Zhongshan is a city in Guangdong named after the father of modern China, Sun Zhongsan (1866-1925) or commonly known in the west as Sun Yat-sen. The old name of this city is Xiangshan or fragrant hill. Zhongshan is just north of the former Portuguese enclave of Macau, and is thus one of the earliest place in China to receive foreign influence. Some of the earliest Chinese to receive Western education and trainings and as well as having deep understanding of modern commerce are found in this region of the Pearl River Delta. The people here speak Cantonese with its own distintive slang, though Mandarin is widely used as in every part of China nowadays.
There a many ways of getting there, depending on one’s starting point. As I started from HK, my choice would have been bus or ferry. I decided to travel on bus and thus took the HK MTR train and alighted at the Wanchai station. Next I headed to the neaby China Travel Service (CTS) branch to buy my bus ticket to Zhongshan, which cost of HK$90. Unfortunately a bus had just left and the next bus would leave in 2 hours time. I could have taken a bus from another bus company, I guess, but decided to wait for the next bus which would depart in 2 hours time. In the meantime, I sat inside the MacDonald restaurant as well as resting at a nearby sports complex, watching youngsters playing basket ball and soccer.
The bus used the Shengzhen Bay bridge checkpoint to enter Shenzhen from HK. This is a border crossing which I had not used before, and there were not too many traffics and as such queing time was relatively short. The HK route leading to the border crossing is rather scenic and pretty, with lots of lush greeneries and sea views. After the checkpoint, we changed to a China bound bus. The bus was half full, and the drive thereafter was uneventful, though I could see that the expressway is rather crowded, with many large trucks. I tried sleeping on bus given that I had little sleep in the last 24 hours.
The whole journey would have lasted for 3 hours if not for traffic congestion due to bridge re-surfacing works at the Humen suspension bridge. The bus arrived almost an 1 hour late. It was already dark when arrived in Zhongshan. The pleasant surprise was that my hotel was less than 100 metre away from the bus terminus. I stayed at the Zhongshan Ibis hotel. This is the first time that I stayed in an Ibis chain hotel. The hotel is conveniently located and suprisingly is really good – just perfect for someone who only need comfortable, clean, troublefree no-fuss environment to sleep and shower. For food, I just went to a local restaurant that serve local specialties like roast duck and pork or the local Lanzhou la-mian (noodle) shop.