Shenzhen is a modern and beautiful metropolis located in southern China just across the border from Hong Kong. A popular destination for business travelers and Chinese tourists, Shenzhen has been relatively undiscovered by international tourists. However that is changing as people hear about the city’s great attractions and that it is easily accessed from Hong Kong.
Described as a window of China’s opening up policy, Shenzhen was established as a Special Economic Zone in 1980. Since that time it has grown from a fishing village into a major and economically significant city.
A planned city, Shenzhen features striking architecture, an abundance of parks and open space, a modern road network with wide tree-lined streets and boulevards, a new and continually expanding underground metro rail system, and a wide range of tourist attractions.
Shenzhen was selected as the most livable city in China in a report released at the 2007 China City Forum in Beijing. The Beijing International Institute for Urban Development compared and analysed the quality of life in 287 cities in China, examining factors such as facilities, government services, clothing, food, accommodation and travel. In another study, conducted by the Hong Kong-based China Research Institute for Urban Competitiveness, Shenzhen was named as the third most beautiful city in China, following Beijing and Hong Kong.
- Some facts about Shenzhen
Shenzhen is a coastal city located in Guangdong province in south-eastern China, just across the border from Hong Kong. The capital of Guangdong province is the city of Guangzhou, which was known for a period as Canton. Shenzhen has an extensive coastal plain with a backdrop of rugged forested mountains. There are six districts in Shenzhen: Futian, Luohu, Nanshan, Bao’an, Yantian and Longgang. The districts of Futian, Luohu and Nanshan together make up the majority of the central Shenzhen area which directly adjoins Hong Kong. The city centre is in Futian district.
Shenzhen has a subtropical climate with a long hot and humid summer from April to September. Temperatures rise to 30-35°C (86-95°F) in June-July at the peak of summer, sometimes higher. The nights are also warm to hot with temperatures of 25-30°C (77-86°F). Summer is also the wet season, when most rain is experienced, and typhoons are also possible. The temperature range in February, which is mid-winter, is from about 20°C (70°F) in the day to 10°C (50°F) at night.
Mandarin, the official language of China, is spoken in Shenzhen. Mandarin is known in known in China as ‘Putonghua’. Because of Shenzhen’s close proximity to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, you will also hear the Cantonese language spoken. Many people in Shenzhen can also speak at least some English, with the Shenzhen Government offering programs to help people learn English. Many road signs and tourist maps and brochures feature both Chinese and English information, and announcements and displays on the Shenzhen Metro are also in both Chinese and English.
- Shenzhen Attractions
Theme parks offering family fun and fascinating cultural experiences.
Beautiful parks, natural areas and beaches and interesting historic sites.
Golf, tennis and yachting with world-class venues and facilities.
Excellent shopping, accommodation and dining.
The 26th Universiade games 2011.
- Theme Parks
Overseas Chinese Town
Shenzhen’s Nanshan District features the Window of the World, Splendid China, Chinese Folk Culture Village and Happy Kingdom theme parks clustered together in an area known as Overseas Chinese Town (OCT). OCT also features hotels and other tourist facilities.
Window of the World
Experience the world’s landmarks in the one day. Over 130 detailed miniature replicas of notable landmarks throughout the world are featured in eight international areas, including the pyramids of Egypt, a 1/3 scale Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Niagara Falls and the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. There are also cultural performances from around the world, and several fun rides.
Over 80 notable landmarks from around China can be experienced in miniature in the one location, including the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Army and the Great Wall. There are also cultural performances. What better place to think about and plan your future visits to China? For more information visit the Splendid China and Chinese Folk Culture Village website.
The largest contemporary theme park in China, Happy Kingdom (also known as Happy Valley) is a fun place for kids and families. It features more than 100 attractions in 8 themed zones: Spanish Square, Cartoon City, Mt. Adventure, Happy Island, Goldmine Town, Shangri-La Forest, Typhoon Bay and Sunshine Beach.
Located in the mountain hinterland of the Xiaomeisha seaside resort area in Yantian District, about 30km from central Shenzhen, is the new OCT East resort. OCT East has three major themed areas: Knight Valley, Tea Stream Valley and Wind Valley. Attractions include Ancient Tea Town, where you can experience the Tea Show and traditional tea growing and harvesting, the First International Mountain Song Fest, beautiful forests and rivers, and the recreated Swiss Alps holiday resort of Interlaken which includes the Interlaken OCT Hotel and Spa. For more information visit the OCT East website.
The Honey Lake Amusement Park is located in Futian District and has a large number of water rides as well as other attractions such as a roller coaster. It is part of the Honey Lake Resort which has hotel, dining and shopping facilities including a Wal-Mart Supercentre.
The Minsk, a large retired aircraft carrier from the Soviet Union, is home to the Minsk World military theme park located in Yantian District.
Located adjacent to Xili Lake in Nanshan District, Safari Park is home to more than 300 species of animals including some the world’s rarest such as pandas and white tigers. Safari Park features animal and botanical displays, including uncaged animal displays and animal performances.
The Xiaomeisha seaside resort area, located in Yantian District about 30km from central Shenzhen, features Shenzhen Sea World, a marine life aquarium with displays and shows.
Parks, natural areas, beaches and historic sites
Fairy Lake Botanical Gardens
Situated in Luohu District at the base of 944 metre high Wutong Mountain, Shenzhen’s highest peak, the Fairy Lake Botanical Gardens features a tranquil lake, rare and threatened plants, and forested ridges and mountains with winding streams. Highlights include the ancient petrified forest, the cycad conservation area, the Paleontological Museum and the Hongfa Buddhist Temple which is one of the largest temples in Guangdong Province.
Lotus Hill (Linhuashan), shaped like a lotus flower and located in Futian District, offers good views over Shenzhen and features family recreational facilities such as a kite flying lawn and a fishing lake.
Shenzhen Museum of History
The Shenzhen Museum of History is located in the eastern end of the spectacular wing-roofed Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government building in Futian District in central Shenzhen. This excellent museum traces Shenzhen’s history from ancient times through its period of reform and opening up to the Shenzhen we see today. There are also visiting exhibitions. For more information visit the Shenzhen Museum of History website.
Shenzhen Museum of Ancient Art
The Museum of Ancient Art is located in Luohu District. Opened in 1988 this was the original Shenzhen Museum and was one of Shenzhen’s famous “Eight Cultural Infrastructures” of the 1980’s. In 2005 the building was recognised as one of the “Top Ten Architectures Reflecting the History of Reforming and Opening in Shenzhen”. The Museum of Ancient Art now houses cultural and natural history displays including visiting exhibitions. Adjacent is the beautiful Lychee Park which is one of Shenzhen’s many areas of green space.
Xin’an Ancient Walled City
Located in Nanshan District, Xin’an Ancient Walled City (also called Nantou Ancient City) was first established more than 1500 years ago. Parts of the city wall built in 1394 remain including the South Gate. A number of historic buildings also remain, and the Nantou Ancient City Museum features relics found in the city.
Crane Lake Hakka House Museum
Centuries ago the Hakka people migrated from central to southern China. They built large fortified buildings that housed many families, and in Shenzhen over 100 historic fortified Hakka buildings remain. One of largest and best preserved is the Crane Lake Hakka House Museum in Longgang District.
This historic walled town is located in Longgang district about 50km east of the central Shenzhen area and was built to repel Japanese invaders in 1394. The fortress contains over 1000 houses, as well as shops and temples.
With beautiful forests and abundant wildlife, Yangtai Mountain in Bao’an district is also the source of Shenzhen’s main river systems.
Shiyan Lake Hot Spring Resort
People have sought relief in the mineral waters of this beautiful natural spring for 1000 years. Located near Shiyan Lake in Bao’an district, resort facilities include hotel rooms and restaurants.
Dameisha and Xiaomeisha beaches
These beautiful beaches are located on Dapeng Bay in Yantian district, about 30km east of the central Shenzhen area. The larger Dameisha beach is a public area, whereas there is an entrance fee for Xiaomeisha beach. Xiaomeisha also features Shenzhen Sea World, a marine life aquarium with displays and shows, and the OCT East resort is located in Xiaomeisha’s mountain hinterland.
Mission Hills Golf Club and Tennis Center
Stretching across Shenzhen and neighbouring Dongguan, Mission Hills Golf Club features a record-breaking 216 holes, as well as resort, function and spa facilities. Mission Hills also includes the international standard Mission Hills Tennis Centre with 51 courts and a 3000 seat stadium. For more information visit the Mission Hills website.
China Cup International Regatta
The annual China Cup International Regatta is the world’s newest and most ambitious yachting festival. The Regatta includes a series of cultural events. For more information visit the China Cup International Regatta website.
Shenzhen has a great range of shopping choices. There are modern shopping centres such as MixC, Citic Plaza, Coco Park, and Rainbow and major international chains including Wal-Mart and Carrefour. There are also traditional shopping areas such as Dongmen Old Street, which includes historic buildings from Shenzhen’s past and is one of the city’s busiest shopping areas, and Hua Qiang Bei Road.
Coco Park Shopping Centre, Futian District
Shenzhen offers a range of quality star-rated accommodation, including hotels and resorts, which can be booked directly, online or through travel agents.
Chinese cuisine is famous around the world. But Chinese cuisine isn’t just one cuisine: it’s many, reflecting China’s great geographic and cultural diversity. You can sample all of this diversity in Shenzhen, with fine dining restaurants covering the regional cuisines from across China and offering a variety of dining styles from buffet to a la carte to banquet.
And if you find yourself missing your own home cuisine, you’ll find that too, with restaurants offering cuisines from around the world including Italian, Indian, Japanese and French, as well as well-known international brands such as Pizza Hut, McDonalds and KFC.
Getting around in Shenzhen
To visit Shenzhen’s attractions, you can use the Shenzhen Metro or Shenzhen’s bus and taxi services. To help find your way around in Shenzhen,consider purchasing a map of Shenzhen that has place names in both English and Chinese. This will help you to get around in Shenzhen as you will be able to point to locations on the map when using taxis or asking directions. For information on Shenzhen maps see Plan Your Shenzhen Visit.
Buses and Taxis
Shenzhen has efficient taxi and bus services. Ask the staff of your hotel to help you with identifying bus routes.
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