- This page describes the capital of Fujian Province. For the city in Jiangxi, see Fuzhou (Jiangxi).
Fuzhou (福州; Hók-ciŭ in Fuzhou dialect, Fúzhōu in Mandarin) is the capital of Fujian Province in China. An older romanisation is "Foochow". Population is about 4.4 million in the city, 7.1 million for the whole prefecture.
Fuzhou is known in China as a city of parks, plazas and man-made green space, designed to compensate for its extensive urban sprawl and the heat effects of concrete and asphalt. This phenomenon is so pervasive that entire research papers and case studies are written about Fuzhou's green space evolution.
Fuzhou is an old port city and has been an administrative center since the Qin Dynasty; the traditional date for its founding is 202 BC. Marco Polo visited it around 1290. In the era of tea clippers, Fuzhou exported more tea than any other Chinese port. Much of the best tea came from the Wuyi Mountain area, up the river from Fuzhou.
Today, it 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 city is on the Min River, a few km inland from the sea, and the actual port is in the downstream suburb Mawei which has 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.
The region has its own culture and language, and an architectural style distinct from other regions in China and Fujian, which can be found both in the city and in the towns and rural areas around it. The city has the oldest wood structure in South China (Hualin Temple) and has one of the largest historic downtown districts in China "Three Lanes and Seven Alleys" with over 200 residences from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Fuzhou, and more generally Fujian, has always been outward-looking and some people in more-or-less every overseas Chinese community in the world can trace their ancestry to the area, with some examples of places where Fuzhou people form the majority among the ethnic Chinese community being the Malaysian cities of Yong Peng, Setiawan, Sibu and Miri. Fuzhou people also form the second largest group after the Cantonese people among the Chinese community of New York City. There is also an enclave of Fuzhou people in Shanghai.
In recent decades, most of the illegal Chinese immigrants smuggled to Western countries and to Japan and Taiwan have 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 who are not at all nice people. In 2003, the Taiwan coast guard intercepted a boatload of young women presumably bound for Taipei's brothels; the crew threw them overboard to get rid of the evidence and several died.
Fuzhou and the surrounding area have a local language called Fuzhou Hua (福州话, literally Fuzhou speech), which is part of the Mindong (闽东话, literally East Fujian speech) branch of the Min family of Chinese dialects. This is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin (standard Chinese) or any other Chinese dialect, not even other Min (Fujian) dialects. The same language is spoken by some in the overseas Chinese communities of New York, Singapore and Malaysia, where it is known as Hokchiu or Foochow, and on the Taiwan-controlled islands of Matsu. These days, Fuzhou Hua is primarily spoken by the elderly and middle-aged people; most younger locals cannot speak it unless they were raised by their grandparents or grew up in the countryside.
As everywhere in China, Mandarin or standard Chinese is widely spoken. It has been the only language used in government and education for decades and acts as the lingua franca for Chinese from different regions to communicate. Fuzhou, like any prosperous coastal city, has many migrants from poorer provinces who have come seeking work; nearly all of them speak Mandarin but not Fuzhou Hua.
1 Fuzhou Changle International Airport (福州长乐国际机场 FOC IATA). Fuzhou is a secondary hub for XiamenAir, and has air links to most other major Chinese cities, plus some international flights from other Asian cities (including a low-cost carrier route from Singapore). The airport is an hour from town in the suburb of Changle, ¥20 by bus. You can get the bus at the Apollo Hotel. Shared taxis also go from there, at around ¥25 a person. A private taxi would be at least ¥120, likely more unless you haggle very well. There are complimentary shuttles from other hotels, such as the Min Jiang, to the Apollo. An airport express railway connecting the airport directly to the city and subway system is planned, but construction hasn't started (as of Jan 2019). If you have the Didi Dache App or Shenzou Hired Car App, rates range up to ¥250. The Didi Express car service does not include highway tolls, so you should consider splurging on Didi Luxe.
There is an official airport express (航空快线)[dead link] that is misspelled "ARPORT EXPRESS" in English. There are regular departures from the airport to town and from town to airport between 05:30 and 21:30 (departure times vary by destination). The shuttles leave from different stations in town, and the ¥50 ticket can be purchased online and on Wechat (Chinese language only, the official account is 元翔空港快线). Although a Chinese name and ID card number is required during booking, these details are not checked. Travel time is about an hour.
2 Fuzhou long-distance bus station (福州汽车站), 台江区五一中路190号. Direct overnight buses from Shanghai (12 hr, ¥240), Hong Kong, Shenzhen (12 hr, ¥280) or Guangzhou (12 hr, ¥258), with sleeping bunks. ¥220-350, it is usually worth the extra for comfort. Buses from Xiamen (¥85, 3.5 hr).
There are two railway stations in Fuzhou. The (old) Fuzhou Railway Station in the northeast of the city (the northern edge of the city center). The (new) Fuzhou South Railway Station, which was built in an empty field some on an island some 20 km south of the old station; there is now some development around it, of little interest to a visitor.
3 Fuzhou Railway Station (福州站). The (old) Fuzhou Station is used both by a great deal of "conventional" overnight trains and by a few high-speed trains (mostly, those originating or terminating in Fuzhou), such as the direct Xiamen-Fuzhou link.
4 Fuzhou South Railway Station (福州南站). Fuzhou South is exclusively a high-speed train station; it is on the main coastal high-speed line (Shanghai-Hangzhou-Ningbo-Wenzhou-Fuzhou-Xiamen-Shenzhen), and is also the terminal of the high-speed lines from the interior of China (Beijing-Hefei-Fuzhou, and Wuhan-Nanchang-Fuzhou).
Both railway stations are served by Line No. 1 of Fuzhou Subway; the ride between the two takes just over 40 min. The (old) Fuzhou Railway Station can be reached via #5 or #22 city buses, or it is cheap and quick by taxi from anywhere in central Fuzhou. If going to Fuzhou South, a taxi to it will be ¥50 or so from downtown and take about half an hour, about half the time it takes from the subway.
There are five official districts.
- Cangshan District (仓山区; Cāngshānqū) *
- Taijiang District (台江区; Táijiāngqū) *
- Mawei District (马尾区; Mǎwěiqū), the port area, 20 km downstream, covered in a separate article
- Gulou District (鼓楼区; Gǔlóuqū) *
- Jin'an District (晋安区; Jìnānqū) *
Taxis are cheap, from ¥10 for short trips and under ¥30 for almost any trip in town. Taxi rates are ¥10 for the first 3 km, and then ¥1.4 per km and one more after 23:00. Taxis are more available in the downtown area and always available at train stations/Fuzhou airport.
Taxi stands exist across Fuzhou. Beware that almost all taxis will refuse to stop if there are traffic cameras nearby, especially at parks with entrances along busy roads. It is always more advisable to identify a nearby taxi stand and wait there.
If leaving Fuzhou proper (going to a more rural district), taxis will often round up to a multiple of ¥10 to compensate for the lack of return visitors. If you're having trouble finding a taxi driver that is willing to go to a rural district, going to a train station is generally a good idea. Taxis line up for hours at a time at train stations and are desperate for fares.
Didi Dache operates in Fuzhou. It is possible for foreigners to sign up with a Chinese phone number, and to use a foreign credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or Amex). However, your bank must support a second factor fraud screening, such as Securecode for Mastercard or SecureKey for American Express. Many of its drivers will also wait at train stations, shopping malls and outside higher end restaurants, haggling prices with potential clients, however, these trips are not covered by rideshare app insurance and have no protections since they're completed out of the app. It's inadvisable to take an unlicensed driver unless you're fluent in Mandarin or are genuinely stuck. They are generally very aggressive and may follow you, just reply No need, thank you ("Bu Yao, Xie Xie") until they get the message.
Buses are often crowded, but run often and more-or-less everywhere for ¥1. Most are air conditioned. 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. However, you should be aware that bus service stops at 22:00, so the last buses are often very crowded and sometimes you cannot get one. Taxis and enterprising drivers will offer group rides from crowded bus stops to other parts of town, usually for ¥15.
As of January 2019, there are construction sites for the new metro lines all over the city, blocking multiple lanes of many main roads and causing huge traffic jams. Make sure to leave early if you need to be somewhere on time, as even short distances might take 30-60 minutes due to the traffic.
Fuzhou has opened metro lines, and . Another two lines are under construction, and several more are planned. Line 6 will open by October 2022 and Line 4 is expected to open by the end of 2023.
When you take the subway, you should buy a single journey ticket from ticket vending machine. TVMs only accept ¥1 coins and ¥5, ¥10, and ¥20 banknotes, if you do not have change, you can exchange the change in Customer Service Center. Reloadable cards are available from customer service desks at each station, and can be used on both lines. As each line of the subway is operated by different companies, cards can only be reloaded on the line that you purchased the card on. Foreigners are unable to use the e-Fuzhou phone app to use the subway as it requires a social credit score.
If you are carrying handbags or luggage, these bags must pass through the X-ray checks at the stations. Take out any liquids and hand them to the security officer for inspection, where you will be asked to take a sip or have the liquid weighted. Although they may not offer it, you have the option to ask for either. It is inadvisable to bring cans and un-resealable beverage containers through security.
All Metro announcements are trilingual in Mandarin, Fuzhou Hua and English.
Architecture and buildingsEdit
- 1 Three Lanes and Seven Alleys (三坊七巷) (a block West of Dong Jie Kou). This historic district in the heart of the city is one of the largest historic downtown areas in China, boasting about 268 ancient residences dating from Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). Most of these residences feature the typical Foochow architectural style, which can only be found in the Eastern and Northeastern part of Fujian. The area was extensively restored (rebuilt) around 2007, and as of 2012 additional work in neighbouring areas is still going on. Ten of the finest residences require admission fees of ¥15 or ¥20 per person. A combo admission ticket including all ten is available for ¥120 (valid for 2 days). Many of the residences in the area are private homes, so tourists need permission from the residents to enter them.
- 2 Zhongzhou Island (中洲岛), 台江区中州岛1号(解放大桥旁) (an island in the river between Dadao and Shangteng metro stations on Line 1). In 2003, the city government together with foreign investors constructed a "fairytale island" with European architecture on Zhongzhou Island. The project was a failure since no shops and restaurants moved in, and has been turned into a wholesale market since 2006. The entire island is brightly illuminated at night and a very beautiful sight of traditional architecture, with the contrast of modern skyscapers in the background. This island is also featured on the banner of this page. Not worth visiting, just a good photo spot. Free.
- 3 Hualin Temple (华林寺), 华林路78号 (78 Hualin Road) (500 m north of Pingshan metro station). 08:30-17:00. Hualin Temple is a Buddhist temple in downtown Fuzhou, which functions as a small museum and no longer provides Buddhist services. Built in 964 AD and survived over 10 centuries, this is the oldest wood architecture extant in South China (south of Yangtze River). The temple has a typical Tang dynasty style with simplicity and elegance. Despite its great historic and architectural importance, the site is rarely visited, but it is truly a hidden treasure for serious lovers of ancient Chinese architecture.
Parks and natureEdit
Fuzhou is a city of parks; the number of parks is extreme for a city of its size and stature. Fuzhou has embraced a very strong emphasis on creating densely compacted communities that tend to lack much beyond concrete, and retroactively compensating for this with green spaces.
- Baiyun Mountain (Near Gu Mountain). Less heavily trafficked than Gu Mountain. After the grueling 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.
- 4 Fu Forest Trail (福道 (Fudao)). 07:30-17:30. Fudao is an elevated urban forest trail on metal bridges within Fuzhou city. With a total length of 19 km and an east-west extension of 6km, it crosses Jinniu Mountain. There are several entrances to the trail: No. 1 entrance (福道-1号入口) is the eastern end near West Lake, go to Shanhaiguan (山海观) bus stop. No. 3 entrance (福道-3号入口) is in the north, get off at Meifenglu bus stop (梅峰路站). No. 10 entrance (福道-10号入口) in the west near Min river and Hongshanqiaoxiaoqu (洪山桥小区) bus stop. Free.
- 5 Gu Mountain (鼓山, 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-minute cable car journey to the top. Take bus 303 from the city to the start of the tourist cable car (鼓山旅游索道).
- 6 Qi Mountain (旗山, Qi Shan, 旗山国家森林公园 Qi Shan National Forest Park), Nanyu Town, Minhou County (闽侯县南屿镇) (take bus no. 82, 141, 901, 902, or Zhang (樟) 13 to the Qi Shan Intersection (旗山路口), then use the park bus to travel up the winding 17-km road to the site), ☏ . 07:30-16:30. 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. ¥20.
- 7 West Lake Park (西湖公园, Xihu Gongyuan) (walk over a causeway to this park on an island in West Lake). Attractive urban lake in the center of Fuzhou. Rent paddle or electric boats and explore the lake. Walk over the arching footbridge to the Fuzhou Science Museum, a small but nice museum featuring dinosaurs. Or walk around the lake; it is surrounded by sidewalks and a boardwalk. They also have some pandas in an enclosure where you can see them. There is also an area with some fine bonsai.
- 8 Wu Mountain (乌山 Wu Shan, literally "Black Hill"), Wu Shan Road, Gulou District (鼓楼区乌山路) (about 500 m west of Nanmendou Station on Metro Line 1), ☏ . Open all day. This is near Yu Shan, and is the location of the black pagoda. There are many gazebos and stone-carved calligraphy by various notable people, one of which was written by Emperor Kangxi when he visited. The hill can be reached on the road to the left of the internationally well known brands of luxury shops. Free.
- 9 Wuyi Square (五一广场, Wuyi Guangchang) (Bus routes 2, 62, 64, 73, 79, and 306). 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; Fuzhou is the only city other than Beijing that maintains this state-sanctioned ritual. Or visit at 06:00-08:00 or later on weekends to watch at least half a dozen styles of martial arts, both armed and unarmed, being practiced. 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.
- 10 Yu Mountain (于山, Yu Shan), Gulou District (鼓楼区), ☏ . 08:30-17:00. 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. Free.
- 11 Rongcheng Plaza (榕城广场, Rongcheng Guang Chan). An abandoned shopping plaza by day, Rongcheng Plaza turns into an invariable lively hub of Western Fuzhou at night. Elderly residents of West Fuzhou use the plaza as a space for square dancing, partner dancing and conversing. Kids run around playing. Many of the stores there market clothing for kids, and the restaurants tend to be mid-range. It is worth visiting if you are interested in seeing authentic Fuzhou nightlife among older generations. Free.
- 12 Jiangxin Park (江心公园, Jiangxin Gongyuan), 福建省福州市台江区三县洲大桥. Jiangxin Gongyuan is a beautiful small park on a small island. The view is not particularly notable but the community that exists on the island is worth a visit. There is a small children's book store that requires a child and WeChat to enter. The entire park is accessible only by footbridge from the mainland. Getting here and leaving is a problem due to the lack of parking spaces, and you must leave by walking to a taxi stand. Calling a ride share from the footbridge will result in the pickup point being the parking lot that is a 12 minute walk from the footbridge. Free.
Museums and monumentsEdit
- 13 Fujian Museum (福建博物院), 96 Hutou Street, Gulou District (鼓楼区湖头街96号) (take bus no. 88 and get off at the museum bus stop; the museum is on a peninsula in the middle of West Lake, opposite the West Lake Park), ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. A comprehensive museum about the history and culture of Fujian Province. All major signs and some minor ones are translated to English. The history exhibition gives you a good understanding of five millennia of history in Fujian, including wars, migration, arts and trade. Downstairs, there are further exhibitions on Fujian art (sculptures and porcelain) as well as local opera. There might be temporary exhibitions as well, which are usually only in Chinese. Free.
- 14 Fujian Museum - Nature Museum (福建博物院-自然馆), Gulou District - Fangqin Road (鼓楼区-芳沁路) (Next to Fujian Museum on an island within West Lake). 09:00-17:00, last admission 16:00. The nature branch of Fujian Museum. There are dinosaur skeletons and maps of excavation sites, a very small exhibition about wetlands and a room introducing aquatic life. About half of all signs have English translations. A good place to take kids, adults may not find it very interesting. Free.
- 15 Fuzhou Museum (福州市博物馆), 8 Wenbo Road, Jin'an District (晋安区文博路8号) (Bus routes 8, 29, 59, 74, 76, 81, 112, 115, 129, 169, 173, 179, 197, 202, 302, 306, 313 and 316), ☏ , , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. Free.
- Statue of Commissioner Lin (in a small park in the Southeast of the city). Lin Zexu (林则徐, 1785—1850) was a Fuzhou native who did brilliantly on the Imperial Examinations and became an official. Lin was appointed as an Imperial Commissioner to clean up the opium trade in Canton, where he seized and burned a large supply of opium. This provoked the First Opium War, which China immediately lost. Lin was blamed for some of this, despite his orders, and exiled to Xinjiang. Later, his reputation was restored and he is now considered a national hero. There are still officials surnamed Lin in Fuzhou, some of whom say they are his descendants.
- 16 Lin Zexu Memorial Museum (林则徐纪念馆), 16 Aomen Road, Gulou District (鼓楼区澳门路16号) (Metro Line 1, Nanmendou Station Exit A1; the museum is 160 metres south of the southern entrance to the Three Lanes and Seven Alleys), ☏ . Tu-Su 08:30-17:30. A museum about Commissioner Lin who tried to stop the opium trade when he was in charge of Canton (now called Guangzhou), provoking the first Opium War. The museum incorporates Lin's former residence and the Lin Wenzhong Ancestral Hall (Lin Wenzhong is the honorary name given to Lin Zexu after his death). Free.
- 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.
- Fuzhou Fighting Ferrets Football Club. A motley assortment of nationalities who play at Jinshan Wentizhongxin every Sunday at 09:15. Like football, only funnier!
- 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!
- Walk in traditional architecture street, Nan Hou Jie (South of Xi Hu). Freshly renovated pedestrian street, back into time atmosphere, lots of small alleys to stroll by, great for shopping but avoid overpriced restaurants and bars.
- Sauna/spa. Fuzhou is famous for its hotsprings; many hotels have a sauna and spa. They often have three different pools, one hot, one boiling (by western standards), and a normal one. Sauna and Turkish bath used to be available, staff gives you all you need. Most of the saunas have massage center with different services.
- 1 Wu Qingyuan Game of Go Club (吴清源围棋会馆), 78 Wu Shan Road, Gulou District (鼓楼区乌山路78号) (on the southeastern side of Wu Mountain Park. The nearest bus stop is the Wu Shan Intersection (乌山路口) bus stop, which is served by multiple bus routes, including routes 16, 54, 86, 97, 103, 106, 117, 122, 125, 143, 159, 171, 173, 303, 312, 335 and k3). 08:30-11:30, 15:00-17:30 (summer), 08:30-11:30, 14:30-17:00 (winter). The board game called Weiqi in Chinese or Go in Japanese and English is quite popular throughout East Asia; there are professional players and the better ones are major celebrities. Wu Qingyuan (吳清源, 1914—2014) is considered by many to be the best player of the 20th century and one of the greatest of all time. He was born in Fuzhou but lived in Japan most of his life and is generally known in the West by the Japanese name Go Seigen. A film biography is The Go Master and the wiki on the game has an online biography. The site has a small museum, some shops and a hall for playing the game. Free.
The most famous handicrafts of the area are:
- Shoushan stone (寿山石). A unique variety of alabaster found only in Shou Shan(寿山) (about 40km from Fuzhou) used to make name chops and all types of beautiful carving.
- Lacquer work (漆器). Especially the Fujian bodiless lacquerware (脱胎漆器), 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 (五一路).
There are also carvings in wood and jade, paper umbrellas and combs made of ox horn. As a general rule, these are generic crafts procured from Alibaba, T-Mall or Taobao, and resold to tourists. Unless you see an active workshop producing these goods in the store, assume that it is being resold and that there is a considerable markup over the original price.
You may be offered ivory. Most nations have banned ivory to protect endangered species; do not buy it unless you are certain it is fake. In China, this is quite likely, but it is hard to be certain and it might be harder yet to convince customs officials if you try to bring it home.
It is generally a very poor idea to purchase Western branded goods in Fuzhou, as these product almost always carry a substantial markup.
- Electronic Market, Wuyi South Road (In front Apollo Hotel). Daily 09:00-18:00. Hundreds of little shops plenty of mobile, Mp3, Mp5, Fake ipod, Fake iphone... Bargaining is recommended, but the first price is not as far off the real price as in Shanghai. There are also some big stores with real stuff.
- 1 Powerlong (Baolong) (Just take taxi and say Bao-long). It used to be the highlight mall of Fuzhou, with more than 300 shops and a cinema, but has become considerably less attractive than it was with the construction of several new malls in the region. It has attempted to revitalize itself with a significant new extension building with a department store. Premium brands are in first floor of the main building and have direct access to the street, or in the extension building. Smaller shops are receiving virtually no business after the advent of online shopping, and will likely be quite aggressive in drawing you in. Most of the smaller shops resell fake items and Chinese low-cost brands from Taobao or T-Mall, generally at prices higher than what you would find on those websites online. There are many restaurants like McDonald's, KFC and a Jazzy pizza. There are a few small traditional Chinese restaurants, with staff speaking only in Chinese, so it may be difficult to communicate with them. Cinema (last floor) and Carrefour (second floor) are available in the main building. It is located along Ninghua Station on the No. 1 line of the Subway system.
- 2 Wanda Plaza (Cangshan Wanda) (ask the taxi to take you to Bao-long). Considered to be the most popular mall in Western Fuzhou, Wanda Plaza offers a Chinese national-only hotel, premium brands, a Walmart and numerous restaurants (ranging from high-end to fast-food such as KFC and Starbucks to budget hole-in-the-walls). The mall is separated into an street portion and covered building portion. The hotel and Walmart are at the south end of the mall. The street portion offers no protection from the rain and features numerous restaurants, bubble tea shops (at least 20), coffee shops, fast-food, bulk grocery stores and small tech plazas. The covered building portion houses all the premium and Western brands, Walmart, as well as a not-particularly-noteworthy department store. The Walmart is notoriously staffed with rude and impolite employees, and you should always watch your possessions as people do steal there (don't use the self checkout without a mobile wallet). Getting here is usually fairly easy as your taxi driver will select a location to drop you off, but leaving can be problematic as much of the South road is a highway with only 1 taxi stand near the end by the Starbucks (hidden behind a bush on the highway). Therefore, you should hail a cab or Didi from the North road that borders a residential neighborhood, ideally crossing into the neighbourhood if you are able.
Local specialties include:
- Yu Wan (鱼丸). Fish balls, a Fuzhou delicacy, minced beef and pork inside a fishy flour ball of dough in a thin broth, excellent. Also just called 肉丸 (rou wan) but check they are fish nonetheless.
- Boiled shark (鯊魚滑). A Geng (thick soup) using shark's meat, it won't have a strong smell
- Rouyan (肉燕). A boiled pork dumpling using a local special skin called Yanpi
- Guo Bien Hu (锅边糊). Large steaming hot soft rice noodles inside soup of rice powder and water, hint of shrimp or oyster, under 11 yuan a bowl. Only eaten for breakfast.
- Oyster Pancake (海蛎煎饼). A traditional food in Fuzhou Kind like a pancake but with fly oyster and leek in it. Native people usually eat it in breakfast and prepare in various styles so if you do not find the exact name do not be surprised.
- Buddha Jumps Over the Wall (佛跳墙). A soup dish that contains abalone, shark fin, Jinhua ham, dried scallops, sea cucumber and numerous other ingredients. The name refers to the idea that it smells good enough to tempt even a vegetarian monk. Due to the amount of premium ingredients and time that goes into making it, it is very expensive and must usually be ordered several days in advance.
- 1 Daming Food Street (达明美食街), 鼓楼区达明路美食街 (At the north exit of Three Lanes and Seven Alleys). A typical Chinese streetfood street with all kind of 小吃 (xiaochi, snacks) such as BBQ skewers, desserts, etc. A popular place for young locals and couples to hang out at night.
- Hao Shi Jie (好世界) (on the corner of Ring Road Two (Er Huan Lu) and Yangqiao Road). Very expensive if you go upstairs, but stay on the ground floor and eat the dim sum which is cheap (under ¥250/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 (味千拉面) (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.
- Roman Holiday, Jiao Tong Road, by the Hong Yun Xing Cheng Apartments (when you arrive near the apartments, there will be an alley on the right side of the street with advertisements of Italian food, follow them down the alley until you see Roman Holiday on the left), ☏ . 11:00-22:30. Likely the best Italian food in Fuzhou. Excellent Pizza, pasta. Also, some good fusion Japanese/Italian/Chinese dishes. Not cheap, ¥50 per person or more if you get drinks.
- Jazzy pizza, Many locations. Chinese alternative to Pizza Hut, good pizza and cheaper, salads and pasta are ok, too. ¥50-100.
- Bullfighter, Many locations (In Powerlong (Baolong) mall there is one, other in front of Shangrila). Steak house, you choose one steak and can use the salad and dessert buffet. ¥60-120/person.
- Panevino, Wenquan Park Road (in front of a Best Western hotel in Fuzhou, very near to HotSpring Hotel). Italian food, very good quality for Fuzhou standards. They have a set menu for lunch and dinner. Upstairs there is a good Japanese restaurant. Can communicate in English, in which the menu is also written. ¥200-300/person with drinks..
- Korean restaurant (in Ramada Hotel). One of the best Korean restaurants in the city. BBQ in the table and good quality. Try the meat selection and the vegetables. More than ¥200/person.
2 Restaurants near the white pagoda (behind Grand Ocean Mall) (on a pedestrian-only side street running west off Baiqi Lu, a bit north of Gutian Lu). More than a dozen restaurants, mostly upmarket.
- Bambino. Good Italian restaurant, cheaper than Panevino. You can also find some Chinese food among the Italian dishes. ¥150-200. Menu in English.
- Taiyro. Japanese food buffet. Free flow of drinks, sushi, sashimi and teppanyaki for ¥150/person. The sashimi used to be served frozen, not so good but sushi is acceptable and teppanyaki is good.
- Venue. French restaurant in Fuzhou, and perhaps the only one. More than ¥400/person
- Mamamya. Another Italian restaurant but not so good, pizzas are small and expensive, salads no good. ¥100 or more per person.
- Old Shanghai. Typical Shanghainese food, menu only in Chinese but with pictures, less than ¥100/person.
- 1 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 every night.
- The Bamboo Bar (about 200 m 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.
- [formerly dead link] Prada, 中国福建省福州市鼓楼区余府巷 中福西湖花园北福楼C区1层 (Near Lakeside hotel), ☏ . 03:00. The preferred bar for expats in Fuzhou. Local style, people playing dice and live singers. Few staff speak English, try to get a VIP card from the manager. Main drink is beer but you can order some cocktails.
- Lili Marlens, 中国福建省福州市鼓楼区 古乐路117号-2 (In front of Min Capital hotel, mindu fan dian). Similar to prada. Staff dressed in army style clothing. Manager is friendly and speaks a little English
- Wooshie Bar, Wusi Road, Gulou, Fuzhou (Near the McDonalds on the corner. Stairs upstairs non descript entrance), ☏ . Small bar, live music, cheap beer (¥100 for 10), cocktails (¥25 each) and a relaxed atmosphere. Has a country music theme. Great place to go to enjoy something different from the usual fuzhou bar. Couches for free
- B Boss Club.
- 2 Late Market Bar (喜福食舍), Aomen Lu 47 鼓楼区东街口商圈澳门路47号 (Just south of the Three Lanes and Seven Alleys south gate). 19:00-02:00. Maybe the only 'speakeasy' bar in Fuzhou, mimicking the illegal establishments during Prohibition in the US. The bar is hidden behind a noodle shop (thus the Chinese name 喜福食舍 meaning Lucky Food House). Enter the noodle shop and go through a concealed door in the left-most shelf on the wall. The bar offers an upper-class atmosphere with dimmed lights and not too loud music. In addition to a large number of imported whiskys and gins, this place is known for special cocktails infused with traditional Chinese medicine. From ¥78.
There are a number of cheap hotels around Fuzhou Railway Station. (The new Fuzhou South Railway Station has a lot fewer lodging options in its vicinity). However, be sure to call ahead to confirm that they can register foreigners.
- [formerly dead link] Jinjiang Inn (Fuzhou Railway Station) (锦江之星（福州火车站店）), 41 Qinyuan Road (Qinyuan Lu). Located at the intersection of Qinyuan Road and Hualin Road, the Jinjiang Inn's full name tells you all you really need to know-the Jinjiang Inn (Fuzhou Railway Station) is adjacent to Fuzhou bus station. (The full name in Mandarin: Jinjiang Zhixing Fuzhou Huochenzhan Dian). The North Long-distance Bus Station is also within a short walking distance from the hotel. Daily rates starts from ¥169.
- [formerly dead link] Hualin Hotel (福州华林大饭店), 201 Hualin Road (Hualin Lu. The Hualin Hotel (Hualin Dafandian) is within easy reach of provincial government buildings, Wenquan Park and the commercial district. This Fuzhou hotel offers Chinese buffet breakfast, 24-hour access to natural hot springs and free broadband internet. Daily rates starts from ¥155.
- 1 Haiyun Hotel (Nanmendou Branch) (海云酒店(三坊七巷南门兜地铁站店)), Bayiqi Lu 11, 6th floor 福建省福州市鼓楼区八一七中路11号华商楼6楼 (On the south-east side of the junction above Nanmendou metro station), ☏ . A cheap hotel with rooms with private bathrooms near very close to the city center of Fuzhou, walking distance to some scenic spots and direct access to a subway station. Not a nice place by all means, but clean enough for a night or two. Doubles from ¥118.
- 2 Ju Chun Yuan Hotel (聚春园大酒店), 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:
- 3 [dead link] Fuzhou Lakeside Hotel (西湖大酒店), 158 Hubin Road, ☏ . Ask for a room with view of West Lake. This was Fuzhou's first five star hotel, now past its prime. Still a lovely location, though.
- Empark Grand Hotel (世纪金源大饭店, lit.: Golden Resources Hotel) (Off Wushi Road, to the east). Good Macau restaurant on ground floor.
- 4 Shangri-La Hotel (香格里拉大酒店) (corner of Wuiyi Square). 5-star luxury. Try the burger in the lobby if you are tired of Chinese food. Also has a great and (by five-star standards) inexpensive coffee bar with free internet access.
- Golden Resources.
- Howard Johnsons, Mawei District. Don't be fooled by the name - this is not the HoJos you are accustomed to in the US. Very classy hotel with a good western restaurant on the ground floor and an excellent Japanese restaurant on the second floor.
- Best Western, Downtown (Near Hot Springs Park). Nice western hotel with soft beds in a good location. Half block to Panevino's (Italian restaurant) and Hot Springs Park.
- Westin Fuzhou Minjiang Hotel (福州万达威斯汀大酒店) (Wanda Mall, on the bank of the Minjiang River), ☏ . The 5sense Restaurant has high level Chinese cuisine with imported seafood and meat and western touch. Live music in the lobby bar in the evening.
The area code for Fuzhou is 591.
China Unicom and China Mobile will register phone plans with foreigners; however, smaller outlets may sometimes lack the knowledge to do so. A passport is required, and it's highly advised to visit an outlet in a highly trafficked area.
- Mount Wuyi - scenic area famous for tea, ancient cliff burials and relics of the 3000-year-old Minyue Culture. The landscapes here are surreally beautiful.
- Xiamen - three hours by bus, an hour and a half on the new fast train.
- Qinyun Mountain - a scenic mountain area about 65 km from Fuzhou near the small town of Yongtai. Lots of great walks through river valleys with tons of sub tropical flora and fauna and those ubiquitous waterfalls. Worth an overnight visit.
- Langqi Island - a 45-min bus ride from Fuzhou, via Mawei. On the east of the island there is a splendid beach with few visitors. Cute old ferry takes you there from the mainland for ¥2.
- Fujian Tulou - round earthen houses built for multiple families and easy fortification when two main doors are closed. Southwestern part of Fujian Province. Many tourist buses leave out of Quanzhou and/or Xiamen.
- Quanzhou - old city between Fuzhou and Xiamen, reachable by bus or train. Around the year 1000 this was the main shipping port for south China and Marco Polo wrote extensively about it when he visited. Good temples and a 1000-year-old mosque, which has been rebuilt.