Tag Archives: Shenzhen

Shenzhen, China

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Breakfast at The Langham Hotel in Shenzhen is one favourable reason to hop out of bed and face the day with more eating. Especially when it’s a Gourmet Tour you’re about to embark upon; not to mention taking in some of the sights around the city …


Symbolism of Shenzhen’s early days; the city was established in 1979 and is a modern, highly-technological metropolis of China having been a fishing village which was transformed and soon established as the fourth highest economical region in China. In August of the following year, the country’s first special economic zone was established here.

‘Being China’s largest port city and window of opening up to the outside world, Shenzhen saw 239 million people traveling across the border in 2015. The policy of allowing mainland citizens to travel to Hong Kong and Macau on an individual basis made Shenzhen an intermediate point for people’s trips to Hong Kong. Statistics show that more than 60% of people travelling from mainland cities to Hong Kong or overseas destinations via Hong Kong choose to make a stopover in Shenzhen.’ Source: http://english.sz.gov.cn/


Dongmen Place in Shenzhen is a commercial shopping area in Luohu that’s been ticking away for over 300 years. Truly a maze of streets and buildings and on weekends it’s incredibly busy (just to let you know). If you like relaxed shopping, try going during the week and early with most stores opening between 10 and 11 am, closing later in the evening between 9 and 11 pm – depending on the time of year and day.

Tips: Be mindful of pick pockets, it’s a large area spread across several blocks and you won’t see everything in one day, double check the quality.
Cooling off with a refreshing mist in Dongmen Place is my guide Lisa who knows the humidity during the Summer months can cause heat exhaustion – especially if you’re buying up big in a very busy shopping precinct.

It’s a short walk from Laojie Station on Line 1 of the Shenzhen metro.


Meeting some locals in the park ‘advertising’ for their children to hopefully find them a partner. You can come and check out the profiles of those who don’t have time to spend here during the day. However, it seems these Mums do have the opportunity and possibly keen to have their ‘adult’ kids move out by promoting them to others who are in a similar situation. Some youngsters are like sticky rice and very hard to separate!


Hongfa Temple is located in Xianhu Botanical Park which is about a 20 minute cab ride from Luoho in central Shenzhen. Buy your ticket at the gate, then either walk through the park (30 minutes or so) to the temple or take a shuttle bus up. However, be aware the buses do not operate in the latter part of the day and a walk down is definitely easier than going up. Just don’t leave it too late as the lighting wasn’t operating at the time of writing this post.


Buddhist Monks at the Temple whereby you’ll see numerous believers praying and burning incense in its assembly.


Fledging Buddhists Monks counsel a newly-wed lady who believes her husband may be cheating on her … Of course, not being privy to the conversation, I was quite keen to know what advice had been given by inexperienced, never married men and what they believe might be the right path for her future? To stay or not to stay …

 


Afterwards walking around the Fairy Lake Botanical Gardens, (referred to as SZBG or the Garden) it includes biodiversity conservation, scientific research, science education and tourism. First constructed in 1983 and then opened to the public in 1988, it’s relatively new and has received international recognition.


The China Folk Culture Village is located adjacent to the Splendid China theme park and features displays of the daily life and architecture of China’s 56 ethnic groups (including the minorities) and opened to the public in October 1991. An insight to the many regions of China of which most tourists only wish to visit the Golden Triangle of Xian, Beijing and Shanghai – not realising there’s so much more the country has to offer, especially in terms of natural beauty and an ancient civilisation which had lasted for centuries. Much of the Chinese culture has endured, even in today’s modernism.


A lot of fun to be had by youngsters and all the ‘aunties and uncles’ who accompany them at the Culture Village with various activities.


Once the Culture Village lights up, it’s a beautiful setting in the evening with families drawn to it like fireflies. Featuring throughout the year there’s several cultural festivals such as the Water Splashing Festival of the Dai, the Shawm Festival of the Miao, the Torch Festival of the Yi, the  Huaxia Great Cultural Temple Fair, the Xinjiang Cultural Festival and the Inner Mongolia Grassland Cultural Festival.


Dinner, ah yes there’s a reason I’m here on this Gourmet Tour. More food and the offerings are of the local cuisine with a very spicy fish dish on this occasion with seasonal vegetables on the menu.


In the performance called The Dragon and Phoenix, the entire troupe of entertainers combine their efforts to produce an outstanding and dazzling spectacle for both young and old. The costumes are amazing and set in a versatile theatrical setting and undoubtedly worthy of seeing.

Next stop Guangzhou, China.

Hong Kong to Shenzhen, China

 


If there’s no other reason to visit Hong Kong than to hang out with friends, then you’ll always enjoy a Herbal Tea tradition dating back as far as anyone can remember – either made at home or being sold on the street in ancient days. Here with my mate Polly who is enjoying  a Dampness Expelling Tea and mine a Five Flowers Tea  for the princely sum of HKD10 each in Mong Kok.

In the 50s and 60s Hong Kong, there wasn’t too much influence from the West, beverages such as coffee and English tea was mainly served for high society with British Government officials and merchants in hotel coffee shops. The economy was blooming, people started to have more leisure, but there still wasn’t too many places for people to ‘hang out’. Herbal Tea Shops were the places which first installed TVs and radios, so it was similar to a chilling place for the youth at that time. Afterwards it started to be replaced by coffee shops starting from the 1980s.


And, it’s even better when your friend Polly knows where to take you for Yum Cha!


If you’ve seen Ladies and Flower Markets in Hong Kong,  a trip to Men’s Market might be of interest to the people who patiently tread the shopping mill with their partners; maybe sifting through and snatching an odd reward in Apilu Street will appease them.


Some of the finds here are truly intriguing. Perhaps it’s one way of keeping your man (or lady) extremely happy and that’s not to say there’s some useful items to take home. Never know when you might fancy an antiquated movie projector because you’re tired of the remote-controlled TV at home? Nothing like a bit of nostalgia …


The Jade Market is the largest offering I’ve ever seen and if gems are your thing then take the MTR to Yau Ma Tei.  Exit C and walk south down Nathan Road and after passing under a road viaduct turn left into Kansu Street. The market is located near the junctions of Kansu Street and Battery Street (fourth on the left) almost opposite the attractive colonial Yau Ma Tei Police Station. You’ll find other interesting items as well …


Lunch on the go is cheap and additionally there’s a plethora of small traditional restaurants serving authentic cuisine.


Later during my stay, it was time to catch up with friends Alex and Gwynne from Sydney who were visiting family in Hong Kong. Here at Ladder Street, we’re making our way up to Sheung Wan, which consists entirely of stone steps.


We also navigated our way up onto the Mid-Levels Escalator which crosses Hollywood Road and heads up towards Shelley Street. Although the people movers go on and on upwards, bear in mind, they do not operate coming down and the walk can be a little steep. But the good news is that you can stop along the way at a myriad of bars and restaurants; and if it’s later in the day, perhaps stop for a couple of cocktails within ‘happy hour’ to ease the burden of a long walk downwards – you won’t even notice how far you’ve traipsed after some bevvies … Check out Lan Kwai Fong for a lively smart area to chill out.


So, I’m heading off next to Shenzhen in China which borders with Hong Kong and easiest for me whilst staying here is to take a train across. Takes about an hour from Mong Kok East Station and the cost one way for an adult is HKD40 in economy and HKD80 in First Class which has its own dedicated queue to board. On today’s exchange rate A$1.00 = HKD6.21


On the Hong Kong side of the border is Lo Wu station and Luohu Station at Shenzhen, China with  a number of stops en route. However, a new faster express train is currently being developed for the near future and will take approximately 17 minutes I’ve been advised.


Australians require a visa to enter China and if seeking a 72 hour visa-free stay, then check with the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre for updated information. You can go online and make an appointment prior to going into the Centre to speed up the process.
Address: Level 5/299 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9475 8800
Hours: Open Monday to Friday 9am–3pm

At Luohu Shenzhen, there’s an underground subway which is also a major rail station and the border crossing immigration point is here – all in the one place. It’s a mix of old and new buildings and though the signs can be a little vague, eventually you’ll find your way out … You can fill in the arrival form found on the counters before progressing to the Immigration line up.


Checking into The Langham Hotel in Shenzhen had been made a breeze at the Club Lounge which is  inclusive of internet access and VIP welcome amenities. My advice is to upgrade and treat yourselves to take advantage of the Club privileges which include daily breakfast for two, afternoon tea, evening cocktails with canapés and additionally all-day coffee/tea with light snacks.


Rooms are beautifully appointed with natural light streaming into the room and it’s just what Aussies love – bright, stylish rooms. Classic European style in the heart of modern Shenzhen – you may not want to leave the hotel once settled in!


And at the end of the day, why wouldn’t you want to relax and soak up the classy atmosphere at The Langham …

Somewhere out there on the left is Hong Kong and it’s easy to see why the residents come in droves for a short break away when you can experience luxury at an affordable price in an elegant five-star hotel such as this one.

Next blog post – Shenzhen sights and Gourmet Tour.