Friday, January 13, 2023
Shenzhen Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Shenzhen

travel guide

Shenzhen is a prominent city in China’s Guangdong Province. Shenzhen is situated just north of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It presently has sub-provincial administrative status, having significantly less powers than a province.

Shenzhen was a 30,000-person market town on the Kowloon–Canton Railway line. That changed in 1979, when Shenzhen was elevated to the rank of city, and in 1980, when it was named China’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ). According to the 2015 Government report, Shenzhen has grown to a city with a population of 10,778,900 and a metropolitan area population of more than 18 million people. During the 1990s and 2000s, Shenzhen was one of the world’s fastest-growing cities. By 2013, Shenzhen’s population growth had slowed to fewer than one percent per year, as the industrial boom had waned in favor of other sectors.

Shenzhen’s contemporary cityscape is the product of its thriving economy, which has been made possible by fast foreign investment since the implementation of the “reform and openness” program and the founding of the SEZ in late 1979. Both Chinese people and international nationalities have invested significant amounts of money in the SEZ. More than $30 billion in foreign investment has gone into both foreign-owned and joint ventures, first mostly in manufacturing but more recently in service sectors as well.

Shenzhen is a prominent financial hub in China’s south. The city is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of a number of high-tech firms. Shenzhen is ranked 19th in the 2016 edition of the Z/Yen Group and Qatar Financial Centre Authority’s Global Financial Centres Index. It also boasts one of the world’s busiest container ports.

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Shenzhen | Introduction

Shenzhen – Info Card

POPULATION : • Sub-provincial city 10,778,900
• Urban 10,630,000
FOUNDED :  City : March 1979
SEZ formed: 1 May 1980
TIME ZONE :  China Standard (UTC+8)
LANGUAGE :
RELIGION :  approximately 37% of Shenzhen residents were practitioners of Chinese folk religions, 26% are Buddhists, 18% Taoists, 2% Christians and 2% Muslims; 15% were unaffiliated to any religion.
AREA : • Sub-provincial city 2,050 km2 (790 sq mi)
• Urban 1,991.64 km2 (768.98 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  0–943.7 m (0–3,145.7 ft)
COORDINATES :  22°33′N 114°06′E
SEX RATIO :  Male: 52%
 Female: 48%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE :  755
POSTAL CODE :   518000
DIALING CODE :  +86 755
WEBSITE :  http://english.sz.gov.cn/

Tourism in Shenzhen

Shenzhen, then a collection of agricultural and fishing villages near the Hong Kong border with a population of a few hundred thousand, was named the first of China’s Special Economic Zones in 1979. (SEZs). The goal was to construct a closed-off enclave to experiment with market reforms and performance incentives without endangering China’s established political and economic framework. Shenzhen was chosen for the award because of its closeness to Hong Kong’s substantial financial resources and managerial experience. It has been a genuine boom town since then, and it is now a busy 14-million-person metropolis.

According to a 2010 Forbes magazine research, Shenzhen has the world’s fifth greatest population density. Shenzhen also has the greatest per capita GDP in China, with an astounding USD 13581 in 2009, albeit this is frequently debated owing to the way by which the population statistic is calculated. Many analysts, however, argue that, given the prevalence of privately owned enterprises in Shenzhen and rampant tax dodging, the GDP number is also likely to be significantly overstated. A stroll through Shenzhen’s verdant western suburbs will soon dispel any concerns about the city’s affluence.

Although few foreign visitors visit Shenzhen, it is a popular destination for Chinese domestic travelers. They were first lured by the city’s famed amusement parks, but as the city has grown and become more prosperous, they have been more enticed by Shenzhen’s famous architecture, shopping, pubs, restaurants, and vibrant art scene. The beaches in Shenzhen have become well-known across China. The Dapeng Peninsula, home to Shenzhen’s nicest beaches, was named one of China’s most beautiful coastlines by the China National Geographic Magazine in 2006. Visitors are also beginning to notice several intriguing historical sites spread across the suburbs, notably those relating to the Hakka culture and Hong Kong’s annexation during the Opium Wars.

From an environmental standpoint, the ideal time to visit Shenzhen is from October to December, when the weather is favorable. Shenzhen has a subtropical climate with very high humidity and scorching summer temperatures. This is a season that many people want to avoid. The long, hot summer also overlaps with the typhoon season, which lasts from June to October. Spring is cooler, although it is often plagued by fog and strong thunderstorms.

The issue of Shenzhen’s population is a contentious one. Official Chinese population numbers have typically been influenced by the fact that people with official registration or “hukou” in the city are used as the foundation for reporting. Because Shenzhen has a large number of immigrant employees whose hukou are for their home town or village, “official” figures are very low. A step forward in this regard happened a few years ago, when “hukou” was replaced with a residents’ registration certificate for practical reasons. This certificate, which is inexpensive and simple to administer and enables for travel to Hong Kong without returning to one’s place of origin to apply for a passport, has simplified population counts. According to the Shenzhen Statistics Bureau, as of the end of 2009, Shenzhen has an official resident population of 8.91 million, of whom 2.41 million have legal household (hukou) status. The official Family Planning Bureau, which uses police registration data, estimates the population to be 14 million. It is worth noting that, unlike Shanghai and Beijing, which have sizable rural populations, Shenzhen’s population is entirely urban.

Shenzhen’s major tourist attractions include the China Folk Culture Village, Window of the World, Happy Valley, Splendid China, the Safari Park in Nanshan district, Chung Ying Street (a street that connects Shenzhen and Sha Tau Kok in Hong Kong), Xianhu Botanical Gardens, and Minsk World, among others. Over twenty public municipal parks, including People’s Park, Lianhuashan Park, Lizhi Park, Zhongshan Park, and Wutongshan Park, are also open to the public for free.

Climate of Shenzhen

Despite being around a degree south of the Tropic of Cancer, Shenzhen has a warm, monsoon-influenced, humid subtropical climate owing to the Siberian anticyclone. Winters are moderate and generally dry, thanks in part to the influence of the South China Sea, and frost is very unusual; it starts dry but gradually gets more humid and gloomy. Fog, on the other hand, is most common in the winter and spring, with 106 days a year reporting some fog. Early spring is the cloudiest period of year, with rainfall beginning to rise rapidly in April; the rainy season lasts until late September to early October. The monsoon reaches its greatest strength during the summer months, when the city also has highly humid and hot, but tempered, weather; there are only 2.4 days with temperatures of 35 °C (95 °F) or higher. The area is also prone to heavy rain, with 9.7 days receiving 50 mm (1.97 in) or more of rain, and 2.2 days receiving at least 100 mm (1.97 in) (3.94 in). The end of October is hot and dry. Annual precipitation averages roughly 1,970 mm (78 in), with part of it supplied by typhoons that hit from the east throughout the summer and early fall. Extreme temperatures have varied from 0.2 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) on 11 February 1957 to 38.7 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) on 10 July 1980.

Geography of Shenzhen

Shenzhen is situated in the Pearl River Delta, bordered to the south by Hong Kong, to the north and northeast by Huizhou, and to the north and northwest by Dong Guan. To the west are Lingding Yang and the Pearl River, while to the east is Mirs Bay. The municipality has a total area of 1,991.64 square kilometers (769 square miles), combining urban and rural regions, with a population of 10,358,381 according to the 2010 census. It is part of the Pearl Delta River Mega City built-up region, which has 44,738,513 residents scattered throughout 9 municipalities (including Macao) and 17,573 square kilometers. The city is 81.4 kilometers long from east to west, with the smallest part from north to south being 10.8 kilometers.

Originally, the city was built on a hill with rich agricultural land. However, after becoming a Special Economic Zone in 1979, Shenzhen’s terrain changed dramatically. In the early 1980s, the majority of these minor hills were flattened. Shenzhen is witnessing a second stage boom as a result of the flood of migrants from interior China, and it is now growing peripherally, with hills in adjacent places such as Mission Hills still being flattened to make room for further construction.

Shenzhen is located across the Sham Chun and Sha Tau Kok rivers from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 100 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of the provincial capital of Guangzhou, 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the industrial city of Dongguan, and 60 kilometers (37 miles) north-northeast of the city of Zhuhai.

Shenzhen is crossed by around 160 rivers or waterways. Sham Chun River, Maozhou River, and Longgang River are notable examples. Within the municipal borders, there are now 24 reservoirs with a combined capacity of 525 million tonnes.

Economy of Shenzhen

Shenzhen’s GDP was $270 billion in 2015, placing it on par with a mid-sized province in terms of overall GDP. It has a larger overall economic production than Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, and Vietnam. As of 2014, its per-capita GDP was 164,664 ($25,038), on par with several OECD rich nations. Shenzhen was the first of the Special Economic Zones to be founded, and it saw the most rapid development, averaging a 40 percent annual growth rate between 1981 and 1993, compared to the country’s average GDP growth of 9.8 percent. After this early fast rate, economic development eased; from 2001 to 2005, Shenzhen’s total GDP expanded by 16.3 percent per year on average, however growth has fallen to roughly 10 percent per year since 2012. In terms of overall economic power, Shenzhen ranks first among mainland Chinese cities. Shenzhen’s economic production ranks fourth among China’s 659 cities (behind Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou).

In 2001, the working population totaled 3.3 million people. Though the secondary sector had the greatest proportion (1.85 million in 2001, up 5.5 percent), the tertiary sector is rapidly expanding (1.44 million in 2001, increased by 11.6 percent ). In 2009, the share of GDP contributed by the three industries was 0.1:46.7:53.2. The primary sector’s share of GDP fell by 13.4 percent, while the tertiary industry increased by 12.5 percent. Its import and export volumes have been the highest for the past nine years in a row. In terms of industrial production, it ranks second. For the last five years, its internal income inside the municipal budget has ranked third. It is also ranked third in terms of the utilisation of foreign capital.

Shenzhen is a prominent Chinese industrial hub. In the 1990s, Shenzhen was said to be building “one high-rise per day and one boulevard every three days.” Shenzhen’s skyline is often recognized as one of the greatest in the world. It now contains 59 structures taller than 200 meters, including the Kingkey 100 (the world’s 14th tallest skyscraper) and Shun Hing Square (the 19th tallest building in the world).

Some of China’s most successful high-tech businesses are headquartered in Shenzhen, including BYD, Konka, Skyworth, Tencent, Coolpad, ZTE, Gionee, TP-Link, DJI, BGI (Beijing Genomics Institute), OnePlus, and Huawei.

Hon Hai Group, Taiwan’s biggest corporation, operates a significant manufacturing factory in Shenzhen. Many global high-tech enterprises have China operations centers in the Nanshan District’s Science and Technology Park. Other successful Chinese enterprises with a strong presence in Shenzhen include China International Marine Containers, the world’s biggest container manufacturer, and Vanke, China’s largest residential real estate developer. Ping An Bank and China Merchants Bank are two of China’s major banks, both having headquarters in Shenzhen.

Shenzhen, because of its unique position, is also a highly fruitful field for startups, whether run by Chinese or international entrepreneurs. Petcube, Palette, WearVigo, Notch, and Makeblock are examples of successful companies. Shenzhen is also the headquarters of the hardware startup incubator HAX Accelerator (formerly HAXLR8R).

Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center is a big public construction project that hosts a variety of corporate activities, celebrations, conferences, conventions, entertainment events, exhibits, restaurants, and many types of shows.

How To Travel To Shenzhen

Visa

Shenzhen is unique in that if you arrive from Hong Kong and stay in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, you do not need a full visa for the mainland. Instead, you can apply for a “Special Economic Zone Tourism Visa” at the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Please note that this visa is only valid for Shenzhen and does not allow you to continue your trip to Mainland China. Currently, this visa is available to nationals of almost all countries, with the notable exception of the United States, France, the Philippines and India.

Some nationalities arriving from Hong Kong can obtain a one-time five-day Special Economic Zone tourist visa on arrival for ¥168-¥1,000. At Luohu Border (罗湖口岸), the office is located directly upstairs after passing through Hong Kong immigration and customs control. It is open seven days a week from 09:00 to 23:30 and only accepts RMB as payment. For inquiries, you can contact them at +86 755-8232-7700. Note that the fee for British passport holders is much higher, at 469 yen for a five-day visa for Shenzhen only, while it is only 168 yen for most other nationalities. Irish travelers are sometimes charged the same exorbitant fees for the UK if they are unfortunate enough to run into a border agent who does not know that the UK and Ireland are different countries. US passport holders are not eligible for this scheme and can even be fined if they enter without a valid visa! The same five-day visas are also available upon arrival at the Huanggang and Shekou border offices. At the Futian border, there is no visa on arrival. The reason for the difference in fees is that Chinese visa fees are set on the basis of reciprocity.

It should be noted here that although the borders of Huanggang (皇岗口岸) and Futian (福田口岸) are only a few hundred meters apart, they are different land crossing points, connected to different points of Lok Ma Chau on the Hong Kong side. Huanggang is connected to the 24-hour Lok Ma Chau checkpoint, while Futian is connected to the Lok Ma Chau MTR station.

In addition to the five-day SEZ visa, you can also apply for a full Chinese visa (single and double entry only) at the Luohu border. This visa can only be applied for between 9:30am and 4:30pm. Again, British passport holders have to pay more and US passport holders are not received at all. It is best to apply for a one-year multiple entry visa at any consulate in the United States for $140. For U.S. passport holders, the duration of the visa depends on the visas previously issued. The first visa is valid for double entry, the second for six months multiple entry, and so on. If you have an old Chinese visa in another passport, it is helpful to mention the old passport when applying for the visa.

Obtaining a tourist visa in Hong Kong now takes 3 to 4 days and costs between HK$150 and HK$1100. You can find a list of costs here. The old method of arriving in Hong Kong and immediately applying for a visa is no longer worth the time and money, as you can expect to pay expensive hotel bills in Hong Kong until your visa is issued. The visa office in Macau is less crowded and the hotels are a little cheaper, but it takes just as long. In general, visitors without an HKID card are only issued single-entry and double-entry visas, although foreigners who have previously visited the mainland and holders of student or work visas for Hong Kong are known to be allowed multiple entries.

Note that many travel agencies in Hong Kong (e.g. CTS) offer faster visa processing for a fee. If you need to get a visa faster than at the public visa offices and are willing to pay for it, this is the best option.

In addition, a travel agency can “negotiate” the length of your visa. Thus, your application for a yearly visa may be denied, but the travel agency may negotiate a shorter visa instead (e.g. for 6 months), which is much better than nothing.

For HK$150, you can take a cab from Hong Kong International Airport to Shenzhen via the Huanggang border. This fare includes onward travel to a specific destination in Shenzhen (e.g. a hotel) after passing through Chinese immigration. It is worth it if you have a valid visa.

Get In - By plane

There are three ways to get to Shenzhen from abroad. Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport is the closest, followed by nearby Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport, which are bigger alternatives with more flights and destinations.

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport offers domestic and international flights. Metro Line 1 connects the airport to downtown Shenzhen in 50 minutes (¥5.7).

In addition to domestic flights, the airport also offers limited international flights to the following destinations:

  • Air Asia operates direct flights from Bangkok, Thailand, as well as from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
  • Silkair and Tiger Airways operate direct flights from Singapore.
  • Korean Air from Seoul Incheon International Airport.

There is also a helicopter service between Macau’s Marítimo Terminal and Shenzhen Airport, but it is very expensive.

Cabs to the center of Futian cost about ¥100 and to Luohu about ¥150 including tolls.

The airport shuttle bus costs ¥20 and takes you directly to downtown Shenzhen. You should take note of the timetable so as not to miss the bus. Note that the airport shuttle may not operate in English.

The Shenzhen Metro Luobao Line has a station right in front of terminals A and B of Bao’an Airport. The journey to the city center with this metro line is admittedly very slow, but it is the cheapest variant and it offers suburban stops like Bao’an Central station.

  1. From Luohu checkpoint to Hualian Mansion, in addition to the cab, you can take line 215 and get off at “Xinhua Hotel” station or take lines 25 and 12 and get off at “Technology Gallery” station.
  2. Passengers with FM, MF, 3C and HU tickets disembark in the Terminal A waiting area. Passengers with ZH, CA, MU, SC and International tickets disembark in the Terminal B waiting area.

TRANSPORTATION FROM HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO SHENZHEN

Public transportation. A cheap and quite comfortable way to get to Shenzhen is to take the Airport Express from Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to Tsing Yi, then the Tung Chung subway to Lai King, then the Tsuen Wan Line to Prince Edward, then the Kwun Tong Line to Kowloon Tong and finally the East Rail suburban train to Lo Wu. The trip costs a total of HK$60 (only the Airport Express fare, as it is possible to change trains for free on the way) and takes 78 minutes to Lo Wu. Another possibility is to take the bus from the airport to Sheung Shui (bus A43) and change there to the East Rail line. The bus is cheaper (HK$30.90) and rarely full, so you have a seat and a view for most of the journey. The bus terminal is to the right of the Airport Express station, which comes from the HKIA arrival hall. From Lo Wu, you will pass through a long corridor and a large international border gate (have your visa ready). Then you are on the mainland, where the Shenzhen Metro (subway) takes you from Luohu Station to the rest of Shenzhen and the airport.

Ferry. There is a ferry connection between Hong Kong airport and Shenzhen; ask at the information desk for the schedule. Another alternative is to use the “Skypier”. This service allows you to go directly from HKIA to the mainland (Shekou area in Shenzhen, Fuyong terminal of Shenzhen airport or Zhuhai) without going through immigration or customs in Hong Kong or the city itself. In front of the immigration office, there is a counter where you can buy your ticket and have your luggage transferred. It is cheaper, easier and faster than going to Hong Kong Central or Kowloon. If you leave China in this way, you will receive an exit tax of HK$120 upon arrival in HKIA.

Private limousine van service. There are a number of companies offering luxury vans from HKIA to destinations in Shenzhen and Shenzhen Airport. Usually, the passage is through the Shenzhen Bay Bridge customs post. Often, passengers do not even need to leave the vehicle at the border crossing, as the driver takes care of all passport and details. The cost can start at HK$200 and up. Driving on the left side of the road in Hong Kong and the right side on the mainland is a unique experience.

Get In - By train

Shenzhen is served by 3 domestic Intercity stations, and another one is under construction.

  • Shenzhen Railway Station (Shenzhen Zhan 深圳站), Luohu (Luobao line, Luohu subway station). Just north of the border with Hong Kong. It’s a fairly small, but clean and well-organized station, serving mostly regional trains from Guangdong and only a handful of long-distance sleeper trains to other major cities. Every 10-15 minutes, a high-speed shuttle leaves for Guangzhou East Station (with alternative connections to Guangzhou Central Station – GZ East and GZ have many more long-distance connections) – the trip takes about an hour and costs ¥80 per trip. Tickets for this service are available at a separate ticket booth or self-service machines, and there is separate access to the platforms.
  • Shenzhen North Station (Shenzhen Bei Zhan 深圳北站), MinZhi(Longhua & Huanzhong Line, Shenzhen North Metro Station). New modern station in the northern district of Bao’an, with high-speed connections to southern Guangzhou and further to Changsha, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Beijing. The future high-speed link to Fujian province has begun trial operation. This station should not be confused with an older freight station of the same name, located in Luohu District, which still appears on some maps.
  • Shenzhen West Station (Shenzhen Xi Zhan), Shekou (Shekou Line Chiwan Metro Station). Some limited connections to other parts of Guangdong and some other Chinese provinces.
  • Futian Station (Futian Zhan 福田站), Shekou (Longhua & Luobao Line Futian Metro Station). Fully underground high-speed train station, opened in late 2015. It is connected to Shenzhen Metro and has direct high-speed trains to Guangzhou, Changsha, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Beijing.

Get In - By bus

There are several long-distance bus stations – the most convenient is Luohu Bus Station, located near the railway station and border crossing. It offers regular connections to Dongguan, Guangzhou (Tianhe, Liuhua and Guangyuan stations), Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Shantou and many other cities in Guangdong. Unlike most bus stations, there is no ticket office. Instead, the staff at the bus station will ask you where you want to go and direct you to the bus where you will buy your ticket from the ticket inspector on board. NOTE: If you are traveling to Guangzhou, it is important to find out which bus station you are arriving at (qu na ge zhan? – literally: which station?) – if you are arriving at the Tianhe or Liuhua bus stations, they both have a direct connection to the subway, but many people go to the Guangyuan bus station, which is in Baiyun district and requires a long bus ride to downtown.

Beware of scams at the Shenzhen bus station. For example, if you are traveling between Hong Kong airport and Shenzhen airport, you may need to change vehicles when you cross the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Your bus or limousine company may give you a sticker to hang on your shirt. When you cross the border into Shenzhen, a scammer may discover your sticker, pose as a bus or limousine company employee and ask you to pay extra for the ride. To avoid this, go to the ticket office or booth of the bus or limousine company you are using. The bus or limousine companies are aware of this problem, but have no incentive to address it, nor do the local authorities.

Get In - By land

Shenzhen is connected to Hong Kong by trains and border buses. There are trains to Guangzhou and buses to most neighboring cities.

HONG KONG BORDER CROSSING POINTS

There are six land border crossings: Lok Ma Chau/Huanggang, Lok Ma Chau/Futian Kou’an, Lo Wu/Luohu, Sha Tau Kok/Shatoujiao, Man Kam To/Wenjindu, and Shenzhen Wan, which is located at the end of a long and elegant bridge over Shenzhen Bay

Lo Wu/Luohu is one of the two ports for train connections and the most popular connection point, served daily from 06:30 to 24:00. Please note that the last trains do not go to Lo Wu, but stop at Sheung Shui. Lo Wu is the last stop of the MTR East Rail Line. East Rail, which connects to central Kowloon at Hung Hom Station. As Lo Wu is located in Hong Kong’s prohibited border area, the MTR Eastrail is the only way to get there. Lo Wu Station is only open for travel to Shenzhen or beyond, and a valid travel document is required to get there.

For travelers to Futian, including the Free Trade Zone and other destinations in central and western Shenzhen, the most convenient rail connection is the Hung Hom train to Lok Ma Chau Station, although this is not the Lok Mau Chau/Huanggang border crossing, but the Lok Ma Chau/Futian Kou’an crossing. It has a direct connection with Futian Kou An station of Shenzhen Metro Line 4. It follows the same route as the Lowu train, but branches off at the last station. This line runs only until 21:30.

The MTR East Rail Line commuter train, which runs from Hung Hom to Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau and makes several intermediate stops, serves mainly Hong Kong residents. It connects with the urban section of the MTR at Kowloon Tong Station and East Tsim Sha Tsui Terminal. Travelers to and from Hong Kong Island are recommended to take the Cross Harbour Bus at Hung Hom Station or the Tsuen Wan Line at East Tsim Sha Tsui.

The trip from East Tsim Sha Tsui to Lo Wu takes 42 minutes and costs between HK$33 and HK$36.50, with first class costing double that. In general, however, you can save about HK$7 by getting off at Sheung Shui and getting on from Sheung Shui to Lo Wu. Trains leave every few minutes, but some short trips are made during rush hour, so it is best to find out where you are going before you board. During rush hour, the train can be crowded, as it also serves millions of commuters along the line.

Road border crossings (such as Lok Ma Chau/Huanggang) are accessible by cross-border buses from Hong Kong.

Get In - By Sea

There are ferries from Hong Kong (Tsim Sha Tsui, Central (also known as Hong Kong/Macau Ferry Port) and HK Airport), Macau and Zhuhai. Most ferries call at the Shekou Ferry Terminal. Shekou Ferry Terminal is connected to the rest of Shenzhen by subway and bus. More information is available online: Hong Kong Ferry InfoShenzhen Ferry Info (Chinese only).

There is also a ferry port at Shenzhen Fuyong Airport, which provides a link to Hong Kong airport to avoid customs and immigration in Hong Kong, as well as check-in facilities for some flights from HKIA. In addition, there are limited connections to Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai.

How To Get Around In Shenzhen

Get Around - By Metro

Shenzhen Metro (深圳地铁) is the most convenient and easy to understand transportation in Shenzhen urban area. The fare is ¥2-9. Trains run about every 3 minutes and the subway runs until 11:00 pm. Note that there is a relatively high level of public politeness in the Shenzhen subway. Some customs are unusual for foreigners. For example, young children are often left in their seats. Lines are designated by both numbers and Chinese names. The Shenzhen Metro currently has 5 lines, 137 stations and a total length of 178.44 km (110.87 miles) in service and is expanding rapidly.

Line 1 (Luobao Line) – East-West Line from Luohu (HK Border / Shenzhen Railway Station) to Shenzhen Airport East. The most convenient line for many tourist sites. Luohu Station is connected to Lo Wu Station of Hong Kong MTR via Luohu checkpoint in Shenzhen and Lo Wu checkpoint in Hong Kong.

Line 2 (Shekou Line) – East-West line from Chiwan to Xinxiu, ideal for ferry connections to Shekou Seaworld

Line 3 (Longgang Line) – from Yitian in northeast direction to Shuanglong

Line 4 (Longhua Line) – north-south line from Futian Checkpoint (HK border) to Qinghu. Futian Checkpoint Station is connected to Lok Ma Chau Station of Hong Kong MTR via Futian Checkpoint in Shenzhen and Lok Ma Chau Control Point in Hong Kong.

Line 5 (Huanzhong Line) – east-west line crossing the northern suburbs of Shenzhen from Qianhaiwan to Huangbeiling

Buy your ticket at the ticket machines in the station hall. The machine issues a round green plastic token. Tap it on the reader as you enter the station and insert it into the turnstile slot as you leave the station. Old or worn out tickets are often not accepted by vending machines. The most convenient way to travel is to buy a Shenzhen Tong (深圳通) card at the ticket office. This is a card with a recorded value. Touch it to the turnstile reader as you enter and exit the station. It can also be used to make purchases at food stores.

Note that, unlike most subways, the exit signs in the station are only in Chinese, except for a handful of important tourist sites. There are also a limited number of maps of the local environment (often in Chinese) in the station, so finding the right exit can be a problem. However, this has been changed in most places in preparation for the Universiades2011.

Get Around - By taxi

Meters start at ¥10.00 for the first 2 kilometers, then ¥0.60 for every 250 meters. At night, costs are slightly higher. A fuel surcharge of ¥3.00 is applied to all fares. Cabs are unusually well regulated and managed in Shenzhen (for China). It is very rare that a driver will give you trouble or make you take a longer route to your destination. Make sure, however, that the cab has a license, which is prominently displayed in the plastic holder provided on the right-hand dashboard of every cab. If there is no license, take the nearest cab. Unlike in neighboring Hong Kong, English-speaking drivers are rare. So have the names and addresses of your destinations in Chinese ready to show the cab driver.

Driving is particularly incompetent and scary. If you think your life is in danger, don’t hesitate to get out of the car and take the next cab. Unfortunately, there is little guarantee that the next driver will be better. If you have a bigger problem, threaten to complain (use the word “tousu” (toe-soo) for “complaint”). It is not clear what happens if you complain, but it is expected to be BAD (usually a ¥200 fine per complaint – if you make 5 complaints, your license will be revoked). On the receipt you should receive when the driver prints the ticket, there is a phone number and his cab license. Use them if you want to file a complaint.

Unless you know the local situation inside out or are an experienced Chinese negotiator, avoid illegal and unlicensed cabs at all costs, such as those found in large numbers at border crossings, or you will get into serious trouble. If you request a driver from a hotel, they will probably put you in touch with a private driver. Negotiate the price before you leave.

There are still a few gold-colored cabs that can only operate within the special economic zone. Green cabs can only operate outside the special economic zone. They cannot enter the special economic zone. Red cabs can drive anywhere. Tipping is not expected at all, it is simply rounded up to the next yuan.

Get Around - By Bus

Local buses run everywhere and cost from ¥2 for most trips. The longest bus ride in the city costs ¥10. On the bus, there is an attendant who can give change. The buses are comfortable and almost always air-conditioned. Bus stops are indicated in Romanized Chinese. The next stop is always announced, even if it may not be very understandable. Buses usually stop at all stops, so counting the stops is a viable alternative to finding out where you are. All announcements are made in Mandarin and English. You can pay with your Shenzhen Tong card (see Metro section).

Minibuses have been discontinued inside the SEZ, but they still operate outside the zone. Most bus routes run every few minutes.

From the basement of the immigration building in Luohu, free shuttle buses run to various attractions such as spas in the area.

Get Around - By bike

Cycling is not as popular as in Beijing, for example, but Shenzhen is almost as bike-friendly as neighboring Guangzhou and much more so than most neighboring cities in Hong Kong, Macau, and Humen. The city center is relatively flat and traffic is not as heavy as in other cities (thanks to good road infrastructure, although bike lanes are sporadic, meaning bikes must ride in bike lanes or on sidewalks).

There is a new bike path that runs along a new park along Shenzhen Bay, opened in July 2011 for the Universiade. From there, it is possible to ride most of the trail along the Shahe Canal (Sand River) to the GZ Greenway, without crossing car traffic. Unfortunately, the GZ Greenway is not well signposted, so it can be difficult to find your way from Shenzhen to nearby cities like Guangzhou. Another small canal runs north from the southwest of Shenzhen Bay Harbor and connects to the Bayfront Park bike path.

It’s not easy to find a bike rental, but you’ll do fine with a cheap bike purchased at a large supermarket or second-hand store. Note that electric bikes and motorcycles are not allowed in the special economic zone.

Due to Hong Kong’s outdated border zone policy, you can’t ride your bike between Hong Kong and Shenzhen at Hong Kong Port, as the road is closed except for public buses and cabs. However, you can take your 20″ folding bike to take the green bus line No. 75 between Hong Kong and Yuen Long for HKD$7. The MTR in Hong Kong is unusually expensive at the border terminals, but bikes are allowed on the trains. Folding 20-inch bicycles are also allowed on the Shenzhen Metro trains.

Districts & Neighbourhoods In Shenzhen

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS OF SHENZHEN
Division code English name Chinese Pinyin Area in km2 Population 2010
440300 Shenzhen City 深圳市 Shēnzhèn Shì 1996.78 10,358,381
440303 Luohu District 罗湖区 Luóhú Qū 78.75 923,421
440304 Futian District 福田区 Fútián Qū 78.65 1,317,511
440305 Nanshan District 南山区 Nánshān Qū 185.49 1,088,345
440306 Bao’an District * 宝安区 Bǎo’ān Qū 398.38 2,638,917
440307 Longgang District * 龙岗区 Lónggǎng Qū 387.82 1,672,720
440308 Yantian District 盐田区 Yántián Qū 74.63 209,360
Guangming New District 光明新区 Guāngmíng Xīnqū 155.44 480,907
Pingshan New District 坪山新区 Píngshān Xīnqū 167.00 300,800
Longhua New District 龙华新区 Lónghuá Xīnqū 175.58 1,379,460
Dapeng New District 大鹏新区 Dàpéng Xīnqū 295.05 126,560
Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong
Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone
前海深港现代服务业合作区 Qiánhǎi Shēngăng
Xiàndài Fúwùyè Hézuòqū

Prices In Shenzhen

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk 1 liter $2.50
Tomatoes 1 kg $1.60
Cheese 0.5 kg $18.00
Apples 1 kg $2.50
Oranges 1 kg $2.30
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $0.85
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $10.00
Coca-Cola 2 liters $1.15
Bread 1 piece $1.70
Water 1.5 l $0.45

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $37.00
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $4.50
Water 0.33 l $0.35
Cappuccino 1 cup $4.30
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $2.30
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $1.00
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $0.50
Coctail drink 1 drink $10.00

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema 2 tickets $10.00
Gym 1 month $45.00
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut $
Theatar 2 tickets $70.00
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. $0.03
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack $3.10

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics 1 pack $4.00
Tampons 32 pieces $4.20
Deodorant 50 ml. $6.00
Shampoo 400 ml. $6.50
Toilet paper 4 rolls $
Toothpaste 1 tube $2.05

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 1 $77.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M) 1 $38.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas) 1 $86.00
Leather shoes 1 $82.00

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline 1 liter $1.06
Taxi Start $1.50
Taxi 1 km $0.40
Local Transport 1 ticket $0.30

Tourist (Backpacker) – 35 $ per day. Estimated cost per 1 day including:meals in cheap restaurant, public transport, cheap hotel.

Tourist (regular) – 101 $ per day. Estimated cost per 1 day including:mid-range meals and drinks,transportation, hotel.

Sights & Landmarks In Shenzhen

Amusement parks

Shenzhen has many theme parks that are popular with Chinese tourists, many of whom come to Shenzhen primarily for this reason. Reactions from Western visitors vary widely, from great enthusiasm to the opinion that they are in incredibly poor taste. Most of these parks are managed by the Shenzhen OCT (Overseas Chinese Town) Group:

  • Window of The World (世界之窗), 南山区华侨城深南大道 (Window of the World (世界之窗) subway station, Luobao line). 09:00-22:00 hours. Take a trip around the world in one day. This 480,000-square-meter park offers a beautiful natural landscape and wonderful lighting at night. Inside, you can climb the Eiffel Tower, the Egyptian Pyramid, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon and other famous monuments in 1:3 scale. Every night, spectacular dance performances are held on themes from Chinese and world history. Hundreds of dancers perform on the huge outdoor stage. The show ends with a procession and fireworks at 9:00 pm. ¥140.
  • Splendid China & Chinese Folk Culture Village (深圳锦绣, 中华中国民俗文化村; Shēnzhèn Jǐnxiù Zhōnghuá, Zhōngguó Mínsú Wénhuà Cūn) (Hua Qiao Cheng subway station, exit D, about 200m walk). It combines two different areas. The first part is a miniature park of China. You will find the famous Forbidden City, the terracotta soldiers, the Tibetan Potala Palace, the Huangshan Mountains, the Yunnan Stone Forest and of course the Great Wall of China. This miniature park covers 300,000 square meters and is completely covered with greenery and beautiful flowers. The second part consists of 56 houses, each representing one of the 56 nationalities of China, such as Miao, Yi, Bai, Mongolian and Uyguren. You can experience authentic people, culture, fashion, habits, religion, language and food. As with all theme parks in Shenzhen, many visitors come just for the exhibits, but the main attraction is the show. Uyghur women twirl to Turkish music, miaos dance, a Ming Dynasty troupe in miniskirts performs electronic versions of Ming music and dance. There is even a Tibetan rock band. A Mongolian horse fight takes place every day, just follow the smell of horse dung. ¥120.
  • Happy Valley Theme Park (欢乐谷 huanle gu), Qiaocheng W Rd OCT 南山区华乔城乔城西路 (Shi Jie Zhi Chuang subway station, about 500m walk). 09:00-22:00. A classic theme park. It is much bigger than Hong Kong Disneyland and many would say it is much better. The park is divided into several themed areas and has the usual attractions. Try the water slide, but be prepared to get wet. Playa Maya is an excellent water park built in the style of Mayan architecture. There are shows throughout the day and late into the night.
  • OCT East (东部华侨城). 09:00-22:00. A new amusement park built by the same company that built the Windows of the World. Located in the valleys and hills behind the Dameisha beach area, it features roller coasters, shows, and a reconstructed European city. Be prepared to climb many stairs or escalators to access the various rides and attractions. A few themed hotels are under construction. At the top of the hill is a good golf club called Wind Valley Golf. In June 2010, six people died when an electrical failure ejected them from a ride, and several others were also injured. The park has been plagued by other minor power outages that have resulted in people getting trapped in cable cars, etc. ¥120.
  • Lianhua Mountain Park (Lotus Mountain Park; 莲花山公园; Liánhuāshāngōngyuán), Hongli Road West, Futian Central (subway line 4 (Shaoniangong subway station) bus line 25 from Shenzhen Station. The bus stop is “Lian hua shan gong yuan” 莲花山公园). It is the most important and central park in Shenzhen. It is located at the northern end of the Futian Central Access and consists of 150 hectares of urban bush. The gardens themselves are very beautiful and carefully maintained. But to really enjoy the mountain, you need to be there early in the morning or on Sundays, when large family groups gather for fun in the middle age of Shenzhen. At the top of the mountain, which can be reached after a not too strenuous twenty-minute walk, is a large bronze statue of Deng Xiaoping walking above the city. Large aerobics groups move to loud music, people play badminton, a man walks down the path writing Tang dynasty poems with a giant brush in the constantly evaporating water. Further down the mountain, ballroom dancers dance the tango, a group of belly dancers sway and tall men hit each other with bamboo sticks and swords. A famous and totally spontaneous group of Revolutionary Opera singers sings every Sunday morning near the Lotus Pond – a must if you are in the area at all. They are right behind the laughter therapy group and the wedding market.
  • Fairy Lake Botanical Garden (仙湖植物公园; Xiān Hú Zhíwù Gōngyuán), Lian Shi Rd, Lian Tang Rd, Luohu District 罗湖区莲塘村莲十路 (bus: 218, 220 to the garden gate (get off at the Foreign Language School stop and walk up Xian Hu Rd to the main gate). 07:00-22:00.

It is the most beautiful park in Shenzhen and certainly one of the most beautiful in China. It stretches over miles of foothills, valleys, rivers and lakes before climbing Wutong Mountain halfway up. The main attraction is the Hong Fa Temple (see entry above), but there are also beautiful and peaceful lakes surrounded by teahouses and pavilions that could inspire great poems. Don’t miss the azalea garden, the petrified forest, the paleontology museum or the medicinal plant garden ¥20. edit

  • Shenzhen Garden and Flower Exposition Center (园博园), Zhuzilinxi, Futian District (at the intersection of Shennan Avenue and Qiaocheng East Road) (深圳市福田区竹子林西 (深南大道与侨城东路交汇处) ; Fútián Qū Zhúzilín Xī (Shēnnán Ddàdào Yú Qiáochéng Dōng Lù Jiāohuì Chù)) (Qiao Cheng Dong subway station, exit A). 09:00-22:00. This park was created in 2004 to host an international garden exhibition. It is a huge garden with an area of 660,000 square meters, which varies from gently rolling to steep, and contains gardens of very different styles, not only Chinese, but from all over the world. Be sure to visit the hot houses and climb up the hill, past the waterfall, to the pagoda at the top of the hill. On a clear day, the back view of Hong Kong is spectacular. Another 242 steps will take you to the top of the pagoda. ¥50.
  • Mangrove National Park (红树林生态公园), Binhai Futian Highway 福田区滨海大道. The smallest national park in China. Mai-Po Marshes in Hong Kong is one of the world’s greatest bird watching paradises, as birds migrating from Siberia rest in the fishing ponds. These same birds also rest in the mangroves of Shenzhen Bay, located just three kilometers north of Mai Po. In the late 1990s, during the construction of the Binhai Expressway, there was public outcry over the plan to run the road through the bird habitat in the mangrove. The road was then built 200 meters further north and the smallest national park in China was created. Bird watching is legendary, but even if you’re not interested in birds, the park offers walks under the shade of coconut trees and a great view of Shenzhen Bay. Free of charge.
  • Wutong Mountain National Park (梧桐山; Wutong Village, Luohu District; 罗湖区捂桐村). At just over 900 meters, Mount Wutong is the second highest peak in the Pearl River Delta after Tai Mo Shan in Hong Kong and a mecca for hikers and climbers. It has been a recognized tourist attraction since the Ming Dynasty at the latest, when it was included in the list of the eight great sights of Xin’an District and sung in poems. There are several routes to reach the summit, which differ significantly in difficulty. The wide path is an easy climb. However, you should be prepared to walk for five hours if you want to go to the top and back. There are two summits, the Little Wutong, where the Shenzhen TV Company has its impressive broadcasting tower, and the Big Wutong, which is reached by the famous and difficult Hao-Han slope. On a clear day, the summit offers a magnificent view of Mirs Bay and the mountains of Hong Kong’s New Territories. The night view of the city with Shenzhen Bay in the background is also impressive. Free of charge.
  • Yangtai Mountain Forest Park (羊台山森林公园), Longhua Town Bao’an 宝安区龙华镇 (we warn you that it is not easy to get there and advise you to combine the visit to the hot springs with the visit to Yangtai Mountain. That way, you can enjoy the benefits of easy public transportation between the two places. Take the subway to the Windows on the World station, Shi Jie Zhi Chuang. Next to exit B is a large underground bus station. Take bus No. 392 to its terminus, Shiyan Hot Springs. When you finish, take the bus No. 769 from the place where you got off. This bus stops at Yangtai Mountain.) This is a forest park managed by the Guangdong Provincial Forestry Administration. The mountain, 500 meters high, is located around a beautiful dam lake. It is densely forested with native and exotic vegetation and is home to a rich wildlife. The climb to the top is moderately difficult and very rewarding.
  • Shiyan Lake Hot Spring Resort (石岩湖温泉度假村; Shíyánhú Wēnquán Dùjiàcūn), Shiyan Town, Bao’an District (宝安区石岩镇; Bǎo’ān Qū Shíyán Zhèn), +86 755 27164148. 06:00-21:00. This has been a popular attraction since the 16th century, when it was designated as one of the “Eight Great Viewpoints of Xin’an District” (the district to which Hong Kong and Shenzhen belonged). Located on an artificial reservoir at the back of Yangtai Mountain, it is not easy to reach, but the effort is worth it. The water gushes out of the ground at over 60 degrees, but is cooled to about 40 degrees before being poured into the pools. There are public and private pools, indoor and outdoor. ¥15.
  • Safari Park Shenzhen (深圳野生动物园; Shēnzhèn Yěshēng Dòngwùyuán), Xili Road, Nanshan District (南山区西丽路; Nánshān qū Xīlì Lù), +86 755 26622888, fax: +86 755 26622333, e-mail: [email protected] 10:00am-5:00pm. Billed as a safari park where animals stare at humans. The park is dirty and untidy, but children can enjoy it. ¥160.

Religious structures

  • Hong Fa Buddhist Temple (弘法寺; Hóng Fǎ Sì). It is not particularly old, but it is always full of pilgrims from all over China and beyond. Its attraction is the 104-year-old abbot, a famous holy man who has a fascinating history in the destruction and rebirth of Chinese Buddhism. The temple is spectacularly located halfway up Wutong Mountain in the Fairy Lake Botanical Garden – Southeast Gate (仙湖植物园站), the largest and most beautiful park in Shenzhen.
  • Chiwan Tin Hau Temple (赤湾天后宫). It is one of the largest and most lavish temples in China in honor of Tin Hau, the sky goddess who watches over sailors and fishermen. It was founded in the 16th century by the famous eunuch admiral Zheng He, who was saved from sinking here in a typhoon during one of his explorations thanks to Tin Hau’s intercession, although Zheng He was a Muslim. It has been restored several times during its existence, the last time in the 1980s after the ravages of the Cultural Revolution. It was built in the style of the Ming Dynasty (14th to 17th century) and is a magnificent example of this style.

Historical sites

Many people, even long-time residents of Shenzhen, will tell you that “Shenzhen has no history”. Yet there are a surprising number of sites, some of great national significance, that date back to the 12th century. It is a city that dates back to the nineteenth century. Shenzhen appears to have been involved in a number of historical events, including the collapse and final battle of the Southern Song Dynasty (13th century), the final battle of the Ming Dynasty (17th century) and the Opium War (19th century).

  • Tomb of the young emperor Song Zhaobing (宋少帝陵; Sòng Shǎo Dì Líng), Chiwan (赤湾). This is probably the tomb of the last emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty (died in 1279). There is little doubt that he died in this area after fleeing the Mongols who had seized the dynasty’s capital, Hangzhou. It was not until the late 19th century that the Zhao (Chiu in Cantonese) clan of Hong Kong (Zhao was the imperial surname of the Song Dynasty) explored the tomb and declared that it was in Chiwan, near the great Tin Hau temple. It is true that there are popular accounts of the emperor’s death in the Chiwan area and many people who claim to be of imperial origin. But these claims remain controversial. The tomb was restored in the early 20th century and then fell into ruin. During the Cultural Revolution, it was rediscovered by a military cook, but left alone. The Shenzhen municipality continued to restore it in the 1980s. It has the shape of a normal Chinese upper class tomb and is the center of many popular devotions.
  • Xin’an (Nantou) Ancient city (新安(南头)古城; Xīn’ān (Nántóu) Gǔchéng). It is the original capital of the district, which originally included Hong Kong and Shenzhen. A city has existed here since the fourth century. Much of the old city has been demolished and replaced by eight-story apartment buildings in the style of an “urban village,” but Xin’an has retained the atmosphere of a Cantonese city with its bustling life in narrow streets to this day. The Ming Dynasty city walls and gate are as well preserved as the Guan Yu temple in front of the gates, the naval and civilian headquarters, a silver store, an opium den and even a brothel. Prostitution Street, which dates back to the 18th century, is a narrow alley with an official 18th century stele denouncing the evils of prostitution.
  • Ancient Dapeng Fortress (大鹏所城; Dàpéng Suǒchéng). Dapeng Fortress is another amazingly well-preserved Ming Dynasty fortress. Founded in 1394, it shared with several other fortresses the task of guarding the entrances to the Pearl River and played an important role in defending the river during the Opium War. It is very well preserved and is currently being restored as a museum.
  • Longgang Museum of Hakka Culture (Hakka fortified village by the crane lake) (Nanlian subway station, line 3). Half of Shenzhen city originally belonged to the Hakka ethnic group. This happened after the Kangxi emperor, as part of his campaign against the Ming loyalists in Taiwan in the 17th century, depopulated the coast to a depth of 30 km. When the coast was repopulated, it was the Hakka (descendants of 13th century immigrants from northern China) who arrived most rapidly. Relations between the Hakka and the Cantonese were often tense. In the 19th century, half a million people lost their lives in unrest between Hakka and Cantonese. As a result, most Hakka settlements, regardless of their size, were heavily fortified. The most common form of fortification in southern China is the rectangular “wei” or “wai”, and the largest of these is Crane Lake Wei in Longgang. It also serves as a museum of Hakka culture.
  • The fortified hakka village of Dawanshiju. It is also a giant and well preserved hakka-wei. It is similar in size to the Crane Lake Wei.
  • Chiwan Left Fort (赤湾左炮台), Chiwan First Rd, Chiwan, Nanshan (南山区赤湾一路). 08:00-17:30. Chiwan was one of the most important defense points on the Pearl River. Chiwan Fort was divided into two parts, the left fort and the right fort. Originally, there were twelve artillery positions, but today only the left fort is still in reasonable condition. On Mount Ying Zui, located more than 500 feet above the Pearl River, they had a large firing range. Their failure to impress the British ships at the entrance to the Pearl River was one of the first great disasters of the Opium War. There is also a statue of Lin Zexu, the Viceroy of the Two Guang, whose decision to end the opium trade was one of the triggers of the Opium War.

Other

  • Shenzhen Library (深圳图书馆), 2016 Fuzhong 1st Road, Futian2016 (福田区福中一路号) (Children’s Palace subway stop, lines 3 and 4). The Shenzhen Library and Concert Hall together form another architectural masterpiece in the city. Architect Arata Isozaki designed the buildings with a black granite back and a shiny, pleated glass facade. It is a must for architecture lovers. The library contains four million books.
  • Shenzhen Concert Hall (深圳音乐厅), 2016 Fuzhong 1st Road, Futian2016 (福田区福中一路号) (Children’s Palace Metro stop, lines 3 and 4), online ticketing 0755-82841888 (9.00-20.00). See Shenzhen Library above. The concert hall hosts internationally renowned artists in a breathtaking glass-covered setting.
  • Portofino (波托菲诺; Bōtuōfēinuò). Shenzhen’s housing estates are often built around beautiful tropical gardens with luxurious clubhouse facilities, and one of the most famous is Portofino. It is built around a surprisingly attractive imitation of an Italian piazzetta along a lake and has cafes, bars and restaurants without outdoor seating. Shenzhen’s best Cantonese restaurant chain, Laurel, rightly famous for its quality dim sum, has a branch there with outdoor seating. Be there early. On Sunday mornings, the lines for dim sum are long.
  • Shekou Sea World (蛇口海上世界中国,Shekǒu Hǎishàng Shìjiè). A commercial and entertainment complex that has nothing to do with the American marine animal park. In 1984, Shekou was booming and there was a great shortage of accommodations. Therefore, the cruise ship “Ming Hua” (originally ordered from France in 1962) was moored at the pier and used as a floating hotel. Only nine years earlier, it had found itself in the middle of a political typhoon during the movement that sent Deng Xiaoping into political limbo for the second time. No wonder he liked to put his own handwriting on it: “Sea World”, a facsimile of which now hangs in neon lights above the ship. Half a mile behind the ship, which now lies in a small basin, the land has been reclaimed. But the square in front of the ship is very attractive and is a meeting place for all strata of Shekou life. In the evening, one can eat and drink in the open air. The restaurant “Ex Ta Sea” on the boat has pool tables and table soccer. It is also possible to rent an e-bike or a three-seater bike. In front of the boat there is a small dome and around it there are stores. You can buy toys, magic tricks and various Chinese goods. Behind the boat is a golf course. It is a very lively place where many parties are organized. Almost every night there are people having fun, eating and buying goods. You can eat at McDonalds, KFC, Papa Johns, Sushi, Dunkin Doughnuts, Mexican, Starbucks and other restaurants. In the center of Sea World, there is a smooth tiled center where people ride their bikes, skateboards and scooters.

Museums & Galleries In Shenzhen

  • Dafen Oil Painting Village (大芬油画村; Dàfèn Yóuhuà Cūn), Dafen Village, Buji (龙岗区布吉街道大芬社区) (Dafen (大芬) subway station, Longgang Line). In 1988, a Hong Kong businessman named Wong Kong, who ran a company specializing in reproduction art, decided that there was no future in Hong Kong and moved to Dafen, although it is not located in the special economic zone. Soon, artists from all over China joined him, some with classical training, but many others were talented amateurs fresh from the rice fields. And so Dafen was born. Located in an ancient hakka village, the town consists of street after street of stores selling oil paintings, watercolors and embroidery. Look closely, as some of the artwork is machine printed and not handmade. Much of it is junk, but some of China’s best artists also have studios in Dafen. For a few hundred yuan, you can have an artist copy your favorite artwork, wedding photo, or photos of your family. Insist on “A” quality – it costs a little more, but it’s worth it. You can also get incredibly fast framing while you wait, as well as cheap art accessories. There’s a lovely modern gallery with works by Dafen painters on display. And don’t miss the Qi Xing Tea House, built around several 300-year-old hakka houses with beautiful courtyards.
  • He Xiangning Art Museum (何香凝美术馆; Hé Xiāngníng Měishùguǎn), 9013 Shennan Boulevard9013 (深南大道号 ; Shēnnándàdào) (get off at Huaqiaocheng Subway Station (华侨城), take exit C, walk west past the Intercontinental Hotel). 10:00am-5:30pm, closed on Mondays. China’s second national museum of modern art, after the National Gallery of Art of China. He Xiangning was the widow of Liao Zhongkai, the pro-Muslim leftist leader of the Kuomintang in the 1920s. Liao was to become the leader of the KMT after the death of Sun Yat-sen, but he was murdered by gangsters, probably hired by Chiang Kai-shek. He Xiangning then became an important leader of the left wing of the KMT and remained in Beijing after 1949. His son Liao Chengzhi was a leading communist and the head of the organization that originally controlled the area where the He Xiangning Art Gallery is located, Overseas Chinese Town (OCT), east of Shenzhen. Therefore, the gallery was built as a memorial to him. The gallery presents temporary exhibitions, mainly of avant-garde and modern Chinese art. Some of China’s most famous painters exhibit there regularly, and a visit is well worthwhile. ¥20, free on Friday.
  • OCT Art and Design Gallery (华美术馆), Shennan Ave OCT 南山区华侨城深南大道 (bus lines 21, 26, 54, 59, 101, 105, 109, 113, 204, 223, 338, 373, 390, Huaqiaocheng subway station (华侨城), take exit C, walk west past the Intercontinental Hotel). Shenzhen is known throughout China as the center of design, and the OCT Art and Design Gallery is where this art can be displayed. The gallery is housed in a restored industrial building and regularly presents exhibitions of industrial, residential and fashion design from Shenzhen and China. ¥15.
  • Guan Shan Yue Art Gallery (关山月美术馆), 6026 Hong Li Rd. Futian6026 (福田区红荔路号) (bus lines 25, 215, 105 Shao Nian Gong subway (少年宫)). Guan Shan Yue Gallery is dedicated to the works of Guan Shanyue, a modern master of the Ling Nan school of Chinese ink painting. The Ling Nan School (Ling Nan is the name of the Tang Dynasty provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi) emerged in the early 20th century, inspired by the Western-oriented Japanese schools. Guan Shanyue studied with the masters of this school and produced beautiful works in this style. He had revolutionary ties and became an art bureaucrat after the Communist takeover, until he was attacked during the Cultural Revolution. He donated his paintings to the Shenzhen municipality in 1993 and the gallery was opened in 1997. It holds exhibitions of Guan’s work and regularly holds special exhibitions.
  • Shenzhen Museum (深圳博物馆; Shēnzhèn Bówùguǎn), Jintian Rd Entrance, Shenzhen Civic Centre, Futian District (福田区市民中心东座) (Central Futian (Shi Min Zhong Xin Metro Station)), +86 755 82101044. 10:00-18:00, closed on Monday. In the east wing of Shenzhen City Hall Centre, the city’s spectacular open-roofed building. A must-see. The first floor gallery displays pieces from some of China’s most famous museums. Since its opening in December 2008, jade funerary objects, bronzes from the Shu Kingdom and bronzes from the Shang Dynasty have already been displayed here. On the upper floors, exhibits on the establishment and development of the special economic zone detail some of the most important events in recent Chinese history. There is also an exhibition on the history of the Pearl River region, including the incredible number of ancient relics unearthed during construction in Shenzhen, as well as an exhibition on the Qing and Republican periods in Shenzhen.
  • OCT Contemporary Art Terminal and Loft Area (OCT当代艺术中心), behind Konka, OCT (南山区华侨城康佳集团北则) (Qiao Cheng Dong subway station, exit A. Walk 150m back to Enping Rd).
  • Shenzhen Art Museum (深圳美术馆), 32 Donghu Street, Donghu Park, Aiguo Road, Luohu32 (罗湖区爱国路东湖一街号) (bus routes 3, 17, 360, 351, 300. Take the bus to Shenzhen Reservoir (Shenzhen Shui Ku) stop and go to East Lake (Dong Hu) Park). Tue-Sun 09:00-17:00, M closed.

Things To Do In Shenzhen

Other

  • Poly Theater (保利剧院), Baoli Wenhua Square, Houhaibin Road, Nanshan District (南山区后海滨路保利文化广场 ; Nánshānqū Hòuhǎibīn Lù Bǎolì WénhuàGuǎngchǎng) (Houhai subway stop, lines 2 and 11), +86 755 86371698, 86371699, fax: +86 755 86287308, e-mail: [email protected] is a more or less medium-sized theater, specializing in musical theater and often hosting Russian army theater groups. The futuristic silver egg-shaped building alone is worth a visit.
  • Great theater.
  • Shadu Song and Dance Hall.
  • Shenzhen Cantonese Opera Company.
  • Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra.

Golf

Shenzhen is one of the great golfing meccas of China and, indeed, the world. The city boasts some of the oldest golf courses in China and, along with Mission Hills, the largest golf course in the world, where top international tournaments are held.

  • Mission Hills Golf Course (观澜高尔夫) (at the intersection of Meiguan Expressway, Guanshen Expressway and Jinhe Expressway), +86 755 28020888. The world’s largest golf course with 216 holes. Each course was designed by a different world golf champion. The Golf World Cup has granted a twelve-year concession to Mission Hills.
  • Shenzhen Golf Club (深圳高尔夫俱乐部), Shennan Boulevard, Futian District (福田区深南大道), +86 755 3308888, fax: +86 755 3304992. It is one of the two oldest golf courses in China. When it was established in 1985, it was far out in the countryside, but now it is surrounded by skyscrapers and is a pleasant oasis in the heart of Futian. It is a favorite playground of the locals.
  • Shahe (Sand River) Golf Club (沙河高尔夫会), Shahe East Rd Nanshan (南山区沙河东路) (From Huanggang border crossing, drive along Binhe/Binhai highways to Shahe East Road). Another favorite among locals. It has 27 holes and a nine-hole night course that is lighted. The course was designed by Gary Player.
  • Xili Golf Club, Tanglang Village Xili, Nanshan (南山区西丽针塘郎村), +86 755 26552888, fax: +86 755 26559793, e-mail: [email protected] This is a private club owned and operated by the Kuok family, also known for the Shangri-La. To play here, you need an invitation. It’s worth getting one.
  • Longgang Public Golf Course (龙岗高尔夫), next to the International Velodrome, He Keng, Henggang Town, Longgang District, +86 755 28937188. This golf course is the idea of a former Shenzhen government official who wanted to make golf accessible to as many people as possible. It is an eighteen-hole par 72 course located on gentle hills in Longgang District. The founders of the course wanted to keep the green fees at 20-30% of those of commercial golf courses.
  • OCT East Golf Club (东部华乔城高尔夫), OCT East, Dameisha (盐田区大梅沙东部华乔城) (bus 53, 239, 103, 360, 364). This is the newest and most beautiful golf course in Shenzhen. It has two 18-hole courses, each with its own luxury clubhouse. It is located in the spectacular mountains overlooking Dameisha and Mirs Bay.
  • Century Seaview Golf Club (世纪海景高尔夫求会), Yangchou Bay, Nan’ao Town, Longgang (龙岗区南澳洋畴湾), +86 755 84400888. An 18-hole PGA golf course in a beautiful mountain and sea landscape near Nan’ao town on the Dapeng Peninsula.
  • Noble Merchants Golf Club.

Beaches

Shenzhen has some of the most beautiful beaches in China, many of which are pristine sections of the national park. In 2006, the Dapeng Peninsula, where most of Shenzhen’s beaches are located, was named one of the ten most beautiful coastlines in China by Chinese Geographic magazine.

  • Dameisha Beach (大梅沙).
  • Xiaomeisha Beach (小梅沙).
  • Jin Sha Wan Beach (金沙湾). From Shenzhen, you take one of the many buses (e.g. 364, E11 or H92) to Dapeng Station (大鵬站) in Wangmu Village (王母虛) in Dapeng. Then you can take a quick shuttle bus south to JinSha Beach. Entrance costs ¥10 and the beach can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays. The sand is rather coarse and not very clean, but it can be fun to go there and watch people. It’s also worth noting that from there you can see East Ping Chau Island (東平洲), which is only two miles off the coast and part of the New Territories of Hong Kong.
  • Longqi Wan Beach (龙栖湾).
  • Judiaosha Beach.
  • Shuitousha Beach.
  • Nan’ao Beach (南澳沙滩).
  • Xichong Beach (西冲海滩). The beautiful Xichong Beach is 30 minutes from downtown, just past Dameisha. This less developed beach is much quieter and cleaner than other beaches in Shenzhen. Head to Sun Sailing to enjoy water sports or to eat well on the spot.

Spas and massage

Shenzhen is a favorite place for Hong Kong citizens to get a massage. Prices are low compared to Hong Kong, but generally higher than elsewhere in China. A full body massage (洗脚 xǐ jiǎo) (where shoulders, back, arms, legs, and feet are often massaged) costs ¥25-50 for 60-80 minutes, depending on the location, time of day, and quality of the establishment. A full body massage (按摩 àn mó or 松骨 sōng gǔ) costs ¥50-150 for 90-120 minutes.

In recent years, many large spa and massage complexes have sprung up in Shenzhen. For an entrance fee of about. ¥100 (which does not apply if one buys spa and massage services worth approx. ¥160), one has access for 24 hours to a spa pool, saunas, showers, baths and other amenities, depending on the establishment, such as a gym or swimming pool. Paid services often include internet access, billiards and “multipurpose rooms” for rent with KTV/karaoke and games. Free services include drinks (sometimes only fruit juice) and fruit; food can be purchased for ¥20-¥50 per plate. For about ¥50 for 45 minutes (not including a ¥10-¥30 tip and often a 10% service charge), you can have a head, foot, leg, shoulder, back or hand massage, while reclining in one of the many recliners – two at a time if you wish – and watching TV, reading a book or relaxing. For about ¥150, you can enjoy a 90-minute full-body massage in Chinese, Thai or Hong Kong style, in a private room or with friends. Chinese medical massages and aromatherapy oil massages are usually available at a higher price. The masseurs come from different parts of China and are listed in catalogs with photos and statistics and can be selected by number. Only a few of them speak English.

There are many spa resorts at the border crossing points with Hong Kong, catering to the relatively wealthy population of Hong Kong who wish to relax. Free shuttles are available from the basement of the Luohu Customs and Immigration Building (not the LCC shopping center) to various spas, some of which also have themed waiting areas with price lists and photos of the facilities. In some spas, representatives are stationed to hand out discounted admission tickets (often ¥20) to attract customers.

Massages can be quite painful, especially on the feet! If you can handle it, you’ll notice the permanent benefits. But if it’s too much, you can go “Teng! Teng!” (pronounced like “tongue”) to express your pain and relieve it. It’s best not to reveal that you can speak Chinese, because you’ll immediately be faced with embarrassing questions about your salary, weight, etc.

Beware! In most hotels, prostitution is widespread. In some of the more seedy places, “massage” can actually mean sex. Proceed with full knowledge of the facts.

  • Oriental Palm Spring International Spa Club (near the Lok Ma Chau border crossing). After the renovation with a heavily Thai-influenced interior, it almost feels like a Thai resort, especially on the new second floor. This is one of the many great spas in the Futian area and is worth a try, even if you don’t like the Hanky Panky stuff. OPS is famous for its excellent service, massages and really good Chinese food. The food is excellent, even if it is a bit too expensive for local standards.
  • SLF International Spa Club (near the Lok Ma Chau border crossing). The Water Cube is brand new, so in excellent condition, and tastefully appointed, with an interior reminiscent of a luxury hotel. Although almost no one speaks English, the staff are obviously highly trained and do their best to be helpful – and sell massages that range from ¥48 for 45 minutes of reclining massage to ¥128-238 for 90 minutes of full body massage in the usual styles, 10% service charge and tip aside. The spa is visible from the main street outside the Lok Ma Chau border crossing and the subway station, and shuttle buses are available to the Luo Wu and Huanggang border crossings. Gym, fruit, full beverage menu including lemon iced tea and coffee, gym and video games are free; Internet, karaoke and VIP room rental, billiards, ping pong and of course food are charged separately.
  • Queen Spa (near the Luohu border crossing). This spa has aged like an old Las Vegas resort hotel, though it remains a popular tourist destination, not least because it has the remarkable advantage of having English-speaking staff on duty all year round and being signposted in a prominent place. The entrance fee of ¥98 is waived if one has paid ¥168 for spa services, not including the 10% service charge and tips of ¥10-30 per 45 minutes. A foot/head/leg massage costs ¥56/45 minutes and a Chinese massage ¥168/90 minutes. Amenities include a pool, gym, video games, ice cream, juice and free fruit. The common area is equipped with free Wi-Fi and five-minute Internet terminals. The spa offers a range of VIP services, such as private Royal Club rooms with a second semi-private pool and Rolls-Royce transfers from Luohu (¥30) or the airport.
  • Gold Coast Club, Building 1-4, Kaili Hotel, 2027 Jiabin Road East, Luohu (near Luohu border crossing). Beautiful interior, entrance ¥138 with 10% service charge. Party room rental for ¥60/hour to ¥120/hour depending on size, with karaoke, chess and games.
  • Sentosa International SPA Club (near Luohu border crossing). Shuttle available, offers in March ’09 four hours of Chinese massage for ¥108 and ¥88 for any three types of foot/head/leg massage etc. Massage.

Food & Restaurants In Shenzhen

Shenzhen being an immigrant city, all of China’s regional cuisines are represented. The restaurants range from small establishments for the homesick working class to opulent food palaces for businessmen and politicians who entertain clients. If you’re a foreigner, you’ll have no trouble spending ¥100 for a fantastic meal (but in Shenzhen, you can spend ¥35 or less for a fantastic meal). Do yourself a favor and enjoy the wonderful food and diversity of Shenzhen! Early in the morning, vendors sell cheung-fun eggs for only ¥2.5 per order (2 vegetables and 2 cheung-fun eggs noodles) – enough to keep you full.

Dining areas

There are many bars and restaurants in Shekou, the main residential area for Shenzhen’s large Western expatriate community. The Hua Qiang Bei area has many non-Chinese branded restaurants, such as McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and AijiSen Ramen.

Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) is famous for its many culinary offerings, including some of the best Korean restaurants in Shenzhen. All are within easy walking distance from Hua Qiao Cheng (OCT) subway station, located behind the newly opened InterContinental Shenzhen Hotel.

Shenzhen is famous for its “Eat Streets”, where you can both eat freely and eat well. These are cheap and cheerful clusters of restaurants that offer dishes from all over China. They are not particularly sophisticated, but friendly and fun, and some dishes are to die for. Different Eat Streets often specialize in dishes from different parts of China. Some of the most famous are listed below.

  • Bagua First Road Eat Street (八卦一路食街), Bagua First Rd, Futian 福田区八卦一路 (bus: 7, 13, 24, 105 Ba Gua Er Lu 八卦二路ou Kang Tai Wu Le Cheng 康泰吴乐城Bushaltestellen). This was the first Eat Street in Shenzhen. The food was originally Cantonese and was brought from Hobg Kong by homesick factory owners. Cantonese food is always good here, but you can find dishes from all over China. The queue is excellent in season (October to January).
  • Renmin South Eat Street (人民南路).
  • Che Gong Miao Eat Street (车公庙食街), Terra Industrial Zone, Futian District 福田区泰然工业区 (车公庙地铁站 Metro: Che Gong Miao). It has good Sichuan, Hunan and Taiwanese cuisine. There is also a good, though inauthentic, Macau-style restaurant.
  • Huaqiang Bei Eat Street (华强北食街), Huaqiang Nth Rd Futian 福田区华强北路. Food is available in the parallel streets and alleys in Huaqiang Bei. Hunan and Chaozhou are specialties. There are several stores specializing in Uyghur “nan” bread. An alley behind the main street is specialized in Muslim food.
  • Xinwen Rd Eat Street (新闻街食街), Xinwen St Xiangmihu, just behind the Special Zone Press Tower 福田区香蜜湖新闻街 (Xiang Mi Hu subway). This is where the journalists eat and it’s just fun to be there. Good food from Heilongjiang, Jiangxi, North and Hunan
  • Nanyuan Rd Eat Street (南园食街), Nan Yuan Rd, Nan Yuan Village Futian behind CITIC Plaza, 福田区南园路南园村 (Ke Xue Guan metro line 1). The Uyghur food here is very good. That means lots of lamb and kebabs.
  • Gangxia Village Eat Street (岗下村食街), Gangxia Village Futian 福田区岗下村(Metro Gang Xia). One of the oldest and most diverse eat streets. Specializing in “northern” food, Beijing, Shanghai, Yunnan (OK, we know it’s the south, but…..) and Muslim food Ningxia/Gansu
  • We grouped Shuiwei Village and Huanggang Village Eat Streets (水匡村, 皇岗村食街) together, as it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Cantonese is good here
  • Hubei Village Eat Street (湖贝村食街), Hubei Village Luohu District 罗湖区湖贝村 (buses: 2, 10, 29, 104, 205, 220, 223, 311, 312). In this Eat Street located in the heart of an old Cantonese village in the heart of Luohu, there are mostly fish restaurants in the Hong Kong style. But we also like the Muslim dishes from northwest China, which abound here.
  • Dongmen Food Street (东门食街), 2001 Jiefang Rd Luohu2001 罗湖区动门老街解放路标号 (buses: 102, 103, 113,203 . (Buses stop at Dong Men Zhong Lu. Take one of the pedestrian streets near the Dong Men Pedestrian Bridge to get to the shopping area). Subway: Lao Jie line 1 and 3). In Shenzhen’s most popular shopping street for comfort, there is also a lot of cheap and cheerful food. You can find the usual Cantonese, Szechuan and Hunanese, but also Thai, Southeast Asian and even German dishes. All chains are represented here.
  • Donghai Koreatown Eat Street (东海韩国城食街), East Pacific Gardens Boulevard, Xiangmi Hu 福田区香蜜湖东海花园东海坊 (Che Gong Miao metro). Shenzhen’s first Koreatown. There is a lot of kimchi, bulgogi and the rest.
  • Yantian Eat Street (盐田食街), Yantian Seafood Street, Yantian 盐田区盐田海鲜食街. Eat between the container cranes. The theme is Hong Kong-style seafood, supposedly fresh from the markets next door. You choose the fish from the tanks, it is prepared according to your wishes.

Restaurants

Budget

North of the Shenzhen Sports Center, next to the Blue Bird Cafe on Shahe West Road and Gaoxin South 11th Road, in front of the market, there are early morning steamed dim sum dishes, like steamed buns and Cheung Fun eggs. You have to order in Chinese, as neither English nor Cantonese is spoken.

Mid-range

  • The Kitchen Futian, Shopping Park Shop 144, Shopping Park Metro Station Exit B, Min Tian Road, Futian 深圳市福田区民田路购物公园北园公交车接驳站路边站台 (Exit B of Shopping Park Metro Station, at exit B, turn left, then go up 2 escalators, then turn right, then go straight down the narrow corridor and at the end of the corridor turn left, it should be one of the stores on the left. If you’ve made it to the main street, you’ve gone too far. It is right next to Club Viva. ), +86 755 25313860. Closes at 11:30 pm on weekdays and 1:30 am on weekends. Reasonable prices and good western food. The “super burger” is excellent. The owner is really nice and friendly and this will certainly rub off on his staff. The wine list is also very good for the size of the place, and there is good coffee. From ¥50 to ¥80 for an appetizer and from ¥70 to ¥220 for a main course.
  • Milano Italian Restaurant, Anhui Building, Shennan Ave, Xiangmihu6007 深圳市福田区(车公庙)深南大道号创展中心,安徽大厦,首层. Great Italian food with impeccable service and a superb wine list.
  • 10 Gong Guan (10号公馆), 10 Qiaochen West Road, Nanshan District10 (侨城西路号鸿波酒店). 07:30-23:30. Dim Sum Restaurant.
  • Laurel Restaurant (丹桂轩), 1/F, Portofino Club House, OCT Xiang Shan Street, Nanshan District (南山香山街波托菲诺会所), +86 755 26003218.08:00-23:00.
  • Xiao Fei Yang (literally: chubby little lamb). Lamb meat imported from Mongolia. It is a hot pot based on Mongolian cuisine. There are also other meat and vegetable ingredients for the stew on the menu. One type of hot pot is called yuan yang. The hot pot is divided into two halves, one containing normal, non-spicy soup broth and the other containing ma la soup broth (literal translation: “dizzy and spicy”).
  • Modern Toilet Restaurant, 2nd floor Jiefang Lu 1004 Dongmen Buxing (Laojie subway station). The first branch of the Taiwanese chain on the mainland. The restaurant has a toilet theme, with toilets as seats and busy toilet plates. The food is nothing special and costs about ¥25-35 per dish, but come after the meal with a friend and bring the camera for the ¥10 chocolate ice cream. The surrounding business district, Laojie, transforms from cosmopolitan to almost dystopian every night in the space of about two hours.
  • Jordans Bar & Restaurant, Shop 55 Rose Garden II, Shekou |255 深圳市南山蛇口南海玫瑰花园门口号, +86 755-26686040. Jordans Bar in Shekou has probably the best shisha in Shenzhen and offers a delicious selection of dishes from around the world. Specialties include Middle Eastern dishes, excellent thin-crust pizzas and delicious salads.

Splurge

  • Celebrity Club (名人俱乐部; Míngrén Jùlèbù), 28 Nongyuan Road, Futian District28 (福田区农园路号; Fútián Qqū Nóngyuán Lù), +86 755 83701003. Specializes in Cantonese cuisine and is known for its dim sum.
  • Prince Kitchen, 5-6/F, CITIC Plaza, 1093 Shennan Zhong Rd. Serves a fantastic mix of Japanese, Thai and Chinese dishes as well as steaks. Even though the interior is quite dark, you can tell it’s very stylish.

Coffee & Drinks in Shenzhen

Tap water is safe to drink in Meilin District and some nearby districts, but probably not in the area where you are staying. Use the free bottled water or distilled water provided by your hotel, or buy some. It is readily available in all grocery stores and supermarkets. However, if you buy water at ¥5 a bottle, you are literally being ripped off. Hepatitis is very common in China and is usually transmitted by eating with chopsticks from a common dish. It is increasingly common to use a separate set of chopsticks to serve in the bowl. Ask for “gong kuai” if they are not provided. Otherwise, travelers’ little stomach aches are the worst thing you have to worry about from a health perspective.

If you want to drink beer, Tsing Tao is a popular Chinese beer, or try Shenzhen’s own Kingway Beer (金威啤酒), brewed at two locations in Shenzhen and available at any grocery store, bar or restaurant. In stores like a.best, Carrefour or Wal-Mart, it costs ¥3.50 per can or ¥3.80 for a large bottle (you’ll need a bottle opener). 7-Eleven sells the Kingway for ¥9, and local restaurants for ¥12-35. Bars usually charge a little more than restaurants.

Shopping In Shenzhen

Major credit cards such as Visa, Masters and HSBC are accepted everywhere in Shenzhen. Note, however, that many stores only accept local Chinese cards and not international Visa cards, etc. Check in advance to see if they accept international cards. JCB and American Express cards are accepted on a limited basis. Cirrus, Plus and Maestro cards can be used to withdraw money from banks (but not from all ATMs). Bank of China ATMs, located in all subway stations, accept foreign cards). Don’t forget to activate your card to use the pin. MixC has ATMs for some international credit cards, where you can withdraw money against your credit limit.

The Bank of China, China Merchants Bank and many, but not all, Chinese banks accept foreign cards. Check with your bank to see if it has a branch here. Most ATMs are open 24 hours a day. Some only open if you swipe your card at the security doors.

In Luo Hu locations, cash is strongly recommended. In some stores, there is a 10% surcharge for purchases made with credit cards. Salespeople will guide you to stores that have credit card machines. In shopping malls, ask the cashiers if they accept credit cards before making your purchases. Only a few malls accept credit cards with passport control, but you may lose your discount.

Be careful when receiving change in large denominations, as people may try to give you Hong Kong dollars instead of yuan. The Hong Kong dollar is less valuable than the yuan.

  • Luohu (Lo Wu in Cantonese) Commercial City (just across the border from Hong Kong; Luohu subway station, exit A). Luohu Commercial City offers a very different shopping experience from Hong Kong and is therefore worth a visit if you are only in China for a short time. On several floors, there are many small stores all offering similar products: watches, jewelry, handbags, clothes and DVDs. These products are rarely authentic, they are often very well made and very detailed counterfeits. Many sellers push customers to give their money, but there is a pleasant bartering atmosphere. This is the place to go for Western sizes of clothes and shoes. You can also get a massage and nails done for a good price. But keep in mind that this is not really Shenzhen, but rather a Chinese interpretation of Tijuana. It’s rough, dirty and full of slobs. If you take the plunge and go another hundred meters into the city, you’ll find that your Luohu experience is not representative of the rest of the city.
  • Dong Men pedestrian area (东门步行街; Dōngmén Bùxíng Jiē) (Lao Jie subway station, exit A). This is the perfect place for clothes and small things. This place is better than Luohu Commercial City in terms of price and supply. Except for some big stores, there are only small shops. Prices are affordable, even for local standards. You can easily spend a whole day here.
  • Carrefour 家乐福. Probably the largest foreign hypermarket chain in China (nearly 200 stores). This French brand provides expatriates, tourists and Chinese people with all the local and imported products they need. You will find food, wine, household appliances, clothes, etc. There are 8 stores in Shenzhen, and you just have to say “Jia le fu” to a cab driver who will take you there.
  • Wal Mart. There are currently 8 stores of the American chain, but more are under construction. Also check out Carrefour and Sam’s Club (山母会员店). Sam’s is a popular shopping spot for Shenzhen’s ever-growing middle class, and it’s fun to watch. But be warned. On a busy Sunday night, they can be scary. Sam’s membership costs ¥150, and Walmart’s China headquarters is in Xiangmi Hu (香密湖), above a huge mall/cinema complex, which also includes a Sam’s club. Be sure to see the crocodile, of which there is always one at the fish counter.
  • B&Q 百安居. This British chain offers DIY items and merchandise for the home and garden. B&Q in Chinese
  • Decathlon 迪卡侬. French sporting goods retailer Decathlon has more than 30 stores in all major cities across the country. In Shenzhen, you’ll find 2 stores.
  • MixC Shopping Mall (Da Ju Yuan subway station, exit C-3). The largest (and by far the most expensive) shopping mall in Shenzhen. Highlights include: Olympic-sized ice rink, Golden Harvest Cinema, Ole (high-end supermarket with many imported products), Spaghetti House and Starbucks. Good option
  • Hua Qiang Bei (in the SEG building (赛格广场) at the corner of Huaqiang Bei and Shennan; Hua Qiang Lu subway station, exit A). Similar to Dong Men, this is the place for all things electronic. It is the absolute epicenter of the global electronics industry, and you can buy anything related to electronics here. This most famous electronic market has seven floors of small booths selling electronic items. The first two floors are for wholesale components, the rest are for consumer goods. There are several other markets on both sides of Huaqiang, especially in the small streets and alleys that run parallel to it. One of them, as we know, is dedicated to cover and security. If haggling is not your cup of tea, you can also get good prices for consumer electronics in Suning. Gome and Sundan at the north end of the street. In the streets that cross Huaqiang Bei, there are good small restaurants. There are also Starbucks. Most of the stores close around 5 or 6 pm.
  • SEG Electronics Market (corner of Huaqiang Road and Shennan Boulevard, Huaqianglu subway station). A huge market for everything related to electronics. The first two floors are dedicated to components (integrated circuits, wires, switches, etc.) and the other four floors allow you to buy any electronic device your heart desires.
  • Mingtong Electronics Market (a few minutes away from SEG Market), which offers watch parts, electronic toys and cell phone parts.
  • Jusco, the convenience store. Japanese supercenter and supermarkets. It has several locations in Shenzhen, next to CITIC Mall (中信广场), subway: Ke Xue Guan, exit D, at Coco Park (subway Gou Wu Gong Yuan) and Coastal City (海岸城) Nanshan.
  • KingGlory Plaza (Guo Mao subway station, exit A). A shopping mall on the model of MixC. It is quite upscale. It includes a cinema as well as the bar/nightclub “IN” (that’s its name) and the bar “Yellow”. On eight floors, connected by intersecting escalators, there is enough shopping to keep you busy for a few hours. The basements are home to many restaurants. Connected to the Rainbow Mall by a walkway. On the first floor, there is a Pacific Coffee.
  • Shekou (buses 113, K113, 204, K204 and 328 to the terminus (west)). The meeting point of expatriates with all that one is used to see in the West.
  • Shenzhen Book City, Fu Zhong Road 1, Futian District (Shao Nian Gong Metro Station (少年宫站), also known as Children’s Palace, exit C or D). It is a huge bookstore with a wide selection of books, music, movies, and multimedia products. It describes itself as the largest bookstore in the world. There is also a small store specializing in English books, Eon Books. In the DVD and CD section, more or less legal versions of excellent films are sold at prices slightly higher than those paid at street vendors. This often reflects better quality (but not always). Be sure to go on Sunday mornings, when there are reading contests for children ages 4-8. You may not understand a word, but they are cute.
  • Coco Park (near Gou Wu Gong Yuan (购物公园) subway station). New mega shopping complex. Sports, clothing, fashion, cafe, some restaurants, including “Norway.Oslo” with outdoor seating. If you’re bored, you can dine out at McCawley’s or the Mexican restaurant, then head to one of the many bars across the street from the mall. Coco Park is located near the Shenzhen Convention Exhibition Center.
  • Central Walk (is located one block from the exhibition center on Fuhua Road. Take the subway to Exhibition Centre Station, and Central Walk is at exit B. 5 minutes walk to Coco Park. ). Another shopping complex in Shenzhen. The main tenant is Carrefour, but there are also the usual stores, restaurants and a cinema. Three floors of stores arranged in a circle. Mainly women’s clothing. Starbucks and Italian Best Coffee (Illy Coffee) are located here. Subway (sandwiches) has also opened its doors.
  • Tea World Terminal Market (near Lo Wu/Luohu station, go up Bao’an street south, it is then on the right). A whole warehouse with many stores selling everything related to tea. A wonderful selection of everything from Pu’er tea to tea utensils. They don’t seem to be geared towards selling to tourists, which is very nice, but they still take the time to welcome you if you want to attend the tea ceremony.
  • Jiahua Foreign Trade Clothing Market, address: 2007广东省深圳市福田区华强北路号 English: No.2007, Huaqiang North Road, Futian District (route: take the subway to Huaqiang Lu and take exit a. Walk along Huaqiang Lu to the north and cross Zhenhua Road, pass NICO Womens World and between NICO/KFC and MOI/Starbucks, you will see a wide traffic lane leading to the market. (from shenzhenshopper.com)). It’s a series of stalls selling lots of cheap clothes. It is not as huge as Luohu Commercial City, but it is worth a look.
  • Shun Hing Square ((Diwang building)). On Shennan Road, in front of MixC. Walk to Da Juyuan subway station (大剧院). You won’t miss it, as Diwang Dasha is the second largest building in Shenzhen after the Kingkey Building. The mall is actually very small, with only a few stores on three small floors, but it’s located in a nice area with lots of other attractions, so you might want to check it out to see what’s out there. Starbucks on the first floor, McDonald’s in the basement.

Nightlife In Shenzhen

  • XPats Bar, FL1016 Street Lvl Eastern Sidewalk Central Walk Mall 福田取中心城大中华大厦对面. (Subway exit B Hui Zhan Zhong Xin). In Central Walk, top floor on the right sidewalk (outside the building) right in front of the Great China Building. Beer, wine and pizza are served. Sports broadcasts on big screen.
  • Base Bar, 1019 Shangbu South Road, Futian District1019 (福田区上步南路号; Fútián Qū Shàngbù Nán Lù) (Accessible from Ke Xue Guan subway station, not far from Party City). A place to listen to live rock music. Great atmosphere and beautiful interior decoration. Along the walls, there are nice chairs with three sides for big bands. Many bands play here until the early hours of the morning. Friendly waiters with “communist star” armbands. The entrance fee can sometimes reach ¥100, cocktails from ¥30 (the gin and tonic is excellent), bottles of Jim Bean ¥380.
  • Soho, Jiabin Road, Luohu.
  • Vbar (window to the world, (on the 3rd floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel).
  • Ibiza (Hua Qiang Bei). A two-storey European-style bar. It is very popular with foreigners. ¥30 for a bottle of beer.
  • The Gateway (LuoHu). Brewery and beer garden.
  • Yes Bar (LuoHu).
  • Ren Jian Du Hui In Club (人间都汇国际俱乐部), 深圳市春风路桂都大夏2F-5F(Upstairs CASH club), +86 755-82391111. This is a KTV that has a lounge with screenings on the 2nd floor and private rooms on the other floors. You can pay to have male or female guests sit next to you – for a tip. 200+ for the girls and 500+ for the gigolos. You can have them compete for you and choose the one you like. 900+ small room.
  • 3D Bar, Block B, Bar Street, Citic Plaza, 1093 Shennan Rd (Futian). Guinness is served on draught. There are also many other international beers (mostly in bottles). Outdoor tables along the sidewalk are good for a casual pint, indoor tables and outdoor tables near the front door are more appropriate if you’re looking for a more lively atmosphere.

OCT LOFT – newly developed art district at Qiaocheng Dong subway station.

  • C:UNION (subway to Qiao Cheng Dong, exit A, go right and turn right into Enping Street, between Sinopec and Konka building. Continue straight ahead and you will arrive in an inner courtyard. ). This is a great place to experience Shenzhen’s amazingly vibrant alternative community. Every Saturday night, different live bands from all over China and sometimes even from abroad perform here, followed by a DJ playing electronic music. The shows start around 8pm. You can also explore the surrounding area, whose restaurants and small art stores create a trendy atmosphere along the brick pedestrian street. Drinks are available from ¥30.

Coco Park – Futian’s bar street, with all kinds of bars located in the middle of the block.

  • The Nest, 144深圳市福田区民田路购物公园北园C区号 (Coco Park), +86 755-83388909. The biggest club in Shenzhen
  • McCawley’s Irish Bar & Restaurant (Shekou, Futian (CocoPark)). Bar with Irish decor and rock band. Offers a wide variety of Western dishes at prices ranging from 80 to 100 per main course. Beer from 25 per pint and up.
  • Viva (Coco Park). North of the Coco Park shopping center, in the middle of the beach promenade. Usually crowded with foreigners on weekends.

Shekou – The peninsula that stands out to the southwest of the city.

  • The Terrace, Seaworld Square, Shekou, +86 755 26829105, fax: +86 755 26828157. Live rock band and Thai food.
  • Key’s Bar (formerly Beatles Bar) (SeaWorld, Shekou). Pool table, DJ & live band nightly & KTV room.
  • X-Ta-Sea Sports Bar & Restaurant, Shekou, Sea World (inside the Minghua boat at Sea World in Shekou, next to the lobby of the Cruise Inn. ), +86 755 2686 7649. From Tuesday to Saturday, there is live rock music by the house band Kaktooz. Amenities include multiple TV screens, foosball, darts, pool tables, a menu of mostly Western dishes and free Wi-Fi.
  • Beer Paradise (Shekou). Offers lots and lots of beer.
  • Mary’s Bar (Shekou).

Stay Safe & Healthy In Shenzhen

Shenzhen is relatively safe by Western standards. It is no more dangerous than a major American city and violent crime is rare. Nevertheless, as always, a little common sense is required.

The main problem is petty crime such as pickpocketing. Be careful in crowded shopping malls, subways, buses, train stations and near theme parks – put your wallet in your front pocket.

Scams are not as common as in Beijing or Shanghai, but beware of people advertising businesses in the Luohu area (massages, watches, shoes, etc.), as they sell poor quality fakes at exorbitant prices. The “smugglers” at the Luohu bus station are not necessarily smugglers – there is no ticket office, so they are only there to guide you to your bus and do not ask for payment – you should buy your ticket on the bus.

You will encounter beggars, but they are limited to a few places. These places include border crossings, underpasses, shekou and Christian churches. Ordinary Chinese people rarely give money to beggars, so they focus on places where the customers are either ignorant or have just heard a sermon. They are not aggressive and are generally harmless. Give money at your own risk – beggars are controlled by criminal gangs and your donation funds organized crime – eating or drinking is better for them. In particular, avoid giving money to child beggars. In recent years, there have been several high-profile court cases against gangs that buy children from impoverished peasant families, mutilate them and use them as beggars.

Driving in China can be dangerous and care should be taken when crossing the road.

Prostitution is widespread – especially in the Luohu and Shekou areas. Scantily clad women who look available may be prostitutes.

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