4 Great Places to Visit in Shenzhen, SE China

Updated on October 26, 2016
InspiringWriter profile image

Originally from Birmingham, England, Ava has been living in Shenzhen on South China's tropical South East coast since 2013.

Shenzhen tops China's most innovative cities.
Shenzhen tops China's most innovative cities. | Source

It's Pronounced Shen-Jun (In Case You Were Wondering)

Although largely unheard of outside parts of Asia, Shenzhen, located in Guangdong province on the South China coast, is one of the country's four biggest cities.

As the locals will proudly tell you, a mere thirty years ago Shenzhen was still a humble fishing village. Today however, there is no trace of this city's agricultural roots as, with a strong infrastructure and forward-thinking governance, it steadfastly holds its own against the neighbouring regional capital Guangzhou, the mighty Beijing, and the stylish, bustling port city of Shanghai.

These days Shenzheners earn their living through trade and commerce, information technology, and retail, with many people holding two jobs in order to live comfortably in a high-priced environment.

People who work hard like to play hard and Shenzhen has a plethora of resources which its citizens enjoy in their downtime.

Sculptures in the fountain, Futian, Shenzhen, China
Sculptures in the fountain, Futian, Shenzhen, China | Source

What's Shenzhen Like?

Located on Southeast China's tropical coastline the city is a well planned, clean, dust and usually smog-lite, aesthetic pleasure with broad avenues lined with palm trees and an abundance of greenery.

In short, it's beautiful.

The many beaches have extensive walkways such as the popular area of Hongshulin where you can rent a bike and cycle for hours, ambling along at your own pace. On one side are Mangroves filled with birds and just across the bay is the vibrant city of Hong Kong, almost close enough for you to reach out and touch.

Green and Beautiful Shenzhen

Park Entrance, Futian, Shenzhen
Park Entrance, Futian, Shenzhen | Source

Goals and Desires

Shenzhen's ambition and self-belief permeates the air and filters down to its 15 million people.

As part of its plans to become a truly international city many public signs are bi-lingual and a significant amount of young people have a good grasp of oral and written English.

In order to aid the city's ongoing development, foreign experts from various industries are welcomed with attractive packages and encouraged to attend regular forums in order to discern and implement ways to make their stay in China easier.

A family enjoying a day out at Window of the World, Shenzhen, South China. That's a replica of the Louvre, Paris, France in the background.
A family enjoying a day out at Window of the World, Shenzhen, South China. That's a replica of the Louvre, Paris, France in the background.

1. Window of the World

This first place to visit in Shenzhen is a collection of some of the world's most famous icons spread out over several acres. These are representations of these well-known world landmarks, not exact replicas, so the scale is somewhat smaller, typically 1:1, 1:5, or 1:15.

When I asked about the reasoning behind this free attraction I was told that many Chinese people don't travel outside of China, so this is a way of bringing the world to them!

Here you can take selfies next to the following monuments:

  • The Eiffel Tower
  • The Pyramids and the Sphinx
  • The Angkor Wat of Cambodia
  • The Tower of London
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • The Roman Colosseum

Travel further into the site past the (non-replica) KFC and other eateries and you'll encounter romantic garden settings, quaint gift shops offering art classes, a skating rink, a beer garden, and an outdoor jazz club with live musicians.

The venue regularly hosts many shows and festivals including stunning firework displays held on both Western and Chinese New Year.

Avoid the crowds by visiting during a normal work day if you can.

Sculptures at Dameisha Beach, Shenzhen
Sculptures at Dameisha Beach, Shenzhen | Source

2. Dameisha and Xiaomeisha Beaches

Being a coastal city has many advantages.

1. Beaches: There's an abundance of beaches to help you escape the overwhelming heat of a tropical summer. Less than an hour by car, but also accessible by bus, Dameisha and its little sister beach Xiaomeisha, (known as oriental Hawaii) are popular spots for families, young people and those looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

2. Scenery: With a backdrop of lush green hills and seas which span several shades of blue, you may want to spend all day.

3. Food: There are plenty of reasonably priced restaurants offering a variety of food, including barbecue on the beach. There are also upmarket hotels with live jazz lunches for those wanting a little more luxury.

4. Relaxation: Sit for a while and let your feet sink into the soft, golden sand while you gaze at the endless China sea.

5. Music and Games: Summon up some energy and join in with a beach volleyball game or sing along as a talented musician strums away on his guitar.

6. Gentle Exercise: When you've had enough of the sand but don't want to totally leave the area, rise above it all by strolling along the hillside walkway that runs for miles offering beautiful views and cool breezes.

Beautiful Dameisha Beach, Shenzhen
Beautiful Dameisha Beach, Shenzhen | Source

An Artistic Enclave

Dafen Art Village, Shenzhen
Dafen Art Village, Shenzhen | Source
An artist at Work in Dafen Art Village
An artist at Work in Dafen Art Village

3. Dafen Art Village

Dafen is the real life embodiment of what someone, somewhere had in mind when they envisaged a thriving artist's village.

Situated in East Shenzhen, Longgang District, Dafen is easily accessible by bus or underground train.

Set-up in the early 1990s, there's a profusion of small streets and alleyways which are literally bursting with artistic expression.

You can commission work by showing your chosen artist your favourite photograph which he or she will reproduce in oils. Wander slowly through the small meandering lanes absorbing the atmosphere and marveling at the skill exhibited through painting, drawing, reproducing, and creating.

Even if you're not an art lover, I guarantee you'll see something which you just have to take home.

Dafen Artists Village, Shenzhen, China

Artists creating in Dafen Arts Village, Shenzhen, China
Artists creating in Dafen Arts Village, Shenzhen, China | Source
Artists painting in Dafen Arts Village, Shenzhen, China
Artists painting in Dafen Arts Village, Shenzhen, China | Source
Ladies Dancing on Lianhua Mountain
Ladies Dancing on Lianhua Mountain | Source

4. Lianhua Mountain

With a larger than life-size statue of reformist leader Den Xiaoping at its peak, the abundant and beautiful Lianhua mountain is a popular venue for romantic walks, kite-flying, gentle hikes, family fun, and much more.

Situated in the heart of the city it spans a little over 150 acres.

Many claim that the views offered at the summit which open right across the metropolis, are best seen at sunrise or sunset, but to be honest, it's the perfect vantage point from which to view the city at any time.

Activities on the mountain range from daytime and nighttime kite flying, (nighttime kites are fitted with super-cool neon lights), to organised communal events which are just as much fun to watch as they are to join in.

These include:

  • Getting your aerobics groove on in the midst of an enthusiastic keep-fit group.
  • Listening to revolutionary opera songs beside the Lotus Lake on a Sunday morning.
  • Playing badminton in the open air
  • Smiling at the serene grace of senior citizens doing ball-room dancing in perfect time.
  • Snapping photos of an artist working with fast evaporating waters and a huge tapered broom to inscribe ancient poetry on the paving stones
  • If your offspring are looking for a significant other, Lianhua mountain has become a popular place for parents to meet and swap details of their adult, single children in the hope of sparking lifelong unions.

Autumn Flowers Bloom In Shenzhen

Sunny morning on Lianhua Mountain, Futian, Shenzhen
Sunny morning on Lianhua Mountain, Futian, Shenzhen | Source

Final Thoughts

These four venues are merely a taster of what this fascinating, culturally rich, modern (in a Western sense, yet still very Chinese), vibrant, and eclectic city has to offer.

The saying goes that when you come here you are no longer a visitor, you are a local. So from one Shenzhener to a potential other, (that's you), welcome.

Coco Park Shopping Mall at Night

Coco Park Shopping Mall at night. A great place to meet friends or just hang out in a book shop or cafe
Coco Park Shopping Mall at night. A great place to meet friends or just hang out in a book shop or cafe | Source
Map of China showing the location of Shenzhen
Map of China showing the location of Shenzhen | Source

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • InspiringWriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Ava Ming 

        15 months ago from Shenzhen, China

        Yes, I'm aware of that Katie, as you will see from my first sentence. If you read more carefully or check again you will see that no-where in the article have I written Shenzhen, Futian.

      • profile image

        Katie 

        15 months ago

        You wrote Shenzhen, Futian. But this city is in Guangdong province

      • InspiringWriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Ava Ming 

        3 years ago from Shenzhen, China

        Whenever you're ready, Kokumo, but take your time, Shenzhen is only just beginning. (-:

      • profile image

        Kokumo 

        3 years ago

        Very well written and informative...makes me want to jump on a plane!

      • InspiringWriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Ava Ming 

        4 years ago from Shenzhen, China

        Hi Quildon, thanks for reading my article

        today, the weather is tropically hot and sunny, so I'm off to confirm the blue-ness of Dameisha beach!

      • InspiringWriter profile imageAUTHOR

        Ava Ming 

        4 years ago from Shenzhen, China

        Hi srsdn. Sounds like you know Shenzhen?

        Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to read my article.

        I'll post more on this city soon

      • quildon profile image

        Angela Joseph 

        4 years ago from Florida

        insoiringwriter, all of those places seem really inviting. Is the water really that blue? Thanks for giving us a peek into a really lovely and interesting country.

      • srsddn profile image

        srsddn 

        4 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

        inspiringwriter, Thanks for introducing four beautiful places in Shenzhen. I liked the beaches and the sunset view. It is amazing to note the progress made in last three decades. Thanks once again for sharing. Voted up.

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