Foshan, Guangzhou's next-door neighbour, is a city often overlooked by visitors to the region. But this industrial city, important also for kung fu and ceramics, is developing rapidly and has some top-quality sights for a nice day out of Guangzhou.
Plus, since the GuangFo subway line opened in 2010, visiting Foshan is as easy as transferring from Guangzhou's Metro Line 1 at the Xilang Station.
1) Zumiao—Tranquility and Kung Fu View In Map
Probably the tourist attraction that Foshan locals are most proud of, Zumiao is a museum and temple complex in the heart of the old centre of the city. The Daoist temple here was first built over a thousand years ago, and rebuilt about 700 years ago. It's dedicated to Beidi, the God of the North. The ceramic figurines on the roof of the temple make this a good photo spot on sunny days. Near the Zumiao entrance is a second shrine dedicated to Confucius, shaded by a giant wishing tree. Inside the gate to the left, visitors can enjoy the museum part of the complex which chronicles the history of kung fu.
Famous Foshaners include kung fu grandmasters Huang Fei Hong and Ip Man. Huang Fei Hong's exploits have been immortalised in many movies, notably Jet Li's Once Upon a Time in China series. Ip Man was recently the subject of two biographical blockbusters, with the title role played by Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen. Ip Man's protégé, film star Bruce Lee, also had ancestors from the region. A letter from Lee to Ip Man is on display in the museum.
The complex often has kung fu and lion dancing demonstrations in the south courtyards.
Add: 21 Zumiao Lu, Foshan
Price: 25 RMB
Website: http://www.foshanmuseum.com/ (in Chinese)
Getting there: Metro Guangfo Line, Zumiao station
2) Shiwan—Pottery and HistoryView In Map
Long ago the Foshan area was famed for its delicate pottery dishes and ceramic figurines. The Nanfeng Ancient Kiln, which is said to have been in continuous operation for the past 500 years, still fires up beautiful china, though now the region's ceramic wares are also created for modern bathroom and kitchen conveniences. There's a pottery museum, a small park, an artists' gallery, and of course, a shopping street.
Add: Gaomiao Lu, Chancheng, Shiwan, Foshan
Price: 25 RMB
Getting there: This is southwest of the town centre. From Kuiqi Lu Metro Station, take a taxi or bus No. 146.
3) Liang's Garden View In Map
Not far from Zumiao Temple is Liang's Garden, a traditional grey-brick house compound and garden that has been converted into a small park-like museum. The garden features several water features, koi ponds, exotic blooms, and many benches on which to sit and take it all in. The house displays local traditional artwork and furniture.
Add: 93 Xiangfeng Gu Dao, Chancheng, Foshan (off Songfeng Road)
Price: 10 RMB
Getting there: Taxi, or, from Zumiao walk north on Zumiao Road, take a right at the T-section on Lian Hua Road then turn north again on Songfeng Road.
4) Foshan Creative Industry Park View In Map
In the last few years, Foshan has developed several go-to spots for dining and nightlife. The Creative Park, housed in a converted factory complex on Jihua 4 Road, has a collection of beer-garden-style bars and at least a dozen Chinese and Western restaurants. Walk to the northeast end of the park to find a cinema and KTV.
Add: Creative Industry Park, No. 33 Jihua 4 Lu, Foshan City.
Getting there: Jihua Park Metro Station, then walk 10 minutes to the west.
5) Foshan Lingnan Tiandi
Some old, and not-so-old, buildings near Zumiao have recently been rebuilt into this pedestrian area with shops and restaurants. At the time of writing this area's businesses were still being developed, but the traditional-style architecture makes it a nice place to take pictures. A few luxury stores and eateries have opened, with more to come.
Getting there: Zumiao Metro Station
6) PolyCanal Plaza View In Map
In Nanhai District, a part of Foshan closer to the edge of Guangzhou, a group of Western-style bars and restaurants have sprung up across the canal from the PolyCanal Plaza shopping mall. The mall also boasts an indoor ice skating rink and a cinema.
Add: Baoli Shuicheng, Qiandenghu Lu, Nanhai District, Foshan City
Getting there: Qiandenghu Metro Station; Taxi to Baoli ShuiCheng
7) Xiqiao Mountain—WuShu and Guan Yin
For visitors with an urge to find some respite from the concrete jungle, checking out Xiqiao Mountain is a nice day away from the city. While technically in Foshan, this is not part of the city proper but in the countryside. This park's main attractions are the 72 peaks of the dormant volcano and the 61.9 metre tall Guan Yin statue. Because Huang Fei Hong was born nearby, there is also a Wushu Hall which offers martial arts performances.
Tel: 0757 86886646
Price: 50 RMB
Getting there: Regular buses run from the Foshan Bus Station
Website: www.xiqiao.gov.cn (in Chinese)
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Keywords: Foshan near Guangzhou Zumiao temple Foshan travelling around Guangzhou day-trip travel near Guangzhou
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