My winter 2018 trip to Asia. Day 5. Shenzhen, China

I heard a lot about Shenzhen. As a city, it grew up faster than any other one. So I was curious to see it. That’s why instead of going directly to Guangzhou – place that I knew as Kanton – I decided to spend one day at Shenzhen.

The day started in Hong Kong where I do a last visit to the high-speed train station surroundings. The Kowloon Park is a quiet green space that even includes an aviarium. I take my time to take some pictures and watch the birds. Next and last stop is the Temple Street market. The night market is closed, but I visit the close by food market. It’s packed with people and very alife. Two characteristics that are true for Hong Kong as a whole.

It is recommended to start the immigration process at the high-speed train station one hour before departure. I was there one hour and a half and I do not repent doing so. The immigration process takes place in the station itself and is fast and easy. But you may find that people in the queue in front of you can take a very long time. Just make sure that if you want something to eat you buy it in the convenient stores of the station as once you start the process there are no more food shops. You will get help and guidance all the way in from the station employees.

The first thing to do in Shenzhen is to purchase a wallet card. I try to ask about it at a convenience store to no avail. I point to the card reader and ask for where to buy a card. Their lack of English knowledge and mine of Chinese makes for difficult communication. So, I move on. In the end, I purchase a one trip token. Once passed metro security, I see the vending machine for the Shenzhen Tong cards. I take the opportunity to purchase it. Even that all the text is in Chinese, it’s so easy that I get my card at the first try.

Shenzhen is not mainly touristic city. But, I find something to do. I visit Splendid China, Folk Culture Villages. It is a mixture between an open-air museum and recreational park. Even that I just see the last 10 minutes of one of the many live performances. It takes me around 3 hours to visit it. 
As with the History Museum in Hong Kong, or any other history museum, the park is designed to create a feeling of national identity. In this case, Chinese identity is composed of many different cultures inside the country. The park is divided into two parts. One part has miniature buildings that range from the Great Wall to the Forbidden Palace. The other one is a set of life-size villages representing all different cultures inside China. In the villages, you can see live performances and enter some of the buildings. If you are looking for a “real” experience, you can skip completely the place. But, for me it has been a fast way to learn how China sees itself thru its own eyes.

While booking the hotel in Shenzhen I had some doubts about its exact location. There where several hotels with a similar name. Before starting the trip, I purchased a China Unicom SIMM. It’s just 2Gb of data, but more than enough for my navigation needs. Having internet access and using the address and AMap it has been easy to find. 

And the day ends at the hotel room. Just the bathroom is almost as big as my entire room in Hong Kong. Shenzhen is a big city with big spaces, tall buildings, and big hotel rooms.