Travel Thursday on Empty Streets: Shenzen, China

Posted 6:49 AM by Mezhal Ulao in Labels: ,
Shenzhen is a city of sub-provincial administrative status in southern China's Guangdong province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. Owing to China's economic liberalization under the policies of reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, the area became China's first—and arguably one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones.

Shenzhen's novel and modern cityscape is the result of the vibrant economy made possible by rapid foreign investment since the late 1970s, when it was a small fishing village. Since then, foreign nationals have invested more than US$30 billion for building factories and forming joint ventures. It is now reputedly one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Being southern China's major financial centre, Shenzhen is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of numerous high-tech companies. Shenzhen is also the second busiest port in mainland China, ranking only after Shanghai.

Here are three of the main places to vist in Shenzhen:

Diwang Building
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 shops.

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.

Grand Theater

Completely 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 ( and with tickets normally between 60 - 300 RMB no one can complain that culture is out of reach in this modern boom city.
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 practice outdoors.

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.

Citizens' Center
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.

Visiting Shenzhen

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 through to HK, we hope you're open minded about Shenzhen to carve out an extra whole day to stop off and explore the city.

More Information

For English language news and commentary about Shenzhen, visit the Shenzhen Blog
Photos of Shenzhen, a web forum, and further information are available at Shenzhenweb Shenzhen Information:

Here is a video tour of Shenzhen for your enjoyment:

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