When in Shenzhen


After a long trip to Hong Kong, you might want to take the train and visit Shenzhen for a day or two. This most cosmopolitan of Chinese cities is all about modernity. From great food, shopping and clubbing to stunning vistas across to Hong Kong, you won’t be bored. The city is large and sprawling but the metro system is simple, efficient and goes to most of the venues on your tick-off list.

In most cases, a visa should be obtained from a Chinese embassy or consulate before arriving anywhere in China. Certain nationalities arriving from Hong Kong can obtain a single-entry five-day Special Economic Zone Tourism Visa on arrival for ¥168-1,000. At the Luohu border, the office is on the Chinese side of the river, and is accessible by using the escalator signed “Port Visa” to the left just before immigration control. It is open 09:00-23:30 seven days a week and accepts RMB and credit cards (Unionpay, Visa and MasterCard).

Tour (4)

Shenzhen, China

Here are some of the list of tourist spot that you might to check out when you’re in Shenzhen:

Window Of The World

Shenzhen Window of the World is a microcosm of the world’s most famous landmarks. In one afternoon the tour takes you to more than a 100 models including the Eiffel Tower, the pyramids, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and the Taj Mahal. It’s even got a 4,000 square meter indoor Alpine ski run. Festivals through the year are regular, including a beer festival in the summer and a dance festival in December.  There is also an indoor ski slope, paddle boats, and a flume ride. Every night there are spectacular dance shows based on themes of Chinese and world history. Hundreds of dancers perform on the enormous outdoor stage. The performance finishes with a procession and fireworks at 9PM.

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Happy Valley

A classic fun park. It is a lot bigger than Hong Kong Disneyland and many would say a lot better. Divided into theme areas it has the usual fun rides. There are several levels of roller coasters, ranging from tame kiddie coasters to the Snow Dragon which holds you upside down with your feet dangling and the Shangra-La which has a 4G drop, and the Magic Castle which has carnival games. Try the flume ride but be prepared to get wet. And speaking of wet, the Playa Maya, which is open in the summers, is an excellent water park built around a Maya architectural theme. There are shows all day and well into the night. The park is crowded on the weekends and holidays, but there are few people on the weekdays.

Minsk World

A military theme park centered around the former Soviet aircraft carrier Minsk. You can tour the island, flight deck and second and fifth decks of the carrier. There is a short film on the carrier’s history in a small theater to the left of the entrance from the shore. Many key captions and display boards are in English, but Chinese is predominant. There are tour guides stationed at various exhibits that will give brief explanations of them in Cantonese only. There are periodic performances with a military theme on the flight deck and fifth deck. For ¥30, you can take a 5 minute motorboat ride around the starboard side of Minsk and get a good view of it that is not possible from the shore. There are also several exhibits of PLA military equipment on the grounds.


Fairy Lake Botanical Garden

This is Shenzhen’s most beautiful park and surely one of the most beautiful in China. It sprawls over miles of foothills, valleys, rivers and lakes before climbing half way up Wutong Mountain. Main attraction is the Hong Fa Temple (see entry above) but there are beautiful and peaceful lakes surrounded by teahouses and pavilions which could inspire great poetry. Don’t miss the azalea garden, the pertified forest, the paleontology museum or the medicinal plants garden. From the main gates to the various attractions within, there is a bus (¥3 each way) that will drop you near the temple (400 m away). Purchase the bus tickets before joining the queue. If you choose to walk instead of the bus, be prepared for a 30 min gentle inclined walk on awkwardly crowded pavements, next to jammed country roads. It’s also worth noting that on public holidays, weekends and great weather the parks and the temple will be flooded with the locals, becoming more of a family and fun affair, rather than a place of relaxation. Careful of the burning incense sticks at the temple!

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Luohu Commercial City

Mayhem rules here. Straight through Hong Kong customs, its five floors consist of almost every item of clothing, jewellery and pottery that you could possibly wish for. Most items are unashamedly fake of course, but that is part of the fun if you get a bargain.

Garden City Center

Garden City Center is situated in Shekou, a sub-district of Nanshan and features a floor area of 70,000 sqm and around 100 shops with fashion, dining and entertainment. In addition you will also find a cinema plus a gym here and of course lots of fashion.


Haiya Mega Mall

This massive mall feature over 30 big brand stores, supermarkets, an array of Chinese and Western restaurants, a bar street, sports center, a super five-star IMAX cinema and even a real-ice skating rink. Basically it has everything that a big mall normally does. You can easily spend a whole day shopping at Haiya Mega Mall.

Huanggang, Dongmen & Bagua Food Markets

A trip down any of these vibrant food markets will introduce you immediately to the spectacular and incredibly tasty snacks on offer in China. Noisy, scent-laden and colourful, your best bet might be to watch the locals and follow suit. While some of the food will undoubtedly be out of your comfort zone, the more adventurous you are, the more you will enjoy. A foodie’s delight!

BAIA Restaurant Bar Grill

Whether you are looking for a romantic or business dinner or a special occasion, the BAIA. Restaurant. Bar. Grill will be a good place to visit. Here you can indulge authentic Italian and Mediterranean cuisine in a sophisticated and relaxed ambiance.

Stay Safe

The main problem is petty crime such as pickpocketing. Be careful in crowded shopping centres, subway trains, buses, stations and around the theme parks – keep your wallet in your front pocket.

Being scammed is not so common as in Beijing or Shanghai but be alert for people touting for business (massage, watches, shoes etc) around the Luohu area as they sell below-standard fakes at inflated prices. The ‘touts’ in Luohu bus station are not necessarily touts – there is no ticket office so they are simply there to direct you to your bus and don’t require any payment – you should buy your ticket on the bus.

You will encounter beggars but they are confined to a few places. Notable amongst these places are border crossings, underpasses, Shekou and Christian churches. Ordinary Chinese rarely give beggars money so they concentrate in places where the punters are either ignorant or have just heard a sermon. They are not aggressive and are mostly harmless. Give money at your own risk – beggars are controlled by criminal gangs and your donation will be funding organized crime – giving food or a drink is more beneficial to them.

Prostitution is common – particularly around Luohu and Shekou – keep your wits about you and be wary of that scantily-clad, available-looking woman giving you the eye from across the bar.

3 thoughts on “When in Shenzhen

  1. thebackpackers says:

    I went to Shenzhen 7 years ago for a side trip after I visited Hong Kong. It was a horrible and disgusting experience for me. While aboard, I saw chinese people spitting with sticky phlegm inside the train (at the side of the chair where they’re sitting). Some of them smells awful like they did not took shower since Qing dynasty and you can see their face with dried saliva or crusty eyes after a good night sleep, hair with dandruff, lies and hair that got stuck to each other (gross!). At the boarder, trash is everywhere and you won’t even dare to use the toilet (ugh!). I’m not bashing or anything but I just want to share what happened during my trip. I would prefer staying in Hong Kong more rather than going to Shenzhen.


  2. Xezar says:

    Tour around the world in a day – you can visit many famous sites from different countries. The best theme park in the world.


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