If you plan on heading to Shenzhen (or already there) and are trying to find things to do which will give you a real taste of the culture, values, people, and region, then read on. I traveled to Shenzhen on a work related trip for several weeks, and here are some things that I thoroughly enjoyed doing there as an Irish man.

 

KK100 – the Tallest Building in Shenzhen

Visit the Louhu District, it’s in the South East, on the L1 subway line. Here you’ll see the tallest building in Shenzhen, called the KK100 a.k.a. the Sword. It was very impressive and I struggled to get a photo of the entire structure! However, I found some of the other buildings in the region more unusual and therefore impressive. There were some very angular buildings which caught my eye. If you want to see some impressive structures and experience the financial district, but my advice is don’t spend too much time here, once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it – and there isn’t much else to do in this district.

A bronze statue of Deng

Lotus Hill (Lianhuashan Park)

If the weather permits, go for a relaxing walk in this park. It’s a large space with beautiful tropical plants – it feels like a rain forest at times! A refreshing change from the industrial and dense city. There is a decent sized hill within the park which gives a great vantage point to check out the city scape (that’s what the top image of this page is off). In addition to this wonderful view, there is also an impressive bronze statue of Deng at the peak of the hill. Deng led China from 1978 to 1992 – I avoid going into further details because firstly I don’t know them, but secondly, I got the impression that the history of China and its leaders is a precarious topic.

Go Explore!

Wandering a city by foot can be a really interesting and enjoyable experience, even if it’s just a few blocks around your hotel. I was staying at the Hengfeng International Hotel, and when I had the chance I would take a stroll to grab some food, get my phone fixed, or jog in the nearby Liutang Park. Apart from the fact that Shenzhen isn’t a touristy place, and therefore has no tour buses, by foot (or taxi electric bike) you’ll see the everyday Shenzhen, taste the air, see the locals do yoga and group dance, or witness electric bikes with dangerously high stacks of bottles, food or some damn thing swerving its way through the busy streets. Oh yeah, and if you’re Caucasian, expect to get a lot of curious stares.

Street in Shenzhen
Myself, Justin, and LY.

Connect with Locals

It can be a difficult thing to do in any city, but if you have an opportunity to spend some time with a local then try to make it happen. I found that Chinese people were very friendly and welcoming, not only work colleagues who were obliged to do so, but in general. I believe that the fact that I’m Caucasian was a factor in this. I can’t describe it perfectly, but it’s as if they look up to westerners and think westerners are special in some way. I noticed many advertisements displaying western models, so I think it’s a case of the grass is greener on the other side. White girls are marketed fake tan to look darker, and the Chinese use whitening powder and umbrellas to achieve whiter looking skin. A local will know the best things to do in the area, which could be a walk in a park, food with friends, pool/billiards, drinks, or a visit to the Window of the World.

Connect with Locals

It can be a difficult thing to do in any city, but if you have an opportunity to spend some time with a local then try to make it happen. I found that Chinese people were very friendly and welcoming, not only work colleagues who were obliged to do so, but in general. I believe that the fact that I’m Caucasian was a factor in this. I can’t describe it perfectly, but it’s as if they look up to westerners and think westerners are special in some way. I noticed many advertisements displaying western models, so I think it’s a case of the grass is greener on the other side. White girls are marketed fake tan to look darker, and the Chinese use whitening powder and umbrellas to achieve whiter looking skin. A local will know the best things to do in the area, which could be a walk in a park, food with friends, pool/billiards, drinks, or a visit to the Window of the World.