What to see, eat and shop in Shenzhen

What to see, eat and shop in Shenzhen
Photo Credit: Alamy

Once the --factory floor-- of the world, this southern Chinese city is reinventing itself as a tourism and services hub

Venky Vembu
November 10 , 2015
02 Min Read

How to do it
144-hour Convenient Visa
Unlike with Hong Kong and Macau, where you get a visa on arrival, you’ll need a China visa to hop across into Shenzhen. But the ‘144-hour conve­nient visa’ arrangement renders this less tedious. Foreign visitors to Hong Kong can travel to and stay anywhere in Guangdong province (where Shenzhen is located) for a maximum of 144 hours (or six days) provided they join a tour organised by a registered Hong Kong travel agent. Ask your hotel concierge to connect you with a travel agent. Tour fees (including visa) start at HK$800; discoverhongkong.com

What to see & do
Window of the World
It took Phileas Fogg 80 days to go around the world, but tourism authori­ties in Shenzhen have abridged that time to just a few hours, in a manner of speaking. This theme park show­cases small-scale replicas of all the wonders of the world—and many other delights. So, in just one day, you can see everything from the Eiffel Tower to the Niagara Falls to the Taj Mahal to the Pyramids… Intended primarily for local Chinese who couldn’t afford to go out and see the world (in an earlier time), it surprisingly draws tourists from far: even those who have seen the real wonders come back for this ‘world tour’ in double-quick time. Ticket price: RMB180; en.szwwco.com

Where to eat
Even by the standards of the completely over-the-top experiences that are fairly common in China, dining at a refur­bished ocean liner—on land—has to be tops. That’s what you get to do at Sea World in Shekou, in suburban Shen­zhen, where the French passenger ship MV Ancerville (subsequently sold to the provincial government in Guangdong in southern China and rechristened Minghua) has been refurbished into a four-star hotel (Cruise Inn Internation­al Hotel), a Brazilian BBQ restaurant, a wine bar, a cigar house and a movie the­atre. Meal for two: RMB600 upwards; +86-755-26825555.

Where to shop
Luohu Mall
For retail therapy, the Luohu Mall, right on Shenzhen’s border with Hong Kong, is hard to beat. Consider this: five ex­pansive floors, packed to the gills with tiny shops, each selling merchandise across the spectrum—from knockoffs of famed brands to cheap trinkets—and across the price range. You get what you pay for (after spirited but good-natured haggling, of course), and caveat emptor rules apply. But this I’ll say: I bought a knockoff backpack of an international brand (for a fifth of the price of an origi­nal), which even the quality controlofficer of the company (to whom I showed it later in Hong Kong) couldn’t tell was a fake.

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