|3 Essential Places To Visit In Shenzhen, China††May 2 2007
If you’re visiting Hong Kong or Guangdong, don’t believe
what you’ve been told about
Shenzhen. Take a day to visit and you’re guaranteed to
Shenzhen is a city of over 12 million people located in
Guangdong Province, China, directly on the border with the New Territories of
It’s likely that your travel guide to China does not say much
about this city except to dismiss it as industrial and good only for cheap
Similarly, if you ask people in Hong Kong about
Shenzhen, they will pretend to think it’s still a small town full of
knife-wielding thieves and you shouldn’t even consider going there.
these impressions couldn’t be further from the truth. Shenzhen’s incredibly fast
growth is the reason travel books are out of date, and perhaps Hong Kong
people’s snobbishness about the city stems from a certain fear and envy of this
shiny wealth center on their doorstep!
Modern day Shenzhen is a vibrant,
cosmopolitan city that offers a wide range of cultural and leisure venues for
tourists, as well as unrivalled shopping and dining. If you like Hong Kong and
Shanghai, you will also love Shenzhen - fast, fashionable, cool, and not a
little bit crazy!
If you are clueless about Shenzhen and want a few basic
pointers, here are the three most famous city center places to see in one
Diwang building is the tallest skyscraper in Shenzhen,
at 69 floors, and the symbol of the city’s super fast success. The building is
office space for the city’s most prestigious firms, but you can pay around
120RMB to go to the viewing deck on the 68th floor and look over the whole city
center. On the ground floor is Shun Hing Square with lots of smart clothes
Opposite the Diwang building is the new multi-storey shopping
center "Mix C" complete with ice rink, cinema, and lots of international style
restaurants. Many of the shops in the Mix are Hong Kong style overpriced fashion
boutiques, but this does not deter the hordes of window shoppers.
A short distance from Diwang is the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, which you can’t
go into, and still within walking distance, a block away and still the same
metro station, is the Grand Theater.
refurbished in 2006, the Da Ju Yuan / Grand Theater in Shenzhen is a great venue
for classical music and traditional Chinese music events. Shenzhen has its own
Symphony Orchestra (http://www.sso.org.cn/) and with tickets normally between 60
- 300 RMB no one can complain that culture is out of reach in this modern boom
Across the road from the Grand Theater is Lychee Park, which is
recommended for taking photos on traditional style bridges, taking a pedalo out
on the lake, or watching the unnervingly professional ballroom dancing couples
On the corner of the park is a large billboard with a
Picture of Deng Xiao Peng, the "father of Shenzhen". It was he who came up with
the idea of raising Shenzhen / Baoan from a fishing village to a global scale
metropolis, and Chinese visitors to Shenzhen wouldn’t want to miss a chance to
be pictured in front of the late Chairman.
Shenzhen’s city government decided to relocate the
Central Business District west, out of the original city center (Luohu) and into
brand new, spaciously planned zones in Futian District. Part of this project is
the Shimin Zhongxin / Citizens’ Center: a huge government building with an
iconic "bird shape" roof. Not much to do or see inside, but it’s worth taking a
taxi around this whole area, especially at night time, to see all the shiny new
skyscrapers. The newly developed area around the Citizen’s Center also includes
the Children’s Palace amusement center and exemplary New Shenzhen Library. About
half a mile south is the New Exhibition Center / Huizhan Zhongxin, which is, in
typical Shenzhen style, impressive just because it is huge.
If you are in Hong Kong it’s an easy day trip to Shenzhen, crossing the
border at Luohu (KCR to Lowu) or Huanggang (Bus to Lok Ma Chau) - both of which
are less than an hour from HK Central.
If you are leaving Mainland China e.g. from Guangzhou or from Shanghai
HK, we hope you’re open minded about Shenzhen to carve out an extra whole day
to stop off and explore the city.
For English language news and commentary about Shenzhen,
visit the Shenzhen Blog