Fuzhou (福州; Fúzhōu) is the capital of Fujian Province in China.
Fuzhou urban area consists of five districts:
- Cangshan District (仓山区; Cāngshānqū)
- Taijiang District (台江区; Táijiāngqū)
- Mawei District (马尾区; Mǎwěiqū)
- Gulou District (鼓楼区; 'Gǔlóuqū)
- Jin'an District (晋安区; Jìnānqū)
Fuzhou also administers eight counties:
- Fuqing (福清; Fúqīngshì) - an industrial town of about half a million
- Changle (长乐; Chánglè) - with a town and the airport
- Mingqing (闽清县; Mǐnqīngxiàn)
- Minhou (闽侯县; Mǐnhóuxiàn) - several universities have new campuses in this area
- Yongtai (永泰县; Yǒngtàixiàn) - scenic area with waterfalls
- Lianjiang (连江县; Liánjiāngxiàn)
- Luoyuan (罗源县; Luóyuánxiàn)
- Pingtan (平潭县; Píngtánxiàn) - an island
Fuzhou is an old port city, Marco Polo visited it. In the 19th century, it exported more tea than any other Chinese port. Today, Fuzhou is the provincial capital and administrative center, and also a major center for light industry. Nike has a factory there, and a Taiwanese firm that makes shoes for Adidas, Reebok and others has four. All are large factories, with several thousand employees each. Fuzhou is right across the straits from Taipei, and there is fairly heavy Taiwan investment.
The actual port is in the suburb of Mawei, which has also been a center for shipbuilding for several hundred years. In 1884, the French destroyed a dockyard at Mawei, sinking a good part of the Chinese navy and killing hundreds. There is a museum to commemorate this. For a more general view of Fujian's seafaring history, visit the Maritime Museum in Quanzhou.
Most of the illegal Chinese immigrants smuggled to Western countries come from the Fuzhou region, with Changle, Fuqing and various more rural areas as the main sources. The trade is largely controlled by the region's "snakehead" gangs.
Fuzhou has air links to most other major Chinese cities. The airport is an hour from town, ¥20 by bus. You can get the bus at the Apollo Hotel. There are also complimentary shuttles to the Apollo Hotel from other places such as the Min Jiang Hotel. Shared taxis also go from there, at around ¥25. A private taxi would be at least ¥100, likely more unless you haggle well.
Direct overnight buses to/from Hong Kong, Shenzhen or Guangzhou exist, with sleeping bunks. ¥220-350, it is usually worth the extra for comfort. Buses from Xiamen are ¥70-90.
The train station is in the northeast of the city. Train to/from Xiamen takes a long route and is slow. Take a bus instead. A new train service from Fuzhou to Shanghai is available. Approximately 5 hours travel, check the train station.
Taxis are cheap, ¥8+ for short trips and under ¥30 for any trip in town. Taxi rates are ¥8 for the first 3km, and then ¥1.4 per km and one more after 11PM.
Buses are often crowded, but run often and more-or-less everywhere. ¥1, or ¥2 if they have air conditioning. If the bus you require is packed just wait until the next one, or the one after, it should only take 5-10 minutes, being stuck on a dangerously overloaded bus with several dozen/hundred people sweating all over you is an experience best avoided, especially in the summer months.
- West Lake Park Attractive urban lake in the center of Fuzhou. Walk over a causeway to this park on on island in West Lake, located right in the middle of Fuzhou. Rent paddle or electric boats and explore the lake. Walk over the arching footbridge to to the Fuzhou Science Museum, a small but nice museum featuring dinosaurs. Or, walk around the lake itself - it is surrounded by sidewalks and a boardwalk.
- Wuyi Square (Wuyi Guangchang). A central square with a huge statue of Mao. Visit at dawn or dusk to watch the ceremonial raising or lowering of the flag by highly trained and immaculate soldiers. Or visit at 6AM-8AM or late on weekends to watch at least half a dozen of martial arts, armed and unarmed, being practies. The founder of Uechi-ryu karate, Uechi Kanbun, spent 13 years in Fuzhou, from 1897 to 1910. There are a group on the East side of the park who say their style is what he studied.
- Gu Mountain (Gu Shan; lit.: Drum Mountain), (20 minutes bus ride from town). A Taoist temple houses nationally important archives written in monks' blood as well as superb veggie restaurant. It is a 1,900 meter climb, or a 20 minutes cable car journey to the top.
- Baiyun Mountain, (Near Gu Mountain). Less heavily trafficked than Gu Mountain. After the gruelling top section, you will be rewarded by some genuinely beautiful hospitality and refreshing tea in a cave! Magic. Plus some great views over the city.
- Wu Mountain. Overlooking the main square, a short walk to the hilltop which houses a pretty average temple. However, on the way up there is plenty of entertainment in the form of musicians and singers who congregate here to practice. The White Pagoda is also accessed by the same road behind Mao Tse Dong's statue and worth a look. There are several very good arts and crafts shops at the base of the hill. Haggle for all you are worth to obtain good prices. There is also an excellent Xinjiang restaurant near the top of the road up the hill.
- Qi Mountain. A ¥5 bus ride from Fuzhou plus the last stage in a mian bao chi up the winding 17km road to the site. A forest park with big, waterfalls and stunning views over receding mountain ranges from a vertigo-inducing suspension bridge. All this and monkeys to feed.
- Riley's Club, Yangqiao Road. If pool is your game, you would be hard pushed to find better tables anywhere in China than here. Cheap drinks and open very late too.
- Paintball, (In Jinjishan Gongyuan, right on top of the hill). Great fun for those masochists among us who enjoy being hit by high velocity projectiles in delicate parts of the body. Not to be attempted in summertime. Believe me!
Handicrafts in the area include:
- Shoushan stone - a unique variety of alabaster found only in Shou Shan (about 40km from Fuzhou) used to make name chops and all types of beautiful carving.
- Lacquer work - especially the Fujian bodiless lacquerware, considered one of the three treasures of Chinese arts and crafts. It is lightweight, durable, and often lovely. There is a factory on Wuyi Road.
- Bamboo arts
- Wooden art objects
- Root carving
Local specialties include:
- Yu Wan - fish balls, a Fuzhou delicacy, minced beef and pork inside a fishy flour ball of dough in a thin broth, excellent.
- Ban Mian - noodles with peanut sauce, a roadside cheapy
- Bian Ro - a small boiled dumpling, under ¥2 a portion
- Wai Bo Tai, (Just off Yeshan Road). Good menu, cheap, great fresh seafood.
- Hao Shi Jie, (on the corner of Ring Road Two and Yangqiao Road). Very expensive if you go upstairs, but stay on the ground floor and eat the dim sum which is cheap (under ¥25/head) and delicious.
- Moby Pizza, (On the second floor, northeast corner of Jintai Road and Bayiqi Road opposite McDonalds).
- Cafe Forum, (on the corner of Ring Road Two and Wushi Road). Good quality meals in a box and reasonably priced coffee, but the service can sometimes be atrocious. Hit it on a good day, it is great. On a bad day, it is dire.
- Ajisen Japanese Noodles, (Next to bus 8 stop on Bayiqi Road). A great range of noodles and tasty side dishes. Friendly service and pictures in the menu for those who can not read Chinese which is a real Godsend.
- Lemon leaf, 5F, 66 Hubin Road (opposite the front door of West Lake). Very good thai food. Featured dish: lemon fish and curry crab. Not cheap, ¥50 per person on average.
- The Party Bar, Tonghu Road (About 50 meters south of the main gate of West Lake Park). Has cheap beer, free pool table and live music. Popular with locals, sometimes quite crowded or noisy on weekends. Foreigners have stopped going since the tragic murder of Richard Gribble, a 23 year old Australian, by patrons of this bar.
- Shao Yuan Yi Hao (Baima Road). Has a host of foreign beers, British, German and Belgian as well as fine wines, a few single malts, and beautiful decor and people. Bit pricey, but worth it for the music and atmosphere. It is a beautifully remodelled warehouse, the sort of design you might expect in a Western city or perhaps Shanghai, but unique in Fuzhou.
- 1-2-3 Bar, Baima Road (Almost opposite Shao Yuan Yi Hao). Cheap beer, convivial atmosphere, sometimes live music, stays open as long as you are drinking/semi-conscious. The sign says 1-2-3, but Chinese pronounce it "do-re-mi" for reasons that are not at all clear.
- Club Blog Club, 136 Hubin Road. A coffee shop managed by a Western resident that overlooks West Lake.
- The Pure Drop, Hubin Road (Near West Lake). A lively and convivial atmosphere, cheap, cold beer, live music on Friday nights.
- The Bamboo Bar, (About 200 metres from Shao Yuan Yi Hao nearer to Yangqiao Road). Cheap beer, waterside tables, live football games on TV. Pushy owner, but easily ignored after a couple of beers!
- Saint Nobody, Beida Road (Near Guxi Church). The most mysterious club in fuzhou with cheap beer and good indie music. An anti-fuzhou look which makes you feel like a traveler lost in an unknown city.
- Ju Chun Yuan Hotel, Dong Jie Kou (A central intersection). Very central for shopping and such. Has a well-reputed Chinese buffet, a KFC and a UBC coffee shop. ¥200-odd a night.
There are some nice hotels in Fuzhou:
- Fuzhou Lakeside Hotel, 158 Hubin Road. Ask for a room with view of West Lake.
- Golden Resources Hotel. Macau restaurant on ground floor, bars with Filipino bands across the street. Both expensive, but good.
- Shangri-La Hotel, (Corner of Wu Yi Guang Chang, the city's central square), . 5 star luxury. Try the burger in the lobby if you are tired of Chinese food. Also has a great and inexpensive coffee bar with free internet access.
The area code for Fuzhou is 591.
- Mount Wuyi, scenic area famous for tea, ancient cliff burials and relics of the 3000 yr old Min Yue culture. The landscapes here are surreally beautiful. This is a must see in Fujian. Avoid the modern "tourist" town - it's dull and pricey. Basically, turn right at the end of the station road to head to the old town and a friendlier, less hassled environment.
- Qin Yun Shan - a scenic mountain area about 65km from Fuzhou near the small town of Yong Tai. Lots of great walks through river valleys with tons of sub tropical flora and fauna and those ubiquitous waterfalls. Worth an overnight visit.
- Lang Qi Dao - a 45 min bus ride from Fuzhou, via Ma Wei. On the east of the island there's a splendid beach with few visitors. Cute old ferry takes you there from the mainland for 2RMB.