Zhuhai is to Macau as Shenzhen is to Hong Kong. That's to say, like Shenzhen, it was designated a Guangdong Special Economic Zone in the 1980s in order to capitalize on its proximity to a long-time foreign colony. And just as laid-back Macau has always played second fiddle to high-powered Hong Kong, Zhuhai is a far more relaxed place than booming Shenzhen.
Today, modest Zhuhai is popular with tourists for its green expanses, decent beaches, intriguing offshore islands and laid-back vibe. It's also the site of a major border crossing into Macau and its Gongbei Port is a great place to find bargains on a bewildering range of goods. Within easy reach of metropolises like Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Zhuzhai (which translates as "Pearl of the Sea") makes for a pleasant side trip from its better-known Pearl River Delta neighbors.
Home to several wonderful parks—Haibin Park and Jingshan Park with its peculiar boulder-covered Paradise Hill are standouts—Zhuzhai is also known for its massive theme park, New Yuanming Palace, a replica of Beijing's original Yuanming Yuan that also features numerous models of famous sites from around the world and Lost City, a large water park.
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