Welcome to Shenzhen, China!
A product of modern China, Shenzhen has become a sprawling city with a vast sea of glass skyscrapers and bright lights on its busy streets. The Silicon Valley of the east, Shenzhen is a young city hastily created to house the country’s ever-growing economy. What it lacks in traditional and cultural charm, Shenzhen makes up in refreshing nouveau culture created due to being a melting pot of people from all over the country and the world. Explore the city as a worldwide local to find charming hidden gems among the tacky amusement parks and the neon lights. This is our insider’s guide of Shenzhen.
Art in Shenzhen
Once you’ve settled in your Shenzhen hotel, you’ll be ready to get out and explore--start by viewing some of the best art in the city. Situated in the Longgang District, the Dafen Oil Painting Village showcases magnificent artwork outside the confines of an art gallery. A peaceful escape from the frantic pace of the city center, the small village has a network of narrow alleyways packed with an amazing display of oil paintings, created by master artists perfected for decades. Choose one to take home, or simply marvel at the vivid colors intricately stroked onto the canvas.
Worldwide Local Tip: Located on the southern coast of China, Shenzhen has a wide array of golden sand beaches just on its doorstep. Most members of the Shenzhen population love to escape the concrete jungle and head to the beach for a day by the sea. With 23 beaches to choose from, follow where the locals go and head to Xiaomeisha Beach and Dameisha Beach.
Don’t Miss Tian Hou Temple
On the Chiwan district is a temple dedicated to the goddess of the sea, Tian Hou, and has protected the sailors and fishermen for centuries. The Tian Hou Temple is an opulent palace, built in 1410, but has been rebuilt multiple times due to destruction. A charming traditional structure in the middle of a modern metropolis, you can wander through its grounds scattered with ornate statues. Inside the temple is a museum where you can experience authentic ambiance complete with colorful traditional decorations and the distinct aroma of incense.
Worldwide Local Tip: With a population of over 12 million inhabitants, Shenzhen’s streets and public transport can get extremely crowded. Visit during Chinese New Year, where most of its residents flock back to their home provinces to celebrate the festivities with their families. While most establishments are closed, there’s something eerie about exploring a futuristic city without its people.
Visit a Traditional Village
With the expansion of the Shenzhen, small traditional villages are slowly disappearing and being assimilated as part of the big city. There are few remaining pockets of unspoiled villages, with the Baguang Village being one of the most picturesque. Surrounded by breathtaking views of postcard-worthy nature and keeping finely preserved Cantonese-style houses, this oasis of peace is a worthy experience. With very few locals left inhabiting the village, visiting the Baguang Village is a must before it succumbs to modernization.
Worldwide Local Tip: The city is, unfortunately, a victim of over industrialization and its pollution levels can reach extremely high levels, affecting the Shenzhen weather. During some days, the city is covered with thick smog, which can be a health risk. You can access a website that records pollution levels in real-time here.
Have an Amazing Time in Shenzhen!
From its humble beginnings as a small fishing village to a financial powerhouse city of the east, Shenzhen has come a long way in such a small amount of time. Worldwide locals can either weave through its glitz and bustling streets of the inner city or discover the quiet hidden gems on the outskirts. Either way, Shenzhen is a city full of surprises.