Favorite thing: Shenzhen currency is Renminbi (RMB). It is also referred to as YUAN.
Prevailing exchange rate is:
1 US Dollar = 8.29 Chinese Yuan Renminbi
Around Shenzhen Hongkong Dollars (HK$) is widely accepted. Most shop keepers like in Lo Wu preferred HK$ on payments.
There are a lot of counterfeit yuan, thus its highly recommended to change money on banks, good exchange rate too, there are a lot of banks in Shenzhen its open even on Saturday.
Just show your passport if changing money at the bank. They only copy the passport #. So if you memorize your passport #, no need to show actual passport. It works for us:-)
Credit cards are accepted in major hotels and establishments. Though on taxis and entrance fees at theme parks, credit card is not accepted.
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How to obtain a China Visa
Favorite thing: You can obtain a Visa for China in a lot of ways.
1) in your home country, this will be done via the Chinese embassy and it can take about one week before you get your passport back (my work arranged this one) and they need at least 2 photos.
2) In Hong Kong, you can ask your hotel to arrange you a Visa for China, but be aware this can be very expensive to obtain one in this way (60 to 120 US$ depending of the urgency, hey the hotels have to make money too) and they also need 2 photos.
3) At the Fu Yong Ferry terminal in Shenzhen, there is a small office outside the immigration hall where you can buy a Visa for China, this is only a single entry Visa and is only valid for one week. (100 HK$). No photo is needed.
4) When you go by train you will find at the China side just before the immigration a stairs that goes up and there is a small office where you can apply for a China Visa. Again this visa is only valid for one week and it’s a single entry. It takes about 10 minutes and you are on your way. Again no photo needed. It also costs you 100 HK$.
The last two are much cheaper then number 2. Be careful with option 3 and 4, some one pointed me out that this permit is only valid in the Shenzhen area.
There are maybe other ways to obtain a Visa for China, but these are the once that I used (except number 3).
Great Wall of China @ Splendid China
Favorite thing: If you take a photo angle with carefully planned background view of the "Great Wall", you could make your friends back home think that you were in the Northern China at the Great Wall while you were actually in Southern China, near Hong Kong at Shenzen Splendid China theme park.
Of course, it is easier to digitally transfer your image on a real photo of the Great Wall, yet it is fun to do this the old fashioned way. I tried having many tourist heads, many garden plants and background skyscrappers to deal with.
What is interesting is that the "Great Wall" is used to encircle the park and used as a fencing barrier as dual purpose.
Niagara Falls @ Windows of the World
Favorite thing: I was rather impressed by the trouble taken to create the tumbling Niagara Falls in this park.
As I have not been to the real Niagara Falls, I can see, hear and even feel the falls. The park also reproduced the Grand Canyon and cover famous sites and natural landscapes of the five continents.
Each location also have their own performances and so check the time schedule to learn more about each.
For the Niagara falls, no description needed. One of my favorites for the efforts put into it.
Forbidden City @ Splendid China
Favorite thing: If you have not been to Beijing, it is nice to see the entire Forbidden City laid out in front of you albeit miniaturized in size.
You appreciate the overall design of north south axis with marvellous golden yellow color stylized curving roofs. The size and the number of buildings is impressive as it was the imperial control center of the entire Chinese empire during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Excellent photo opportunity. Even having to Beijing and walking through the buildings and seeing the different thrones, I still find this well built representation of the Forbidden City a nice delight - bring back fond memories.
Chinese Architecture @ Folks Cultural Village
Favorite thing: At this cultural park, you can see different Chinese constructed buildings of different climatic, regional and ethnic background.
So do you have to travel all over China but can see all at one place in one day.
It was fun to see different homes built from stones, wood or on stilts as China is a large country with diversity from desert, grassland, cold north, tropical south, jungle hills and lakeside towns.
Here is a suggested route: Exhibition Hall of Serial Bells, Folk-culture Village, Uigur Village, Tibetan Village, Mongolian Tent, Custom Drifting, Korean House, Li Village, Wa Village, Mosuo Village, Dong Village, Miao Village, Central Theatre, Large-scale Horse War, Phoenix Plaza
Major World Landmarks @ Window of the World
Favorite thing: It is fun to take photographs and photraphs with all the famous tourist destinations around the world.
Here are some of many that caught my attention:
Eiffel Tower of Paris, Taj Mahal of Agra,
Moscow Red Square, Dutch Windmills
and European Gothic Cathedral
See pictures 1,2,3,4,5.
West Lake @ Splendid China
Favorite thing: Trying to imitating the famous West Lak (Xi Hu) is not just a large pond.
Carefully added are the traditional white walls and grey roofs of water village towns and stoned bridges over canals that dotted all over this beautiful part of China quoted by many famous Chinese historical literati and poets.
I would give a thumbs up for Splendid China in creating the West Lake atmosphere and the Hangzhou and Suzhou culture even with carefull selected bonzai trees.
Colorful Cultural show @ Folk Cultural Village
Favorite thing: There are parades and small performances at different locations in the park as well as a major performance to entertain everyone with songs, dance and colorful costumes.
So sit back and enjoy after a long day of walking and photograph taking. Do not missed the shows when you visit the park. Check out the time schedule when you arrive.
Although it does not reflect the real China and more like a Las Vegas style performance, it is a celebration of China's diversity and ethnicity and an entertaining performance for all.
Nine Dragon Wall @ Splendid China
Favorite thing: The Nine Dragon Wall (Qiu Long Bi) is a very popular must-take photo spot for local and overseas Chinese tourists.
Dragons are important symbols in Imperial China as well as in the Chinese psyche. It is one of the 12 animals in the Chinese calendars. Many Chinese parents try to have a "dragon" baby - born in the year of the dragon. The next year of Dragon is 2012 AD.
There are many Nine Dragon Walls being built all over China after the first legendary one. The three most famous and surviving walls are 1) Datong, Shanxi said to be built in Liao Dynasty a thousand years ago 2) Beihai Park in Beijing and 3) Ningyong Gate, Imperial Palace, Beijing.
So this is the fourth Nine Dragon Wall in Splendid China, Shenzen. Hard to say which one is truer and better.
Traditional Costumes @ Folk Cultural Village
Favorite thing: Chinese cheongsam and qipao as well as Mao suit are well known enough.
As there are over 50 minorities in China, there are many different ethnic costumes that are displayed and worned by the dancers, performers and cultural ambassodars at each of the cultural village house.
A field day for photography. The good thing is that you do not have to pay to take a photo and everyone enjoy being photographed.
Chinese Acrobatics @ Folk Cultural Village
Favorite thing: Chinese acrobratics are fun and thrilling to waste.
One wonders how long it takes to learn to balance that tea cup, touch your forehead with your toes or squeeze through that narrow gap.
Whether it is a high wire balance art or stacking as many bowls as possible on one's head, Chinese acrobats have been entertainng emperors and villagers during festivals for centuries.
So enjoy the show.
Giza Pyramid and Sphinx @ Window of the World
Favorite thing: Reproduction has been a subject of debate when news that Egyptian authorities may take legal actions to impose fees on the replication of Luxor and the temples in Las Vegas.
Of course, this small reproduction of the Pyramid and Sphinx is not close at all to the real thing.
Yet, having a camel to sit on and to take a picture is such a draw to everyone visiting here.
There is also another of Abu Simbel - the four giant statues.
Favorite thing: You must, must, must bring a calculator when you're planning to shop at Shenzhen. Chinese people there don't know how to speak/understand English and you would need to calculator to ask for prices and for haggling.
Fondest memory: I saw a nice travel khaki pants at one of Shenzhen's shops. I saw an 8 on the tag price. I thought that means 8RMB so I asked the saleslady if 8RMB is the price. I can't speak chinese so i was pointing the 8 and the pants. She keeps on telling me something in Chinese and nodding at the same time so I thought the price is really 8RMB but when I gave her the calculator to punch in the price it was only then that i understood that the 8 in the tag price is the % discount of the item.
- Budget Travel
Walking from Hotel to Fuyong Town Square
Favorite thing: One of my fondest memories was walking about 40 minutes from the Shenzhen Sunway Hotel to the town square area of Fuyong. It was a cooling day and I managed to have a good experience of a typical small industrial town in China. In fact, it was actually safer to walk around Fuyong town than in Shenzhen.
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- Hiking and Walking