With tropical beaches, beautiful gardens and the casinos and nightlife of hedonistic Macau on its doorstep, Zhuhai is one of the most beguiling coastal destinations in China.
Zhuhai has a beautiful seafront, but the best beaches are to be found in the hundreds of offshore islands like Dong'ao or Hebao, which can easily be reached by boat.
Central Zhuhai is a great place to spend time. Hop between bars and restaurants on Lotus Road, dine on gourmet seafood in Wanzai, and catch live music on Bar Street.
One of Zhuhai's most appealing spots is the New Yuanming Palace (a brick for brick replica of a site in Beijing), but there are genuine historical wonders in town too, like the gorgeous Jintai Buddhist Temple.
Zhuhai also offers plenty of leisure activities. There are regular motorsports at the International Circuit, well-kept and affordable golf courses and plenty of diving locations in the islands.
Zhuhai is right next door to Macau. Once a Portuguese colony, modern Macau is a tourist wonderland - not unlike a Chinese Las Vegas. It's quite an experience.
Located on a promontory in Zhuhai's Seaside Park, the Fisher Girl is undoubtedly the city's iconic sight. Gracefully holding a pearl to the sky, the fisher girl is 8.7 meters tall, and made of solid granite, but her story will melt visitors' hearts. A goddess come to earth, the Fisher Girl was forced by her husband to remove a set of magical bracelets, which guaranteed immortality - the died instantly when the last bracelet was removed. That's the story, anyway. Today, she welcomes visitors to the scenic seaside area, and makes for some superb photo opportunities.
Also known as the "New Yuanming Palace", this reconstruction has been superbly executed, recreating a Beijing icon in southern China. Situated at the foot of Shilin Mountain, and in a sprawling 1 square mile complex, it features a Qing Dynasty palace and period gardens, offering a vivid glimpse into China's glorious past. Sure, it's all a little fake, but it's beautiful and convincing. Come evening, the palace also hosts Qing-era performances, creating a magical timewarp feeling, so book some space and be there for the show.
Slightly more genuine than the Summer Palace, Jintai was first built by a prominent bureaucrat during the Song Dynasty - 700 years ago, and it became a key training site for the Empire's Buddhist monks. The temple was shifted in the 1990s to a new location underneath Mount Huangyang (which is beautifully scenic), but it was a brick-by-brick challenge that the city managed in style. Climbing to the temple is recommended, not just for the architecture, but also for the superb views across Yamen harbor. And try to summon the energy to ascend the 300 stairs to the Grand Hall of the Great Hero, where a magnificent Buddha awaits.
Zhuhai is one of East Asia's motorsport centers, so if you're in town during a race meet, why not head along and enjoy an adrenaline-filled experience? Situated in Jin Ding, a few miles north of the city center, the Circuit hosts plenty of international events, including 400 mile endurance races, touring car contests, and regional competitions like the Pan Delta Super Racing Series. Initially designed for Formula One, it hasn't yet managed to snag a race, but looks set to do so in the future.
Zhuhai's tourist hub, Gongbei has everything you need in terms of restaurants, bars, clubs, and shopping malls, and it's also right next to Macau if you want to pop over to try your luck at the casinos. Visiting in the evening is recommended, especially Lianhua Lu - the main walking drag, which is vividly illuminated after dark. It's a great place to pick up some traditional Cantonese char siu barbecued pork, and also hosts the massive Underground Shopping Center - paradise for bargain hunters.
Zhuhai has a tropical climate, so it's warm all year-round. Visit between November and April to dodge the monsoon (and typhoon season).
You can fly indirectly to Macau, or take a direct connection from North America to Hong Kong and transfer from there. Ferries from the airport to Zhuhai take around an hour and cost CNY280.
Zhuhai's Gongbei Railway Station offers links to Guangzhou, Macau and Hong Kong, as well as all of China's major cities.
From Guangzhou, take the S43. From Hong Kong or Shenzhen, follow the S3 northbound and change at Guangzhou.
Zhuhai is about 2 hours from Guangzhou by bus and Guangzhou provides a vast number of connections to cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen.
Some of the best places to stay in Zhuhai include the Zhuhai Charming Holiday Hotel (which lives up to its name), the Chingdo Hotel, which has a nightclub on site, and the Holiday Resort Zhuhai.
Gongbei - The tourist epicenter of Zhuhai, Gongbei is the place to head for nightlife. Don't miss the night-time illuminations on Pedestrian Street.
Tangjiawan - Just north of Zhuhai, Tangjiawan is worth visiting just for the Dragon Union Opera House - a massive entertainment complex.
Dong'ao - A beautiful island a few miles off the coast of Zhuhai, Dong'ao is a beach lovers' paradise and has some great diving spots too.
Buses cover all of Zhuhai's districts, and charge between CNY1 and CNY3 per journey, depending on how far you travel.
Taxis will charge a meter drop of CNY10, and then around CNY4 per mile after that.
Car rental outlets include eHi, Burgeon Rent-a-Car and Zhuhai Hexiang Automobile Rental, and rates can be as little as CNY45 per day.
Most of the best places to shop are in downtown Gongbei, and the best of them all is the Underground Shopping Mall, home to hundreds of electronics stores. Other than that, Wanjia Department Store is a local institution and has a wide range of clothes to check out.
Supermarkets in Zhuhai include Carrefour and Vanguard. To give an idea of prices, 12 eggs should cost about CNY13.
Zhuhai isn't short of excellent restaurants. Highlights include May Flower, which specializes in Cantonese cuisine, Portofino, an excellent Italian option, and Jīn Yuè Xuān, which serves up delectable dim sum. Meals should cost around CNY100-CNY120.