How to get around in Zhuhai

The easiest way to get around in Zhuhai is taking a taxi. Initial meter charge is RMB10. Of course you can also take a bus, if you know already which bus to take and where to get on and off – there is no English to explain the bus route and indicate station names in any of the bus stations.

Buses in Zhuhai no longer have staff selling you tickets. You pay when you get on the bus, putting money into the metal box placed next to the uniformed driver. Exact money. No change. Air-conditioned bus fare is RMB2.5 while non-air-conditioned bus fare is RMB1.5.

The bus stops are all standardized – a structure that is yellow-tile roofed, resembling a pavilion. 

Taking the bus is a way to feel the pulse of the city – if you can read some Chinese characters. Just watch the electronic ad that is displayed in the bus. The ads ranged from cosmetic surgery, to learning english, to fashionable glasses for sales.

I once got on a bus that not only displayed electronic ads, but also played pop songs, in Mandarin. Fortunately, the songs were not jarring on my ears.

Zhuhai and its calmness

Zhuhai, China

If you look for a city in Southern China for relaxation, away from the tourist crowd, you may want to come to Zhuhai.

Bordering Macau to the South, Zhuhai was named among the earliest Special Economic Zones in China in the 70s. But its development has been slow compared to Shenzhen, another Southern China city, just across the border from Hong Kong. The fact that its main avenue Lovers Road surprisingly does not have busy traffic says a lot about the city.

And that is why I find the city laidback and calm. It has a beautiful and long waterfront along the Lovers Road. In the morning, you only see a few locals exercising here. Don’t the Zhuhai people like exercising? If it is in Hangzhou or Guangzhou, the waterfront in the morning would be teeming with people jogging, playing Taichi or doing all sorts of exerecises. Not in Zhuhai.

yeli island

The city has newly developed a Yeli Island (野狸島), which is named Mingting Park (名亭公園), near the Xiangzhou Fishing Port, and across from the Lovers Road Central. The island park is open to the public for free. Though nothing much to see on the island, strolling around is surely relaxing, with some nice sea view to appreciate.

Zhuhai accommodation

Hotels in Zhuhai, a southern China city neighbouring Macau and Hong Kong, are not as expensive as those in Shenzhen or Guangzhou, and you can find quite a few hotels here which have seaviews and yet the charges are reasonable. 

If you look for a hotel in Zhuhai to relax, I would like to recommend this hotel to you – Zhuhai Maihao International Hotel (珠海邁豪國際酒店, 91 QingLu Middle Road). The hotel is pretty new, opened in 2006. When I asked the taxi driver to take me to the hotel, he was at a loss. “Is this a new hotel?” he asked. 

The hotel is wonderfully located, just five-minue taxi ride from the Jiuzhou ferry terminal (less than RMB20), along the tree lined Qinglu Road (Lover Road), facing the Xiangzhou Bay (香洲灣), and the island park Mingting Park (名亭公園). 

If you book the hotel through elong, the room charge is RMB370 for Mondays to Fridays, and RMB430 for Saturdays and Sundays, for a seaview room.

You can also make the booking through the hotel website, but the price would be slightly higher. 

The hotel lobby is not as elegant as a four-star hotel can be, but the hotel rooms are just gorgeous. It has carpet to ceiling window, opening to the bay, with fishing boats parked around. The bathroom has window glass open to the bedroom, and to the seaview. You can have a very open view even when taking a shower.

The room is spacious. Its broadband internet worked immediately on my computer once I put in the cable provided. And the internet was fast. Three floors of the hotel are dedicated to non-smoking rooms. So you can enjoy a non-smoking and spacious seaview room with free internet. The staff are also friendly. I don’t think you should ask for more for this price.

But mind you that the TV in the hotel room has no international channels such as BBC or CNN, and the dining and recreation facilities look a bit poor. Also, there are cracks and marks on the wall in my room, not to mention a big splash of yellow water stains on the wall near the window (a result of rain seeping from outside the window?). It seems that in China, buildings for public use get run down easily, no matter how new they are, as a result of sub-standard of the buiding material and how people use these buildings.

Probably the most beautiful hotel in China

I’ve been to this hostel, so I am not bluffing here. Also, if it is a hotel that is intended for entertaining state leaders in China, that must be something. What I am talking about is the Hangzhou Xihu State Guesthouse (杭州西湖國賓館). As the name suggests, it is in Hangzhou, and Xihu means the most famous sightseeing spot of the city – West Lake.

west lake, hangzhou
west lake, hangzhou

Situated to the west of the beautiful West Lake, and surrounded at three sides by the lake, the hotel commands unparalled location. Its beauty lies not only in its furnishings of the hotel rooms, or the architecture of the buildings, but most importantly, in its garden area of 360,000 squre meters with quitessential Chinese garden designs. The garden dates back to the late 19th century and was redesigned by one of the most prominient Chinese architects Dai Nian Ci (戴念慈) in the 50’s, and remodified again in the late 90’s. The area of the hotel is dotted with willow trees, flowers, water, pavilions and bridges, evoking poetic lyricism. It has a gold course, a tennis court, a lakeside tea house, etc.

The hotel has entertained three most important figuers in the contemporary China – Mao Zedong (毛澤東), Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平)and Jiang Zeming (江澤民). In fact, the hotel was not open to the public before. But since China’s opening up to the world, so is this hotel. So if you are looking to stay in a five-star hotel in Hangzhou, you should really consider coming to this hotel. It is much better than Hyatt, or other luxury hotels in the city. Because the hotel setting is so unique, not only in Hangzhou, but across China.

The hotel’s website:
http://www.xihusgh.com/ – for the full picture of the hotel, you must come to the Chinese website – content is a lot richer than the English website

You can make bookings through the hotel website, but it is not direct booking and there is no price showed. For direct booking, you can go to Ctrip.

The price ranges from RMB1150 to 2300 per room.

Free bikes for tourists in Beijing

Since last week, the Beijing authority has been placing bikes in more than 100 hotels for the free use of tourists. It is intended that a total of 10,000 bikes will be placed in these hotels, with each hotel getting an average of 20 bikes.

This new measure is obviously for welcoming in Olympics. However, the good news is that the bikes will still be kept in the hotels for tourists’ free use, even after the Olympics. So ask about free bikes if you stay in a Beijing hotel. You may stand a chance to get one.