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Shenzhen (深圳; Shēnzhèn in Mandarin, Sāmjan in Cantonese) is one of the most populous and richest cities in China. It is in Guangdong, China on the Hong Kong border about 40 km north of Hong Kong Central and approximately 100 km south of Guangzhou. Shenzhen has been growing like crazy since the 1980s, thanks to its position on the border with Hong Kong and a government program to encourage investment. It's a dynamic, booming city whose population comes from all over China. The city has become a center for international trade and manufacturing, especially electronics, and it's on the list of UNESCO Creative Cities as a design hub. Other draws for visitors include an array of amusement parks as well as extensive, scenic mountains for hiking.

Understand

 
Civic Center, Shenzhen Lianhuashan Park

In 1980, Shenzhen — then a group of farming and fishing communities along the Hong Kong border with a total population of a few hundred thousand — was designated the first of China's Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The plan was to create a sealed off enclave to experiment with market reforms and performance incentives without posing a threat or risk to the established political and economic system elsewhere in China. Shenzhen won the honor because of its proximity to the abundant capital resources and management expertise across the border in Hong Kong. Since then, it has been a real boom town and today is a bustling city of around 20 million. It's full of skyscrapers and factories, but also surprisingly green with lots of trees, parks, and mountains.

Residents will tell you Shenzhen is a young city, and it's true in two senses: the city itself is new, and it's also full of young people, drawn to Shenzhen from other parts of China by the city's job opportunities.

Shenzhen has one of the highest population densities in the world, and one of the highest per capita GDPs in China. Somewhat ignored by international travellers, Shenzhen is a popular destination for Chinese domestic tourists who have been attracted by its famous theme parks, but as the city has developed and become richer they are increasingly drawn by Shenzhen's famous architecture, shopping, bars, restaurants and active art scene. Shenzhen's beaches have become famous throughout China, and the city's scenic mountains are popular for hiking. Visitors are also starting to recognize some fascinating historical sites, particularly those related to the Hakka culture and Hong Kong's annexation after the Opium Wars, which are scattered throughout the suburban area.

The Special Economic Zone originally included only the central districts of Nanshan, Futian, Luohu, and Yantian, but in 2010 it was expanded to include the entire city. These four central districts, located along the border with Hong Kong, remain the urban core of Shenzhen and are home to most of the city's main attractions. This area is still referred to by residents as 关内 guānnèi, "within the border", even though the border controls between these districts and the rest of Shenzhen were removed with the expansion of the SEZ. The six outer districts (关外 guānwài) – from west to east: Bao'an, Guangming, Longhua, Longgang, Pingshan, and Dapeng – are full of green mountains and sprawling but still densely populated suburbs. The eastern districts have various historic sites, including old Hakka villages, and Dapeng has popular beaches. One other area worth noting is Shekou, on metro line 2 in Nanshan district, the expat neighborhood with everything Western that you might be accustomed to as well as the main ferry terminal.

Climate

Shenzhen
Climate chart (explanation)
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
Source: Wikipedia
Imperial conversion
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57
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

The best time to visit Shenzhen is October to December when the weather is pleasantly cool. Shenzhen has a sub-tropical climate with incredibly high humidity combined with soaring temperatures in the summer. For many, this is a season to avoid. The long intense summer also coincides with the typhoon season from June to October. Spring is cooler but is often afflicted by fog and heavy thunderstorms.

Rain tends to come in bursts in Shenzhen—it can go from cloudy to pouring or from pouring to drizzling in just a few minutes. So if it looks like rain is coming, hurry up and get wherever you're going, and if you find that it's raining hard when you're about to go somewhere, it's often worth waiting a few minutes for it to clear.

Get in

Visa

See the China page for more general information for entering mainland China.

If you are travelling from Hong Kong want to take a short trip to Shenzhen, you may not need a full China Mainland Visa. You can apply instead for a five-day 'Special Economic Zone Tourism Visa' at the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. This type of visa restricts you to Shenzhen, so do not attempt onward travel into mainland China with it. This visa is available for nationals of many countries; reported exceptions include nationals of the Philippines, Israel, South Africa, and India, among others. Most European countries are allowed.

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 (罗湖口岸), the office is immediately upstairs after clearing the Hong Kong immigration and customs. It is open 09:00-23:30 seven days a week and only accepts Chinese yuan for payment. It can be reached at +86 755-8232-7700 for enquiries.

The charge for UK passport holders is ¥469 for a five-day Shenzhen-only visa, while it costs only ¥168 for most other nationalities. Irish travelers are sometimes charged the same exorbitant UK fee when they are unlucky enough to get a border official who is unaware that the UK and Ireland are different countries. US passport holders can try their luck—some have had success, paying about ¥900. The same five-day visas are also available on arrival at the Huanggang and Shekou border offices. There is no visa-on-arrival office at the Futian border. The reason for the differing fees is that Chinese visa fees are set on a reciprocal basis.

Although the Huanggang (皇岗口岸) and Futian (福田口岸) borders are only a few hundred meters apart, they are different land crossings that connect to different points in Lok Ma Chau on the Hong Kong side. Huanggang connects to the 24-hour Lok Ma Chau Control Point, while Futian connects to the Lok Ma Chau MTR station.

Besides the five-day SEZ visa, you may also apply for a full China visa (single and double entry only) at the Luohu border. This visa can be obtained only between the hours of 09:30-16:30. Again, UK passport holders are expected to pay more and US passport holders are not entertained at all. It is better to apply for a one-year multiple-entry visa at any consulate in the US for US$140. For US passport holders, the length of the visa will depend on the previous visas that have been issued. The first visa will be double-entry, the second will be six-month multiple-entries, and so forth. If you have an old Chinese visa in another passport, it will be helpful to include the old passport in the visa application.

Getting a tourist visa in Hong Kong by applying in person at the visa office now takes 3–4 days and costs HK$150–1,100. A list of costs [1] is available. The old approach of arriving in Hong Kong and immediately applying for a visa is no longer worth the time and cost, as you will face expensive hotel bills in Hong Kong until your visa is granted. Macau's visa office is less crowded and the hotels are a bit cheaper, but it takes just as long. In general, only single and double entry visas are granted to visitors without HKID cards, although foreigners with previous entries into the mainland and Hong Kong student or work visa holders have been known to be approved for multiple entries.

Many Hong Kong travel agencies (such as CTS) offer a faster visa turnaround service for a fee. If you need to get a visa faster than using the public visa office method and are willing to pay then this would be your best option.

In addition, a travel agency has some capacity to 'negotiate' on the length of your visa. You might apply for a one year visa and have that rejected, however they may well be able to get a shorter one for you instead (i.e. 6 months) which is much better than nothing.

You can get a taxi van from Hong Kong International Airport to Shenzhen via the Huanggang border for HK$150. This fee includes ferrying you onwards to some destination within Shenzhen (e.g. hotels) after you have cleared the China immigration, but do clarify with the airport service counter staff first. Well worth it if you have a valid visa.

By plane

Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport is the closest airport to Shenzhen. Not far away, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN IATA) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG IATA) are larger alternatives offering more flights and destinations.

1 Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport (SZX IATA). Serves many domestic locations, as well as international locations in south and southeast Asia. There are also flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Seattle Tacoma Airport, Vancouver, Vienna, Moscow Sheremetyevo and Frankfurt.    

There are a number of ways to get from the airport to Shenzhen city and to other cities in the area:

  • Metro line 11 connects the airport to downtown Shenzhen in 30 minutes, running 06:17–00:18. Fare is around ¥10, there is also a "business class" car which costs three times as much. (The old airport Terminals A and B, which were served by Metro line 1, have been closed since 2013.)
  • Buses to various points within Shenzhen, including nearby locations like Airport East metro station (on line 1), other parts of the city like Yantian and Luohu, and a couple of border crossings. They run 06:15–24:00.
  • Taxis to central Futian are approximately ¥100 and to Luohu approximately ¥150 including tolls (running 24 hours a day).
  • E-hailing – there's a well-marked designated area for pickups from ridesharing (e-hailing) apps like Didi Chuxing. It's divided into several numbered positions (号位, hàowèi) so you can tell the driver exactly where to find you.
  • Airport shuttle bus - Price is ¥20 and it will take you directly to downtown Shenzhen. You should mark down the schedule, so as not to miss the bus. There might not be English services on the shuttle bus.
  • Coaches to Dongguan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Huidong and Huiyang (in Huizhou), Jiangmen, Shunde (in Foshan), Zhongshan, and Zhuhai and to several locations in Hong Kong and Macau. The "midnight bus" operates 21:00–03:00 with service to Nanshan district and to Dongguan, Huizhou, and Huiyang.
  • Ferry from the airport ferry terminal (Fuyong Ferry Terminal) to Hong Kong, Macau, Zhongshan, or Zhuhai. A free shuttle bus connects the ferry terminal to the airport itself.
  • There is a helicopter service from Terminal Marítimo in Macau to Shenzhen Airport, though it is very expensive.

Transportation from Hong Kong International Airport to Shenzhen

  • Ferry - There is a ferry service from Hong Kong airport to Shenzhen (Shekou area in Shenzhen, Shenzhen Airport Fuyong Terminal) without going through Hong Kong immigration or customs or the city. There is a booth before you get to immigration and you purchase your ticket and ask them to get your luggage transferred and then you go by bus to the ferry and then straight to China. It is cheaper, easier, and faster than going into Hong Kong Central or Kowloon. HK$220 to Shekou, $295 to Fuyong, $340 from Shekou to HKIA, $360 from Fuyong to HKIA (2019). See Hong Kong International Airport#By ferry for details.
  • Train - A cheap and quite comfortable way to Shenzhen is to take the Airport Express train from Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to Tsing Yi, then the Tung Chung underground line to Lai King, then the Tsuen Wan Line to Prince Edward, then the Kwun Tong Line to Kowloon Tong and then the East Rail suburban rail line to Lo Wu. This costs in total HK$60 (the Airport Express fare only, because free transfers are permitted along the way) and takes 78 minutes to Lo Wu.
  • Bus - Take the bus from the airport to Sheung Shui (Bus A43) and transfer to the East Rail line. The bus is cheaper (HK$30.90) and rarely full, so you are almost guaranteed a seat and a view of the outside for the whole journey. The bus terminus is to the right of the Airport Express station coming from Arrivals of HKIA. From Lo Wu you pass through a long corridor and a large international border gate (make sure to have your visa ready for this) after which you'll find yourself on the mainland, where the Shenzhen underground (Metro) will take you from Luohu station to the rest of Shenzhen.
  • Private limousine van service - There are companies that operate luxury vans from HKIA to destinations in Shenzhen and Shenzhen Airport. They typically involve crossing via the Shenzhen Bay Bridge Customs Point. Passengers are often not even required to leave the vehicle at the border post, with the driver handling all the passports and details. Costs can be from HK$200 upwards. It is a unique experience, being driven on the left side of the road in Hong Kong and then the right side once on the mainland.

By land from Hong Kong

  Visa restrictions:
In the wake of massive protests in Hong Kong in mid-2019, Chinese immigration has been requiring travellers crossing the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen to submit their mobile phones for inspection, during which your text messages, pictures and videos may be searched and archived by immigration officers on the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border. There have been cases where travellers found with media of protests in Hong Kong, or participated in such protests, faced extra scrutiny such as being detained, interrogated, leaving biometric samples, etc.

For most travellers, the fastest (but not the cheapest) way to get to Shenzhen from Hong Kong is by high-speed rail, which goes from Hong Kong's West Kowloon Station to Shenzhen's centrally located Futian station. It also serves the more out-of-the-way Shenzhen North and Guangmingcheng stations. A second-class one-way ticket is HK$80 or ¥68 (2019). High-speed trains run frequently from early morning to late evening, but get a ticket in advance if you can because the lines for ticketing can be long. Different trains stop at different stations; not all stop at Futian.

There are also border trains and bus connections. There are six land border crossings: Lok Ma Chau/Huanggang (落馬洲/皇岗口岸), Lok Ma Chau/Futian Checkpoint (落馬洲/福田口岸), Lo Wu/Luohu (羅湖/罗湖), Sha Tau Kok/Shatoujiao (沙頭角/沙头角), Man Kam To/Wenjindu (文錦渡/文锦渡) and Shenzhen Bay (深圳灣/深圳湾) which is at the end of a long and elegant bridge across Shenzhen Bay.

For people travelling to Futian and other destinations in Central and Western Shenzhen, you can take the MTR East Rail Line to Lok Ma Chau station – this is not the Lok Mau Chau/Huanggang border crossing, but the Lok Ma Chau/Futian Checkpoint crossing. The East Rail line connects to central Kowloon at Hung Hom Station. At Lok Ma Chau, it connects directly to the Shenzhen Metro line 4 Futian Checkpoint Station. The train follows the same route as the Lo Wu one but turns off at the last station. This service only goes till 21:30.

Lo Wu/Luohu is the other metro crossing point, operating daily 06:30-24:00. The last several trains do not go to Lo Wu, they terminate at Sheung Shui. Because Lo Wu is in Hong Kong's Border Restricted Area, MTR Eastrail is the only way to reach it. Lo Wu Station is only open for travel to Shenzhen or beyond, and a valid travel document is required to travel there.

The MTR East Rail Line commuter train which connects Hung Hom to Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau with several intermediate stops mainly serves Hong Kong locals. It interchanges with the urban section of the MTR at Kowloon Tong Station and East Tsim Sha Tsui Terminal. For those travelling to or from Hong Kong Island, it is recommended to transfer to Cross Harbour Bus in Hung Hom Station or the Tsuen Wan Line at East Tsim Sha Tsui.

The journey from East Tsim Sha Tsui to Lo Wu takes 42 minutes and costs HK$33–36.50, first class is charged double. However generally you can save about HK$7 if you get off and exit the gates at Sheung Shui and get back on again from Sheung Shui to Lo Wu. Trains depart every few minutes but some short trips are operated at rush hour, so check the destination screen before boarding. The train can be crowded during rush hours as it serves millions of commuters along the line as well.

For more details, check the MTR website.

The road border crossings (such as Lok Ma Chau/Huanggang) are accessible by cross-boundary coaches from Hong Kong.

By train

Shenzhen is served by several domestic intercity railway stations, some exclusively served by high speed trains. The most important are:

  • 2 Shenzhen Station (Shēnzhèn Zhàn 深圳站), Luohu (Luobao Line, Luohu Metro Station). Immediately north of the HK border. It's a fairly small, but clean and well-organized station serving mostly Guangdong regional trains and just a handful of long-distance sleeper trains to other major cities. A high-speed shuttle service runs every 10-15 minutes to Guangzhou East Station (with alternate services continuing to Guangzhou main station - both GZ East and GZ have much more long-distance connections) - it takes approx 1 hour and costs ¥80 one way. Tickets for this service are available from a separate ticket office or from self-service machines and there is a separate platform entrance.
  • 3 Shenzhen North Station (Shēnzhèn Běi Zhàn 深圳北站), MinZhi (Longhua & Huanzhong Line, Shenzhen North Metro Station). Modern station in Longhua district, with high speed services to Hong Kong, Guangzhou South and beyond to Changsha, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Beijing. Future high speed link to Fujian province has started trial operations. This station is not to be confused with an older freight station of the same name in Luohu district as still marked on some maps.  
  • 4 Shenzhen West Station (Shēnzhèn Xī Zhàn 深圳西站), Qianhai (Luobao Line (Line 1) Daxin Metro Station). A few services to other parts of Guangdong and some other Chinese provinces, all slow trains.  
  • 5 Futian Station (Fútián Zhàn 福田站), Futian (Longhua, Shekou, and Airport Express Lines (3, 2 and 11 respectively) Futian Metro Station). Fully underground high speed station opened at the end of 2015. Linked with Shenzhen metro and has direct high speed trains to Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Changsha, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Beijing  

Other stations, less convenient for most travelers, include 6 Guangmingcheng Station (Guāngmíngchéng Zhàn 光明城站) on the high-speed line to Hong Kong and and Guangzhou, and 7 Pingshan Station (Píngshān Zhàn 坪山站) on the line to Huizhou, Chaoshan, and Xiamen.

By bus

There are several long-distance bus stations - the most convenient is Luohu Bus Station - adjacent to the rail station and the border crossing. It has regular services 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 bus station employees will ask you where you are going and will direct you to the bus and you buy your ticket from the conductor on board. If you are going to Guangzhou it's important to check which bus station you will arrive at (qù nǎ ge zhàn? - lit. Go to which station?) - if you arrive at Tianhe or Liuhua bus stations then both have direct subway connections, but many go to Guangyuan bus station which is in Baiyun district and requires a long connection by bus to the city centre.

Watch out for scams at the Shenzhen bus station. For example, if you are traveling between Hong Kong Airport and Shenzhen Airport, you may have to transfer between vehicles when crossing the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. Your bus or limo company may supply you a sticker to attach to your shirt. When you cross over to the Shenzhen side of the border, a scam artist may spot your sticker, claim to work for the bus or limo company you are using, and demand that you pay an additional fee to complete the journey. To prevent this from happening, go to the counter or stall that represents the bus or limo company you are using. The bus or limo companies are aware of this problem but have no incentive to correct it, nor do the local authorities care, so you need to be extra careful when crossing the border.

By sea

There are ferries from Hong Kong (Central (also known as HongKong/Macau Ferry Port) and HK airport), Macau, and Zhuhai. Most services land at the ferry terminal at Shekou. The 8 Shekou Ferry Terminal is connected by subway and bus services to the rest of Shenzhen. There is further information available online: Hong Kong Ferry Info.

There is also a ferry port at Shenzhen Airport Fuyong which features a bonded service to HK Airport avoiding HK customs and immigration plus check-in facilities for some flights leaving from HKIA. There are also limited services connecting the airport to Hong Kong, Macau, Zhongshan, and Zhuhai.

Get around

Shenzhen is big and spread out, so places can be further apart than they look on a map. When estimating travel time within the city, don't just eyeball it—check a map app to see how long it'll take to get somewhere.

By metro

 
Shenzhen Metro

Shenzhen Metro (深圳地铁) is the most convenient and easy-to-understand method of transport in Shenzhen. Fares are ¥2-10, depending on how far you're traveling. Trains come every 3 minutes or so and the metro runs until 23:00. Stations are announced in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. There is a relatively high standard of public courtesy on the Shenzhen Metro. Some customs are unusual to foreigners; for example, people will often give their seats up to young children. Eating or drinking on the metro is prohibited. Ignore the signs for the "Priority carriages for women", though—no one pays any attention, so in practice they're just like all the other carriages. The Shenzhen Metro has 8 lines, 199 stations, and 286.2 km of trackage in operation, and is being rapidly expanded.

Shenzhen Metro lines are numbered.

 1  - East-west from Luohu (HK Border / Shenzhen Railway Station) to Shenzhen Airport East (a misnomer as you can't easily get to the airport from the station). Most convenient line for many tourist sites. Luohu Station is connected to Lo Wu Station of Hong Kong MTR through Luohu Checkpoint in Shenzhen and Lo Wu Control Point in Hong Kong

 2  - East-west from Chiwan to Xinxiu, best for ferry connections and Shekou Sea World

 3  - From Yitian running northeast to Shuanglong

 4  - North-south from Futian Checkpoint (HK Border) to Qinghu. Futian Checkpoint Station is connected to Lok Ma Chau Station of Hong Kong MTR through Futian Checkpoint in Shenzhen and Lok Ma Chau Control Point in Hong Kong

 5  - East-west through Shenzhen's northern suburbs from Qianhaiwan to Huangbeiling

 7  - East-west from Xili Lake to Tai'an

 9  - East-west from Hongshuwan South to Wenjin

 11  - East-west from Futian to Bitou stations, stopping at Shenzhen Airport

Buy your ticket at the ticket machines on the concourse. The machine will dispense a round green plastic token. Touch it on the reader on entering the station and deposit it in the slot on the turnstile on leaving. (Line 11 has the option of paying three times the regular fare to get to sit in the business class cars; in this case you'll get a yellow token instead of a green one.) The machines often reject old or worn notes.

The most convenient way to travel is to buy a Shenzhen Tong (深圳通) card at the ticket window. This is a stored value ticket, which requires a ¥20 deposit. Touch it on the turnstile reader on entering and leaving the station. There's a slight discount if you use the card instead of a token, and the card can also be used for purchases in convenience stores.

By taxi

Taxi meters start at ¥10 for the first 2 km, then ¥0.65 for each 250 m. Late night costs slightly higher. There is a ¥3 fuel surcharge added to all fares.

Taxis are unusually (for China) well regulated and managed in Shenzhen. It is very rare to have a driver give you problems or take you the long way to your destination. However, be sure that the cab has a licence prominently displayed in the plastic stand provided for this purpose on the right hand dashboard of every taxi. If there is no licence, get the next cab. Unlike in neighbouring Hong Kong, it is rare to find any drivers who speak English, so be sure to have the names and addresses of your destinations written in Chinese to show the taxi driver. As most taxi drivers are migrants from other parts of China and not locals, do not expect them to be able to speak Cantonese.

Taxi drivers are notably incompetent and terrifying. If you think your life is in danger, do not be afraid to get out and get the next taxi. There is little assurance that the next driver will be any better. If you have a major problem, threaten to complain. (Use the word "tóusù" (toe-soo) meaning "complaint".) It is not clear what happens when you complain but it is expected to be bad (usually a ¥200 penalty per complaint - 5 complaints and their licence will be revoked). On the receipt you should get when the driver prints out the ticket is a phone number and his taxi licence. Use this if you want to file any type of complaint.

Unless you are extremely familiar with local conditions or an expert Chinese negotiator, avoid like the plague illegal unlicensed taxis of the type which proliferate in places such as border crossings as otherwise you are just inviting considerable trouble. If you ask for a driver from a hotel it is likely they will get a private driver. Negotiate the price before you leave.

Blue taxis are electric and therefore slightly cheaper because they have no fuel tax. As of 2019 99% of its taxis are electric. Tipping is not expected at all, but simply round up to the next yuan.

Motorcycle taxis are very popular among locals, but their safety is questionable given their high speeds, defiance of traffic rules, and lack of anything resembling helmets or seatbelts. If you're adventurous enough to try one, you should of course negotiate the price in advance. As with taxis, the drivers are very unlikely to speak English, so have your destination written down with Chinese characters.

By bus

Local buses run everywhere, with prices ranging from ¥1–10. On shorter lines, the fare is fixed at ¥1 or ¥2 depending on the line; these buses are exact change only, with the price displayed on a sign in Chinese (look for a number followed by the character 元). Longer lines usually range from ¥2–10 depending on distance; fares are collected by an attendant on the bus who will ask you where you're getting off and can give change. Buses are comfortable and almost always air-conditioned. Bus stops are signed in Chinese and English. The next bus stop is always announced (in Mandarin and English) although it may not be particularly comprehensible. Buses usually stop at all stops so counting stops is a viable alternative for finding out where you are. You can pay with your Shenzhen Tong card (see Metro Section), and as with the metro it gives you a discount.

Free shuttles run from the basement of Luohu's immigration building to and from various attractions such as spas in the area.

By bike

Cycling is not as popular as in Beijing for example but Shenzhen is nearly as cycle-friendly as neighbouring Guangzhou, and much more cycle-friendly than most of neighboring Hong Kong, Macau, and Humen. Downtown is relatively flat and traffic is not as heavy as in other cities (thanks to a good road infrastructure, although bicycle lanes can be sporadic which means bicycles have to run in the vehicle lanes or sidewalks).

There is a bike path that runs along a new park the length of the Shenzhen Bay, opened up for the Universiade in July 2011. From there you can go up along the Shahe (Sand River canal) most of the way to the GZ Greenway without crossing any vehicular traffic. The GZ greenway is not well marked, so it can be difficult to find your way from Shenzhen to neighboring cities such as Guangzhou. Another small canal also runs north from the southwest of Shenzhen Bay Port, connecting to the bayfront park bike path.

Bikesharing systems Mobike and ofo operate in Shenzhen; bikes can be found throughout the city. See China#By bicycle for details on how they work.

Because of Hong Kong's obsolete Frontier Zone policy, you cannot bike between Hong Kong and Shenzhen at the Hong Gang port because the road is closed except to public busses and taxis. You can, however take your 20" folding bike across to take the green public light bus #75 between there and Hong Kong's Yuen Long for HK$7. Hong Kong's MTR is unusually expensive at border terminals, but bikes are allowed on the trains. 20" folding bikes are also allowed on Shenzhen Metro trains.

Talk

As part of the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong province, Cantonese used to be the primary language in Shenzhen. However, since the designation of Shenzhen as a Special Economic Zone, many people have migrated here from other parts of China to take advantage of its proximity to Hong Kong, and today, the migrant population far outnumbers the native Cantonese population in Shenzhen. As a result, Mandarin has replaced Cantonese as the primary language, and the city is a linguistic melting pot. In addition to various accents in Mandarin or Cantonese, the other languages of Guangdong – Teochew and Hakka – are fairly common, and you may hear languages from other parts of China.

Taxi drivers are much more likely to speak Mandarin than Cantonese. Nevertheless, due to the city's proximity to Hong Kong, most people working in the service industry will be able to speak Cantonese. Additionally, many second-generation descendants of migrants are able to converse in Cantonese due to assimilation into local culture.

As with elsewhere in China, English is not widely spoken, though English speakers can be found working at the major tourist attractions and hotels. It's a good idea to get a card from your hotel with the name and address in Chinese characters (in case you get lost and no one understands your Chinese). Get your hotel staff to write down the destination names for you on paper. You may also learn some phrases from the Chinese phrasebook. Though English is more widely understood than in most other places in China, outside of establishments which specifically cater to Westerners, few people know more than a few sentences.

The metro system has good English signage and station announcements, and most tourist attractions and the bus system have some amount of English signage. Chinese signage is almost always in simplified characters, despite the proximity to Hong Kong. All metro announcements are made in Mandarin, Cantonese and English.

See

Museums and galleries

Art and design

  • 1 Artron (Shenzhen) Art Center (雅昌(深圳)艺术中心), 19 Shenyun Road, Nanshan District (南山区深云路19号) (Shenyun Station, Metro Line 7), +86 755 83366138, . 09:00-19:30. A large-scale multi-function art center. Don't miss the award-winning Artron Wall, a 30-metre tall, 50-metre wide wall of art books, which is said to be the largest book wall in the world and features over 50,000 art books. ¥200 (standard entry fee), ¥100 (students and persons over 65).
  • 2 China Printmaking Museum (中国版画博物馆), Yuxin Road, Guanlan Subdistrict, Longhua District (龙华区观澜街道裕新路) (The nearest bus stop is the Yu Wei Zhong Factory (维重厂) bus stop, which is served by bus route m285. You may also catch bus no. 312 and get off at the Printing Making Base (版画基地) bus stop, which is about 1km northeast of the museum), +86 755 32960866, . 10:00-17:00, closed on Tuesdays. China's largest printmaking museum. Part of the China Guanlan Original Printmaking Base (中国·观澜版画原创产业基地). Free.
  • 3 Dafen Oil Painting Village (大芬油画村; Dà​fēn​ Yóu​huà Cūn​), Dafen Village, Buji, Longgang District (龙岗区布吉街道大芬社区) (Dafen (大芬) Metro Station, Metro Line 3), +86 755 84732622. In 1988, a Hong Kong businessman called Wong Kong, who had a business specialising in reproduction art, decided that there was no future in Hong Kong and set up in Dafen, even though it was not in the SEZ. Soon he was joined by artists from all over China, some classically trained but many just talented amateurs fresh from the paddy fields. And so Dafen was born. It is set in what was once a Hakka village and consists of street after street of studios, galleries, and shops selling oil paintings, watercolors, and embroidered paintings. Examine things carefully, as some of the artwork is machine printed, rather than hand made. Much of it is rubbish but some of China's best artists also have studios in Dafen. For a few hundred yuan you can commission an artist to copy your favorite piece of art, your 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 rapid framing while you wait and inexpensive art supplies. Drink tea with an artist in their studio, or learn a bit of Chinese calligraphy from an expert. There is also a handsome modern gallery exhibiting works by Dafen local painters.    
  • 4 Guan Shanyue Art Gallery (关山月美术馆), 6026 Hongli Rd. Futian (福田区红荔路6026号) (Children's Palace Station (少年宫), intersection of Metro lines 3 and 4. Bus routes 10, 14, 34, 64, 108, 111, 215, 322, 398, m105, m173, m183, m262, m459, m488, m511, m555, express bus 18 (高快巴士18路) and peak-time route 123 (高峰专线123路)), +86 755 83063086, . 09:00-17:00, no entry after 16:30, closed on Mondays. The Guan Shanyue Gallery is dedicated to the works of Guan Shanyue, a modern master of the Ling Nan school of Chinese ink painting. The Ling Nan (Ling Nan is the Tang Dynasty name for Guangdong and Guangxi provinces) originated in the early 20th century inspired by Japanese westernising schools. Guan Shanyue studied under the masters of the school and produced some very competent art in that style. He had revolutionary associations and, after the communist takeover, became an arts bureaucrat until he was attacked during the Cultural Revolution. He donated his paintings to the Shenzhen City Government in 1993 and the gallery opened in 1997. It contains exhibits of Guan's work and hosts regular special exhibitions. Free.
  • 5 Hechangyuan Museum (和畅园博物馆), Building 9, COFCO Yipin Lanshan, Danzi Avenue, Pingshan District (坪山区丹梓大道中粮一品澜山8栋) (Take a train from Shenzhen North to Pingshan, then go to the station's south plaza and catch bus no. m325. Get off the bus at Guangzu Park (光祖公园). Alternatively catch bus no. m427 from the Pingshan Railway Station bus terminal and alight at Kengzi Central Primary School (坑梓中心小学)), +86 755 89998116, . 09:30-17:30, closed on Mondays. A private art museum specialising in paintings, calligraphy and ceramics. Free.
  • 6 He Xiangning Art Museum (何香凝美术馆; Hé​ Xiāng​níng​ Měi​shù​guǎn​), 9013 Shennan Boulevard (深南大道9013号; Shēn​nán​dà​dào​), Nanshan District (Get off at Huaqiaocheng (OCT) Metro Station (华侨城) on Line 1, take exit C, walk west past the Intercontinental hotel), +86 755 26604540. 9:30-17:00, closed Monday. China's second national modern art museum, after the National Art Gallery of China. He Xiangning was the widow of Liao Zhongkai, the leader of the pro-Moscow left of the Kuomintang during the 1920s. Liao was expected to become KMT leader after Sun Yat-sen's death but he was assassinated by gangsters probably hired by Chiang Kai-shek. He Xiangning then became an important leader of the leftist wing of the KMT and after 1949 stayed on in Beijing. Her son, Liao Chengzhi was a leading Communist and head of the organisation which controlled the area where the He Xiangning Art Gallery is located, Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) in Eastern Shenzhen. This is why the gallery was built as a memorial to her. The gallery has shifting exhibits mainly of avant garde and modern Chinese art. Some of China's best-known painters regularly exhibit there and it is definitely worth a visit. Free.
  • 7 Hezheng Art Museum (深圳市合正艺术博物馆), Level 2, Building 7, Zhongzhou Huafu, Yu'an 2nd Road, Bao'an District (宝安区裕安二路中洲华府七栋2楼) (About 700 metres north of Lingzhi Station on Metro Line 5), +86 755 29991283, . 09:00-17:00, closed on Mondays. Private art museum established by businessman Li Weiqing in 2016. Items on display include paintings, calligraphy, ceramics and sculptures. Free.
  • 8 Chinese Longquan Celadon Museum (华夏龙泉青瓷博物馆), 46 Xin'an Er Road, Area 3, Bao'an District (宝安区三区新安二路46号) (About 1.6km south of Lingzhi Station on Metro Line 5. For a shorter walk of just over 200 metres, take the train to Xin'an Station on Metro Line 1, then transfer to bus 718 and get off at the Xin'an Movie Theatre (新安影剧院) bus stop), +86 755 29666448, . 09:00-12:00, 14:00-17:00, closed on Mondays. Maintains a significant collection of Longquan celadon - a type of green-glazed ceramic (also known as greenware) originating from the famous Longquan Kiln in Longquan. Free.
  • 9 Meilian Mahogany Art Museum (美联红木艺术博物馆), 348 Golf Avenue, Guanlan Subdistrict, Longhua New District (龙华新区观澜街道高尔夫大道348号) (Take bus no. m338 from Qinghu Station on Metro Line 4. Alight at the Shende Technical School (深德技校)), +86 755 23211626, +86 13544068121. 10:00-18:00. Free.
  • 10 OCT Art and Design Gallery (华美术馆), Shennan Ave OCT 南山区华侨城深南大道 (Take the metro to Huaqiaocheng (OCT) Station (华侨城) on Line 1, leave via exit C, walk west past the Intercontinental Hotel. Alternatively take bus no. 79, 101, 323, 324, 328, 365, 369, m123, m398, m433, m435 or m487 and get off at the Huaqiaocheng (OCT) Metro Station bus stop), +86 755 33993111, +86 755 33993222, . Tu–Su 10:00–17:30. Shenzhen is famous throughout China as a centre of design and the OCT Art and design gallery is where you go to see it exhibited. Set in a restored industrial building, the gallery holds regular exhibitions showcasing Shenzhen and China's industrial, domestic and fashion design. ¥30; free Tuesdays; ¥15 for students and teachers with ID and large groups; free for children under 1.1m and seniors over 60.
  • 11 OCT–LOFT Creative Culture Park (华侨城创意文化园), 2 Jinxiu Street North, Nanshan District (南山区锦绣北街2号) (Metro line 1 Qiaocheng East 侨城东 station Exit A, or line 2 Qiaocheng North 侨城北 station Exit B), +86 755 26936340 (T-Street), +86 755 26934406 (Indoor exhibitions). All kinds of contemporary art in a repurposed industrial area. Free.
    • 12 OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCT当代艺术中心), Block F2, South Section, OCT-LOFT Creative Culture Park, Enping Street, Nanshan District (南山区恩平街华侨城创意文化园南区F2栋) (Metro Line 1, Qiaocheng East Station, Exit A. Walk back 150 m to Enping Street), +86 755 26915007, +86 755 26915100, . 10:00-17:30, closed on Mondays. Free.
  • 13 The Sea World Culture and Arts Center (海上世界文化艺术中心, 设计互联 Design Society), 1187 Wanghai Road, Shekou, Nanshan (南山区蛇口望海路1187号) (Metro Line 2 (Shekou Line): Sea World Station (Exit A). Bus: 204, 206, 331, 332, 355, K105, K204 to Sea World Station), +86 755 2667 1187, . 10:00-22:00. Shenzhen's largest design museum, plus cultural mall. Located close to the shopping/entertainment complex of the same name (below). ¥80.
  • 14 Shenzhen Art Museum (深圳美术馆), Donghu Park, 32 Donghu 1st Street, Aiguo Road, Luohu (罗湖区爱国路东湖一街32号东湖公园内) (Bus routes 1, 3, 17, 23, 29, 52, 64, 211, 306, 308, 320, 333, 351, 376, m172, m373, m399, m407, m445, m508, Peak Time Route 5 (高峰专线5路) or Express Bus 97 (高快巴士97路). Take the bus to Shenzhen Reservoir (水库), Shenzhen Reservoir Bus Station (水库总站) or East Lake Bus Station (东湖客运站) and go to the East Lake Park. The nearest metro station is Tai'an Station on Metro Line 5, which is about 2km west of the museum), +86 755 25426069, . Tu-Su 09:00-17:00, M closed. Free.
  • 15 Zhizheng Art Museum (至正艺术博物), 5th floor, Block A, KK100, 5016 Shennan East Road, Guiyuan Subdistrict, Luohu District (罗湖区桂园街道深南东路5016号京基100大厦A座五层) (Grand Theater Station, Metro Line 1), +86 755 22284032, . 10:30-17:30. Claims to be the largest privately-owned museum in China. Visitors must show their ID card or passport before being allowed to enter. Free.

History and culture

  • 16 China Merchants History Museum (招商局历史博物馆), 21 Yanshan Road, Shekou, Nanshan District (南山区蛇口沿山路21号) (930 metres northwest of Shuiwan Station on Metro Line 2), +86 755 26887006. 09:00-12:00, 13:30-17:30, closed on Sundays and the first three days of Chinese New Year. The official museum of the China Merchants Group (招商局集团), a major state-owned corporation based in Hong Kong. Free.
  • 17 China Military Uniforms Museum (华夏军装博物馆), Building A, Bennishi Industrial Park, Dalang Garments Base, Longhua District (龙华区大浪服装基地奔霓诗工业园A栋) (About 100 metres north of the intersection of Langning Road and Shi'ao Road (浪宁路与石凹路交叉口). Take a train to Longsheng Station on Metro Line 4, leave the station via Exit B, then catch bus no. m301 from the Guotai Furniture City (国泰家私城) bus stop on Bulong Road (布龙路). Alight at the Shilongzi Intersection (石龙仔路口) bus stop), +86 755 27047745 (enquiries), +86 13510529252 (bookings). 09:00-17:30 (Monday to Friday), 09:30-12:00 (Saturday), closed on Sundays. Displays a wide variety of military uniforms from ancient times to the early 21st century. Free.
  • 18 Dongjiang Column Memorial (东江纵队纪念馆, East River Column Memorial Museum), 1/230 Dongzong Road, Pingshan Subdistrict, Pingshan District (坪山区坪山街道东纵路230号-1) (Take a train from Shenzhen North to Pingshan, then catch bus no. m426, m479 or HSR Pingshan Express Shuttle Bus 2 (高铁坪山快捷线接驳2线). Alight at the Pingshan People's Hospital (坪山人民医院站)), +86 755 84642252. 09:00-12:00, 14:00-16:30, closed on Mondays. A museum devoted to telling the story of the Dongjiang Column, a column of Guangdong-based Communist guerrila fighters who fought the Japanese in World War Two. All information is in Chinese only. Free.
  • 19 Nanshan Museum (南山博物馆), 2093 Nanshan Avenue, Nanshan District (南山区南山大道2093号) (Exit B, Taoyuan Station, Metro Line 1), +86 755 86700071. 10ː00-18ː00, no entry after 17ː30, closed on Mondays (major public holidays excepted). Free.
  • 20 Shenzhen (Bao'an) Labor Museum (深圳(宝安)劳务工博物馆, Shenzhen (Bao'an) Migrant Workers Museum), 6 Yonghe Road, Shangwu Community, Shiyan Subdistrict, Bao'an District (宝安区石岩街道上屋社区永和路6号) (Take a train to Longsheng Station on Metro Line 4, leave the station via Exit B, then catch bus no. m301 from the Guotai Furniture City (国泰家私城) bus stop on Bulong Road (布龙路). Alight at the Shiyan Bus Station (石岩汽车站) and walk from there. The museum is about 500 metres northeast of the bus station), +86 755 29732986. 09:00-17:00, closed on Mondays. Tells the story of the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who built Shenzhen and made it into the city it is today. The museum focuses on Bao'an district and celebrates the recent history of the city: Deng Xiaoping's "reform and opening up" and the subsequent fast-paced industrial development that has come to define Shenzhen. Fittingly, the museum itself is located in a former factory.

    At the entrance to the museum complex, the first building preserves the look of part of the factory, but that's certainly not all there is to see here. Go up the ramp to the main exhibition hall, which is full of artifacts from the recent history of industrial Shenzhen, including lots of personal items donated by factory workers to give you a window into their lives—love letters, dorm room decorations, and so on. Most of the labels are bilingual in Chinese and English. The second floor, accessible by a staircase around the right side of the building, has a display of lots of beautiful Chinese calligraphy.
    Free.
  • 21 Shenzhen Museum (深圳博物馆; Shēn​zhèn​ Bó​wù​guǎn​), East Entrance, Wing A, Shenzhen Civic Centre, Futian District (福田区市民中心A区东门) (Civic Center Station, intersection of Metro Lines 2 and 4), +86 755 88125550, . 10:00-18:00, closed Monday. In Wing A of the Shenzhen Civic Centre, the City Government's spectacular wing-roofed building. This is a must-see. The ground floor gallery has temporary exhibits from some of the most famous museums of China, which have ranged from jade burial suits to Shang Dynasty bronzes to contemporary Chinese painting. The upper floors have exhibits of the history of Shenzhen: the incredible number of ancient relics unearthed during construction; an exhibit of the Qing and Republican periods in the area, including a recreated street from traditional Shenzhen complete with shops and wax figures; and the founding and development of the SEZ, revealing details of some of the most significant events of recent Chinese history. Free.    
  • 22 Shenzhen Piano Museum (深圳钢琴博物馆), Sector C, Level 4, Shenzhen Musical Instrument Mall, Guo Qi Building, 1002 Shangbu Road South, Futian District (福田区上步南路1002号国企大厦深圳乐器城四楼C区) (Exit D, Science Museum Station, Metro Line 1), +86 755 22197080. 09:00-18:00, closed on the eve of Chinese New Year. Displays a collection of 46 old pianos obtained from various parts of the world. Free.
  • 23 Yuezhong Museum of Historical Images (越众历史影像馆), Building 4, Yuezhong Industrial Park, 1106 Honggang North Road, Qingshui River Subdistrict, Luohu District (罗湖区清水河街道红岗北路1106号越众产业园4栋) (The nearest bus stop is Qinghu Shanzhuang (青湖山庄), which is served by bus routes 8, 9, 58, 61, 85, 222, 381, 385, m105, m123, m194, m464 and m509. You can catch bus no. 222 from Caopu Station on Metro Line 3), +86 755 83064687, . 10:00-17:00, closed on Mondays. Free.

Science and technology

  • 24 Ebohr Timepiece Culture Museum (依波钟表文化博物馆, Ebohr Horologe Culture Museum), Ebohr Building, Jin'an Road, Gongming Subdistrict, Guangming New District (光明新区公明街道金安路依波大厦) (Bus routes b960, m366, m411 and m490. You may catch bus no. m490 from Songgang Station on Metro Line 11), +86 755 26640260. Groups of 10 or more people may visit the museum between 09:00 and 17:00 on any day of the week. Solo visitors and small groups (with less than 10 people) may only visit the museum at 10:00 on Saturdays. Owned and operated by Ebohr, one of China's leading luxury watch manufacturers. Solo visitors and small groups (with less than 10 people) are required to make an appointment before visiting (this can be done either by phone or on WeChat). Visitation time is limited to 60-90 minutes and visitors are expected to follow the directions of their tour guide at all times. ¥30 (the fee is waived if you make an appointment on WeChat).
  • 25 Shekou Maritime Museum (蛇口海洋博物), Level 2, Shekou Building Annexe, Shiyun Road, Shekou Subdistrict, Nanshan District (南山区蛇口街道石云路蛇口大厦附楼二楼) (Take a train to Dongjiaotou Station on Metro Line 2, leave the station via Exit A and walk 500 metres down Nanshui Road. The museum is at the intersection of Nanshui Road and Shiyun Road), +86 13902968049. 09:30-12:30, 14:30-18:30, closed on Mondays. A small museum with exhibits on marine biology. Free.
  • 26 Shenzhen Gas Science Museum (深圳燃气科学馆), West Side, Level 1, Shenzhen Gas Building, 268 Mei'ao First Road, Futian District (福田区梅坳一路268号深燃大厦1楼西侧) (Exit B, Shangmeilin Station, Metro Line 4), +86 755 88660930. Open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Wednesdays and Saturdays are reserved for school groups. All other visitors must visit the museum on a Sunday. Entry is restricted to the following times: 09:00-10:00, 10:30-11:30,15:00-16:00,16:00-17:00. The first museum in China to be exclusively devoted to the science of gas. Free.
  • 27 Shenzhen Industrial Museum (深圳市工业展览馆), Floors 2 to 10, Yellow Tower, Wing B, Shenzhen Civic Center, Fuzhong San Road, Futian District (福田区福中三路市民中心B区黄塔2-10楼) (Civic Center Station, intersection of Metro Lines 2 and 4. In the same building complex as the Shenzhen Museum. Look for the Yellow Tower), +86 755 88121304 (enquiries), +86 755 88121362 (group bookings), +86 755 88121367 (complaints and suggestions), . 09:30-17:30, closed on Sundays and public holidays. Groups are required to make a booking before visiting. No booking is required for solo visitors. Free.
  • 28 Shenzhen Paleontological Museum (深圳古生物博物馆), 160 Fairy Lake Road, Liantang, Luohu District (罗湖区莲塘仙湖路160号) (The museum is in the middle of the Fairy Lake Botanical Gardens (see listing below). To get to the gardens, take bus no. 202, 220, m182 or m526 and get off at the Fairy Lake Botanical Gardens bus terminal (仙湖植物园总站). You can catch bus no. 202 from outside Exit B of Yijing Station on Metro Line 5. You will find the museum on the north side of the lake), +86 755 25702716. 09:00-17:00 (Tuesday to Friday), 09:30-17:30 (weekends and public holidays), no entry during last 30 minutes, closed on Mondays. Free.
  • 29 Shenzhen Science Museum (深圳科学馆), 1003 Shangbu Middle Road, Futian District (福田区上步中路1003号) (Exit A, Science Museum Station, Metro Line 1), +86 755 83268442. 10:00-17:00 (Wednesday to Friday), 09:30-17:00 (weekends and public holidays), closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Free.
  • 30 Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum (深圳中医药博物馆, 龙岗区中医药博物馆 Longgang District Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine), Level 2, Science Education Building, Longgang District Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1 Dayun Road, Tiyu Xincheng, Longgang District (龙岗区体育新城大运路1号龙岗区中医院科教楼2楼) (Bus routes m219, m280, m315, m320, m322, m367a, m367b, m386 and Express Bus 168. You can catch bus nos. m320 and m322 from outside Ailian Station on Metro Line 3), +86 755 28338833. 08:00-12:00, 14:00-17:00, closed on Saturdays. Free.

Religious structures

 
Part of Tianhou Temple
  • 31 Hong Fa Buddhist Temple (弘法寺; Hóng​ Fǎ Sì​). Not particularly old but it is always packed with pilgrims from all over China and beyond. The temple is spectacularly sited half-way up Wutong Mountain in the Fairy Lake Botanical Garden - Southeast Gate (仙湖植物园站), Shenzhen's largest and most beautiful park.    
  • 32 Tianhou Temple (赤湾天后宫 Chìwān Tiānhòu Gōng), 赤湾六路9号 Chìwān Sixth Road 9. This is one of China's biggest and most splendid temples to Tianhou, the Goddess of Heaven who guards over sailors and fishermen. It was founded in the early fifteenth century by the famous eunuch admiral Zheng He who, during one of his voyages of discovery, was saved from shipwreck here during a typhoon by the intercession of Tianhou, this despite the fact that Zheng He was a Muslim. It has been restored many times during its lifetime, most recently during the 1980s after the ravages of the Cultural Revolution. At one time it was the biggest temple to Tianhou in existence. It is built in the style of the Ming Dynasty (14th to 17th centuries) and is a magnificent example of this style. ¥15, cash only.  

Historical sites

People, even long time Shenzhen residents, will confidently tell you that "Shenzhen has no history". However there is a surprising number of sites, some of great national significance, dating back to the twelfth century. Shenzhen, it seems, was critically involved in a number of historical events, especially the collapse and final stand of the Southern Song Dynasty (13th century), the last stand of the Ming Dynasty (17th century) and the Opium War (19th century).

  • 33 Tomb of the Young Song Emperor Zhaobing (宋少帝陵; Sòng​ Shǎo​ Dì​ Líng​), Chiwan (赤湾​). Closed for cleanup in late 2018, apparently due to typhoon damage and fallen trees. It's not clear when it will reopen. This is putatively the tomb of the last Emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty (d. 1279). There is little doubt that he died in this general area after fleeing from the Mongols who had taken the dynastic capital Hangzhou. Modern knowledge of the tomb dates back to the latter years of the 19th century when the Zhao (Cantonese Chiu) Clan of Hong Kong (Zhao was the Song Imperial surname) researched the tomb and declared it to be in Chiwan near the great Tianhou Temple. Certainly there are folk tales of the Emperor's demise current in the Chiwan area and very large numbers of people claiming Imperial descent in the district. But the claims remain debatable. The tomb was restored in the early 20th century and subsequently fell into disrepair. It was rediscovered by a military cook during the Cultural Revolution but left alone. The Shenzhen City Government further restored it in the 1980s. It is in the form of a normal Chinese upper class tomb and the focus of much popular devotion.
  • 34 Xin'an (Nantou) Ancient City (新安(南头)古城; Xīn​'ān​ (Nán​tóu​) Gǔ​chéng​), Nanshan (main entrance is at Shennan Boulevard 深南大道 and Nanxin Road 南新路). This is the original county town for the county which used to encompass Hong Kong and Shenzhen. There has been a town on this site since the 4th century. Much of the old town has been demolished and replaced by residential buildings in the "urban village" style, but Xin'an has still maintained the flavour of a Cantonese town throughout the ages with vibrant street life along narrow streets. The Ming Dynasty wall and gate remain magnificently preserved as do the Guan Yu Temple outside the gates, the naval and civil headquarters, a silver shop, an opium den, and a Qing dynasty government building. If you can find it, visit the 18th century "Flower Street" or street of brothels, a narrow alley with an 18th-century official stele denouncing the evils of prostitution. Just outside the town (to the southwest, near the temple) is an archeological museum. The various well-preserved buildings have information about the area's history, but almost all of it is in Chinese, though the museum has a booklet with information in English if you ask. Free (including the museum and historic buildings).  
  • 35 Dapeng Ancient Fort (大鹏所城; Dà​péng​ Suǒ​chéng​), 大鹏街道鹏城社区南门围二巷八号 (Direct buses to the fort are available from the public bus terminal outside Shenzhen North Station. Look for Dapeng Holiday Route No. 3 (大鹏假日专线3路)), +86 755-88883333, . Mon-Fri, 09:30-18:00. Dapeng Fort is yet another amazingly well-preserved Ming Dynasty Fort. Founded in 1394, it shared with various other forts the duties of guarding the entrances to the Pearl River and was prominent in the defense of the river during the Opium War. It is extremely well preserved and undergoing restoration as a museum. The old buildings in the adjacent village have been turned into shops selling souvenirs, food, and clothes, and nearby is a popular beach and a huge Buddhist temple (东山寺; Dōngshān Sì). Free.    
  • 36 Longgang Museum of Hakka Culture (Crane Lake Fortified Hakka Village, 龙岗街道客家民俗博物馆, 鹤湖新居), No. 1 Luoruihe Street North, Nanlian Community, Longgang Subdistrict, Longgang District (龙岗区龙岗街道南联社区罗瑞合北街一号) (Nanlian Metro station, Line 3 – take exit C1, go straight, and turn left at the big traditional gate), +86 755 84296258, . 09:00-17:30. Half of Shenzhen City was originally of Hakka ethnicity. This came about after the 17th-century Kangxi Emperor depopulated the coastline to a depth of 30 km as part of his campaign against Ming loyalists in Taiwan. When the coast was repopulated, the Hakka (descendants of 13th-century immigrants from north China) were quickest to come. Relations between the Hakka and the Cantonese were often strained. During the 19th century, half a million people lost their lives in civil strife between the Hakka and the Cantonese. Accordingly, most Hakka settlements of any size were heavily fortified. The most common form of fortification in southern China is the "wei" (围 wéi) and one of the biggest of them anywhere is the Crane Lake Wei in Longgang. It doubles as a semi-open-air museum of Hakka culture, which is very quiet without too many visitors, maybe because it's located way out in Shenzhen's suburbs. ¥10.    
  • 37 Dawanshiju Hakka Fortified Village (大万世居 Dàwànshìjū). 10:00–18:00. Similarly a well-preserved and enormous Hakka wei. It is of a similar scale to the Crane Lake wei. Free.
 
A traditional building in Gankeng Hakka Small Town
  • 38 Gankeng Hakka Small Town (甘坑客家小镇 Gānkēng Kèjiā xiǎo zhèn), Gankeng Village, Jihua Subdistrict, Longgang District 龙岗区吉华街道甘坑村 (Shangshuijing 上水径 Metro Station, then take bus 980 to the stop named after the town). Another Hakka town with lots of traditional buildings: walk down the old narrow alleys, see the museums of household tools and artifacts, go inside the huge round house on the hill with views overlooking the town, and sample Hakka cuisine from various shops and restaurants. Free (including the museums).
  • 39 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 prime defensive spots on the Pearl River. The Chiwan Fort was divided into two parts, the Left Fort and the Right Fort. Originally they had twelve gun positions but now only the Left Fort is in any reasonable degree of repair. Perched on Ying Zui Mountain, at over 160 m (500 feet) above the Pearl River, they commanded a full field of fire. Their failure to make any impression on British ships as they entered the Pearl was one of the first great disasters of the Opium War. There is also a statue of Lin Zexu, the Viceroy of the Two Guangs, whose decision to try to destroy the opium trade was one of the causative factors leading to the Opium War.    

Other

  • 40 Shenzhen Library (深圳图书馆), 2016 Fuzhong 1st Road, Futian (福田区福中一路2016号) (Children's Palace Metro stop, Lines 3 and 4). Shenzhen Library and Concert Hall together make up another of the architectural masterpieces of the city. Architect Arata Isozaki designed the buildings with a back of almost featureless black granite and a front of brilliant folded glass. It is a must see for architecture freaks. The library has four million books.
  • 41 Portofino (波托菲诺; Bō​tuō​fēi​nuò​). Shenzhen housing developments are often built around beautiful tropical gardens with luxurious club house amenities and one of the most famous of these is Portofino. It is built around a surprisingly attractive imitation of an Italian Piazzetta along a lake which has cafes, bars and restaurants without outdoor seating. Shenzhen's best Cantonese restaurant chain, Laurel, justly famed for the quality of its dim sum, has a branch with outdoor seating here. Be sure to be early. Sunday morning dim sum queues are long.
  • 42 Shekou Sea World (蛇口海上世界, Shé​kǒu​ Hǎi​shàng Shì​jiè​), 1128 Wanghai Road, Shekou 蛇口望海路1128号 (Sea World metro station, exit A). A shopping/entertainment complex which has nothing to do with the US marine animal park. In 1984 Shekou was booming and there was a serious shortage of accommodation. To deal with this, the cruise ship "Ming Hua" (commissioned in 1962 in France) was moored alongside the dock and used as a floating hotel. Only nine years before it had been the focus of a political typhoon during the movement which saw Deng Xiaoping sent for the second time into political limbo. No wonder that he was happy to write an inscription in his own handwriting, "Sea World", a facsimile of which now presides in neon over the ship. The land has now been reclaimed for half a mile beyond the ship which now sits in a shallow pool. But the attractive square in front of the ship is surrounded by restaurants and coffee shops designed to evoke foreign lands like Europe, and successfully so, with the result that it's very popular among Shenzhen's expats. A restaurant in the ship named The Ex Ta Sea has pool tables and table football. You can also rent an electronic animal ride or a triple seated bike. In front of the ship there is a little dome, and there are shops all around the edge. You can buy toys, magic tricks, and various goods. Behind the ship, there is a golf course. This is a very happening place where a lot of celebrations are held. Various international restaurants like McDonald's, KFC, Papa Johns, sushi, Dunkin Doughnuts, Mexican, Starbucks. In the center of Sea World is a smooth tiled center where people ride their bikes, skateboards and scooters.
  • 43 Ping An Finance Centre (平安国际金融中心, Píng'ān Guójì Jīnróng Zhōngxīn), 5033 Yitian Road, Futian District 福田区益田路5033号. 09:00–22:00, last entry at 21:15. At 600 meters, this is the fourth-tallest building in the world. Visitors can go up to the 550-meter-high observation deck on the 116th floor. ¥200 for adults; ¥100 for children, seniors, and students with valid ID; free for children under 6.    

Do

Amusement parks

Shenzhen has many theme parks, which are popular with Chinese tourists, many of whom go to Shenzhen mainly for these. Reactions of Western visitors vary widely, from enjoying them immensely to finding them amazingly tacky. Most of these are operated by Overseas Chinese Town (OCT, 华侨城, Huáqiáochéng), and you can get discounts to the parks using the Smart OCT (花橙旅游) website or app (only in Chinese).

 
Nightly show, Window of the World
  • 1 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) Metro Station, Line 1 (Luobao Line), Exit J). 09:00-22:00. Travel around the world in one day. This 480,000-m² park has a beautiful natural landscapes and wonderful lighting at night. Inside, you can climb the 1:3 scale Eiffel Tower, go inside the Egyptian Pyramids, see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Mount Fuji, the Buckingham Palace and other famous landmarks. Inside Mount Fuji there's an amusement ride called Fast Fuji, where you snowboard down Mount Fuji and the chairs move with the movie. Inside Mount Rushmore there's also an amusement ride which is similar to Fast Fuji, and its name is Flying Over America, where you see the landmarks of the US on a floating chair. 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 21:00. ¥220 for adults over 1.5m, half price for children between 1.2m and 1.5m and seniors between 65 and 70 years of age, free for children under 1.2m and seniors over 70 years.
  • 2 Splendid China & Chinese Folk Culture Village (锦绣中华, 中国民俗文化村; Jǐnxiù Zhōnghuá, Zhōngguó Mín​sú​ Wén​huà Cūn​​) (OCT Metro Station, exit D, walk about 50 meters). 10:00–21:00; Splendid China closes at 18:00, but there still is night bus tours of Splendid China. It combines two different sections. The first part is a miniature park of China. You can find the famous Forbidden City, Terracotta Soldiers, Tibet Potala Palace, Huangshan Mountains, Yunnan's Stone Forest, and of course the Great Wall of China. This miniature park covers 300,000 m², fully forested with beautiful greenery and flowers. The second part consists of dozens of houses, temples, yurts, and so on, each representing one of the 56 ethnic groups in China, such as Miao, Yi, Bai, Mongol and Uyghur. You can find here real people, culture, fashion, customs, religion, language and food. As with all the Shenzhen theme parks, plenty of people go just for the fixed exhibits but main attractions are the shows. Uyghur women twirl to Turkish music, Miaos dance, a miniskirted Ming Dynasty troupe performs electronic versions of Ming music and dance—not to mention the acrobats. There is even a Tibetan rock band. The special effects are also amazing and it involves using laser to create a animated light tunnel. A Mongol horse battle held daily, just follow the smell of horse manure. Altogether the park is huge; between the shows and the exhibits it can easily be an all-day activity. ¥200.    
  • 3 Happy Valley Theme Park (欢乐谷 huānlè gǔ), Qiaocheng W Rd OCT 南山区华乔城乔城西路 (Shi Jie Zhi Chuang Metro Station, walk about 500 meters). 09:00-22:00. 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. Try the flume ride but be prepared to get wet. The Playa Maya is an excellent water park built around a Maya architectural theme. There are shows all day and well into the night.
 
OCT East
  • 4 OCT East (东部华侨城). M-F 09:30-17:30, weekends and holidays 09:00-17:30. An amusement park built by the same company that brought you Window of the World. Located on the mountainside behind the Dameisha beach neighborhood, it features thrill rides, shows, a water park, and a replica of a European town, not to mention beautiful views of the mountains, forest, and ocean. To reach all the different rides or attractions, be prepared to climb a lot of stairs or escalators, as well as gondolas and funicular railways (included in the price of your ticket). There are a few themed hotels.

    The park is divided into two main sections: Knight Valley (大峡谷) and Tea Stream Valley (茶溪谷), with separate tickets. There's also a Buddhist temple, Huaxing Temple (大华兴寺), but if you've been to other temples in Shenzhen it can be skipped without missing much. And there's a good golf club on the hilltop called Wind Valley Golf. Be warned that if it rains, the roller coasters, gondolas, and funiculars all stop running. If you get stranded at the top of the mountain as a result, the park will arrange cars to take you back down. Food in the park is reasonably tasty but a little overpriced.
    ¥200 for Knight Valley, ¥180 for Tea Stream Valley, ¥250 for a combined ticket.    
  • 5 Safari Park Shenzhen (深圳野生动物园; Shēn​zhèn​ Yě​shēng​ Dòng​wù​yuán​), Xili Road, Nanshan District (南山区西丽路; Nán​shān​ qū​ Xīlì Lù), +86 755 26622888, fax: +86 755 26622333, . 10:00-17:00. Billed as a safari park where the animals stare at the humans. It is dirty and disorganised, but children may like it. ¥160.    

Theatres and concert halls

  • 6 Poly Theatre (保利剧院), Baoli Wenhua Square, Houhaibin Road, Nanshan District (南山区后海滨路保利文化广场; Nán​shān​qū​ Hòu​hǎi​bīn​ Lù Bǎo​lì​ Wén​huà​Guǎng​chǎng​​) (Houhai Metro stop, Lines 2 and 11), +86 755 86371698, +86 755 86371699, fax: +86 755 86287308, . This is a more or less middle-brow theatre specialising in musical theatre and often hosting Russian Army theatre troupes. The futuristic silver egg-shaped building alone makes it worth a visit.
  • 7 Grand Theatre.
  • Shadu Song and Dance Hall.
  • 8 Shenzhen Concert Hall (深圳音乐厅), 2016 Fuzhong 1st Road, Futian (福田区福中一路2016号) (Children's Palace Metro stop, Lines 3 and 4), +86 755 82841888 (Ticket hotline 9.00-20.00). See Shenzhen Library above. The Concert Hall hosts international standard artists in a stunning glass-wrapped setting.
  • 9 Shenzhen Cantonese Opera Troupe.
  • 10 Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra (深圳交响乐团), 2025 Huangbei Road, Luohu District 罗湖区黄贝路2025号, +86 0755 25405183.    

Parks and mountains

Huge and spread-out city that it is, Shenzhen contains large areas of parks. Some are carefully arranged and tended; others are nature reserves with big, forested mountains. Some have Buddhist temples, pagodas, or wildlife. When the weather is nice, they're lovely for hiking, relaxing, or people-watching.

Given the huge population of Shenzhen, you can expect hiking trails to be crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. You can avoid the crowds to some extent by arriving early in the morning, but even then don't expect to have the trail to yourself.

Downtown

  • 11 Lianhua Mountain Park (Lotus Mountain Park; 莲花山公园; Liánhuāshāngōngyuán), Hongli Road West, Futian Central (Metro 3/4: Children's Palace station). This is Shenzhen's main and most central park, just north of central Futian district. The gardens are extremely beautiful and meticulously cared for. But to really enjoy the park, you need to be there with Shenzhen's middle classes early in the morning or on Sundays when large family groups gather to have fun. At the top of the 100-meter hill, which you can reach with a 20-minute, not too challenging walk, is a large bronze statue of Deng Xiaoping striding out over the city. Large aerobics groups operate to loud music, people fly kites and play badminton, a man walks down the path inscribing Tang Dynasty poetry in ever evaporating water with an enormous brush. Further down the mountain, ballroom dancers do the tango, a group of belly dancers wiggle, and large men lay into each other with bamboo staves and swords. A famous and totally spontaneous group of singers of revolutionary opera sings by the lotus lake every Sunday morning, a must-see if you are even remotely in the vicinity. They are just past the laughter therapy group and the marriage market. Free.    
  • 12 Fairy Lake Botanical Gardens (仙湖植物公园; Xiān​ Hú​ Zhí​wù​ Gōng​yuán​), 160 Fairy Lake Road, Luohu District (罗湖区莲塘仙湖路160号) (Take bus no. 202, 220, m182 or m526 and get off at the Fairy Lake Botanical Gardens bus terminal (仙湖植物园总站). You can catch bus no. 202 from outside Exit B of Yijing Station on Metro Line 5), +86 755 25738430, +86 755 25736061, . 06:00-21:30.
     
    Lake of the Immortals Botanical Gardens
    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.
    ¥15 is charged for entry between 08:00 and 18:00. Entry before 08:00 or after 18:00 is free.
  • 13 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 Zhú​zi​lín Xī (Shēn​nán Ddà​dào Yú​ Qiáo​chéng Dōng​ Lù​ Jiāo​huì Chù​​)​​) (Qiao Cheng Dong Metro Station, exit A). 09:00-22:00. This park started life as the site of an international garden exhibition in 2004. It is an enormous garden with an area of 660,000 m². It ranges from gently undulating to quite steep and contains gardens in many different styles, not only Chinese but from all over the world. Make sure you visit the hot houses and climb the hill past the waterfall to the pagoda on top of the hill. Views back to Hong Kong are spectacular on a clear day. A further 242 steps will take you to the top of the pagoda. ¥50.
  • 14 Mangrove Ecological Park (福田红树林生态公园), main entrance at Furong Road and Xinzhou Road (福荣路 Fúróng Lù, 新洲路 Xīnzhōu Lù), Futian (Metro: Shawei 沙尾, the station is still some distance from the park). 7AM–11PM, closed Tuesdays. Hong Kong's Mai Po Marshes are one of the world's great birdwatching paradises as birds migrating from Siberia rest in the fishponds. The same birds also rest in the mangroves on Shenzhen Bay a scant two miles north of Mai Po. In the late 1990s when the Binhai Freeway was being built, there was public outrage at plans to route the road through the bird habitat of the mangroves, subsequently the road was built 200 metres north and China's smallest national park was founded. The bird watching is legendary, but if you are not into birds, the park provides coconut palm shaded walks and views to die for across Shenzhen Bay. The birds are seasonal, so there may be few or no birds at certain times of the year. Free.
 
Near the peak of Wutong Mountain
  • 15 Wutong Mountain National Park (梧桐山 Wútóng Shān; Wutong Village, Luohu District; 罗湖区捂桐村). At just over 900 meters, Wutong Mountain is the second tallest mountain in the Pearl River Delta after Hong Kong's Tai Mo Shan and it is a favorite challenge for hikers. This has been a recognised beauty spot since at least the Ming Dynasty when it was included in the Eight Great Views of Xin'an County and was celebrated in poetry. There are several routes to the top varying significantly in difficulty. The broad road will be a gentle climb. But if you intend to go to the top and back, be prepared for a 6-8 hour walk, including a lot of steep steps. There are two peaks, Lesser Wutong where the Shenzhen TV Company has its impressive transmission tower, and Greater Wutong which is reached via the notoriously difficult Hao Han Slope. On a clear day, the views from the summit over Mirs Bay and the mountains of Hong Kong's New Territories are beautiful. Night views over the city set against the sweep of Shenzhen Bay are also impressive. Wear a hat and sunscreen and bring snacks and water—at least two liters per person, though if you don't bring enough you can buy water and food on the trail. Free.    
  • 16 Bijia Mountain Park (笔架山公园 Bǐjiàshān Gōngyuán), 26 Meigang Road, Futian 福田区梅岗路26号. Less popular but quite a bit nicer than nearby Lianhua Mountain Park. It's full of trees, birds, lots of kinds of flowers, quiet rivers and ponds, and people strolling and doing tai chi. The park strikes a balance: attractively manicured without feeling too artificial. The "mountain" (really just a hill) has two peaks, 178m Bi Guan Peak (笔冠峰) and 164m Bi Jun Peak (笔俊峰). Free.  

Farther out

 
The temple area on Fenghuang Mountain. The smoke is from incense sticks and other burning offerings.
  • 17 Fenghuang Mountain (凤凰山, Fènghuáng Shān), 宝安区福永街道, Fuyong Subdistrict, Bao'an District (bus 650, 782, b711, m333, or m334 to 凤凰山脚 Fènghuáng Shānjiǎo station, the end of the line for most of them). 06:00–19:00. Literally "Phoenix Mountain", this forested mountain in northwestern Shenzhen is covered with a network of well-maintained hiking trails paved with steps. The main point of interest is Fengyan Temple (凤岩古庙, Fèngyán Gǔmiào), a Buddhist temple partway up the mountain, dating back to the Yuan Dynasty. At the trailhead (凤凰山脚) there are various shops selling food and drinks, including bottled water, which you should definitely buy for the hike if you didn't bring any. Then plan to hike 30–40 minutes (all uphill) to get to the temple complex. The complex has lots of interesting spots scattered around, including fortune tellers, lots of shrines, and a big pool full of turtles and a few lazy fish, surrounded by people pestering them by throwing coins. There are lots of shops selling food, incense, jewelry, and other traditional items for the many pilgrims who make their way up to pray and leave offerings. For more serious hikers, the trails continue higher up on the mountain past the temple. A partial map of the trails can be found at the temple complex, though it's only in Chinese. The trail up to the temple is crowded, especially on weekends, but the trails higher up on the mountain aren't so bad.

    Both the temple and the rest of the mountain have views of the surrounding area. Don't miss the two-story lookout tower (望海楼, Wang Hai Lou) in the temple complex. The views make for an incredible contrast between the traditional temple in the middle of the woods and the unending high-rises down below. From the right spot you can make out ships floating in the Pearl River.

    The temple complex also has a vegetarian buffet restaurant, 1 Fenghuang Mountain Vegetarian Restaurant (凤凰山素菜馆). This is not the little place with the signs saying "Vegetarian Restaurant" in English (though the food there isn't bad either)—the buffet is located at the other end of the complex; look for signs that say "素菜馆 Su Cai Guan". The buffet costs ¥28 for breakfast, ¥58 for lunch—pay before you enter, at the Ticket Counter outside. If you want to skip the hike, the restaurant (and therefore the temple complex) are also accessible by road.
    Free.  
  • 18 Nanshan Park (南山公园, Nánshān Gōngyuán), 51 Yanshan Road, Nanshan District 南山区沿山路51号. A forested hill with hiking trails. The peak (大南山 Dà Nánshān) is 336 meters high and the trails are mostly stairs, so this is a reasonably challenging hike. Plan about 2–3 hours round trip if you're a strong hiker, or longer if you want to explore more of the trails. The park is quiet, without many hikers, and on a clear day the peak has lovely views of the city, the water, and Hong Kong's New Territories. Free.
  • 19 Shiyan Lake Hot Spring Resort (石岩湖温泉度假村; Shí​yán​hú Wēn​quán​ Dù​jià​cūn​​), Shiyan Town, Bao'an District (宝安区石岩镇; Bǎo​'ān​ Qū​ Shí​yán​ Zhèn​), +86 755 27164148. 06:00-21:00. This has been a popular attraction since the 16th century when it was named as one of the "Eight Great Views of Xin'an County" (the county of which Hong Kong and Shenzhen were part). It's on a man-made reservoir at the back of Yangtai Mountain, and is not easy to get to but it is worth the trouble. Water springs from the ground at over 60 °C, but is cooled to about 40 °C before being fed into pools. There are public and private, indoor and outdoor pools. ¥15.
  • 20 Yangtai Mountain Forest Park (羊台山森林公园 Yángtái Shān Sēnlín Gōngyuán), 大浪街道布龙路 Bulong Road, Dalang Subdistrict, Longhua District (It is not easy to get to, but you can combine the hot springs with a visit to Yangtai Mountain. That way you can take advantage of easy public transport connections between them. Take the metro to Window of the World, 世界之窗. Next to Exit B there is a large underground bus station. Take bus no 392 to its terminus which is the Shiyan Hot Springs. When you’ve finished, take bus no 769 from the place where you got off. This terminates at Yangtai Mountain.). This is a forest park administered by the water and forestry administrations of Guangdong Province. The mountain, 500 metres high, lies around an attractive reservoir. It is heavily wooded with native and exotic vegetation and abounds with wildlife. As elsewhere in Shenzhen, the hiking paths are well paved with steps. The climb to the top is moderately difficult and very rewarding. Free.    
  • 21 Lixin Lake (立新湖 Lìxīn Hú), Fuyong, Bao'an District. An attractive reservoir in northeastern Shenzhen surrounded by parks with trees and well-manicured walkways. Adjacent to the lake is Wangniuting Park (望牛亭公园 Wàngniútíng Gōngyuán), with hiking trails on a small hill. The area is very green and good for a lakeside walk—it's not worth making the trip all the way from the city center just for this, but stop by if you're in the area. Free.
  • 22 Waterlands Resort (海上田园 Hǎishàngtiányuán), Shajing, Bao'an 宝安区沙井街道 (Metro line 11 to Shajing Station 沙井站, then take bus b931 to the last stop), +86 755-27259888. 09:00–20:00. A much-hyped 1.6 square kilometer park by the water, way on the outskirts of the city, full of trees, streams, ponds, and walking paths. The activities scattered around are fun, including obstacle courses, boats, strawberry picking, and a lookout tower. If you like hills this is not the park for you, but it allows for a nice few hours walking around and exploring whatever attractions you stumble across. For travelers who are a bit adventurous, the highlight is surely the obstacle courses, some of which go over water and will get your heart racing. ¥60 for adults; ¥48 for seniors 60–64; ¥30 for children 1.2m–1.5m, seniors 65–69, and students; free for children under 1.2m and seniors 70+. Tickets only ¥40 after 17:00, and discounts are sometimes available for special events.  

Spas and massage

Shenzhen is a popular place for Hong Kong people to go to get a massage. Prices are low compared with Hong Kong, though generally higher than elsewhere in China. (洗脚 xǐ jiǎo) (which often consists of massaging your shoulders, back, arms, legs, and feet) 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 appeared in Shenzhen. For an entrance fee of around ¥100 (waived if you purchase around ¥160 of spa and massage services) you get 24 hours of access to a spa pool, saunas, showers, baths, and other amenities depending on the facility such as a gym or pool. Paid services often include Internet access, billiards, and rentable "multi-purpose rooms" with KTV/karaoke and games. Complimentary items include drinks (sometimes restricted to fruit juice) and fruit; food can be bought for ¥20–50 a plate. For around ¥50 for 45 minutes (not including a ¥10–30 tip and often a 10% service charge) you can have head, foot, leg, shoulder, back, or hand massage while lying in one of the many reclining chair-couches — two types at once if you wish — and watch personal TV, read a book, or relax. For around ¥150 you can have 90 minutes of full-body Chinese, Thai, or Hong Kong-style massage in a private room or with your friends. Chinese Medical Massage and aromatherapy oil massages are usually available at a premium. Masseuses and masseurs hail from various regions around China and are listed with pictures and statistics in catalogues and can be selected by number. Very few of them speak any English.

Spa complexes can be found around the border crossings with Hong Kong, so as to cater to the relatively rich Hong Kong population looking to unwind. In the basement of the Luohu customs and immigration building (not the LCC mall) free shuttles are available to various spas, some of which also have themed waiting areas with price lists and pictures of the facilities. Some spas have representatives standing around to give out discount tickets (often ¥20) as an enticement.

Massages tend to be rather painful, especially on the feet! If you can endure it, you'll notice the lasting benefits. But if it is too much, you can say "Téng! Téng!" (pronounced like "tongue") to express your pain and make them ease. It is best to not reveal you know any spoken Chinese because you will immediately face uncomfortable questions about your salary, weight, etc.

Caution: In most hotels, prostitution is widespread. In some seedier areas, "massage" may actually mean sex. Use your best judgment. See also the China article for information on massage.

  • Oriental Palm Spring International Spa Club (Near Lok Ma Chau border crossing). Refurbished with a strong Thai themed interior decor, you almost think you are in a Thailand resort especially on the new first floor. One of the many big spas in the Futian area and well worth a try if you're not into the hanky panky business. OPS is famous for providing excellent service, massages and really good Chinese cuisine. The food is excellent although a little pricey for local standards.
  • SLF International Spa Club (Near Lok Ma Chau border crossing). Branded as Water Cube is brand new, hence in excellent condition, and tastefully designed with an interior resembling a luxury hotel. Although English is barely spoken by anybody, the staff are clearly trained to be first class and they try their best to be helpful — and sell massages, which cost ¥48 for 45 minutes of lounge-chair massage through ¥128–238 for 90 minutes of full-body massage in the usual styles, 10% service charge and tip separate. The spa is visible from the main street outside Lok Ma Chau border crossing and metro stop, and shuttles are available to Luo Wu and Huanggang border crossings. Gym, fruit, full drink menu including iced lemon tea and coffee, gym, and videogames complimentary; internet, karaoke and VIP room rental, billiards, table tennis, and of course food all charged separately.
  • Queen Spa (Near Luohu border crossing). This spa is showing its age like an old resort hotel in Las Vegas, although it remains a popular tourist destination in part because it has the notable advantage of having English-speaking staff on duty and identified with clearly visible tags year-round. The entry fee of ¥98 is waived after ¥168 of spa services paid, not including the 10% service charge and tips of ¥10-30 per 45 minutes. Foot/head/leg massage is ¥56/45 min and Chinese massage ¥168/90 min. Perks include a swimming pool, a gym, videogames, and free ice-cream and juice and fruit. Free WiFi and five-minute Internet terminals are available in the shared area. The spa has a range of VIP services available such as private Royal Club rooms with a semi-private second swimming 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, entry fee of ¥138 with 10% service charge. Party room rental for ¥60/hour to ¥120/hour depending on size with karaoke and chess and games included.
  • Sentosa International SPA Club (Near Luohu border crossing). Shuttle available, offering in March 2009 four hours of Chinese massage for ¥108 and ¥88 for any three types of foot, head, or leg massage.

Golf

Shenzhen is one of China's and indeed one of the world's great golfing Meccas. It boasts some of the earliest golf courses in China and, in Mission Hills, the world's largest golf course which is the scene of leading international tournaments.

  • 23 Mission Hills Golf Course (观澜高尔夫) (Along the intersection of the Meiguan Expressway, the Guanshen Expressway and the Jinhe Expressway), +86 755 28020888. The world's biggest golf course with 216 holes. Each course is designed by a different world champion golfer. The Golf World Cup has granted a twelve-year franchise to Mission Hills
  • 24 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. This is one of China's two oldest golf courses. When it was established in 1985 it was way out in the country but now it is surrounded by skyscrapers, providing a pleasant oasis in the heart of Futian. This is where the locals prefer to play.
  • 25 Shahe (Sand River) Golf Club (沙河高尔夫会), Shahe East Rd Nanshan (南山区沙河东路) (From the Huanggang Border crossing travel along Binhe/Binhai freeways to Shahe East Road). Another favorite with the locals. It has 27 holes plus a nine hole night course under lights. Gary Player designed the course.
  • Xili Golf Club, Tanglang Village Xili, Nanshan (南山区西丽针塘郎村), +86 755 26552888, fax: +86 755 26559793, . This is a private club owned and managed by the Kuok family of Shangri-La fame. You will need an invitation to play here. It is worth getting it.
  • 26 Longgang Public Golf Course (龙岗高尔夫), Next to the International Velodrome, He Keng, Henggang Town, Longgang District, +86 755 28937188. This course was the brainchild of a former official of the Shenzhen Government who wanted to bring golf to the masses. It is as an eighteen-hole 72 par course, situated on rolling hills in the Longgang District. The founders of the course wanted to keep green fees at 20-30% of commercial golf courses.
  • 27 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) (Buses 53, 239, 103, 360, 364). Shenzhen's newest and poshest golf course. It has two 18-hole courses, each with its own luxury clubhouse. Set in 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 set in beautiful mountain and sea surroundings near Nan'ao Town, Dapeng Peninsula.
  • Noble Merchants Golf Club.

Beaches

Shenzhen has some of China's best beaches, many of them untouched stretches of National Park. In 2006, Chinese Geographic Magazine named the Dapeng Peninsula, where most of Shenzhen's beaches are situated, as one of China's top ten most scenic coastlines.

  • 28 Dameisha Beach (大梅沙). The most well-known beach in Shenzhen. Easily accessible from downtown, but it's often crowded and the water is dirty.
  • 29 Xiaomeisha Beach (小梅沙). Close to Dameisha. Also crowded and the water is also dirty. Especially avoid going on the weekends and during summer vacation (July and August).
  • 30 Jin Sha Wan Beach (金沙湾). From Shenzhen take one of several buses (e.g. 364, E11, or H92) to Dapeng Station (大鵬站) in Wangmu (王母虛) Village in Dapeng. Then you can take a quick shuttle bus south to JinSha Beach. Entry is ¥10. On weekends and holidays the beach can be quite crowded. The sand is rather coarse and not particularly clean, but it can be fun to go here and people watch. Also it is interesting that you can look out and see East Ping Chau (東平洲) island just two miles off the coast, which is part of Hong Kong's New Territories.
  • 31 Judiaosha Beach (桔钓沙 Júdiàoshā). ¥35.
  • 32 Shuitousha Beach (水头沙 Shuǐtóushā).
  • 33 Xichong Beach (西冲海滩). Beautiful Xichong beach is far from the downtown core, well past Dameisha. Less developed, this beach is much more peaceful and clean than other beaches in Shenzhen. Visit Sun Sailing for watersports or local fine dining.

Skating, skiing, snow tubing

  • 34 Alps Ice and Snow World (阿尔卑斯冰雪世界), 9037 Shennan Ave, HuaQiaoCheng, Nanshan Qu (Window of the World metro station, Lines 1 and 2, Exits H or I.), +86 755 2660 8000. The skating rink has irregular shape. The ski slope is quite short and not very steep, but there is a lift to take you up. Snowboarding/skiing equipment and clothing can be rented (expect to leave a deposit). The sledding slope is great for children. It is quite cold inside even in hot weather.

Learn

Chinese classes are available, mainly serving Shenzhen's expat community. Shenzhen is a good place to practice your listening ability, as the main language of the city is Mandarin but you'll encounter a variety of standard and nonstandard accents from all over China. On the other hand, as a learner you'll have to be careful not to absorb the nonstandard pronunciations into your own speech, especially the widespread merging of c/ch, z/zh, and s/sh.

  • 1 Shenzhen University (深圳大学). On the coastline of Shenzhen Bay. The total area of the campus is 1.44 km². It has its own lake named Wenshan Lake (文山湖), spreads across rolling hills covered with trees, an abundance of green space and sculptures. It's possible for foreigners to enroll in classes to learn Chinese.    
  • 2 Shenzhen Polytechnic (深圳职业技术学院 Shēnzhèn Zhíyè Jìshù Xuéyuàn) (in Xili in Nanshan District). It has four campuses (East, West, North and OCT). It has 21,000 full-time and 6,000 part-time students. It was founded in 1993.    
  • 3 South University of Science and Technology of China (南方科技大学 SUSTech) (No.1088, Xueyuan Blvd, Nanshan District), +86-0755-88010000. The pilot field for cultivating innovative talents and higher education reform.    

Work

Shenzhen's economy is dominated by manufacturing and trade, and this international orientation means significant job opportunities for foreigners.

As with anywhere in China, the main work available for foreigners is teaching English. Demand is especially high here, because businesspeople who work in international trade want to improve their English to communicate with clients overseas, and well-off parents want their kids to learn English to give them an advantage in the future. The pay is said to be better in the city center than in the outer districts, but in any case should be plenty to live on.

Another opportunity is import-export work—some of the manufacturers here hire foreign staff to work with overseas customers.

Some foreigners working on business or tourist visas choose to live in Shenzhen because its location next to Hong Kong makes visa runs very convenient. See Working in China for general information.

Buy

 
A typical electronics market in Shenzhen.
See also: Shopping in China

Shenzhen is internationally best known as the epicentre of electronics. The city and surrounding urbanization are home to countless circuit board manufacturers, assembly houses, retailers, and supporting businesses. Many of them will happily give you a tour on request! You can't say you have visited Shenzhen without having strolled through its electronics markets, and filled your backpack with LED strips!

Wechat Pay and Alipay are the primer way of electronic payment at almost any store, besides this cash is king. You can withdraw cash from most ATMs with Visa and other cards, but need a Chinese bank account to use Wechat or Alipay. As for credit cards, as of 2018 they are seldom used by the Chinese and are quickly fading into obscurity. Major credit cards i.e. Visa, Masters, HSBC are sometimes accepted throughout Shenzhen but don't count on it. Always ask first if they accept cards. JCB and American Express have limited coverage. Always contact your bank before travel to ensure that your card will work in China and that you can withdraw cash from ATMs.

At places in Luo Hu, cash or alipay/wechat are highly recommended. Some places charge an extra 10% for credit card purchases. The shop assistants will bring you to shops that have credit card processing machines. At shopping centers, remember to check with the cashiers to see if they accept credit cards before making purchases. There are few shopping centers that accept credit card with passport verification, though you may lose your discount on the purchase.

Be careful when getting change from large notes as people may try to give you Hong Kong dollars instead of Yuan as the coins can look the same. The Hong Kong dollar is worth less than Yuan.

For currency information, see the China page.

Shopping malls

  • 1 Luohu Commercial City (Cantonese: Lo Wu) (Just across from the Hong Kong border; Luohu Metro Station, exit A). Offers a very different experience to shopping in Hong Kong and is therefore worth a visit if only spending a short time in China. Spread over several levels are many small stores, each selling similar products: watches, jewellery, handbags, clothes and DVDs. These products are rarely authentic but they are often very well made and detailed fakes. There are many stallholders pressuring shoppers to part with their money but the atmosphere is one of enjoyable bargaining. This is the place to go for Western sizes in clothing and shoes. This is also the place to go to have massages and nails done dirt cheap as well. But remember, this is not really Shenzhen, it is more like a Chinese interpretation of Tijuana. It is rough, dirty and infested with touts. Take the plunge and go another hundred meters into the city and you will find that your Luohu experience is not representative of the rest of the city.
  • 2 Dongmen Pedestrian Street (东门步行街; Dōng​mén​ Bù​xíng​ Jiē​) (Laojie Metro Station, exit A). The place to go for clothes and small-ticket items. This place is better than Luohu Commercial City in terms of price and range of items. Other than several department stores and malls, most are smaller stalls. The price is cheap, even by local standards.
  • 3 MixC Shopping Mall (Da Ju Yuan Metro Station, exit C-3). The largest (and easily the most expensive) shopping mall in Shenzhen. Highlights include the following: Olympic size indoor Ice Skating Rink, Golden Harvest Cinema movie theater, Ole (high end supermarket with many imported items), Spaghetti House and Starbucks. Good option
  • 4 Coco Park (near Gou Wu Gong Yuan Metro Station (购物公园)). Shopping mega complex. Sports, clothing, fashion, coffee, some restaurants, including "Green Tea" (绿茶), with tasty Hangzhou food and a bilingual menu, and "Norway.Oslo" which has some outdoor seating. When you get bored you can go outside and hit up McCawley's or the Mexican restaurant for dinner, then visit any of a number of bars just across the street from the mall. Coco Park is close to the Shenzhen Convention Exhibition Center.
  • 5 Central Walk (Located one block away from the exhibition centre on Fuhua Road. Take Metro to Exhibition Centre stop and Central Walk is located at exit B. 5 minutes walk from Coco Park.). Another Shopping complex in Shenzhen. Base tenant is Carrefour, but also has usual shops, restaurants and a cinema. Three floors of shops arranged in a circle. Mostly women's clothes. Starbucks and Italian Best Coffee (Illy Coffee) are located here. Subway (Sandwiches) also has opened here.
  • 6 Fashion Time (丰盛町 Fēngshèngdīng), 福田区深南大道车公庙路 (车公庙地铁站 Chegongmiao Metro Station, exit C or D). A long underground pedestrian alley, lined with more than 500 restaurants and shops, specializing in fashion.
  • 7 King Glory Plaza (Guo Mao Metro Station, exit A). A mall, along the lines of MixC. It is fairly high priced. It includes a movie theater as well as the "IN" bar/nightclub (that's the name of it) and "Yellow" bar. Eight floors connected by criss-crossed escalators give you enough stores to stay occupied for a few hours. Lots of restaurants in the sub-ground levels. Connected by a walkway to Rainbow Mall. There's a Pacific Coffee on the ground floor.
  • 8 Shun Hing Square (Diwang Building). On Shennan Road, across from the MixC. Go to the Da Juyuan (大剧院) metro station. You won't miss it, because Diwang Dasha is among the tallest buildings in Shenzhen. The shopping center is actually very small, with just a few stores on three small levels, but it's in a nice area of town with lots of other attractions, so you might dart in to see what's to be found. Starbucks on the ground floor, McDonald's in the basement level.
  • 9 Uniwalk Shopping Mall (壹方城 Yìfāngchéng), 99 Xinhu Road, Bao'an District 宝安区新湖路99号 (宝安中心地铁站 Bao'an Center Metro Station – the station is attached to the mall; take exit F). A very elegant, very upscale shopping center in Bao'an. Lots of foreign restaurants and fancy shops, and the bookstore next to the food court on the third floor has a selection of paperback novels in English. On the lowest level (B1) are a few shops with beautiful traditional Chinese products like statues, porcelain, and inkstones. Even if shopping here is beyond your budget, it's an interesting place for people-watching—see how the wealthy and fashionable live in suburban Shenzhen.
  • Rainbow (天虹 Tiānhóng). A chain of large, moderately high-end shopping centers. They have branches in many cities in China, but a lot more in Shenzhen than anywhere else, and indeed their headquarters is in Nanshan District.
  • 10 City Mall (中信城市广场), 1095 Shennan Middle Road, Futian 福田区深南中路1095号 (metro line 1, Science Museum Station 科学馆站, exit D. The mall is attached to the metro station). Six-story upscale shopping mall. Includes a bunch of restaurants, and nearby Songling Road (松岭路) also has a bunch of more authentic, distinctive, and reasonably priced cuisine.

Electronics

 
Huaqiang Electronics World

As the home of a dazzling array of electronics manufacturers and related businesses, Shenzhen naturally has huge stores selling a wide variety of electronics, both parts and consumer products.

Huaqiangbei (华强北, Huáqiángběi) shopping area, centered around the street of the same name (华强北路, Huáqiángběi Lù), is the place for anything electronic. This is the absolute epicentre of the world's electronics industry. Huaqiangbei Street is pedestrian-only for a few blocks between Shennanzhong Street (深南中路, Shēnnánzhōng Lù) and Hongli Street (红荔路, Hónglì Lù). There are several large electronics markets and many smaller stores situated on both sides of the pedestrian street and particularly in the small streets and lanes running parallel. One famously devotes itself to stealth and security. If haggling isn't your thing, you can also get good prices on consumer electronics at Suning. Gome and Sundan stores at the northern end of the street. The pedestrian street is bustling, and there are good small restaurants on the streets nearby. Starbucks is here too. Most of the stores will close at around 5 or 6PM.

The shopping area is easy to reach by subway, with three stations along the pedestrian street: Huaqiang North Station (华强北站), Huaqiang Road Station (华强路站), and Huaxin Station (华新站).

The big electronics markets each consist of several floors full of small stalls specializing in different kinds of electronics or accessories. You can buy anything electronic here, though keep in mind that the markets are aimed at Chinese buyers, which means that, for instance, accessories for brands that aren't popular in China may be hard to find. A few products are labeled bilingually, though most are only in Chinese. Most vendors in the big markets should be able to speak enough English to make a sale, or at least have a calculator to type prices. Below are some of Huaqiangbei's well-known electronics markets, and there are plenty more in the area.

  • 11 SEG Plaza (赛格广场, Sàigé Guǎngchǎng) (In the SEG Building on the corner of Huaqiang Bei and Shennan; Huaqiang Lu Metro Station, exit A). This most famous electronics market has ten floors of small stalls selling electronics and accessories. The first two floors are wholesale components and the rest is mainly dedicated to consumer goods. Most customers are expected to buy in bulk when buying small things like wires or cases, but they will sell individual pieces for reasonable prices. It has kind of a maze-like layout, so it's good for wandering around and stumbling upon all kids of interesting gizmos and novelty accessories for sale. You won't get too lost, though—you're never too far from an escalator. Products are partly organized by floor, but the signs explaining the system are only in Chinese.    
  • 12 Huaqiang Electronics World (HQ-Mart, 华强电子世界, Huáqiáng Diànzǐ Shìjiè) (across the street from SEG Plaza). Another huge electronics market. It's split into multiple buildings, some of which are more interesting than others. The northernmost one (深圳二店) is oriented towards consumers, with six floors of various electronics and accessories. Again, the products are organized by floor, but the signs explaining the system are all in Chinese. Head to the fifth and sixth floors for gaudy LED strips, lightbulbs, flashing displays, and lights of all kinds.
  • 13 Mingtong Electronics Market (明通数码城, Míngtōng Shùmǎ Chéng) (A few minutes from the SEG market). Four floors. Watch parts, electronic toys, gadgets, and mobile phone parts, as well as a lot of cosmetics on the third floor and one section of the first floor.
  • 14 Yuanwang Digital Mall (远望数码商城, Yuǎnwàng Shùmǎ Shāngchéng), northeast corner of Zhenhua Street (振华路, Zhènhuá Lù) and Huaqiangbei Street (华强北路, Huáqiángběi Lù). Three floors, mostly consisting of mobile phones and accessories. Behind it is an alley of reasonably priced restaurants.

Specialized stores

  • Jiahua Foreign Trade Clothing Market, Address: 广东省深圳市福田区华强北路2007号 English: No.2007, Huaqiang North Road, Futian District (How to get there: take the subway to Huagiang Lu, and take exit a. Walk north along Huaqiang Lu and once you cross Zhenhua Road go past NICO Womens World and in between NICO/KFC and MOI/Starbucks you’ll see a wide lane way that leads to the market. (from shenzhenshopper.com)). Series of stalls selling lots of cheap clothing. It's not quite as huge as Luohu Commercial City, but it's worth a look.
  • 15 Shenzhen Book City (深圳书城), 2014 Fu Zhong One Road, Futian District (福田区福中一路2014号) (Shao Nian Gong Metro Station (少年宫站), a.k.a. Children's Palace, exit C or D), +86 755-23992012, +86 755-23992013. M–Th 10AM–10PM, F 10AM–10:30PM, Sa 9:30AM–10:30PM, Su 9:30AM–10PM. This is a huge bookstore with a great selection of books, music, movies, and multimedia products. It bills itself as the biggest bookshop in the world. There is a small shop which specialises in English books, Eon Books. The DVD and CD section sells more or less legal versions of excellent movies at prices slightly higher than you will pay to street vendors. This often reflects better quality (but not always). Make sure you go on Sunday mornings when story telling competitions are held for children between the ages of 4 and 8. You may not be able to understand a word but they are cute.
  • Tea World Terminal Market (Close to Lo Wu/Luohu station, walk up the Bao'an south road, and it will be on your right side). A whole warehouse with many stores selling all things related to tea. Wonderful selection of everything from Pu'er-teas to tea-ware. They seem not to be focused on selling to tourists, which is very nice, but they still take time with you if you want to go through the tea ceremonies.
  • B&Q 百安居. This English chain offers DIY supplies and goods for the home and garden. B&Q in Chinese
  • Decathlon (迪卡侬 Díkǎnóng). The French sports supplies retailer Decathlon has got well over 200 stores in the country in all major cities. You will find several stores in Shenzhen. Store locator.

Supermarkets

  • Carrefour (家乐福, Jiālèfú). One of the biggest foreign hypermarket chains across China (over 200 stores). This French brand provides expats, tourists and Chinese people with all local and imported products they need. You will find food, wine, appliances, clothes, etc...There are 8 stores in Shenzhen; you can find locations on their website, or just say "Jiālèfú" to a taxi driver to take you there. Store locator (Chinese).
 
Renmin North Road Wal-Mart
  • Wal-Mart. There are 8 stores of the US chain, but more are being built. Also check out Carrefour, and Sam's Club (山母会员店). Sam's is a favorite shopping choice for Shenzhen's enormous and ever growing bourgeoisie and it's fun watching them. Be warned. They can be scary on a busy Sunday evening. Sam's membership is ¥150. Walmart's China HQ is in Xiangmi Hu (香密湖), above an enormous mall/cinema complex which includes a Sam's Club. Make sure you check out the crocodile of which there is always one at the fish counter.
  • Jusco. The Japanese supercenter and supermarkets. It has several locations in Shenzhen, next door to the CITIC Mall (中信广场), Metro: Science Museum (科学馆), exit D, at Coco Park (Metro Gou Wu Gong Yuan) and in Coastal City (海岸城) Nanshan.

Eat

Because Shenzhen is a migrant city, all of China's regional cuisines are represented here, with Guangdong, Hunan, and Sichuan food particularly common. Restaurants range from hole-in-the-wall establishments for homesick working class arrivals to opulent food palaces for businessmen and politicians entertaining clients. If you are a foreigner, spending ¥100 on a fantastic meal is no problem (though, you can spend ¥35 or less on a fantastic meal in Shenzhen). Treat yourself, and enjoy the wonderful food and variety of Shenzhen!

Some outer neighborhoods in Shenzhen are known for a particular kind of food. Probably the most famous are oysters (生蚝 shēngháo) in Shajing (沙井 Shājǐng) in the far northwest of the city (Bao'an district)—they're said to be the "milk of the ocean floor", and the local ones are delicious and high in protein. You can get oysters on the half shell at street food carts in Shajing at five for ¥10 (2019), or find them cooked lots of different ways at restaurants in the neighborhood. Another local food is sea urchins (海胆 hǎidǎn) in Nan'ao (南澳 Nán'ào), Dapeng district, which are best around April and May.

Areas to eat

Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) is famous for its numerous dining options, including some of the best Korean restaurants in Shenzhen. All are within easy walking distance from Huaqiaocheng (OCT) Metro Station, behind the InterContinental Shenzhen Hotel.

If you're feeling homesick, there are a lot of international bars and restaurants in Shekou, the main residential zone for Shenzhen's sizable Western expatriate community. International chains such as McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks are easy to find, especially in malls and Eat Streets (see below), and individual restaurants catering to expats are scattered throughout the city too.

As well as casual restaurants and fine dining, Shenzhen is famous for its "Eat Streets". These are agglomerations of cheap and cheerful restaurants serving food from all over China. Despite the name, they're not limited to a single street; they may be spread over a small area of streets and alleys. They are not elaborate but they are friendly and fun and some of the food is to die for. Different Eat Streets often specialise in food from different parts of China. Some of the best known are set out below.

  • 2 Bagua First Road Eat Street (八卦一路美食街), Bagua First Rd, Futian 福田区八卦一路 (Metro: Yuanling 园岭, take exit A and turn left). This was Shenzhen's first Eat Street. Food was originally Cantonese brought by homesick Hong Kong factory owners. It's now a smallish Eat Street compared to some of the others. Cantonese food is still good here but you can get food from all over China. Snake is excellent in season (October to January) here.
  • 3 Chegongmiao Eat Street (车公庙美食街), Terra Industrial Zone, Futian District 福田区泰然工业区 (车公庙地铁站 Metro: Chegongmiao, take exit C, D, or F). A particularly large eat street, with good Sichuan, Hunan and Taiwanese food. There is also a good if unauthentic Macau style restaurant. Centered around Tairan Fourth Road (泰然四路) up to Tairan Ninth Road (泰然九路).
  • 4 Dongmen Pedestrian Street (东门步行街; Dōng​mén​ Bù​xíng​ Jiē​), Luohu 罗湖区 (Laojie Metro Station). Shenzhen's favorite comfort shopping district also has lots of cheap and cheerful food, especially snacks. It's the usual suspects: Cantonese, Sichuan, Hunanese, all the major fast food chains, and various others.
  • 5 Fenghuang Taiwan Street (凤凰台湾街 Fènghuáng Táiwān Jiē), Fenghuang Mountain Avenue, Bao'an District 宝安区凤凰山大道 (bus 650, b837, m251, m252, or m264 to the stop named after the eat street, or just walk straight after descending Fenghuang Mountain). At the foot of Fenghuang Mountain on an avenue of faux-traditional architecture with light brown shingled roofs and red pillars. The specialty is Taiwanese food, but there are various other restaurants with the usual variety of Chinese cuisines as well. Good place to stop for a snack or a meal after you finish hiking down the mountain.
  • 6 Huaqiangbei Eat Street, Huaqiang North Rd Futian 福田区华强北路. The food's in the streets and alleys parallel to Huaqiangbei. Hunan and Chaozhou are specialities. There are several shops specialising in Uyghur "naan" bread. An alley behind the main street specialises in Muslim food.
  • Nan'ao Town (南澳镇). Way out on Dapeng Peninsula, famous for fresh seafood. Sea urchin is a specialty.
  • 7 Pingzhou Eat Street (坪洲美食街), Haicheng Road, Bao'an District 宝安区海城路 (Pingzhou Station exit B or C). Quiet during the day but a happening area in the evening. A variety of Chinese restaurants, including seafood and barbecue, as well as a slightly hidden but authentic Mexican restaurant (across from KFC).
  • 8 Renmin South Road (人民南路 Rénmín Nán Lù), Luohu (Guomao station (line 1) or Renmin South station (line 9)). This busy north-south road, in between the Luohu border crossing and Dongmen shopping area, is lined with a fair number of restaurants representing a variety of cuisines (mostly Chinese, of course), and a fair amount of shopping. You can find more on the side streets nearby.
  • 9 Xinwen Road Eat Street (新闻路美食街), Xinwen Road, Futian 福田区新闻街 (behind the Special Zone Press Tower 报业大厦; Metro Xiangmihu). A bunch of moderately-priced sit-down restaurants near the press building—lots of Hunan food as usual, and other cuisines as well.
  • 10 Yantian Seafood Street (盐田海鲜街), Seafood Street, Yantian 盐田区盐田海鲜食街. Dine among the container cranes. The theme is Hong Kong style seafood, allegedly fresh from the markets next door. Seafood Street itself, right on the water near the port, has several middle-to-high-end seafood restaurants—you choose the fish from the tanks, they cook it how you like it: oysters, clams, crab, fish, eel, shrimp, snails.... If you're on a budget or not in the mood for fish, there are various other restaurants on the perpendicular Beishan Road (北山道 Běishān Dào). On the way, enjoy views of one of the world's busiest container ports, and of the green mountains behind it. You might spot people fishing too.

Restaurants

Budget

Mom-and-pop restaurants and hole-in-the-wall shops are plentiful, serving authentic, inexpensive (¥7–20), and filling meals. Often these are geared towards local workers, so you may be able to find them around the corner, in the back, or in some out of the way spot near popular attractions. You can also find them at the Eat Streets and other places that get a lot of foot traffic. At some, you can choose two or three dishes, cafeteria-style, to have with rice—selecting these is easy even if you don't speak any Chinese.

Street food carts are here too, including authentic snacks as well as light meals.

For breakfast, try the steamed buns, cheung fun, congee, egg pancakes, noodles, and soymilk sold from carts and hole-in-the-wall shops anywhere that gets a good amount of foot traffic.

  • 11 Jushanyuan (聚善园 Jùshànyuán). 11:30–13:30, 17:30–20:00. A Chinese vegetarian buffet restaurant out in the industrial suburbs of Shajing. Arrive early before the food starts to run out. ¥15 per person.

Mid-range

  • 12 Happy Together (喜荟), 2038 Shennan Middle Road, Futian 福田街道深南中路2038号, +86 755 83351123. Busy dim sum place. Menu only in Chinese, but it has some pictures.
  • 13 10 Gong Guan (10号公馆), 10 Qiaochen West Road, Nanshan District (侨城西路10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.
  • Little Sheep Hot Pot (小肥羊 Xiǎo Féi Yáng, lit. Little Plump Lamb). A chain with a bunch of branches in Shenzhen. Lamb meat imported from Mongolia. It is a hot pot based on Mongol cuisine. There are other meats and vegetable ingredients for the hot pot on the menu as well. One type of hot pot is called Yuan Yang. The hot pot is separated into two halves, one half contains normal non-spicy soup stock and the other half contains Ma la (literal translation "numbing spicy") soup stock.
  • 14 Modern Toilet Restaurant, 2nd Floor Jiefang Lu 1004 Dongmen Buxing (Laojie Metro Station). Taiwanese chain's first branch in the mainland. Toilet themed restaurant, featuring toilets as seats and squatter toilet plates. Food is nothing special and costs about ¥25-35/dish, but come after dinner with a friend and bring the camera for the ¥10 chocolate ice cream. The surrounding Laojie commercial district goes from cosmopolitan to near-dystopian in the course of about two hours every evening.

Splurge

Drink

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 in two locations in Shenzhen and available in any convenience store, bar, or restaurant. In stores such as a.best, Carrefour or Wal-Mart it will cost ¥3.50 per can, or ¥3.80 for a large bottle (you will need a bottle opener). 7-Eleven sells Kingway for ¥9, and local restaurants about ¥12-35. Bars typically charge slightly more than restaurants.

  • 1 XPats Bar, FL1016 Street Lvl Eastern Sidewalk Central Walk Mall 福田取中心城大中华大厦对面. (Exit B Hui Zhan Zhong Xin Metro). It's in Central Walk, top floor on the right hand walkway (outside the building) directly opposite the Great China Building. Beer, wine and pizza served. Big screen sports coverage.
  • 2 Base Bar (根据地酒吧(上步店)), 1019 Shangbu South Road, Futian District (福田区上步南路1019号; Fú​tián​ Qū​ Shàngbù​ Nán​ Lù​​) (Accessible from Science Museum Metro Station 科学馆, not far from Party City). A live rock music venue. Great vibe and great interior deco. There are nice three-sided booths along the walls for larger groups. A variety of acts play into the early morning. Friendly waitstaff with Communist Star armbands. Door cover can sometimes run up to ¥100, cocktails from ¥30 (the Gin-Tonic is excellent), bottles of Jim Bean ¥380.
  • Ibiza (Huaqiangbei). A European style two-story pub. It is quite popular among foreigners. ¥30 per bottle of beer.
  • Kingway (LuoHu). Brewery and beer garden.
  • 3 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 performances on the 2nd floor, and private rooms on the rest of the floors. You can pay to have male or female hosts sit with you - for a tip. 200+ for the girls and 500+ for the gigolos. You can have them line up for you and you can pick the one you like. 900+ small room.
  • 3D Bar, Block B, Bar Street, Citic Plaza, 1093 Shennan Rd (Futian). Guinness is available on tap. There are also many other international beers available (bottled mainly). The outside tables along the walkway are good for a relaxing pint, the inside tables and the outside tables closest to the front door are if you're looking for a livelier atmosphere, better
  • 4 C:UNION (一渡堂) (Metro to Qiao Cheng Dong, exit A, walk right and then take a right at Enping Street, between Sinopec and the Konka building. Continue straight ahead and you will arrive at a courtyard.). A great place to discover Shenzhen's surprisingly vibrant alternative community. A variety of live bands from around China and sometimes abroad perform here every Saturday night, followed by a DJ playing electronic music. Shows start around 20:00. You can also check out the surrounding neighborhood whose restaurants and small art outlets create a hip vibe along the brick pedestrian roads. Drinks start at ¥30.

Coco Park

Outside the Coco Park shopping complex (mentioned above) is the bar street of Futian, with all kinds of bars packed into the middle of the block. It's expensive but upscale. During bar hours it's notoriously hard to find food beyond a few noodle shops or convenience stores.

  • 5 Club Viva (Coco Park). Just north of Coco Park shopping mall, in the middle of the boardwalk. Usually packed on weekends with many foreigners.

Shekou

The expat district, on a peninsula that sticks out in the southwestern region of the city.

  • 6 Beer Paradise, first floor, Haibin Business Center, Sea World 海上世界海滨商业中心1楼 (Shekou). Serves lots and lots and lots of beer.
  • 7 McCawley's Irish Bar & Restaurant (Shekou, Futian). Irish decor bar with rock cover band. Serves a variety of Western dishes at prices around ¥80-100 per main course. Beer from ¥35 per pint and up.
  • 8 The Terrace (露台), Sea World Square, Shekou, +86 755 26829105, fax: +86 755 26828157. Live rock cover band and Thai food.
  • 9 X-Ta-Sea Sports Bar & Restaurant, Shekou, Sea World (Inside the Minghua ship at Sea World in Shekou, next to the Cruise Inn Hotel lobby.), +86 755 2686 7649. Features live rock music Tuesday to Saturdays by house band Kaktooz. Amenities include multiple TV screens, table football, darts, pool tables a menu of mostly Western-style food and free Wi-Fi.

Sleep

Attractions in Shenzhen are spread out, so if you want to be able to see different parts of the city, look for lodging near a centrally located metro station (ideally in Futian or Luohu). If you're taking a longer trip and want to get out and explore the far-flung corners of the city, you may want to move around and find lodging in different districts—fortunately, there are plenty of hotels all over Shenzhen, so whatever you're interested in, you can surely find a place to sleep nearby.

At Chinese New Year (usually February), prices usually double or substantially increase. Unlike other cities, however, the explosive development of hotels in Shenzhen means rooms, while more expensive, will generally still be available even at the busiest times.

Budget

  • Home Inns. Biggest economy hotel chain in China. It features high quality and consistent standard rooms with very reasonable prices. There are several branches in Shenzhen.
    • 1 Home Inn (Shenzhen Luohu Kou'an) (如家快捷酒店 (深圳罗湖口岸店); Rú​jiā​kuài​jié​ Jiǔ​diàn (Shēn​zhèn​ Luó​hú​ Kǒu​'àn Diàn​)), 1064 Yanhe Nan Road, Luohu District (罗湖区沿河南路1064号; Luó​hú​ Qū​ Yánhé​ Nán Lù)​​​.
    • 2 Home Inn (Shenzhen Xinzhou) (如家快捷酒店 (深圳新洲店); Rú​jiā​kuài​jié​jiǔ​diàn (Shēn​zhèn​ Xīn​zhōu​ Diàn​)), 315 Shiji Gongyi Pin Jiaoyi Shichang Building, Xinzhou South Road, Futian District (福田区新洲南路世纪工艺品交易市场315楼; Fú​tián Qū​ Xīn​zhōu​ Nán​ Lù​ Shì​jì Gōng​yì Pǐn​ Jiāo​yì​ Shì​chǎng​ Lóu)​​.
    • 3 Home Inn (Shenzhen Zhuzilin) (如家快捷酒店 (深圳竹子林店); Rú​jiā​kuài​jié​ Jiǔ​diàn (Shēn​zhèn Zhú​zi​lín​ Diàn​)), 福田区竹子林益华大厦.
    • 4 Home Inn (Shenzhen Railway Station) (如家快捷酒店 (深圳火车站店); Rú​jiā​kuài​jié​jiǔ​diàn (Shēn​zhèn​ Huǒ​chē​zhàn Diàn​)), 罗湖区滨河大道交和平路渔民村小区内.
  • LOFT International Youth Hostel. Modern place in the YHA China franchise, with keycards, free wi-fi, and a nearby supermarket. The hostel can be a bit difficult to find as from the metro station it's on the far side of a redeveloped commercial estate. Dorm beds ¥50-60, Doubles ¥178, bigger suites under ¥400.
  • 5 Shenzhen Guest House (深圳迎宾馆; Shēn​zhèn​ Yíng Bīn​guǎn​​) (At the center of the busy Dongmen Commercial Area). 3-star hotel with 584 well-kept guestrooms. Business and leisure facilities are also available. Listed rates for doubles from ¥260, discounted from ¥190.
  • 6 Xi You Hostel (栖游青年旅馆), 福田区华强北振兴路西113号. Capsule hostel a 10 minute walk to the SEG building, a 4 minute walk northwest from the 华强北 subway stop. Receptionists are more helpful than average and have functional English. Has three public computers, smoking room, free coffee (but bring your own mug), hot water, small kitchen area/fridge, and free laundry. About ¥88 a night for lockable capsules with shared bathroom and a private locker.

Mid-range

  • 7 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 3018 Nanhu Rd. A four star hotel with nice facilities, seasoned staff and excellent service.
  • 8 Empire Hotel (深圳新王朝酒店; Shēn​zhèn​ Xīn Wáng​cháo​ Jiǔ​diàn​​), 1052 Aiguo Road, Luohu District (罗湖区爱国路1052号; Luó​hú​ Qū​ àiguó Lù​) (Near the East Gate Business Street, Donghu Lake, and Yijing Villa), +86 755 25523338, . A 4-star hotel featuring cozy, fully furnished guest rooms, multifunction conference room, business center, health club, and restaurant. Listed rates for doubles from ¥880, discounted from ¥248.
  • 9 Holiday Inn (Right in the middle of the center and only three stops from the border). Very new and clean hotel, excellent services. Also includes free Wi-Fi internet access. The staff speak English reasonably well.
  • 10 Lee Garden Inn (深圳丽苑酒店; Shēn​zhèn​ Lí​yuàn​ Jiǔ​diàn​), 2048 Dongmen Zhong Road, Luohu District (罗湖区东门中路2048号; Luó​hú​ Qū​ Dōng​mén​ Zhōng​ Lù​) (Five minutes from the railway station). 3-star hotel with 100 guest rooms for business travelers. Conference facilities and broadband internet are available.
  • Master Hotel. A four-star hotel offering 130 guest rooms. Each room is fitted with a living room and kitchen, and boasts broadband internet connectivity and other upscale amenities. Facilities include a business center, restaurant, shopping arcade, and fitness center.
  • 11 Novotel Shenzhen Watergate (深圳万德诺富特酒店), 1019 Middle Shennan Road (Shennan Zhong Lu), +86 757 88286768. Located in the heart of Shenzhen's well-known financial district and on the popular Shennan Zhong Road, the Novotel Watergate Shenzhen (Shenzhen Wande Nuofute Jiudian) is well positioned as an international business hotel.
  • 12 Orient Sunseed Hotel (深圳东方山水酒店; Shēn​zhèn​ Dōng​fāng​ Shānshuǐ​ Jiǔ​diàn​), 88 Qianhai South Road, Nanshan District (南山区前海南路88号; Nán​shān​ Qū​ Qián​hǎi​ Nán​ Lù​) (At the conjunction of Fuyong and Haoye Roads, Qiaotou Tongfuyu Industrial Area, Fuyong Town, five minute drive from Bao’an Airport and a 20-minute drive from the city center), +86 26416666-8355, . Air-conditioned rooms with cable TV, wet bar, hair dryer, electric kettle, telephone, private toilet and bath, shower, bathrobe, and complete bathroom amenities. Rates start at ¥311.
  • 13 Oriental Ginza (深圳东方银座美爵酒店), Futian District (next to Zhuzilin metro station). Four star hotel with excellent service, English speaking staff, and services for both business and leisure travelers. Also includes free internet access. You can get a huge room for less than US$60/night.
  • 14 TianHe Hotel (天和酒店 Tiānhé jiǔdiàn), 1 Xinghua Road, Bao'an District 宝安区兴华路1号. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: noon. Airport hotel. To get there from the airport, take bus m416 and get off at the third stop, 航空物流园. Has a Chinese restaurant and a Western restaurant inside, and there are also a bunch of restaurants and stores just down the street (right past the intersection). They can provide transportation to the airport in the morning. Free breakfast from 6:30 to 9:30, free but slow Wi-Fi. From ¥370. ¥800 deposit required when checking in.
  • Windsor Hotel (温莎酒店), 2062 Nanxin Rd, Nanshan District. While a little far out of the way the staff is friendly (although English is limited) and the hotel is quiet and clean. It offers sizable doubles with air conditioning, private bathrooms and free internet (they provide the cable). Rooms start at ¥168.
  • 15 Golden Lustre Hotel (金碧酒店), 春风路3002号, +86 755 82252888. Check-out: 14:00. 4 star hotel, their cheapest rooms start at ¥300, they also have a pool. ¥300.
  • 16 Crowne Plaza Shenzhen Longgang, 9009号 Longxiang Ave, Longgang, +86 755 3318 1888. Good quality rooms. Number of restaurant options in the hotel and in the nearby streets.
  • 17 Pavilion Hotel (圣廷苑酒店), 4002 Huaqiang Road North, Futian District 福田区华强北路4002号, +86 755 82078888. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: noon.

Splurge

  • 18 Ascott Maillen Shenzhen, No 3 Yanshan Road, Nanshan district, +86 755 2160-0188, . The residence offers 199 apartments ranging from designer studios to luxury penthouses. Every apartment has private balconies, a kitchen, LCD television and an integrated home entertainment system. Work from home with high-speed broadband internet access and business support services.
  • 19 Sunshine Hotel Shenzhen (深圳阳光酒店; Shēn​zhèn​ Yáng​guāng​ Jiǔ​diàn​), 2001 Jiabin Road, Luohu District (罗湖区嘉宾路2001号; Luó​hú​qū​ Jiā​bīn​lù)​ (In the Luohu commercial district close to Guomao Metro Station), +86 755 82233888, fax: +86 755 82226719, . Five star hotel. Listed rates for doubles ¥1,840-3,450.
  • 20 Shenzhen Ritz Carlton (深圳星河丽思卡尔顿酒店; Shēn​zhèn​ Xīng​hé​lì​sī​kǎ​'ěr​dùn​ Jiǔ​diàn​), 116 Fuhuasan Road, Futian District (福田区福华三路116号; Fú​tián​qū​ Fú​huá​sān​lù​), +86 755 22222222, fax: +86 755 22220088. Rooms with mini-bar, ipod docking station, internet, television in bathroom, flat-screen television, cd/dvd players and safe. Business center, currency exchange, flower shop and beauty salon available. Chinese and Western restaurants as well as café and bar. Listed rates for doubles ¥4,600-5,750, discounted ¥1,288-1,638, breakfast ¥173 (included for more expensive rooms).
  • 21 Futian Shangri-La (深圳福田香格里拉大酒店; Shēn​zhèn​ Fú​tián​ Xiāng​gé​lǐ​lā​ Dà​jiǔ​diàn​), 4088 Yitian Road, Futian District (福田区益田路4088号; Fú​tián​qū​ Yì​tián​lù​), +86 755 88284088, fax: +86 755 88284388, . Rooms with TV in bathroom, internet access, iPod connector, coffee-making facilities, mini-bar and safe. Business center, currency exchange, gift shop, ticket office, table tennis, fitness, massage and outdoor swimming pool available. Chinese and Western restaurants as well as cafë and bar. Listed rates for doubles ¥2,967-3,163, discounted from ¥1,581.
  • 22 Intercontinental Shenzhen (深圳华侨城洲际大酒店), 9009 Shennan Avenue, Overseas Chinese Town, Nanshan 华侨城深南大道9009号, +86 755 33993388, fax: +86 755 33993399. A five star hotel with a fine selection of foods including Chinese, Mediterranean, Italian and Seafood. Basic rooms ¥1,498-1,678, deluxe rooms ¥1,648-5,678.
  • 23 Sheraton Futian, Great China International Exchange Square, Fuhua Road, Futian District.
  • 24 Sheraton Dameisha.
  • 25 Grand Hyatt Shenzhen, 1881 Baoan Nan Road, Luohu District, (City Crossing development), +86 755 8266 1234, . The hotel has 491 rooms and suites and is part of a mixed-use commercial development. Facilities include: 5 restaurants, 2 lounges, pastry shop, a spa with 13 treatment rooms, fitness centre, swimming pool, business centre and extensive event space.
  • 26 The Westin Shenzhen Nanshan, 9028-2 Shennan Road, Nanshan District, +86 755 2698 8888.
  • 27 Shenzhen Marriott Hotel Nanshan (深圳中洲万豪酒店), 88 Haide 1st Road, Nanshan District (南山区海德一道88号; Nánshānqū Hǎidéyīdào) (near the Houhai Metro Station and right next to Coastal City), +86 755 86666666. Five star hotel. ¥1,173 and up.

Stay safe

Despite its sensationalized reputation from Hong Kong residents as being crime-ridden, Shenzhen is relatively safe by Western standards. It is no more dangerous than a major American city and violent crime remains rare. Nevertheless, as always, a little common sense goes a long way.

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 among 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. Particularly avoid giving money to child beggars. There have been several high profile court cases in recent years against gangs who buy children from impoverished peasant families, mutilate them, and use them in the begging racket.

Tap water is safe to drink in the Meilin district and several 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's easily available in all convenience stores and supermarkets. However, if you are buying water for ¥5 a bottle, you are getting majorly ripped off. Hepatitis is common in China and is most usually spread by using chopsticks to eat from a common dish. It is becoming increasingly common to use a separate set of chopsticks to serve from the bowl. Ask for "gōng kuài" if they aren't provided. Otherwise minor travellers' stomach upsets are the worst things which you have to fear health-wise.

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

Prostitution is common - particularly around Luohu and Shekou. Scantily-clad, available-looking women may be prostitutes. However, you should be reminded that prostitution is illegal in China, and offenders can be sentenced with a maximum 15 days of security detention.

Cope

Newspapers and magazines

Shenzhen Daily is the local English language newspaper and is widely available at news kiosks. China Daily is surprisingly difficult to get. South China Morning Post from Hong Kong is also available by subscription and in a couple of outlets. Eon Bookshop, Central Book City, sells a reasonable range of English language magazines. See Book City above.

That's Shenzhen is a local English magazine, published at the beginning of each month. 45,000 copies are mailed directly and displayed every month in carefully-selected public areas, including Starbucks, 5-star hotels, high-end restaurants & bars, villas and properties.

Television

Topway Cable Television offers a wide range of international television including BBC, CNN, NHK, HBO, etc. Hong Kong English TV is also offered.

Places of worship

  • Muslim: 1 Shenzhen Mosque (深圳市清真寺), 7 Meilin Road, Futian District (福田区梅林路7号) (Maling Station, Metro Line 9), +86 755 83106912. The city's largest mosque.
  • Protestant: 2 Christian Shenzhen Church (深圳市基督教深圳堂), 126 Meilin Rd, Futian 福田区梅林路126号, +86 755 8311 8817. Has services in English, Chinese and Korean.    
  • Heping Church 和平堂 2/F Wenhua Garden, Luohu 罗湖区文华花园管理处二楼 Phone 0755 2512 8077
  • Catholic: St Anthony's Catholic Church 天主教深圳圣安多尼堂 Nonglin Rd, Zhuzilin, Futian 福田区竹子林农林路 and the Nantou Catholic Church Nantou, Ninth St, Nantou Cheng, Nanshan 南山区南头城南头九节 Phone 0755-26611334 offer Mass on Sundays.
  • Jewish:Chabad of Shenzhen, No. 4 Block A Guishan Xiaozhu, Yanshan Rd, Industrial Area Shekou Nanshan District, Shenzhen 518001, 86-755-8207-0712

Health

Four hospitals are recommended by the Shenzhen City Government for foreigners. They are:

  • Shenzhen People's Hospital 深圳人民医院 1017 Dongmen Rd North, Luohu, 罗湖区东门北1017路 Phone 0755 2553 3018
  • Shenzhen Peking University Hospital 深圳北京大学医院 1120 Lianhua Rd, Futian 福田区莲花路1120号 Phone 0755 8392 3333
  • No 2 Shenzhen People’s Hospital (previously called Shenzhen Red Cross Hospital) 深圳第二人民医院 1 Zhenhua Rd, Futian 福田区振华路1号 Phone 0755 8336 6388
  • Nanshan People's Hospital 南山人民医院 89 Taoyuan Rd, Nanshan 南山区桃园路89号 Phone 0755-26553111

The following dentists give excellent service

  • Arrail Dental, G3 and G4 Shun Hing Square (Diwang Building) Shennan Ave 罗湖区深南东路5002号信兴广场地王商业中心G3&G4层2单元 Phone 0755 2583 5788
  • Ace Dental, 3409 Excellence Times Plaza, Yitian Rd, Futian District 福田区益田路卓越时代广场3409 Phone 0755-83815811 / 0755-83815833
  • AKJ Dental Hospital 爱康健齿科医院,1-8/F, Luohu Railway Station Building C, Luohu District 罗湖区罗湖火车站大厦C栋1-8楼 Phone 4000-489-168

Go next

The other cities of the Pearl River Delta are easy to get to from Shenzhen. Dongguan, Hong Kong, and Huizhou are the closest.

  • Guangzhou – the provincial capital that's in some ways the foil of Shenzhen. Like Shenzhen, it's a huge city of global importance, but it's not a boom town by any means; it's been a major international commerce hub for centuries. It's between one and two hours away by train or road.
  • Hong Kong – "Asia's World City", the former British colony with a unique mix of cultures whose prosperity and international connections made Shenzhen what it is today. It's just across the border, with a travel time of perhaps 90 minutes centre-to-centre, depending on border-crossing time.
  • Macau – the former Portuguese colony on the other side of the Delta, famous as a gambling destination but also boasting interesting architecture and history. It can be reached by ferry from Shekou and Fuyong (Shenzhen Airport).
  • Dongguan – a major manufacturing center like Shenzhen, thirty minutes north by train or road.
  • Huizhou – popular for its mountains and beaches, located forty minutes northeast by bus from the Luohu Station bus depot.
  • Zhuhai – as Shenzhen is to Hong Kong, Zhuhai is to Macau: a border city growing like crazy due to favorable government policies and a location that's ideal for international trade. But Zhuhai is much smaller than Shenzhen and less densely populated. It can be reached by hydrofoil ferry from Shekou and Fuyong.

If you want to head to Hong Kong or Macau, remember that they are outside mainland China and therefore require all the same border crossing and passport formalities involved in going across an international border. Also remember going to Hong Kong or Macau counts as leaving China, which would use up a single entry visa for China.

Routes through Shenzhen
BeijingDongguan  N   S  END



This city travel guide to Shenzhen is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.