Sightseeing Attractions & Theme Parks Outdoor Activities city guide city tour China > Pearl River Delta > Shenzhen

26 Best Things To Do In The City Of Shenzhen - Updated 2020

26 Best Things To Do In The City Of Shenzhen
Belicia
Belicia
Updated

Less than half a century ago, the area Shenzhen occupies was a sleepy little market town occupied by 30,000 people. Today, its skyline bristles with skyscrapers and its streets heave with a population of over 10 million. Shenzhen is a testament to the determination of the Chinese and the surge of growth that accompanied the manufacturing boom in the 80s.

Shenzhen has long been associated with the ugly side of economic growth. For years, most of the arrivals in Shenzhen were immigrants from within China, or business travellers. All of that has begun to change, though. Shenzhen is a city of layers; history lurks between the skyscrapers, art displays weave themselves amongst tourist traps, and nature still clings to the edges of the city. If you think that all there is to do in Shenzhen is eat and shop, think again.

Theme parks

1. Feel like a giant in The Window Of The World

Thai palace, Window of the World, Shenzhen, China.JPG
Source: Photo by user Cory Doctorow used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Have dreams to travel the world, but not the budget to do so? What if I told you you could do it all in one day, all for 180 CNY (USD 27)? Welcome to The Window Of The World, where you’ll find replicas of the world’s greatest attractions, downsized. From the Great Pyramids and the Eiffel Tower to the Coliseum, The Window Of The World offers 130 attractions from all across the globe.

You can even ride a gondola through Venice or feel the spray from Niagara Waterfall. The attractions are built at a ratio of 1:1, 1:5 or 1:15. Experience the world in delightful miniature!

Window of the World

Address: 9037 Shennan Ave, Nanshan, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, 518053

Price: 180 CNY (27 USD) for adults and children above 4.9 feet (1.5 meters). 90 CNY (13.50 USD) for children between 3.9 and 4.9 feet (1.2 and 1.5 meters), and seniors between 65 - 69 years old. Admission is free for children below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) and seniors above 69 years.

Opening Hours: 09:00 to 22:00 on weekdays, 09:00 to 22:30 on holidays

Duration: around 2 - 6 hours required.

Access: Take the Luobao Line to the Window of the World Station. Take Exit J.

Website: Window of the World

Contact: +86 755 2660 8000

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

2. Have a happy day at the Happy Valley Theme Park

深圳欢乐谷—正门
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 古海岸遗址 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Guess who’s competing with Hong Kong Disneyland for the Happiest Place On Earth?! The Happy Valley Shenzhen theme park was the first park in the Happy Valley chain, which has parks in cities all over China. It’s made up of nine main areas: Spanish Square, Cartoon City, Mt. Adventure, Gold Mine Town, Shangri-la Woods, Sunshine Beach, Typhoon Bay, Playa Maya Water Park, and Happy Times.

Some highlights of the park include the River Raft Ride – but not the ride itself. Towards the end of the ride’s track, you can operate water cannons for 1 or 2 CNY (0.15 - 0.20 USD) and soak the people who are on it. Another popular ride is the bullet coaster, which has a 67.4-meter (221.2-foot) drop and goes at 134 kilometers per hours (83 mph).

Happy Valley Shenzhen

Address: 1 Qiaocheng W St, Nanshan, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Price: 200 CNY (30 USD) for adults and children above 4.9 feet (1.5 meters). 100 CNY (15 USD) for children between 3.9 to 4.9 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters). Free admission for children below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters).

Opening Hours: 09:30 - 21:00 on ordinary days. 09:00 - 22:00 from Apr. 30 - May 2 & Jun. 9 - 11 & Weekends. The Maya Water Park is open only from May 1 to October 7. It’s open 14:00 - 20:30 on ordinary days. 12:00 - 21:00 from Apr. 30 - May 2 & Jun. 9 - 11 & Weekends.

Duration: At least half a day

Access: Take the Luobao Line to the Window of the World Station. Take Exit A.

Website: Happy Valley Shenzhen

Contact: +86 755 2694 9168


See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

3. Get an overload of history at the Splendid China Folk Village

1 splendid china shenzhen 2011
Source: Photo by user chensiyuan used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This has got to take the cake – China replicated itself! It’s the world’s largest and most comprehensive miniature park, with replications of over 100 Chinese attractions and 25 full-scale ethnic villages. To be fair, the landscapes of Splendid China Folk Village are fantastic and meticulously set out – the miniatures are superbly detailed and contain over 50,000 tiny clay figures that have been placed to look as though they’ve been living there for years.

China has over 5,000 years of history and over 55 different tribes. The Splendid China Folk Village is a great place to get a thorough lesson on all of that. Other things that should definitely not be missed are the performances – the Dynasty At War performance reproduces the battle scene of the late Ming Dynasty, and it involves more than 300 equestrian stunt actors.

Splendid China Folk Village

Address: 9003 Shennan Ave, Nanshan, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Price: 180 CNY (27 USD) for adults, 90 CNY (13.50 USD) for children between 3.9 and 4.9 feet (1.2 and 1.5 meters), free admission for children below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters).

Opening Hours: For Splendid China, opening hours are 10:00 to 18:00 on ordinary days, 09:30 to 18:00 on weekends and 09:00 to 18:00 from 1 to 3 May and 1 to 7 October. For the Folk Culture Village, opening hours are 10:00 to 21:00 on ordinary days, 09:30 to 21:00 on weekends and 09:00 to 21:00 from 1 to 3 May and 1 to 7 October

Duration: At least half a day required

Access: Take the Luobao Line to the OCT Station and take Exit D

Website: Splendid China Folk Village

Contact: +86 755 2660 0626

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

4. Surround yourself with fun & culture at the Overseas Chinese Town East

Shenzhen OCT2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sarbast.T.Hameed used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Some people spend their entire Shenzhen trips in the OCT, and it’s easy to see why. This thing is massive! It’s a mixture of nature parks, theme parks, and cultural villages inspired by both the East and West. There are two main theme parks in the OCT East – Knight Valley and Tea Stream Valley.

If you’re looking for fun and adventures, head over to Knight Valley. It has five zones: Water Park, Rapids Forest, Seafield Village, Ecological Valley, and Peak Highland. You can spend a day on water rides, explore a tropical rainforest, or navigate ecological landscapes. The highlight of Knight Valley is the Peak Highland’s Reaching The Pinnacle Skywalk – it’s a walkway made of glass.

Tea Stream Valley is for those looking for their inner zen. You can reconnect with nature in the Wetland Garden, or learn more about tea in the Sanzhou Tea Garden or Ancient Tea Town.

Overseas Chinese Town East

Address: Dameisha, Shenzhen, China

Price: Admission for Knight Valley is 200 CNY (30.30 USD), admission for Tea Stream Valley is 180 CNY (27.30). You can also buy one-day or two-day combination tickers for 300 CNY (45.60 USD) or 350 CNY (53.20 USD)

Opening Hours: Knight Valley is open from 09:30 to 17:30 on weekdays, 09:00 to 17:30 on weekends and public holidays. Tea Stream Valley is open from 09:30 to 18:00 on weekdays, 09:00 to 18:00 on weekends and public holidays

Duration: around half a day

Access: Take bus 239, J1 or Airport 6 to the OCT East bus station

Website: Overseas Chinese Town East

Contact: +86 755 8888 9888

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

For nature lovers

5. Go hiking on Wutong Shan

Mount Wutong stairs
Source: Photo by user kallerna used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Ditch the urban jungle for a real one. Wutong Shan is Shenzhen’s highest mountain, standing at 943 meters (3,094 feet). It’s a popular destination for locals, so expect to be outstripped by elderly walkers and young families as you puff along. Wutong Shan has a few routes – you can opt for the safer route of stairs (do note that towards the top the trail is quite steep), or try out other paths that will take you into the greenery and past creeks and streams.

Most trails start out from Wutong Village. Once you’ve conquered the mountain, you’ll be treated to the sight of Shenzhen sprawled below, the glistening harbour and Hong Kong in the distance. Then it’s time for you to brave going down the stairs again.

Generally, the ascent takes about 3 - 4 hours and the descent takes another 2 hours. Bring track shoes and plenty of water.

Wutong Shan

Duration: 3 to 6 hours

Access: Metro & Bus: Metro: Luobao Line 1 (Green) to Luohu Station, then pick up the 211 bus which will take you to the bus terminus at Wutongshan Village.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

6. Spot birds at the Mangrove Seashore Ecology Park

Egrets & Spoonbills At Mai Po (5780799074)
Source: Photo by user Thomas Brown used under CC BY 2.0

The Mangrove Seashore Ecology Park is like the lesser-known sibling of Hong Kong’s Mai Po Marshes. Throughout the year, birds migrating from Siberia will stop to rest at the Mai Po Marshes, and some will also stop by the Mangrove Seashore Ecology Park, which is just two miles (3.2 kilometers) away. It’s China’s smallest nature reserve, but the bird-watching is legendary. Even if you’re not that keen on winged creatures, you can still enjoy the peaceful, natural landscapes of the marshes and the view of Hong Kong across the bay.

Mangrove Seashore Ecology Park

Address: Binhai Road, Shenzhen City

Duration: As long as you’d like

Access: Best to take a taxi as there are no subway stations nearby

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

7. Have a picnic at Xianhu Botanical Garden

Lake Xian in Shenzhen
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Huangdan2060 used under CC BY 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Xianhu Botanical Garden is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. It’s separated into six distinct areas: the Heaven and Earth Area, the Lake Area, the Temple Area, the Desert Landscape Area, the Petrified Forest Area, and the Conifers and Azalea Area. The different areas showcase different plants and landmarks, such as the Heavenly Pool and Hongfa Temple.

It’s a popular destination, so go on a weekday to try and avoid the crowds. You can expect to spend a few hours here, especially if you have kids. Some highlights of the garden are Hongfa Temple, which is the most popular and influential Buddhist Temple in Shenzhen, and Fairy Lake. You can stroll around the lake, or rent a paddle boat for an hour or so of fun.

Xianhu Botanical Gardens

Address: No.160 Liantang xianhu Road, Luohu District, Shenzhen 518004, China

Price: 20 CNY (3 USD) for adults and children above 4.9 feet (1.5 meters), 10 CNY (1.50 USD) for children between 3.9 and 4.9 feet (1.2 and 1.5 meters). Children below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) are admitted for free

Opening Hours: 04:00 to 21:30. Certain gardens are open from 09:00 to 17:00.

Duration: At least 1 - 2 hours

Access: Take bus 382, 363, 220 or 202 to the Fairy Lake Botanical Garden bus stop

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

8. (Don’t) pick lychees at Lychee park

Lychee Park
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Lychee Park is so named for the 50 or so lychee trees that are planted around the lake. They bear fruit in the summer, but it always mysteriously disappears, whether they’re taken by birds or opportunistic tourists. Whether there are lychees or not when you go, don’t be that tourist. The locals will not be impressed.

Located in the Luohu District, it’s a great choice for those who don’t have the time to visit the bigger parks or nature reserves. You can stroll through the park while making your way to Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The park is full of classic arched bridges that criss-cross the lakes. You can feed the ducks or watch folk exercise in the evening. It’s a nice little park to spend an hour or two.

Lychee Park

Address: 1001 Hongling Middle Rd, Futian, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Access: Walk from Hongling MTR Station

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

9. Get a bird eye’s view of Shenzhen and Hong Kong from Nanshan Park

Nanshan Mountain
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user A J Butler used under CC BY 3.0

Now you can workout and shop in the same day! The start of the Nanshan Mountain trail is within walking distance of the entrance of Seaworld (it’s a plaza, not an aquarium). From there, it’ll take about 2 - 3 hours to make it up and down. The trail is made up of about 700 steps, so if you’re not fit this might be a challenge. There are plenty of rest stops and viewing platforms along the way – you’ll be able to see the whole of the Nanshan District from the top.

Once you’ve scrambled up the mountain, you can look forward to getting back down to Seaworld and refuelling with good food.

Nanshan Mountain

Duration: around 2 to 3 hours required.

Access: Walk from Shekou line 2 to Seaworld Exit D

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

Shopping and more shopping

10. Watch the fountain display at Seaworld

Sea World, Shenzhen
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Aaron Zhu used under CC BY-SA 3.0

No, you won’t find any orcas or dolphins here. Seaworld is a plaza that’s popular with locals and expats alike. It’s beautifully designed, and you should definitely visit when the sun is setting for some great views. Seaworld has a lot of Western and European cuisine. If chopsticks frustrate you and you’re looking for something a little more familiar, stop here for a meal.

The centrepiece of Seaworld is the Minghua, which was once a cruise ship. It’s now been beached and turned into a hotel. Every night, there are 2 ten-minute fountain shows that take place next to the Minghua. One is at 7 pm, and the other is at 8 pm. On weekends, an additional display takes place at 9 pm.

Seaworld

Address: Seaview plaza, Taizi Road, Shekou, Shenzhen, China

Access: Take the MTR to Seaworld Station

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

11. Overdose on caffeine at Nanhai E-cool

Coffee
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ahmed Rabea used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If Seaworld holds no appeal for you, you can always take a walk down to Nanhai E-Cool. It’s an old Sanyo factory that has been converted into more than a hundred small creative enterprises. You’ll find no shortage of cafes serving up coffee, snacks, and cakes. There are also many design shops, wine bars, and little hipster stores. There is also the occasional art installation.

It’s a nice, hip place to be in after the large chains of Seaworld.

Shekou Nanhai E-Cool

Address: 6 Xinghua Lu (next to Sea World), Shekou, Nanshan District

Access: Walk around Xinhua Road from Seaworld

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

12. Shop, wine, and dine at Coco Park

Galaxy Coco Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 寿司猫 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Get your credit card ready. Coco Park is a modern mall that has over 200 Chinese and international brands. It’s a one-stop spot for shopping, eating, and just enjoying the atmosphere of Shenzhen. Coco Park has a huge central square, which is usually packed with tourists and locals. If you’re looking for those famed cheap Chinese prices, you’ll be disappointed – Coco Park’s prices are usually higher than those in Hong Kong. You’ll definitely be paying for what you get though.

Even if shopping isn’t on your agenda, Coco Park is still great for food and entertainment. There are a ton of restaurants and cafés, all serving international and Chinese food. You can even stop by the Broadway Circuit cinema to watch a movie.

Galaxy Coco Park

Address: 268 Fuhua 3rd Rd, Futian, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 on Mondays - Thursday and Sunday. 10:00 to 22:30 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Access: Take the Luobao Line or the Longgang Line to the Shopping Park Station

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

13. Get your geek on at Huaqiangbei District

Huaqiangbei electronics markets, Shenzhen
Source: Photo by user Tom Whitwell used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Huaquangbei District in Futian houses the biggest electronics market in China. You can find anything – tiny, spare parts, computers, cameras, drones, selfie sticks – absolutely anything that you can think of technology-wise, it’s here. There’s probably a sentient robot in there somewhere plotting world domination!

The three main markets in the district are SEG Electronics, Huaqiang Electronics, and Cyber. The markets are like mazes; it’s very easy to lose your way in them.

If you’re worried about fake goods, well, good. There definitely are fake things here, but you can take precautions to make sure you’re not getting cheated. Apply common sense – if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you get your items in their original, unopened box, and check that they’re working fine before handing over your money.

Huaqiangbei District

Address: Huaqiang Road

Access: You can walk to Huaqiang Road from the Huaqiang Road MTR Station and Huaqiang North MTR Station

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

14. Get lost in Dongmen Pedestrian Street

Up To My Armpits II
Source: Photo by user Tim Kelley used under CC BY-ND 2.0

The general consensus is that you haven’t been to Shenzhen unless you’ve been to Dongmen Old Street. Dongmen spans several blocks and it consists of several malls, markets, side streets, and public spaces. It’s like a mall of shopping malls. It’s a shopping heaven. Here, you’ll find clothes, international brands, food, bags, shoes – basically anything you want.

Things are cheap, especially at the market stalls. A bit of bargaining will probably get you a good deal. Inside the malls, the prices are usually fixed, but you can keep an eye out for good discounts. If you’re keen on shopping, you can spend hours here. It’s packed during the weekends and public holidays, so try to go on the weekdays to avoid human traffic.

Dongmen Pedestrian Street

Address: Bu Xing Jie, DongMen, Luohu Qu, Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China, 518040

Access: You can walk there from Laojie MTR Station

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

Beach lovers

15. Soak in the sun at the Dameisha and Xiaomeisha beaches

Dameisha Beach
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gigel.atat used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Found in the Yantian district, Dameisha is a coastal town best-known for its beach. Dameisha Beach is a wide, long stretch of fine sand with clear seawater glistening under the sun. It’s a popular beach, especially on weekends. Sculptures dot the beach – they were created by the ‘drifting generation’ of the 1940s - 1980s, depicting their wishes for a better life. You can also clamber about some rock formations along the coast.

Xiaomeisha is a smaller beach that is further up the beach. (Fun fact: da means big and xiao means small.) It has an entrance fee of 30 CNY (5 USD), and because of that it’s less crowded than Dameisha. It’s noted for having clear and beautiful water.

Dameisha Beach

Address: No. 9 Dameishayanmei Road, Yantian District, Shenzhen 518081, China

Opening Hours: 08:00 - 01:00

Access: Take bus J1, N21 or M207. Alternatively, you can take the train from Luo Hu Station.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

16. Rest and recharge at the Dapeng Peninsula

Dapeng Bay
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user rheins used under CC BY 3.0

To get away from the city, why not take a day trip to the Dapeng Peninsula? Found in the southeast of Shenzhen, Dapeng boasts stunning coastal landscapes, ancient volcanoes, and lush forests. It’s surrounded by the sea on three sides, creating endless coastal features. Rock formations can be found along the many beaches that pepper the coastline. Some of the more popular beaches are Jinsha Bay, Xinchong, and Dongchong.

For now, the Dapeng Peninsula is still a quiet oasis, with secluded beaches and quiet mountain trails, making it a great place to enjoy being alone with nature.

Daoeng Bay

Address: Dapeng Bay, Longgang District, Shenzhen 518100, China

Access: It’s very far from the city, so you might want to take a taxi

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

Culture overload

17. Commission your own painting at Dafen Village

Dafen Oil Painting Village, Shenzhen, China 3.JPG
Source: Photo by user Cory Doctorow used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Ever wanted a life-sized painting of yourself in a mid-century outfit? That dream can now come true – all you need is a trip to Dafen Village. It’s also known as the Dafen Oil Painting Village because it’s the largest producer of oil paintings in the world. There are thousands of artists there that paint and sell copies of great Western works. You can pick up your very own copy of the Mona Lisa, or bring a picture of whatever art you want. There’ll be someone there who can make it for you.

In addition to the overwhelming number of oil paintings that can be found there, you’ll also find art galleries, calligraphy, sculptures, and handicrafts. It’s a pleasant area that isn’t overwhelmingly crowded, and once you’ve gotten your fill of art you can stop by one of the little boutique cafes for a coffee.

Dafen Village

Address: Buji Neighborhood Committee, Longang District, Shenzhen 518112, China

Access: Take the Longgang Line to Dafen Station. Take exit A1.


See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

18. Visit the Hakka Villages in Pingshan

Earth building-chengqi2
Source: Photo by user Bolobolo used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Found in the east of Shenzhen, Pingshan is largely populated by Hakka people today. Hakka Villages are large, multi-family, communal living structures that were constructed from the 17th Century onwards by the Hakka. The villages were constructed to be easy to defend – they had outer walls that were typically a meter (3.2 feet) thick, and were circular. Generally, Hakka villages only have one gate and no windows on the ground floor.

In Pingshan, there are three Hakka Villages that can be toured: Longtian Shiju, Dawen Shiju and Fengtian Shiju.

Out of the three, Longtian Shiju is the most well-preserved. It was built in the Qing Dynasty. Its style differs a little from the typical Hakka Village because it’s surrounded on three sides by water.

Longtian Shiju

Access: Take the bus to Kengzhi Market Station

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

19. Wander through history at Dapeng Fortress

Dapeng Fortress
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ryanlaipeng used under CC BY-SA 3.0

In a city as modern as Shenzhen, it’s hard to find any form of preserved history. Dapeng Fortress, though, is a Ming Dynasty walled town that has been fantastically preserved. It was initially built to defend the mainland from Japanese pirates, and then from the British during the Opium Wars.

You can wander about the streets of the fortress. People still live there, and you’ll find a variety of shops, restaurants, and guesthouses as well. Jiaochangwei, a little fishing village, is also nearby. There are many boutique guesthouses there too.

Do note that Dapeng is out of the way and will take about an hour of driving from Shenzhen. It’s recommended that you spend a night or two there to explore the fortress and the surrounding coastal areas.

Dapeng Fortress

Address: Nanmen West Street, Longgang District, Shenzhen 518120, China

Access: A taxi or a private driver is your best option

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

20. Learn about Shenzhen’s history (the sanitized version) at Shenzhen Museum

Before Shenzhen was a bustling metropolis, it was a sleepy market town, home to about 30,000 people who lived on farms and in rural villages. Although Shenzhen has been swept away on the tides of the 21st century, you can still learn about the past in Shenzhen Museum.

There you’ll find a fun and interactive of Shenzhen’s history, all the way from prehistoric times to the present day. You can wander about mock streets and squint at the artefacts on display. Do note, however, that this is China – the version of history that you’re getting here is a sanitized one, so take what you learn with a pinch of salt!

Shenzhen Museum

Address: 6 Tongxin Rd, Luohu, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Opening Hours: 10:00 to 17:30 on Tuesdays - Sundays. Closed on Mondays.

Access: Take Line 4 to the Shimin Zhongxin Station. Take Exit B.

Website: Shenzhen Museum

Contact: +86 755 755 8812 5800

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

21. Visit Tienhou Temple

Chiwan Tianhou Temple 20140515
Source: Photo by user 颐园新居 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Legend has it that when the Chinese explorer Zheng He set out on his expedition, he encountered a fierce storm in the Pearl River Delta area, but he survived. Tianhou, or Matsu, the goddess of the sea, appeared to the Chinese Emperor and told him that she had saved the expedition, and to build a temple to show his appreciation. Thus, Tienhou Temple was built.

Over the centuries, the temple has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, but it still retains an ancient air about it. You can take an hour or two to explore the temple grounds, visit the little museum inside, climb the drum tower, and take some pictures. The temple is still in use today, and the heady scent of incense helps to create an authentic and un-touristy air.

Tienhou Temple

Opening Hours: Generally, temples close in the evening.

Access: Take the Shekou Line to Chiwan Station. Take Exit C.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

Live like a local

22. Walk the streets of Nantou

streets of Nantou
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LAMCACah used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The past and present have found a way to intertwine on the streets of Nantou, Shenzhen. It’s been around for over 1,700 years, and although urbanisation has left no corner of Shenzhen unscathed, Nantou still retains many historic landmarks. At the town’s South Gate, you can walk through a defensive wall that was built in the 14th century. The streets are a fascinating mix of ancient and modern – some are genuinely old, others have been rebuilt. You’ll find almost anything for sale on Nantou’s streets. Aside from the usual food and clothes, you’ll also find pets and the occasional medicinal stand.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

23. Get a meal of BBQ and beer at the Xiangmihu Holiday Village

barbecued food
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Xiangmihu Holiday Village is a popular haunt for Shenzhen locals who want a good time. Their agenda over there is to load up on two things 1) beer and 2) spicy barbecued food. It might not seem like the wisest combination, but that’s all part of the fun. You’ll find no shortage of restaurants within Xiangmihu that are dedicated to serving up grilled meats overloaded with pepper and spices.

Xiangmihu Holiday Village

Access: Take the MTR to Xiangmihu Holiday Station

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

24. Cross the border to Hong Kong for a day

Shenzhen Bay Bridge
Source: Pixabay

There are several crossing points between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Many locals make the crossing every day, and you can join them! If you’re traveling from Shenzhen to Hong Kong, a visa isn’t required, but make sure you bring your passport.

The most convenient place to cross the border is at the Luo Hu MTR Station. Once you’re through the border crossing (which will take 30 - 40 minutes, depending on the crowd), you’ll find yourself on the Hong Kong side of the border, which is called Luo Wu.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

25. Visit one of Shenzhen’s Walmarts

Yep, even in China, you cant escape Walmart. The Walmarts here, however, have a rather interesting twist to them. Expect to find tanks of live frogs and terrapins, meat – both raw and cooked – casually laid out for the taking, and rice. Lots and lots of rice. Also, the frozen section occasionally has crocodiles.

Aside from the novelty factor though, you genuinely can get useful things in Shenzhen’s Walmart. Sichuan peppercorns, for example, are hard to find anywhere else.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

The past, the present, and the future

You have to remember that Shenzhen (the city) has only been around for 37 years. It’s extraordinarily young, even if the rapid growth has made it seem tired and world-weary. Some parts of the city, like Nantou, cling on to bits of the past. Others, like Futian, are sprinting into the future and the growth it promises. As you explore malls and temples, remember to take a breath and enjoy Shenzhen as it is, in the present.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Shenzhen, Pearl River Delta, China

26. Take a break from the city at Shenzhen International Garden and Flower Expo

Mingcui Lake of Shenzhen International Garden and Flower Expo Park3
Source: Photo by user Huangdan2060 used under CC0

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

Website: Shenzhen International Garden and Flower Expo

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Still Need Travel Insurance?

You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101

*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.

Belicia is a clueless child in between polytechnic and university. She loves playing with words and cameras, and in her free time tries to stay curious and keep exploring the world. To her, the...Read more

Have a question? Ask fellow travellers and travel experts here.
 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Shenzhen
Good things are meant to be shared!