|Skylines and views|
|From Shun Hing Square||Panglin and Citizens Center|
|Luohu District - part 1||Futian District
|Luohu District - part 2|
|Shennan East Road
Shun Hing Square
KK 100, Lizhi Park
Civic Center, Citizens Center
Ping An Int'l Finance Centre
|Luohu Station, Immigration
Panglin - our hotel, Jiabin Rd
|Windows of the World
Overseas Chinese Town
Alps Ice and Snow Park
SHENZHEN BY NIGHT:
|Shenzhen by night|
Population: 10 - 15 000 000
Shenzhen was the first so called SEZ (Special Economic Zone) of China, where experiments of market economy started. TIn the late 1970s Shenzhen was only a village with a few thousand inhabitants, now it is a metropolis with something between 10 and 15 million inhabitants! It is Southern Mainland China's main financial center and a lot of Chinese and international high-tech companies have their offices in Shenzhen. The exact figures of the population remains unclear, but Shenzhen is most likely among the 3 or 5 largest cities in China. Shenzhen is China's fastest growing, richest, most developed city and one of the places with the largest construction activities in the world. Some of the world's tallest and most innovative skyscrapers are under construction in Shenzhen and the city has one of the world's largest container ports.
Shenzhen is a very large, but also very narrow city; Most attractions, shopping malls and modern skyscrapers have been built along Shennan Boulevard, to the south and north it is sometimes very close to the borders of the city for example Shenzhen River that flows between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, is situated only 3 blocks from the busy Shennan Blvd. So everything along this boulevard can be considered the city center. Shung Hing Square, Ping An Int'l Finance Centre (under construction) and KK110 are the tallest and most significant skyscrapers, and all of them have been built in Shennan Blvd. Two of them have over 100 floors. In the East Shennan Bldv passes the Luohu District. This district is where you find the Luohu Station, a huge railway station where you most likely will arrive when taking the train from Hong Kong, to go through the visa and customs. This area also has huge shopping malls, de luxe hotel and new skyscrapers. Our hotel, the 5-star Panglin Hotel, a 55-storey building with a revolving rooftop restaurant, is also in Luohu. And so is Dongmen Shopping area, an area with nice pedestrian streets that I didn't manage to find. The streetscape of Shenzhen is very modern, even with western standards, with large trafficated roads, palms and skyscrapers.
Further to the West, Shennan passes the Futian District, where you find even more skyscrapers and shopping malls and two large parks, Central Park and Lizhi Park (we visited the latter one). In Futian you also find the enormous Civic Center, a culture center with curved roofs and open space, is one of the world's largest buildings. It is also here that Ping An Finance Centre will be not only Shenzhen's but also one of the world's tallest buildings when topped out at a height of 600m. At night you will find the buildngs illuminated in strange neon patterns.
Further to the West, in Nanshan District, you find the Overseas Chinese Town (OCT), a special area with hotels, office buildings, tall apartment buildings and furthermost several large theme parks. Windows of the World (WoW) is the most famous one. We visited WoW, where you will find copies a lot of famous landmarks all over the world 1/3 of the full scale, like an impressive copy of the Eiffel Tower, the Arch of Triumph, Manhattan, Niagara Falls, the Jesus statue in Rio, Colosseum, the pyramids of Egypt, the White House in Washington DC, Big Ben, Thai temples, a full-scale Cambodian village, scenes with performance shows and much more. You can take an elevated monorail train trough the whole theme park. Just next to WoW there is an Alp village, that consist of buildings that tries to look like old buildings in Austria.
In nearby Splendid China you will find impressive copies of famous landmarks from all over China. China Folk Culture village is a full-scale Chinese village with a lot of native Chinese events. Happy Valley is more of an amusement park.
We visited Shenzhen for 2 days; one day in the city (including the trip from Hong Kong) and one day in the city, spending more then half a day in the theme park Windows of the World. I have always considered Shenzhen a must during a Hong Kong trip. The stunning modern architecture, the boulevards, the supertall skyscrapers, large and nice parks and the many huge theme parks with interesting themes, makes the city worth a visit. Especially since it is only one hour by train North of Hong Kong. The Visa procedure takes some time though, and can be costy. Shenzhen borders Hong Kong, Dongguan and Huizhou, other cities with several million inhabitants. Little known to the outside world, is that Shenzhen has some of China's finest beaches. The most famous one is the Daimesha Beach in the west part of the city.
The toilets are an absolute nightmare in China! They only have a hole in the floor, and you have to bring your own toilet paper and soap, because Chinese people don't seem to use it! Even at expensive restaurants and McDonald's!
Like most other Chinese cities, the pollution is very bad, the skies are constantly grey because of haze, making the impressive skyline and modern much less impressive. If you are really lucky you might spot a sunny day to visit though.
The metro is very modern with glass walls with automatic doors at all stations. The trains and stations are air conditioned and the security very high; you have to scan your bag any time you enter the train area. It can be complicated to buy a day card if you don't speak Cantonese, but once you have it after a lot of misunderstandings, it is very easy and extremely cheap to travel anywhere in the city.
Beware of taking a taxi from the Luohu Station! The cab drivers do anything to convince you that they are genuine, they even stand besides real taxi cars, but then they take you to a private car and you have to pay about seven times the normal price! Just go outside the station and try to take a taxi there, or do everything to ignore the illegal taxi drivers!