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).
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.
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!
Luohu Commercial City
Garden City Center
Haiya Mega Mall
Huanggang, Dongmen & Bagua Food Markets
BAIA Restaurant Bar Grill
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.