Different beauty of China's new international leisure tourism island, Hengqin
The Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Hengqin Photo: VCG
Two girls pose in front of the camera before their trip to Hengqin on April 26, 2023. Photo: VCG
After China optimized its COVID prevention and control policy, Hengqin in Zhuhai of South China's Guangdong Province has been well-known among music fans as China's new international leisure tourism island hosting various music festivals to attract more travelers.
In 2021, China released a general plan for establishing the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, a major move to further the practice of "one country, two systems" and make the area an important driving force for Macao's long-term development.
Following the twin city cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao will also be connected to further their participation in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
According to the plan, the cooperation zone will develop new industries, such as sci-tech, R&D and high-end manufacturing, to help promote Macao's economic diversification and the traditional Chinese medicine and other signature businesses in Macao, as well as industries such as culture, tourism, conventions, exhibitions and modern finance.
According to the plan, Zhuhai looks forward to extending a tourism industry that focuses on leisure and sight-seeing and developing Hengqin into a tourist island targeting leisure travelers from across the globe.
The small island, which borders Macao to the south and faces Hong Kong and Shenzhen across the bay to the east, has not only nature and theme parks available for parents and kids, but also attractive music events for global music fans to enjoy.
Music feast from great bay
On the afternoon of February 18, the banks of the Tianmu River on the island were crowded with audiences who were expecting Hengqin's first music festival of its own, the Hengqin Tianmu River Grassland Music Festival.
Opened with the theme song from Macao's original TV program Falling in Love with Macao, the two-day festival saw 30 singers and bands from the bay area and other places sharing the stage, presenting a fest of over 150 songs.
Ten-year-old singer Wang Xinyu, who performed the opening song with two foreign singers Betchy Barros and Ryan Carroll, said that she hoped to introduce Macao to more people as the city offers delicious food and interesting places.
More and more Macao residents are encouraged to live and work in the cooperation zone as the two places are closely connected not just geographically, but also culturally.
Two months later, in April, an even larger event, the Youth for the Future Music Festival, witnessed a total of 55,000 people taking part in various music concerts and activities.
The 21-year-old Lai Yan, traveled nearly 70 kilometers from Zhongshan city, after seeing an advertisement about the music festival on internet. She, who also was learning jazz drums, enjoyed the music festival with her younger brother and parents and then visited the Zhuhai Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, one of the country's most popular theme parks.
Many Hong Kong and Macao bands have taken Hengqin as their first stop when touring in the Chinese mainland.
"Hengqin is the first stop for us who want to go further. It gives us the opportunity to communicate with other mainland singers and bands. Because of Hengqin, we can go further," said Macao local band FIDA in an interview with Southern Finance Omnimedia.
The singing and dancing group MFM shared the same opinion as "There are only few large-scale music festivals like this in Macao, so it is quite a memorable event to come to Hengqin."
For music lovers, Hengqin is a must-visit place that you can treat yourself a music fest as your family members who can also enjoy even they don't know music at all. After all, no one can resist the temptation of leisure afternoon with green sceneries, drinks, tea and more.
Theme parks and nature
In fact, Hengqin is a perfect destination for parents and kids as it houses the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, one of the world's largest ocean-themed resorts. There are eight themed areas inside the park, each representing a part of the ocean. Kids and their parents can have a wonderful day and night, wandering at Dolphin Cove, Amazing Amazon, Ocean Beauty and Hero Island.
When the night falls, the whole theme park is lighted up with nighttime show, Ocean Resistance and the night parade, Journey of Lights.
Still not enough? The island has even more to offer with its Lionsgate Entertainment World, one of China's most technologically-advanced theme parks, and the National Geographic Ultimate Explorer center. Using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in its rides and attractions, the Lionsgate Entertainment World boasts more than 50 key attractions based on Lionsgate's film franchises, including The Hunger Games and the Twilight Saga. Additionally, the National Geographic Ultimate Explorer center includes 13 breathtaking experiences, merging content from the National Geographic brand with immersive entertainment.
If you feel a little tired after so many exciting events and activities, the island also has the Mangzhou Wetland Park, the Xiangzhou Port Cultural Institute Street, the Tianmu River Ecological Corridor and the 13.6 kilometer-long Hengqin Flower Sea Corridor along its coastline, where you can take a walk or take a ride to enjoy the slow-pace life there.
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is known to the country as the paradise of delicacies, especially Canton cuisine ones, but the island also offers unique produce that is very much appreciated by tourists.