Guides for China
Guide (July 2010)
Attractions and Cities
Regional Attractions - This Page
Water and Theme Parks, Museums
Whilst all current city guides offer great resources
for tourists to Foshan (City District), they classify
places of interest several hours away, with city centre
sights. They do not give any information whatsoever
to nearer attractions that are not within Foshan City
District. China Expats knows this is not the information
you need, so we are trying to simplify it for you, and
include nearby destinations of great interest
or beauty technically outside of Foshan.
Neighbouring Tourist Highlights
This brief section is designed to give tourists sightseeing
options that are memorable and 'must do', but lie a
little outside of Foshan City District as detailed above.
We mention them because on an international scale, they
are very nearby.
Zhaoqing is perhaps my favourite city in the whole of
China, and lies 2-hours west of Foshan, (and less than
1-hour west of San Shui City), on the Pearl River. It
is linked to Hong Kong by daily Sea cat Ferry services
(includes 1-hour free coach transfer from Zhaoqing to
Gaoming); and is one of the most memorable cities I
have ever visited.
The city centre and square lies on the shore of 7-stars
lake (The Plough), and features a magical Musical Fountain
most evenings at either 7.30 or 8pm (I forget, sorry).
The lake is several miles across, and in the distance
are the 7 Crags, shaped as The Big Dipper. You can easily
spend all day here, and should not attempt to do it
in half a day. Many of the crags have underground caverns
and lakes inside them, whilst others feature poetic
writings from times long gone. The crags are on the
far shore, where the train station (To Hong Kong) and
several good hotels are located. You can either walk
around the lakes (To the right), or hire a boat (On
your left). If it gets too hot, then visit the ice ring
about 5 furlongs down the main street behind you. At
night chill till dawn on one of the bamboo restaurants
built out over the shores of the lake near the square.
Chill time! The city also boasts ancient walls and pagoda's,
and has a brand new international standard 5***** star
hotel fronting the lake.
Ding Hu Shan lies 20 minutes away from
downtown Zhaoqing by charabanc. You actually pass it
on the way from Foshan or Guangzhou, and it is near
the traffic island (The only one on this very long road).
The best entrance actually lies on a nearby road and
you are headed for one of the lower hills. This is known
as Buddha Mountain, and is breathtaking! It has the
cleanest air in Southern China, and a gigantic 3-legged
cooking pot that you can walk underneath, and it still
feeds over 2, 000 people during festivals. You can walk,
or take a small coach inside. Guides are also available,
and worth it. There is a butterfly farm housed on an
island in a secluded lake just beyond the main centre
of attractions, and a walk through from here that returns
you to the centre, eventually.
Other highlights include 'Stepping Stones Lake and Waterfall',
which is one your left as you descend, and near a nondescript
food outlet. This is a great place to take kids, although
it is actually very romantic. There are other temples
scattered around the mountain; but tourists may be more
interested in the mountain walks. There are three of
these, and they are graded and fully signposted as westerners
would expect. The area also has excellent water, and
it is my pleasure to drink it every day. However, the
highlight for culture is that in another aspect of this
mountain is home to quarries that provide the finest
'inkstone' in the whole of China. Inkstone is used by
artists and calligraphers to hold ink. It is obviously
impervious to ink, and comes delicately carved with
fantastic designs. To purchase an excellent piece as
supplied to many Chinese Emperors, then you will need
to go to the small village where genuine craftsmen still
make them by hand. Souvenir hunters will be happy with
the offerings the local traders display (Inside the
mountain complex); and who will also sell you a full
set of calligraphy brushes, and ink. Top Hole!
Our recommendation would be to plan an overnight stay
with two full days here. Practically, this means perhaps
staying for two nights. We would stay at the luxury
hotel near the crags and use this as our base, at least
for one night. It features a boat connection to the
main square, and is right in the middle of the crags
and ideal to explore them from.
To make a bit more of an itinerary, we would suggest
you travel out via San Shui and take a few hours to
visit the attractions there. It also makes geographical
sense to return via Xi Qiao (Bearing in mind some attractions
close at midday).
For more information please visit our Zhaoqing
Vibrant, unique, and a must visit; Hong Kong is the
only place in China where West meets East. It lies 2-hours
from Foshan, and needs several days to see properly.
There are far too many things to do there to describe
here ... so please visit our dedicated Hong
Kong City Guide for more information
Macao (Macau) is very different from Hong Kong, and
unique in its own inimitable ways. During the day it
offers excellent shopping along Latin facaded, pedestrianised
thoroughfares; whilst at night if becomes 'Las Vegas'.
If you want gambling (Illegal in China Mainland), or
different clothes and shopping experiences - then I
highly recommend it. Be warned that locals either speak:
Guangzhou Cantonese or Portuguese, whilst officialdom
speaks only Mandarin. Everybody else speaks English.
We have not as yet published a tourist guide to Macao,
as it is mainly a small world city dedicated to gambling
Guilin is one of China's top tourist destinations, and
is located just across the provincial border of northern
Guangdong in Guangxi Province. Whilst the city itself
is totally missable, the neighbouring scenery is a total
wonder - so much so that it features on the Y20 RMB
banknote. However, most Chinese tours are aimed at Chinese
people, and are completely missable. We suggest you
do your own thing here, and use the 4-day package deals
for transportation purposes only. Whilst tour operators
continue to focus their advertising on this now semi-industrialised
and badly polluted city, we would recommend you miss
this: except for the trip to the waterfall and perhaps
a river or bicycle trip (One-way) to Yangshuo.
Once here, head for Yangshuo, and Outside Inn run by
a Belgian who has made this niche of China his own.
He offers exceptionally excellent local tours and relaxation
+ cultural excursions and visits to ethnic villages.
Whilst you will find Guilin proper a nightmare, you
will find peace and tranquility in these parts. You
can find full details of both centres in our dedicated
Guilin Tourist Guide
and associated Yangshuo
Lechang is situated in most northerly Guangdong Province,
and centres upon Shaoguan City. This County is well
off the tourist trail, but features Ethnic Minorities,
and the only ancient mountain pass from The North. We
mention this area because it is very different, and
retains great historical and ethnical significance.
It is also home to the only treacherous mountain pass
that linked Guangdong to the North of China by foot
- it was even too hostile an environment for donkey's!
We would suggest you spend an entire week exploring
this amazing County, using local town and village guides
as you explore it's deeper and unrivalled resources.
Some villages specialise in rare ethnic instruments,
whilst others made quality wares destined for ancient
Chinese Emperors. This area is also home to the Hakka
people, their language and culture. You can stay at
a traditional Hakka roundhouse and learn more about
their culture and traditions. Mark from CCTV's excellent
Travelogue program spent a week in these parts, and
we endeavour to echo his experiences for your benefit.
The 'Male' and nearby 'Female' mountains are a remarkable
wonders of natural erosion! A tourist guide is forthcoming
- but when during 2010 remains unknown.
The main island here is the centre for another 200 islands
in the vicinity. It is a very special place, and considered
to be China's Pearl and Beach Paradise. All I can say
is that is is breathtaking, and/or a total western chill.
Hainan has massive plans for the immediate future (10
years and counting), but here you will already find
real beaches, all types of western water sports, ethnic
minorities, and so much more. Standard tours are of
4-days duration, and you may want to spend 4-weeks here!
Hainan Tourist Guide
Tai Shan City
Toisan in Cantonese, is home to many international Chinese,
and currently 3/4ths of Toisan people live in the west,
permanently! The city itself features modern pedestrianised
streets of huge proportions, complemented by Colonial
style facades. It, along with natural twin city Kai
Ping, is the birthplace of 'Watchtowers', being a sort
of Chinese Castle. However, you really need to head
for the coast and Gonghoi. That should probably be Guang
Hai in Mandarin? Anyway's: Near Gonghoi are two island
jewels set in the South China Sea. These are not yet
developed, and one is a dedicated Buddhist reserve which
needs permission from the Head Monk to enter/land. What
you may not know is that this area is fantastic for
Deep-Sea Fishing, absolutely fresh seafood, and water
Chime Long is a great complex situated on the outskirts
of Panyu, a neighbouring small city about 40 minutes
taxi from downtown Foshan. Chime Long is probably to
Guangdong Province, what Alton Towers is to UK + more!
The zoo is massive and requires a full day to see-all.
The same for the Theme Park, which features Western
style rides, and a lot of water rides. Given this area
of the world has a 6-month long and blindingly hot summer
season - then the water rides are great ... and you
do get very wet! Standard rides are also very good,
with a couple that would highlight in most established
Western amusement parks. In Autumn, do the water rides
first, as it can start to chill in the evenings sometimes.
Circus - the highlight for most foreign visitors is
the circus, which does include trained animals from
the adjacent zoo. I will dispose of the obvious 'western'
question first by stating this is a fixed venue circus,
and the animals are very well treated. Some perform
minor acts in association (Or not) with human handlers,
but mostly, this circus is all about human skills and
amazing acrobatics. They have a long-standing team of
Italian performers on gigantic spinning wheels that
is totally breathtaking, and a highlight on any stage,
anywhere in the world! The clowns also come amongst
the audience and create much havoc and fun - handing
out free gifts to both the lucky and unlucky by chance.
This really gets the whole crowd involved, and selected
reprobates are sometimes asked to perform on stage =
not fixed in advance! Meanwhile, Trapeze artists and
body performers vie for the crowds attention with the
runaway Chimpanzee troop, and horse corral. A totally
excellent nights entertainment!
China Expats highly recommend this for a complete day
out! Price fully inclusive of either Zoo or Rides +
Circus is around Y130 per day, all rides free!
Guangzhou is the epitome of Guangdong,
but not one of the most attractive cities in the world.
This is due to its millennia of roots dedicated to foreign
trade and manufacture. However, Guangzhou is essentially
important regarding Chinese history, both ancient and
modern. For decades after the overthrow of the last
Empire, and before the founding of the State of Modern
China, Guangzhou was the democratic capital and cultural
heartland of 'New China, via the esteemed Dr. Sun Yat
Sen - One of the Three Great Leaders of Modern China.
Therefore Guangzhou is extremely important to China,
and still remains so after countless millennia: 'The
Silk Road of the Sea' to this very day.
For the casual tourist who may not be interested in
Chinese history and politics, Guangzhou offers great
wealth of cultural heritage. However our focus returns
to amusements and family entertainments. Therefore we
will head out west of the city centre, and to Ocean
Ocean World is a multi-complex that includes a gigantic
water park, and also houses nearby the Provincial Zoo.
Both are very well worth visiting in their own right,
and tickets for both attractions can be sold as one.
Kids will love the long water slides and shutes + all
things water orientated. The zoo has been maligned in
the past, but has recently been brought up to international
standards, especially concerning animal welfare. This
in part is headed by the Giant Panda programme, which
works in synergy with base in Chengdu, and other notable
satellites such as Hong Kong (Ocean Park), and Shenzhen.
This page could be extended indefinitely, but for now
we will draw the line here - and add further content
at a later date.
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
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