqi District, the historical downtown area, is the Shiqi Dialect, which is similar to Cantonese but differs significantly in pronunciation and tone structure, making it tricky to understand even if you are fluent in standard Cantonese. Several languages from the Min (Fujian) family of Chinese languages are the main languages in some parts of the city, while Hakka is the main language in some other parts of the city, though speakers of these languages are usually able to speak Cantonese as well. As Mandarin is the official language of China, most locals are also able to speak Mandarin, and Zhongshan is also home to many migrants from other parts of China who speak Mandarin but not the local languages. As with elsewhere in China, English is not widely spoken, though some younger people may know some basic English.
If you are a newcomer to Zhongshan you may wish to arrive at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG IATA). Direct ferries are available from the airport to Zhongshan. To take the ferry to Zhongshan, go directly to the ticket counter without passing through Hong Kong immigration or customs; see Hong Kong International Airport#By ferry for details.
Hong Kong allows travelers from many nations to enter visa-free, and Chinese visas are easy to obtain at many locations. This will generally involve one or two nights' stay in Hong Kong.
(You will have to have your Chinese visa organised before departure from your country of origin. This can be done at any consulate.)
Travelers have easy access to airport shuttle busses.
The schedule for buses between CAN and Zhongshan is as follows: (Price:¥68/per, 150 minutes)
Departure location: A and B airport lounge of CAN
Departure times: once an hour from 08:50 to 19:50 at the A lounge; Once an hour from 09:00 to 20:00 at the B lounges.
Departure location: Zhongshan Seasons View Executive Hotel, No.93, Dongyu Road, Eastern District. (Take bus 1, 6, 9, or 12 to get to the hotel)
Departure times: once an hour from 06:00 to 10:00 as well as from 11:30 to 17:30. Leave at least 2½ hours before your plane is scheduled to depart.
The trip from Zhongshan to the Hong Kong International Airport takes about an hour and ten minutes, the trip to Shenzhen takes 45 minutes, while the other journeys take about an hour and a half.
Hong Kong–Zhongshan: seven or eight times a day.
Hong Kong International Airport–Zhongshan: four or five times a day.
Macau ferry terminal–Zhongshan: twice a day.
Shenzhen Fuyong Ferry Terminal–Zhongshan: seven times a day.
The ferry terminal has no amenities beyond a restroom; the nearest place to get a bite to eat is a 10–minute walk south. Buses to Zhongshan Port are the Numbers 1, 25, 34, 36, 62, and 212.
Most visitors and locals rely on the bus system for both everyday and travel transport.
The Zhongshan Main Bus Station is on the corner of Fuhua Road and the 105 National Highway.
Buses to Guangzhou depart once every 25 minutes; buses to Shenzhen depart once every 20 minutes.
The ticket office is open from 06:00-21:00, and tickets are available four days before your departure date. The Zhongshan Station for these services is on the corner of Fuhua Road and Zhongshan 1st Road.
There are buses from Shenzhen Airport, 11:00–20:00, for ¥60.
Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Rail was put in to use in January 2011.
Zhongshan Station is in Zhongshan Torch Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone and Zhongshan North Station is between the north part of Shiqi and the port area.
Shiqi is considered to be the city center, so Zhongshan North is closer to the city center.
Passengers to Shiqi, West District, South District and the Port District should get out the train at Zhongshan North Station, while those who go to East District, Wuguishan District and the industrial development zone should get off at Zhongshan Station.
There are about forty trains leaving from Guangzhou South to Zhongshan through to Zhuhai and the return Zhuhai to Zhongshan and through to Guangzhou South.
Trains are available at Guangzhou South from 06:30-23:00 and at Zhongshan or Zhongshan North at 07:20-23:00.
It takes about 35 minutes from Guangzhou to Zhongshan North and 45 minutes to Zhongshan Station.
The full ticket price to Zhongshan North is ¥24 for the first class seat and ¥20 for the second class. ¥26 and ¥22 are the full price to Zhongshan Station.
You can travel around Zhongshan easily on the city buses. At present, over 80 bus lines operating in Zhongshan, most of which are self-service so have correct change of ¥2 when you board each bus. Some buses are more expensive and can cost as much as ¥10; some of these will have an attendant who can give change.
The sights of Zhongshan are wide spread and no special tour lines and sightseeing buses are available. However, there are city buses running to some scenic spots.
For example, Bus No.2 passes Sun Yat-sen's Memorial Hall.
Bus 33 can help you getting to the beautiful water town in Minzhong Town.
The highly praised green cascade of the Yangtze River can be visited by Bus No.006. Get off the bus at Changjiang Leyuan. Zhongshan Spring and gulf course are easy of access with Bus No.11 A and B,
Bus 12 Zhongshan-Zhuhai Bus can take you there straight from the city center. You need to change at the Zhuhai terminal to Zhuhai Bus 10.
There are more than 1000 taxis in Zhongshan. The fare is about ¥7 for the first 2 km and then ¥2.48 for every additional kilometer. The other rate is for trips further than 10 km. The same start-rate is the same as the former, but each additional kilometer is ¥2.6.
During the night from 22:00 to 05:00, 20% of basic fare per kilometer is additionally charged if the distance is more than 2 km.
There are also motor cycles available for the more adventurous on short hops and the fair for these is negotiable.
A great form of travel available is the electric rickshaw if you are heading out for dinner or just want to enjoy the night air on a short distance ride. The price is negotiable.
The main sights in Zhongshan's downtown area are not far apart and could possibly be covered in a single day on foot.
1 Sunwen Xi Pedestrian Street (孙文西路文化旅游步行街) is lined with beautiful old European-style buildings, many of which now have shops on their first floors.
- 2 China Radio Museum (Zhongshan) (中山·中国收音机博物馆), Zhongshan Museum Annex Building, 197 Sunwen Middle Road, Shiqi District (中山市孙文中路197号中山市博物馆副楼) (Nearby bus stops include Fengyuan Road (逢源路), Gongchen Road (拱辰路) and Sun-Yat-sen Memorial Hall (中山纪念堂). Take bus no. 001, 002, 005, 009, 021, 032, 050 or 209), ☏ . 09ː00-17ː00, closed on Mondays. Contains what is quite possibly the largest and most diverse collection of old radios in China. Of the more 2000 items in the collection, just over 200 are on public display at any one time. Captions are in Chinese only but that should be no deterrence, particularly if you happen to be a radio enthusiast. Free.
- 3 Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (孙中山纪念堂), 188-192 Sun Wen Middle Road (孙文中路188-192号) (Bus routes 001, 002, 005, 009, 021, 050 and 209), ☏ . 08ː30-17ː00. Not to be confused with the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Museum (listed below). Contains a photographic exhibition of Sun Yat-sen's life and legacy. Captions are in Chinese only. Free.
- 4 Xiangshan Commercial Culture Museum (香山商业文化博物馆), 152 Culture & Tourism Pedestrian Mall, Sunwen West Road, Shiqi District, Zhongshan (中山市石岐区孙文西路文化旅游步行街152号) (The museum can be found in the middle of the pedestrian mall. The nearest bus stop is Fengming Road (凤鸣路), which is served by bus routes 001, 002, 006, 009, 016, 017, 018, 035, 050 and 201), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 09ː00-17ː00, closed on Mondays. From the 1920s to the 1940s, this building served as the offices of the Shiqi Town Chamber of Commerce. Today it is a museum about the history of the city, with a focus on commerce. The museum occupies three floors. The ground floor gives a general overview of Zhongshan's commercial history and culture, the second floor introduces some business people who were prominent in Zhongshan during the early 20th century, and the third floor focuses on some Zhongshan natives who established department stores in Shanghai. Free.
- 5 Zhongshan Cartoon Museum (中山漫画馆), Inside Yixian Lake Park, Hubin Road, Shiqi District (中山市石岐区湖滨路 逸仙湖公园内) (Bus routes 005, 018, 021, 032, 035 and 209. You will find the museum on the northern side of the lake), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30, closed on Mondays. Zhongshan is the hometown of several of China's most prominent cartoonists. This museum displays some of their works, as well as works by cartoonists from other parts of China. Free.
- 6 Zhongshan Museum (中山市博物馆), 197 Sunwen Middle Road, Shiqi District, Zhongshan (中山市石岐区孙文中路197号) (Nearby bus stops include Fengyuan Road (逢源路), Gongchen Road (拱辰路) and Sun-Yat-sen Memorial Hall (中山纪念堂). Take bus no. 001, 002, 005, 009, 021, 032, 050 or 209), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 09ː00-17ː00, no entry after 16ː30, closed on Mondays. This museum, which is housed in a 1930s hospital building, is mainly used for hosting temporary exhibitions. Information and captions are usually in Chinese only. Free.
- 7 Zhongshan Museum of Art (中山美术馆), Qi River Park, West District, Zhongshan (中山市西区岐江公园内) (The museum can be found in the middle of the park. Bus routes 12, 024, 047, 211, 216, and b10), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 09ː00-17ː00, no entry after 16ː30, closed on Mondays. A small art museum focused on displaying works by local artists. Free.
Parks and nature
- 8 Qi River Park (岐江公园, Qijiang Park), Intersection of Zhongshan Yi Road and Xidi Road, West District (西区中山一路与西堤路交叉口) (On the west bank of the Qi River, a short distance south of the Qi River Bridge. Bus routes 12, 024, 047, 211, 216, and b10). This was once the site of the Central Guangdong Shipyard (粤中造船厂). At the end of the 20th century, the shipyard was converted into a park. While most of the old industrial structures were removed, some have been retained or reconstructed for artistic effect. The Zhongshan Museum of Art (listed above) can be found in the middle of the park. Free.
- 9 Yixian Lake Park (逸仙湖公园), Hubin Road (湖滨路).
- 10 Zhongshan Park (中山公园), Gongyuan Avenue (公园大道) (You may find the south entrance on Sun Wen West Road and the north entrance on Guangming Road). Occupies a hill in the middle of the city known as Yandun Hill (烟墩山 Yandunshan). The hill has various other names, including Fu Peak (阜峰 Fu Feng) and Shiqi HIll (石岐山 Shiqishan). The Fufengwen Pagoda stands on the hill. Free.
- 11 Baiyi Temple (白衣寺, 白衣古寺, Baiyi Ancient Temple), 8 Lianyuan Road East, Shiqi District (石岐区莲园东路8号).
- 12 Fufengwen Pagoda (阜峰文塔), Zhongshan Park, Shiqi Distirct (石岐区中山公园). Also known as the Yandun Hill Pagoda (烟墩山塔), the pagoda was built in the Ming Dynasty during the 36th year of the reign of Emperor Wanli (around 1608) by the county magistrate Cai Shanji. The pagoda is a seven-storey octagonal-shaped brick tower and stands 24.5 m high. It was restored in 1952, but is now in need of further repairs. The pagoda is surrounded by a fence to prevent visitors from being struck by falling debris.
- 13 Xishan Temple (西山寺), 240 Sun Wen Middle Road (孙文中路240号). A traditional Buddhist temple.
Other areas of the city
When you visit the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Museum, you'll see the big characters 天下為公 (simplified: 天下为公, tiān xià wéi gōng) on the wall outside. This is a quote from Confucius, recorded in the Book of Rites and famously repeated by Sun Yat-Sen. It can be translated as "All under heaven belongs to the people" or "The whole world as one community". It's worth holding this idea in the back of your mind as you walk through the museum learning about Sun's life and what he believed in.
- 14 Former Residence of Sun Yat-Sen & Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Museum (孙中山故居纪念馆), 93 Cuiheng Avenue, Nanlang Town (南郎镇翠亨大道93号) (Bus routes 12, K16 or K26. You may catch bus no. K26 from the Zhongshan Railway Station), ☏ . 09:00-17:00. For those who revere the man, this place is probably the main reason to visit Zhongshan. A complex of buildings situated inside a park in the village of Cuiheng, where Sun-Yat-Sen was born in 1866. The residence was designed by Sun Yat-Sen himself and completed in 1892. Sun Yat-Sen lived here until 1895 and stayed here for a short time in 1912 following the Xinhai Revolution. The museum provides a detailed overview of Sun's life. Much of the information is available in Chinese and English. Because Sun and his family members spent time in the US and UK, some of the artifacts are actually written in English. Free.
- 15 Tianxin Forest Park (田心森林公园，田心公园, Tianxin Park) (Take bus no. K26 from the Zhongshan Railway Station). A 226-hectare forest park at the foot of the Wuguishan mountain range. Free.
- 16 Wuguishan Nature Park (Wuguishan Natural Scenery Zone, 五桂山自然风景区), Wuguishan Sub-District (五桂山街道) (take bus no. K26 from the Zhongshan Railway Station and get off at Tianxin Park (田心森林公园). Wuguishan Nature Park may be found a short distance north of there). Centered around Wuguixiong Peak (五桂雄峰), the highest peak in the Wuguishan mountain range, which stands at 531 m above sea level and is also the highest land formation in Zhongshan. Free.
- 17 Zhan Garden (Zhan's Garden, 詹园), National Highway 105, South District (中山市南区105国道) (Bus routes 206 and 211), ☏ . 08:00-17:30. Built in 1998 and designed to resemble a classical Chinese garden, the Zhan Garden is claimed to be the largest private garden in southern China. The owner and designer Mr Huang Yuanxin named the garden after his mother Mrs Zhan. ¥60.
- 18 Zhongshan Studio City (中山影视城), 85 Cuiheng Avenue, Nanlang Town (南朗镇翠亨大道85号) (There is a bus stop just outside the entrance, which is served by bus nos. 12, 087 and k16. Alternatively, you may catch bus no. K26 to Sun Yat-sen's former residence and walk 400 metres north from there), ☏ . M-F 08ː30-17ː30, Sa Su 08ː30-18ː00. An outdoor film studio that has been used to produce numerous films and television series set during the early 20th century, including several which were focused specifically on the life of Sun Yat-sen. Features street sets for several of the cities and countries that Sun visited during his life as well as re-creations of significant buildings such as the Whampoa MIlitary Academy in Guangzhou, Sun's former residence in Shanghai and Sun's mausoleum in Nanjing. There is also a photo exhibition on some of the films and televisions series that have been filmed here. ¥65.
- 1 Changjiang Water World (长江水世界, Yangtze River Water World), at the intersection of Changjiang and Jingguan Roads in Shiqi District (Catch bus nos 006 or 030), ☏ . Apr 28-Jun 30: 10:00-18:00, Jul 1-Aug 31: 10:00-21:00, Sep 1-Oct 7: 10:00-18:00; closed Oct 8-Apr 27. A water-based amusement park. ¥120 for adults, ¥80 for persons over 60, ¥80 for children between 1.2 and 1.5 metres in height who are accompanied by an adult, free admission for children with a height of 1.2 metres or less who are accompanied by an adult.
- 2 Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club (中山温泉高尔夫球会), Sanxiang Town (三乡镇) (Most visitors would probably come here by taxi. If you prefer to take a bus, take bus nos 211 or 213 and get off at the Yongmo (雍陌) bus stop), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. About 25 km from downtown Zhongshan. Features two 18-hole golf courses designed by American golf champions Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Claims to be the first modern golf club to be established in the PRC. Fees for non-members vary between ¥400 and ¥1600. Discounts are available if accompanied by a club member.
- 3 Qi River Cruises (岐江游船), Qi River Cruise Boat Pier, Qi River Park, West District (中山市西区岐江公园内岐江游码头) (Catch a bus to Fuhua Hotel (富华酒店), Zhongshan No. 1 Bridge (中山一桥) or Zhongken Department Store (中恳百货)), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Boats depart every half an hour from 18:30 to 22:00. A short cruise down the Qi River and back. The journey time is about 30-40 minutes. You may either sit in the cabin or stand on the rear deck. Standing on the front deck is not permitted. ¥60.
- 4 Zhongshan Culture & Art Center (中山市文化艺术中心), 73 Xingzhong Avenue, East District (中山市东区兴中道73号) (Take bus no. 030, 035 or 036 and alight at the Culture & Art Center bus stop. Alternatively catch bus no. 031, 042, 213 or 216 and get off at the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Park bus stop), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Zhongshan's premier performing arts venue. International artists sometimes perform here.
- 5 Zhongshan Hot Spring Resort (中山温泉宾馆), Sanxiang Town (三乡镇) (Take bus nos 211 or 213 and get off at the Yongmo (雍陌) bus stop), ☏ . ¥198.
- 6 Zhongshan Sky Wheel (幻彩摩天轮), Level 5, Block C, Central Power Plaza, 9 Fengming Road, Shiqi District (石歧区凤鸣路9号兴中广场C座5楼) (The closest bus stop is the Central Power Plaza (兴中广场) bus stop, which is served by bus nos. 001, 010, 077, 209, and k13), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-22:30. The Zhongshan Sky Wheel is a 108-m-high Ferris wheel on the roof of a shopping centre in Zhongshan's downtown area. Perhaps due to its central location, the Zhongshan Sky Wheel is often considered to be one of the city's most important landmarks. A souvenir shop near the ticket gate sells various kinds of minature Ferris wheels and other Zhongshan-related gifts. Adults ¥68, children ¥35.
There is an antique furniture shopping area in the Zhongshan Sanxiang Guhe area. The prices are high by national standards and expats should bargain fierce (hire local to assist) as Chinese business people are good bargainer. Most of the pieces look like real antiques, but are actually newly made replicas from tropical rain forest wood.
Guzhen town at the border of Jiangmen is lighting central. If you're feeling hungry or underdressed, too bad -- the central town core is light shop after light shop selling everything from bulbs to chandeliers to accessories. Hotels will have multiple light shops in the lobby and banks are rare because they can't compete against the rents offered by light shops.
- 1 Holiday Plaza (假日广场), 6 Xingzhong Avenue, Shiqi District (石岐区兴中道6号) (Bus routes 002, 032, 050, 209, 213 and b11), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This shopping centre is noteworthy for its many art shops (particularly on the 2nd floor), some of which double as art schools or training centres. The interior of the shopping centre is decorated with sculptures and other forms of public art. The 3rd and 4th floors are home to Pok Art (博雅), one of the city's largest privately-owned book stores, which besides books, also sells a wide range of gifts, music, stationary and art supplies. If you are looking for Zhongshan-themed souvenirs, try the shop named Crowd (交关) at Shop No. 2111 on the 2nd floor.
- Yangtze River Food Court (chang jiang mei shi xuan), Yijing Rd (southern end of Changjiang Rd past the Water World). Come here for Zhongshan style hotpot (da been lo). You are given a dried bowl of ground nuts, cilantro, dried yellow beans and red beans. After adding in a scoop of the broth, it becomes dipping sauce for the food cooked at the table.
- Bellavista Restaurant, Unit 3, Borough 1, 39 Qiguan West Road (岐关西路39号，一区，3卡), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 3 Chefs Restaurant. German and Italien (Peter), Thai (Toffee), and Indian (Johnny). Prices medium.
- [dead link] Italy Square, Zhongshan Dongqu Qiguan Xilu,Renren Zhuru Pangbian,Hengxing Jie 12 (中山市东区岐关西路人人足浴旁恒信街12号). 11:00 to late. 3 Chefs Restaurant. Italian (Gigi) Prices medium.
- 1 Hefeng Japanese Restaurant (和风日本料理), 2 Fukang Road, Shiqi District 富康路2号 (Take bus no. 015, 038 or 042 and get off at the Zhongshan People's Congress (市人大). The restaurant is easily recognizable by its distinctly Japanese features), ☏ . Established in 1996, this is one of Zhongshan's oldest-established Japanese restaurants. It offers a variety of different dishes in a traditional Japanese setting. The restaurant has another branch at No. 6 Changjiang Road.South (长江南路6号).
Beware: Chinese bars/disco are extremely loud and you can lose your hearing if you are a frequent guest. Expat bars are among the few places that one can have nice beer and still speak.
- Gen Ju Di Jiu Ba (Opposite People's Hospital). A truly authentic Chinese bar. Look out for the communist star over the entrance.
- New Bar Street, Qiguan West Road (Near Peter's Place). A whole complex of clubs and bars, including iClub and Fashion Club.
- [dead link] O Hagan's Zhongshan's only Irish Pub, Nan Xia Xin Ma Tou Cnr Bo Ai Lu and Qi Guan Xi Lu Zhongshan(南下新码头博爱路中山). 17:00 till late. A wide range of scotches and beers at a reasonable price.
- Peter's Place, Qiquan West Road (Next to Wei Jing Wan). Really good German-style bar with German beer. Live music every day. The food is great, and they have nice pool tables! If you go Fridays or Saturdays, it is advisable to reserve a table. On Fridays you can eat pizza for ¥39, all you can eat. On Saturdays they do a buffet for ¥88, of which the best offerings are the Indian and Thai curries and the BBQ.
- See Club (Next to Zhongshan International Hotel). Biggest and most vibrant night club in Zhongshan.
- 1 Crowne Plaza Zhongshan Wing On City, No.9 Xingnan Road, Southern District, 528455 Zhongshan, ☏ .
- Shangri-La, 16 Qi Wan Road N Eastern Area, Zhongshan Guangdong Province, China, ☏ , fax: .
- Yihe Grand Hotel, Zhongshan No.5, Xingzhong Avenue, Shiqi District, Zhongshan(中山市石岐区兴中道5号), ☏ .
Zhongshan is a reasonably safe place with a low crime rate, but occasionally trouble may occur, especially, as everywhere, late at night around bars. Caution and common sense are advised at all times. Pickpockets, although not plentiful, are about and the foreign traveler is often a target.