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Discover the benefits of the world’s longest sea crossing on your next trip to Hong Kong

Opened in October 2018, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is paving the way for a new era of transportation

Visitors to Hong Kong often marvel at the city’s transit system – its extensive subway and rail network means you can reach most city landmarks in under an hour.

But last October’s opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB) takes this accessibility one step further. In the past, trips to neighbouring Macau and Zhuhai involved a cumbersome series of buses, ferries or trains. With the new bridge, visitors can access the gambling mecca of Macau and get a taste of mainland China’s city of Zhuhai by zipping across the bridge in a 45-minute ride, not counting the time spent passing through customs.

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“The HZMB is now the longest bridge-come-tunnel sea crossing in the world, and it is also the first land-transport link between Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau,” says a spokesperson from the Highways Department of Hong Kong. Visits to Macau were previously at the mercy of the waters, with a one-hour ferry ride being the most common route. But now visitors can take public transit to the Hong Kong port and easily hop on a bus shuttle to the Macau port. The shuttle costs 65 to 70 Hong Kong dollars (about C$10 to C$13, depending on the time of day – a significant discount from the ferry, which costs 186 to 211 Hong Kong dollars (about C$31 to C$36). Cross-boundary coach routes are also available, taking travellers to sights sooner with direct routes from Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui to the Parisian Macao, Venetian Macao and Sands Macao resort hotels.

With the building of the HZMB, the hope is also that Zhuhai will have a better chance of being included in visitors’ itineraries. You can expect the trip from Tsim Sha Tsui, the southernmost region of Kowloon, to Zhuhai to last roughly 75 minutes. The city is a little off the regular tourist trail, but this makes it an even more compelling experience. Suggestions include visiting the New Yuan Ming Palace, a replica of Beijing’s famed Old Summer Palace, and Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, a marine and amusement park.

“If travellers would like to go to Zhuhai from the Hong Kong International Airport, it used to take four hours to travel a distance of 230 kilometres,” the spokesperson adds. “After the commissioning of the HZMB, travellers now only need 45 minutes to complete a journey of 55 km, with over 80 per cent of travelling time saved.”

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Once you’re on the bridge, you’ll spend just enough time on it to appreciate its engineering ingenuity. “The main bridge was constructed in the open sea,” says the Highways Department spokesperson. “The project team had to deal with complicated hydrological and geographical conditions, while ensuring that the works would not hinder the daily passage of some 4,000 vessels navigating the busy Lingdingyang channel.”

The bridge’s proximity to airports, which comes with stringent height restrictions, necessitated a section of the connection to run underground. The end result is a 55-km-long bridge comprised of the Hong Kong Link Road, the underwater tunnel, the Main Bridge and the Zhuhai Link Road.

Travellers who plan to take the bridge shuttle or cross-boundary buses should remember to bring valid travel documents with them, as Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai are currently governed as special administrative regions with separate immigration control points.

Travellers will also notice that vehicles change directions between being driven on the left-hand and right-hand sides of the road. As relics of Macau and Hong Kong’s colonial pasts, vehicles are driven on the left-hand side of the road for the Hong Kong and Macau portions of the bridge, while sections that pass through mainland China require vehicles to be driven on the right-hand side of the road. It’s just another quirk of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge that makes it worth visiting even more.

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This content was produced by The Globe and Mail's Globe Content Studio.
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