You can go ahead and spit out the question that instantaneously oscillated inside your brain: Why Shenzhen? Of all the inordinately modernized cities in China, it wasn't until 2007 did I ever know of Shenzhen's existence. Back then, it was just a budding economy trying to make its mark on the planet and was beginning to climb the peak of esteem as a tourist destination.
A package quotation from a travel agency ignited my curiosity. I thought it was a bargain for the price offered considering that China tourist visa is one of the most arduous things to consummate. At that time, I got a week-long off from work, something that is ferociously impervious in my career. Itinerary plus the prospect of contriving an unfamiliar soil, it was a done deal!
Snippets of what you should know. . .
Point of compass
One of the richest in China, Shenzhen could be found in the province of Guangdong, merely 40 kilometers from the border of the equally bustling city, Hong Kong. It has been listed as the 5th most densely populated city in the world, with a whopping 14 million citizens inhabiting within it's 2,050 square kilometers land area.
It is a humongous urban expanse as compared to the rural cities of Shanghai and Beijing and has been considered as one of China's wealthiest and strongest Special Economic Zones. Their economy was strengthened by foreign investors, particularly on manufacturing and service industries.
Spring - February to April (usually accompanied by rain, hot on daytime but cooler at night)
Summer - end of April up to October (exceedingly hot at around 35deg C but do expect some weather disturbances like thunderstorms and typhoon)
Autumn - November to January (temperature drops a little by mid December but still relatively tolerable which is around 20deg C)
Winter - January to February (notice that winter lasts for only 24 days per year and temperature ranges from 3-10deg C)
Cantonese and Hakka - for indigenous people
Cantonese and Mandarin - for most middle aged and young people
Chinese Yuan (￥)
1 ￥ = approximately Php 6.5
1 ￥ = approximately US$ 0.16
Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport boasts of its futuristic and modern architectural design. It has both domestic and international flights. Although the airport is huge and technologically advanced, they only have limited international routes via airlines like Silk Air, Tiger Airways and Air Asia. Located in Huangtian and Fuyong Village in Bao'an, it occupies a 10 square kilometer land, 3400 meters of which is the length of its runway for aircraft.
This is the virtual model of Bao'an Airport during it's construction in the 90's. It officially opened on October 12, 1991. (Photo courtesy of Christian Nesset from Urbika)
What you need to get in
Remember one thing, this is China. Almost all foreign passport holders are required to apply for a VISA. Citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and numerous European countries can obtain a single-entry permit (valid for 5 days) upon arrival on the borders which costs around ￥200 -￥1,000. However, travelers from the UK has a much higher rate, so make sure to check the schedule of fees before making your trip. US citizens are not included in this special 5-day visa, the immigration might even impose a fine for travelers arriving without the necessary entry requirements.
Full China Visa can also be applied by other nationalities in embassies to their respective countries. You can obtain a single or multiple visa entry valid for a year.
For more information about China Visa, please click this site: http://www.chinaembassy.org.sg/eng/lsqw/t582778.htm
1. Winter Melon Bowl of Soup - Nothing special really about this dish, it just wow-ed me on how creativity on food could entice your tongue & eyes and make every thing tastes so delightful. The ingredients mixed together are egg, minced pork, ham, dried mushrooms and chicken soup, all prepared in a winter melon before heating up in an oven.
2. Chilli Crab - A famous Chinese Chef was once interviewed in the Asian Food Channel and was asked what food will he eat if he is to die the next day, his answer was Chilli Crab, and I am with him on that page! This dish is so gratifying, you won't notice how much you've eaten until your table is filled up with crab shells. The mud crabs are cooked in a tomato based, thick sauce and flavored with chilli.
3. Congee - There couldn't be any more obvious sign that you are in China other than finding yourself enjoying a bowl of hot congee. Shenzhen streets are filled up with vendors offering different variety of this local favorite, and mine is the popular Minced Pork Congee with preserved egg. It's so delicious and ridiculously cheap - a perfect guilty pleasure!
Spots never dare to miss. . .
I. Windows of the World
To wander around the wonders of the world in 2 hours or less, this is what Windows of the World makes possible for its visitors. At ￥140 admission fee, replicas of world famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Liberty Statue in New York, Sydney Opera House among others are showcased in a 480,000 square meter park. The whole area has spectacular lights at night, and the day ends with a wonderful fireworks display.