Situated on the Pearl River Delta, Guangdong Province, Zuhai is often passed over for Macau and Hong Kong. However, this vibrant collection of former fishing villages turned into one city, is one of China’s best kept secrets. Zhuhai faces Hong Kong to the east, joins Macau to the south and China’s rolling green hills to the north; its burgeoning economy, warm climate and lack of pollution making it one of the best places to live in China, and certainly worth a visit. Zhuhai is small by Chinese standards, with just a population of just under a million, but this small city packs a big punch, possessing all the architectural and cultural trimmings one may expect from a Chinese city, without the high pollution and grand-scale chaos.
Direct flights to Zhuhai will bring you to Zhuhai Jinwan Airport (ZUH), which operates regular shuttle services to and from the city centre.
Summer in Zhuhai is hot and humid, with temperatures reaching the high thirties, but coastal breezes make the heat more bearable. In winter, temperatures average around 5°C, whilst spring and autumn enjoy temperate mid-twenties. The best time to find cheap flights to Zhuhai are outside of the school holidays – if you still want warm weather, book your trip in September – November, when the weather is warm and the city will be less crowded.
Zhuhai is an archipelago of 217 islands, 147 of which are over 500 square metres. Each of the larger islands has its own distinct character, making it perfect for a little island-hopping! From secluded fishing villages to exquisite fresh seafood and idyllic beaches; it doesn’t take long to reach the islands, but you will feel as though you have entered a different world. Eighteen miles from Zhuhai, you will find Dong’ao Island, one of the city’s most beautiful islands. With its crystal waters, stunning beaches and points of historical significance, you can while away the days snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming, surfing, or visiting maritime relics. Stay for a day, or book a hotel and enjoy the sunset followed by a barbeque on the beach. Heboa Island is a tropical wilderness just a short ferry trip from the city centre. It is Zhuhai’s longest island and features lush tropical rainforest and eight beautiful bays, some of which are usually deserted and just awaiting discovery. For the duration of your stay on Heboa Island you can imagine yourself a castaway and fill your days eating fresh fish, sunbathing, walking through Butterfly Valley, or swimming in the clear blue sea. Before planning a trip to Zhuhai’s islands, check ferry times and, if you are planning an overnight stay, it is wise to book ahead: many of the city’s inhabitants escape the city for a weekend on one of the islands.
The emblem of Zhuhai is the Fisher Girl, who is immortalised in a statue on Lovers’ Road. According to legend, an angel came to earth and fell in love with Zhuhai. She turned into a fisher girl, weaving nets, searching for pearls, and using her celestial powers to heal villagers. She fell in love with a fisherman called Hai Peng, who, in a fit of suspicion, demanded that she remove one of the bracelets on her arm as a symbol of her love for him. Knowing that the bracelets guarded her mortality, the fisher girl removed a bracelet and died in Hai Peng’s arms. The devastated lover followed a series of tasks to return his beloved to life; as days turned to years, the fisher girl returned to earth a mortal. This much-loved legend is immortalised with an 8.7-metre-high, 10-ton statue hewn from 70 blocks of granite. She presides over the crescent-shaped Xianglu Bay, silently watching visitors as they promenade along Lovers’ Road. The statue can become very crowded during the day, so plan your visit after dusk, when Xianglu Bay is beautifully illuminated by the glittering lights of fishing vessels and pleasure boats bobbing out in the cove. In 1997, the New Yuan Ming, or Zhuhai Summer Palace, was opened to commemorate the palace in Beijing that was razed to the ground in the 1800s. The replica palace covers a much smaller area than the original, but features all the key architectural elements and a vast lake, where you can hire motor boats or pedalos and dine in floating restaurants. Nestled at the foot of the Stone Forest Mountain, the New Palace exudes the mystical serenity of a centuries-old building, and showcases the opulent architecture of 19th Century China.
Zhuhai cuisine features typical Guangdong (Cantonese) fare: delicious steamed dim sum and fresh produce cooked in oyster sauce, ginger, coriander and hoisin sauce. Due to its location, seafood is a speciality of Zhuhai’s cuisine, and visitors to the city can choose from fresh-from-the-sea oysters, prawns and crab, as well as less usual produce, such as shark and crocodile. In addition to authentic Guangdong dishes, there are representations from all other Chinese food regions, allowing you to taste your way around China, comparing the different styles. As one might expect from one of China’s most popular cities, there is also a broad choice of international restaurants to choose from, in the unlikely event that you get bored of the local fare. At least one meal at the Zhuhaiwanzai Seafood Street is a must – an experience which combines shopping, haggling and eating in one. The Street consists of dozens of fresh seafood stalls featuring live fish, backing onto a row of restaurants. You simply browse in the market, choose your meal (live), before haggling and buying it. Tourists are usually charged inflated prices, so your haggling skills will be tested; once you have bought your fish, you can take it to one of the restaurants, where it will be prepared and cooked for you. A meal at Seafood street may cost a little more than anywhere else, but it is worth it for both experience and flavour: it is likely to be the freshest fish you ever eat! Predictably, street food in Zhuhai is ubiquitous: you are unlikely to turn a corner without finding a stall offering delicious delicacies. As always with street stalls, choose wisely: opt for freshly-cooked, piping hot food at stalls frequented by locals. Although caution is advisable, don’t be afraid to try different things! Cheap, fresh and delicious, street food is a great way to refuel on the go, and on a budget. With its buzzing city life, tropical beaches and irresistible food, your trip to Zhuhai offers endless opportunities, bringing you the perfect mix of city break and beachside retreat. Travangelo can help you to find cheap flights to Zhuhai, where you can enjoy the exquisite contrast of modern and traditional, vibrant and serene in what will be the holiday of a lifetime.