Taishan

For the holy mountain in Shandong, see Mount Tai.

Taishan (台山; Tái​shān​; Cantonese pronunciation toisan; local pronunciation hoisan) is a city in Guangdong Province in China. It falls under the administration of Jiangmen Prefecture.

Understand

Taishan County Map
Taicheng in the 80's

Taishan City-level County is divided into 20 townships.

The mainland townships are Baisha, Beidou, Chixi, Chonglou, Diajiang, Doushan, Duanfen, Duhu, Guanghai, Haiyan, Nafu, Sanba, Sanhe, Shenjing, Shuibu, Sijiu, Taicheng and Wencun. The island townships are Shangchuan and Xiachuan.

Sanba was merged into Baisha and Nafu into Shenjing in 2006. Shangchuan and Xiachun on the Chuandao Islands are governed as a single entity. Taicheng, or Toising, is the administrative capital and the largest township by far with the most of the civilized amenities.

Get in

From most major cities in the Guangdong province, you can take direct buses to the main city of Taicheng.

For international travellers arriving in Hong Kong, you have several options.

For international travellers arriving in Macau, cross into China at Gongbei. As you walk out into Zhuhai, you will see stairs going down into an underground shopping mall. The mall is a maze but it will let you cross the streets without the need to play "frogger" with aggressive Chinese drivers. Keep an eye out for the signs to point you to the bus station. The bus ride from Zhuhai to Taicheng will take about 2 hours and cost ¥65.

For international travellers arriving in Guangzhou:

Get around

Taicheng Central Bus Station (Zhong Zhan)

To travel between the towns of Taishan, local buses go everywhere. The two main bus stations in Taicheng are Taishan Central "Juong Cheh Jaam" and "Top Saan" stations.

Within any of the towns in Taishan, expect to use taxis whether 4-wheel cars, motorcycles or 3-wheelers. In the smaller towns, motorcycle and 3-wheel taxis will be the only option.

Taishan towns are relatively small and flat so biking is a good way to get around. At ¥200 to purchase a 1-speed commuter bicycle, it may be cheaper/easier to buy and sell it afterwards at a loss than to find a fancier rental.

Finally, you can hire a van taxi to drive you around both within the local cities and between them.

Talk

The local language of Taishan is Taishanese "Hoisanwah" (99% similar to the local languages of Kaiping and Enping), which is a Yue Chinese language like Cantonese and often considered a dialect of it even though it's truly not, and it's only marginally mutually intelligible with it. However, Cantonese is the lingua franca of Guangdong province (outside of Shenzhen where Mandarin dominates) while Mandarin is the national official language, so most non-elderly locals would be able to speak both Cantonese and Mandarin at least decently.

As in most of China, English is, long story short, non-existent.

See

Taicheng Tower Chinese New Fireworks
Stones at Lang Qin Wan Beach, Beidu

The word "shan" in Mandarin (saan in Cantonese) means mountain and Taishan is chock full of them. Almost any small village you visit with have a picturesque landscape towering above fields of rice. Most of the time, these mountains are not hikeable but during tomb sweeping month (see below in the Do section), trails will be cleared.

Do


Sanhe Sunrise Hotspa Spring
Taicheng Stone Flower Mountain Greenway

Many areas around the world are famous for exporting foods and goods from the local area. Taishan is famous for exporting people. Everybody in Taishan has a relative who just emigrated to another "country" (whether developed in North America/Europe/Hong Kong/Singapore or developing ones in Latin America/Africa). Some are waiting their turns for their parents/off-spring/siblings to sponsor them and many more get money sent to them from overseas.

Hence Taishan's primary industry is leisure for not only vacationing overseas Taishanese but for the many locals who don't need to work. What you will find are scores of karaoke clubs, hair salons, foot massage parlors, facial treatment parlors, hotspring spas (outside Taicheng), internet bars.

Buy

Taicheng Pedestrian Street

Eat

Duhu Seafood Street
Taishan-style Crispy Rice
Taishan-style Fish Hotpot
This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget ¥5-20
Mid-range ¥20-50
Splurge ¥50-100

The primary cuisine in Taishan is Cantonese with an emphasis on simpler fares. For example, you will not find much of the deep fried dim sum found in larger Guangdong cities. Likewise, instead of fried rice/noodles common in Chinatowns across the world, steaming in stainless steel cabinets is the cooking style of choice.

The most famous dish in Taishan is Stone Bowl Eel Rice "Wong Seen Fon". In Guangdong's major cities, a scattering of restaurants will have "Toisan Wong Seen Fon" as a specialty but Taishan is the place to go to experience the original, especially Shuibu Town. Rice is first cooked halfway before being mixed with precooked eel in a clay pot. The clay pot is then fired up to finish cooking the rice. Where the rice touches the clay pot, oil from the precooked eel drips down and makes a crispy layer called "fon jil". (Taishanese call this layer "nuong" which is also the word for burnt.)

Also popular amongst Taishan locals are restaurants that serve western, Cantonese and coffee/tea. In the local language, this is referred to as "Cha Chaan Teang" which roughly translates to Tea Cuisine. If you have a hankering for sandwiches, steaks, pizza or spaghetti, you can halfway satisfy your need. The western foods are cooked in a style similar to "Hong Kong style fast food" you might find in Chinatowns across the world.

Finally, Taishanese love late night dining. After dinner at 6PM, it is common for locals to head out at about 9PM-10PM to fill their stomachs with everything from dim sum to street vendor fare to breakfast foods to desserts.

There are three main fruits that are grown locally:

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Sleep


Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

The following places have free WIFI for customers. Some will be password protected but don't be shy to ask for the password -- say "serng mong mut mah" and point to your smartphone/tablet/laptop.

There are also numerous internet cafes "mong bahr". Near Pedestrian St, you will find one at:

Cope

Pharmacies are plentiful in Taicheng. Here are two listings:

Stay healthy

When it gets warmer (over 80F/25C), mosquitoes come out in droves. Unlike more modern cities, there are plenty of streams, ponds and rice paddies for these blood sucking insects to breed. Many locals don't show much reaction to bites but if you have no such resistance, you may soon be sporting ugly welts. Pick up mosquito repellent "mun pah suoy" and avoid shorts even though it can get scorching hot during summer days.

And did I mention scorching hot? Temperatures over 90F (32C) are pretty common during the summer with an extra +10F/+5C for humidity. Apply sunscreen generously and carry an umbrella to keep the sun off your head. The umbrella also will be useful for the summer thunderstorms that roll through without warning.

Men in China smoke like fiends and Taishan is no different. (Females rarely smoke in mainland China.) If you can't handle the smell of second-hand smoke, stick with either outdoors restaurants or places with private rooms. Luckily, almost every medium/large restaurant will have private rooms. The key words to say are "law fong" which in this context means "get me a room".

Stay safe

In Taicheng's outer neighborhoods, streets with have either wide sidewalks or separate roadways for bikes/mopeds. But inside the shopping core around Pedestrian street, sidewalks will often be blocked by motorcycles/mopeds or vendor wares. Hence expect to be walking alongside car traffic while hugging parked cars. Obviously if you can find stop lights to cross at, walk the extra block instead of saving the few minutes. Where not available, you will need to follow locals in crossing to the middle of the street and then waiting for traffic on the other side to subside. Luckily, drivers in Taishan are not as psychotic as in other parts of China as I have yet to observe the absolute blatant disregard of traffic lights and laws common in Hainan. While most won't stop to let pedestrians cross, they at least won't purposely try to endanger you. No sudden moves, let cars work their way around you and keep alert.

Traffic is mostly light except for 4 commute periods. For a less chaotic walking experience, avoid these times:

Go next

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