BY SILVI WRITER
Travel time from Hong Kong to most cities in the Pearl River Delta Region will be cut significantly following the opening of the High Speed Railway on Sunday.
That means for those live in Hong Kong, they will discover more travel destinations nearby, even when they have very short holidays.
The city of Foshan is such an attraction.
Travel time from Hong Kong to Foshan, to the southwest of Guangdong’s provincial capital of Guangzhou, could take up to three hours without the HSR.
But now, holidaymakers could easily reach Foshan, reputed for its culture life, within two hours, with just one seamless change of train in Futian station in the centre of Shenzhen.
Foshan is nicknamed “Guangzhou’s little brother”. Besides its protected historical sites, ceramics and furniture shopping and nightlife, it’s also a proud cradle of kung fu. Wing chun grandmaster Ip Man was a Foshan native, as were the family of his most famous disciple, superstar Bruce Lee.
Holidaymakers will have a lot to see in Foshan, as below:
A quaint mix of old grey brick buildings with “wok-handle roofs” in the southern Chinese Lingnan style, and matching new buildings, Tiandi mixes traditional culture with a trendy nightlife. It has an old winery, a wedding hall that can be rented for traditional Lingnan nuptials, and a hall dedicated to wing chun, the kung fu technique developed in Foshan.
A protected national tourist site across from Lingnan Tiandi, Zumiao, literally means “pavilion of the ancestors”, dates from the Northern Song dynasty (960 to 1127). The old Taoist compound is the site of a well-preserved historical Confucian temple and ancestors’ hall.
Zumiao Museum also has a hall honouring Ip Man. On display are weapons used by kung fu practitioners, such as swords and staffs, and photos and a bust of Ip and his story. There are also DVD covers of films starring Ip’s famous disciple, Bruce Lee, whose family’s ancestral village is further south in Shunde district.
Bruce Lee Paradise
There are several sites dedicated to kung fu and wing chun grandmaster Ip Man in the heart of Foshan city. However, those searching for the real Bruce Lee experience should venture farther south, to Shunde district.
In Jun’an town, over an hour from the centre by taxi, is Bruce Lee country. Here you’ll find a former ecology park rebranded as Bruce Lee Paradise, which is an area of natural beauty with mountains and lakes. Inside the entrance is a statue of Lee, similar in stance but much larger than the one on Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars. The park also has a Bruce Lee Commemorative Museum.
Ten rooms in this 3,000 square metre, grey-brick building cover 10 “chapters” of Lee’s life, including stories of the star’s Shunde roots, his martial arts philosophy, struggles and the stages of his film career. His remarkable story, in Chinese and English, is brought to life with numerous rare photos.
Also in Jun’an is Shang village, the location of the Lee family’s ancestral village.
Lee spent most of his life in Hong Kong and the United States, where he was born, and lived for only a short time in Shang, but his memory is kept alive here. It has a Lee ancestral hall and also the home built by Lee’s father. It’s a humble brick home with photos of the star hanging on the walls, a wooden kung fu fighting dummy in one corner and an incense burner table.