Shenzhen is located in Southern China, Guangdong Province with close proximity to Hong Kong. Classified as ‘top tier’ city, it’s considered to be one of the most developed and densely populated areas in China. Continued rapid development has allowed Shenzhen to have strong economic, cultural and political influence.
Geographically, the city covers 792 mi2 and is made up of six administrative districts: Futian, Luohu, Nanshan, Yantian, Baoan and Longgang. As well as four management districts: Guangming, Longhua, Pingshan and Dapeng. With a subtropical climate, the weather is generally mild with a good mix of sunshine and rainfall year round. Average temperatures are around 22°C (72°F). During Spring, a buildup of fog can usually be seen, additionally, the city can experience typhoons between July and September.
Today, Shenzhen enjoys visits from tourists every year because of the diverse mix of things to see and do. Cultural and historical sites, scenic spots, mountains, coastlines, theme parks and shopping, this modern and affluent city promises that there is always something for everyone. Here are the top 10 things you shouldn’t miss in Shenzhen.
OCT Loft Creative Culture Park
If you’re interested in arts and crafts, books, coffee and live music, OCT Loft Creative Culture Park is the place for you. Originally a factory district, over time it has been redeveloped. Now, it’s become the creative hub for the city, attracting many artists, innovators, designers and unique businesses to the area. The theme of the former industrial zone can still be seen throughout, and you can spend just as much time gazing at the unique buildings and architecture, as you can actually experience all the creative attractions. The combination of the relaxed and carefree atmosphere and the wonderful spirit of OCT Loft, make this one of the quirkiest gems of the city.
Window of the World
A unique theme park that offers you the opportunity to visit the best landmarks, attractions and famous sites from all over the world, within a day. Over the 48 hectares (118 acres), the park is home to roughly 130 smaller scale reproductions. You’ll be able to see The Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, Buckingham Palace, Mount Fuji and many, many more. Window of the World holds special events during different festivals. For Chinese National Day, the park will put on a Pop Music festival that’s particularly popular with younger people. World dances and singing galas are held to celebrate Chinese New Year and Santa can even be seen during the Christmas holiday to help bring some festive cheer.
Found in the north of Shenzhen, Lianhuashan Park is an escape from the concrete jungle of the city. Covering an area 370 acres, the park is home to an abundance of different flowers, trees and natural viewpoints. The park enjoys many visitors every year wanting to take it easy and relax, experiencing the peaceful gardens, hiking trails, ponds, squares and watching children playing and having fun flying their kites. It’s an easy walk up to the top of Mt. Lotus (106 metres/348 feet). There you can see a bronze statue in the memory of the pre-chairman Deng Xiaoping (who was responsible for economic reform and opening China up to the rest of the world), as well as the most wonderful panoramic view of Shenzhen.
The shopping mall to end all shopping malls. Across three blocks and six floors, The MixC Mall is quite possibly the ultimate and most luxurious mall for all your shopping needs.
It was built as part of the larger ‘City Crossing’ development which includes KK Mall, two hotels, residential apartments and the China Resources Building. You can find a vast array of premium brands and flagship stores like Prada, Dior, GUCCI and BVLGARI, to name just a few. It also boasts Shenzhen’s largest cinema, which offers local and foreign films (in 2D and 3D), a full Olympic Standard Ice Skating rink, cafes and food courts. From fast food to Michelin Star restaurants, you’ll never struggle for lack of choice.
Splendid China Folk Village
Like Window of the World, Splendid China Folk Village is another theme park worth visiting in Shenzhen, particularly if you want to learn more about the country. The park is managed by the China Travel Service and is made up of two areas: Splendid China Miniature Park and China Folk Culture Village. They are aimed at showing the natural beauty of the landscapes, as well as educating visitors and giving them a glimpse into the history, culture, art, ancient architecture and customs and habits of China. There are about 100 miniatures and they include 1:15 scale attractions, such as the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the Terracotta Army. Important historical events and folk arts are often shown to visitors though special performances and cultural and live action shows. One such example, is a recreation of a battle led by Genghis Khan.
Another escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Nanshan Mountains are one of the most popular set of mountains in Shenzhen. Located in the Shekou region, they offer beautiful views of the city, long coastlines and the ocean. There is the added benefit of peace and quiet, due to the remoteness. The main mountains are Dananshan, at 336 metres (1,102 feet) and Xiaonanshan, at 150 metres (490 feet). The climbs to the peaks are moderate because of some uneven pathways and steep sets of stairs. You’ll often see local people of all ages enjoying their hikes, from the early morning all the way into the evening. It’s also likely that you’ll bump into more than a few foreigners, as there’s a small community of luxury apartments nearby the foot of the mountains.
Located in the Bao’an District, the stadium can hold 40,000 people and was built next to the existing sport centre. The design was inspired by the bamboo forests of China. Green coloured columns line the outer stadium, around the concourse. These columns create irregular patterns of light and shadow. The new multi-purpose stadium allows visitors to not only watch, but also participate in a huge variety of sports and activities, thanks to the great facilities and wide open surrounding grounds. Many local people like visiting after a hard day at work, to exercise in the light of the stadium and to enjoy the cool breeze of the evening air.
Happy Valley is a large and modern theme park that opened in 1998, it’s located in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen. The park has its own Happy Line monorail train and is made up of nine unique sections, each with different themes:
- Spanish Square – a relaxing Mediterranean styled area.
- Cartoon City – fairy tales are bought to life. You can watch films and visit Peppy King’s Mansion.
- Mt. Adventure – a forest full of beautiful flowers. The Space Shot ride throws you 60 metres (197 feet) up, before falling back down.
- Gold Mine Town – modelled after a flooded mining town in North America. Ride the Gold Mine Train and visit the Gold Mine Workshop.
- Shangri-La Woods – see mysterious mountains, caves, waterfalls and animals.
- Sunshine Beach – watch many shows and visit the Happy Valley Extreme Sports Camp.
- Typhoon Bay – styled after a wind-swept fishing village, you can go on the Shoot the Chute water ride and the Top Spin ride.
- Playa Maya Water Park – experience the scenery and architecture of the long lost Mayan civilization.
- Happy Times – full of games to play and 4D films to experience.
Seaworld Plaza originally opened in 2003 to become Shenzhen’s first international entertainment area. Since the opening, Seaworld has continued develop and now has some of best selections of coffee shops, bars, restaurants and shops available anywhere in the city.
Seaworld Plaza is primarily known for its particularly distinctive central landmark: the Minghua Ship. The ship was built by the French in 1962, before being bought and transported to China in 1983. The Minghua Ship now serves as a hotel and tourist centre.
The area is extremely popular with foreigners because of the amount of restaurants and bars that cater to Western tastes. You’ll find everything from Irish bars and sports bars, to restaurants that specialise in cuisines from all over the world. It’s also well worth visiting the area at night to not only experience the vibrant nightlife, but also to see the fantastic water and light show held near the Minghua Ship.
If you want something educational and the desire to learn more about Shenzhen, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Shenzhen Museum. Since its establishment in 1981, the museum now has three venues: the Museum of History and Folk Culture, the Museum of Ancient Art and the Ye Ting Guerrilla Command Memorial Museum. The museum is chiefly concerned with collecting, protecting, researching, exhibiting and providing meaningful education for the public. The museum updates exhibitions every year, ensuring that there is always something new to learn about. Permanent exhibitions include: Ancient and Modern Shenzhen, Shenzhen’s Reform and Folk Culture. A large number of wild animal specimens are also on display.
Are you ready to explore all that Shenzhen has to offer?
Teach, travel and train with EF English First
Post by: Gareth Powell
Gareth is from the United Kingdom, and now lives and works as an English teacher in Shenzhen. When he’s not teaching or researching teaching methodologies, he likes to stay fit and healthy by going for runs, and relaxing by watching some of his favourite films.