Probably not the first place most foreigners think of when they mull visiting China, but Foshan is very well known within China proper. This city is associated with a remarkable list of important Chinese historical figures including Sun Yatsen, founder of the modern Chinese state, Huang Fei Hong, the legendary martial arts who inspired legions of kung fu flicks (a good one to watch is Once Upon A Time In China starring Jet Li), both Bruce Lee and his teacher, Wing Chung master Yip Man, and a host of others.
Just 19 km southwest of Guangzhou, Foshan is now a prosperous modern city, the third largest in teeming Guangdong, complete with five-star hotels, rotating restaurants, electronics factories and direct trains to Hong Kong. Its record as an economically successful town goes back a long way, with renowned pottery and ceramics industries that date back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). In fact, during both the Song and Tang dynasties (618-907), for some 650 years, Foshan was considered one of the top four cities in China.
Though it no longer carries that title, and no longer has much to attract foreign tourists, Foshan still draws its fair share of Chinese and Hong Kongese tourists, who flock to the town to take in the enormous ancestral Foshan Zu Miao (Foshan Ancestral Temple), dedicated to Beidi, Taoist god of water and guardian of the city.
Visitors also come to stroll through Sun Yat Sen Park and Qinghui Yuan (Qinghui garden), a leafy, well-manicured, Ming-era garden replete with flower gardens, bridges and pavilions. Other attractions include the still-functioning monument to Foshan's eldest industry, the Ancient Nanfeng Kiln as well as the extinct volcanic peaks of Xiqiao Mountain, a pearl of Guangdong landscape comprising 28 waterfalls, caves and a host of peaks and trails to explore.