Tag: festival

day trip – zhuhai bridge & tai o february 8

祝你猪年快乐,珠三角好玩! New Year, new trip, new ways to explore our Pearl River Delta home!

On Friday February 8, during the Chinese New Year holiday, come with us to experience the Pearl River and Hong Kong, from the cutting edge to the traditional, a snapshot of China in one seaside adventure.

One of the main features of this trip will be to cross the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. This mega structure is 55 kilometers in total length, crossing the Pearl River Delta at its wide mouth of the South China Sea and connecting the two special administrative regions of China by a land link for the first time in history. The HZM Bridge is now the longest sea crossing in the world, made up of three cable-stayed bridges, four artificial islands, and a 4.8 km undersea tunnel. This is one of the greatest engineering feats of our time, and it is right in our backyard!

We will start our sea adventure by taking the ferry from Shekou Port to Zhuhai. Then, we will make our way to the crossing point to board the shuttle that will cross the mega bridge, whisking us to Hong Kong in just 40 minutes. The massive structures built for this project will leave you in awe, and as you buckle in to cross the bay, you know you are on a space age adventure. After viewing the bridge from a distance on the ferry earlier in the day, enjoy the quick and smooth ride across the stunning bridge over the delta’s turquoise waters. 

After we arrive in Tung Chung Hong Kong, we will journey on to Tai O, the quintessential fishing village of Hong Kong. Scarcely a kilometer away from the modern marvel of the HZM Bridge lies this quiet port, where life in many corners has not changed for centuries. Fishermen untangle their nets, felines wait to steal some of the day’s catch, houses teeter on stilts over the inlet’s waters. We’ll have time to enjoy the ambience of the quiet village, perhaps a bit more raucous than usual as villagers welcome in the new year. Plenty of local foods are available to sample, from sweet doughnuts to local fish and XO paste. We will also take a short cruise to get a closer look at the stilt houses and venture out into the bay in search of the famous pink dolphins of this side of Hong Kong. 

As the sun lowers, you are free to stay on in Tai O or Tung Chung for dinner or shopping. I can help book a return ferry or train back to Hong Kong (return fare not included; small booking fee if I book). (The high speed train from Kowloon to Futian is another of China’s modern wonders!) This package as quoted below will get you back to Tung Chung. Contact me for more information about getting back to Shenzhen.

Date: Friday February 8, leave Shenzhen 8:30 AM, finish at Tung Chung Hong Kong approximately 5:00-6:00 PM

Price: 458RMB per adult, 328RMB per child (1.2-1.5m) under 1.2m ask me. 
SWIC or ABNet receive a discounted price of 428RMB per adult, 308RMB per child.
Maximum 12, minimum 6 people.

Because of the popularity of this route, I will be exploring adding dates before the end of the public CNY holiday. Contact me for more information.

Includes ferry to Zhuhai, cross bridge shuttle, local transportation links in Zhuhai and Hong Kong, Tai O dolphin cruise, tour.

How to Book:

Contact Greta on WeChat (Scan QR code)

If adding me for the first time, be sure to mention Trips or Tai O in your introduction.

or contact me by email (chinatealeaves @ yahoo.com)

summer’s extreme

nam van lake
the dragon boat race on nam van lake in macau

This past weekend China celebrated Dragon Boat Festival, a colorful festival which kicks off the heart of the summer, with racing traditionally decorated boats, seasonal snacks and three days off from work. In Chinese, the festival is known as 端午节 (duan wu jie), or the festival of the extremity of noon or the overhead meridian. It is determined by the lunar calendar, the fifth day of the fifth month to be exact, so from year to year it floats around the months of May and June. This year, it happened to nearly coincide with the actual summer solstice, coming on June 20 just a few days before the sun would be at its extreme on the 22nd. We headed across the Pearl River Delta to Macau to observe the holiday and the proper start of summer.

dragon boat
an antique dragon boat outside the a ma temple

Dragon Boat Festival remembers the life of an ancient poet and statesman, Qu Yuan (屈原), who lived during the Warring States period of ancient China, in about the third century BC. Tradition holds that in protest of the corruption of the government of the time, he threw himself into a river and drowned. Fellow villagers were moved to prevent the decay of his body, and so threw dumplings of sticky rice into the water to distract the fish. Others took off in boats with the head of the dragon to ward off bad spirits and find his body. And two Dragon Boat Festival traditions originated—eating of sticky rice zongzi (粽子), and the racing of dragon boats. Dropping the bundled zongzi to bob in a pot of boiling water, I always think of the ancient story, marveling that battling corruption has origins so ancient and poetic.

An ancient poem attributed to Qu Yuan laments the downfall of his country, with devastating and moving imagery.

After the boat race in Macau, we wandered the village streets, coming upon stalls of dried fish and make shift temples with fists of red incense burning to the local gods. The major A Ma temple at the southern tip of the peninsula of Macau is dedicated to Mazu (妈祖), the ancestral mother of the waters, who protects all those who set sail on the sea. Inside and out, the temple is decorated with the motifs of the sea, carved into outcroppings of stone, and festooned with brilliant flags of local clans. Macau’s maritime roots are a palpable sea spray on this ancient holiday.

a carved stone inside the temple