Everywhere you look in Shenzhen, you see signs of new growth. In this contemporary metropolis, skyscrapers unfurl themselves upwards over the skyline, new restaurants and shopping centers blossom, and industries are flourishing. You could say that tourism is also blooming in the “Garden City of Tomorrow.”
After exploring the city’s quirky theme parks, vibrant art scene, and shopping centers, find a scenic spot to take in panoramas of the area. From the bay, to the surrounding mountains, to the beautifully crafted garden areas, no viewpoint will disappoint! Here are five of the best scenic spaces to get you started:
1. Practice photography at Fairy Lake (Xianhu) Botanical Garden
Don’t forget to grab your camera when you head over the Xianhu Botanical Garden, a park famous for its natural beauty! The picturesque property is situated against Phoenix Tree Mountain and is verdant with colorful flowers, rare and imported plants, and stunning examples of Chinese architecture. The botanical gardens and arboretum opened to the public in 1988 and remains a celebrated weekend destination for locals and tourists alike, so plan a weekday trip if you prefer to avoid the crowds.
With 17 Special Gardens to meander through, paddle boats to take on Fairy Lake, spacious lawns to picnic on, and museums to explore, prepare to spend a few leisurely hours in this exquisite spot. As a partner of the organization Botanic Gardens Conservation International, the park serves as a center for conservation education and research, and is home to over 3,000 species of plants. Another highlight of the park is Hongfa Temple, one of the largest and most popular Buddhist temples in the region. Built on a series of terraces, there are forty buildings that make up the temple, and the gorgeous architecture complements the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Fairy Lake (Xianhu) Botanical Garden
Address: No.160 Liantang xianhu Road, Luohu District, Shenzhen 518004, China
Website: Fairy Lake Botanical Garden
2. Count your steps at Nanshan Mountain
Just in case you lose track, there are nearly 700 concrete steps that make up this popular hike! Also known as Nanshan Park, you can expect the trail to the summit to be crowded with a mix of children, elderly, and everyone in between on the weekend. You can start your trek a short distance from Sea World Plaza and climb 336 meters (1,102 feet) to be rewarded with a beautiful view of the ocean bay, the mountains of Hong Kong, and Nanshan District.
There are three different routes that give you access to the trail: the North Entrance, the South Entrance, and the Middle Entrance. The North Entrance creates the lengthiest route, while the Middle Entrance provides the shortest distance to the summit. Depending on your hiking experience, level of fitness, and the route you choose to follow, allow yourself 1.5 to 3 hours to complete the trail.
Address: No.8 Shekou Villa, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China
Website: Nanshan Mountain
3. Grab your binoculars for bird watching at Mangrove Seaside Ecology Park
Images of the Mangrove Seaside Ecology Park are currently unavailable.
With a view of Hong Kong’s Mai Po Marshes, you are in the perfect position to catch a glimpse of wetland birds in their natural habitat at the Mangrove Seaside Ecology Park. Although it is a relatively small state park, there are about 200 different bird species that migrate to the park throughout the year. You can stroll along one of the shaded paths or simply sit back and enjoy the panoramic view of Hong Kong from across the bay. For a more energetic activity, you can rent a bicycle and continue along the trail to Shenzhen Bay Park for even more views of the beautiful coastline.
Mangrove Seaside Ecology Park
Address: Binhai Road, Shenzhen City, China
Website: Mangrove Seaside Ecology Park
4. Reach the summit in Wutong Shan Mountain Area
Between astounding views and a 900 meter (2,953 ft) altitude, you may lose your breath hiking Wutong Mountain! The full seven mile (11.2 km) loop route to the summit and back is a popular choice among locals due to its close proximity to downtown, as well as its stunning outlook of the Shenzhen coastline from the peak. The trail is open year-round, and features views of rivers and waterfalls along the way. You can also hike the trail in the evening for a superb panorama of Shenzhen Bay at night. The hike is designated with moderate difficulty, but allow four to five hours to reach the summit depending on the length of your route and fitness level.
Wutong Shan Mountain Area
Address: Luohu, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
Website: Wutong Shan Mountain Trail
5. Take a break from the city at Shenzhen International Garden and Flower Expo
The park opened as an international garden exhibition in 2004 and is a beautiful spot to escape the hubbub of Shenzhen. The botanical park is divided into three scenic areas: the North Area, the East Area, and the West Area. Each of these areas house different themed spaces representing garden styles from around the world, as well as local art installations and scenic buildings.
Pack a picnic and sit in one of the scenic gardens overflowing with native blooms or next to one of the waterfalls or lakes. Other highlights of the park include the Blessing Pagoda in the North Area, which you can climb for a view overlooking Shenzhen, a stroll through the Jiangnan style patio nurseries in the East Area, or popping into the Dinosaur Exhibition Hall in the North Area for an impromptu history lesson!
Shenzhen International Garden and Flower Expo
Address: Shennan Ave, Futian Qu, Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China
The "Garden City of Tomorrow"
Shenzhen’s social transformation from small fishing town to China’s first Special Economic Zone is legendary. The beauty of the surrounding area is just as impressive as the growth of this modern metropolis! While the shopping centers and theme parks are still the major tourist draws to the city, make time to visit some of the beautiful scenic spaces sprinkled throughout the city. Escape from the hustle and bustle to admire the stunning panoramas and vistas within the metropolis and see for yourself why Shenzhen has been dubbed the “Garden City of Tomorrow.”
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