One of the economic boomtowns of Guangdong province, Zhongshan is in a county of 1.3 million people, with an additional 1 million migrant workers. Contrary to the map at left, Zhongshan is in the Pearl River delta, roughly halfway between Macau and Guangzhou (Canton). From Hong Kong, you can reach it directly by ferry, or go through nearby border crossing at Zuhai.

Zhongshan has an active and properous industrial environment, including some of the world’s largest shoe factories. However, it still manages to maintain an orderly pace of development. The roads are relatively well maintained and modern highway construction seems to be a never-ending project here.

There are quite a few wealthy local people around, but they are still rather down to earth compared to the wealthy people in bigger cities. The growing downtown has some impressive neon, a European-style pedestrian promenade and at least one Western-operated bar, called Friends Bar, that’s been around for ages between the International Hotel and the Fuhua Hotel.

The area in central Zhongshan county is relative hilly, with a hot spring resort that is popular with tourists. It also has some rather pleasant countryside by Southern China standards. During weekends, Zhongshan is popular with Hong Kong sightseers, as it is the home town of the first president of the Chinese republic, Sun Zhongshan (also known as Sun Yat-Sen).

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