Splendid China is a theme park featuring all of the famous tourist destinations reduced to miniature size. You can cross the border from Hong Kong and soon be walking around the Tibetan Potala, Beijing's Forbidden City, Leshan's Giant Buddha, Luoyang's Longmen Grottoes, and the Great Wall of China. Oh! I almost forgot...Taiwan's Ali Shan mountain is also included.
Unique Suggestions: At least go next door to the China Folk Culture Village where you can see genuine life size living ethnic minorities on display in colorful native costume and doing things that you've seen them do in National Geographic.
Fun Alternatives: The alternative to Shenzhen's theme park is the Splendid China in Florida.
See Hexepatty's Kissimmee page for photos and commentary of Shenzhen's joint venture just down the road from Disney World.
UPDATE December 31, 2003
Splendid China in Florida has just closed and is out of business. (You can still see a little bit of China at Disney's Epcot Center.)
"Windows of the World" provides an opportunity for Chinese domestic tourists to go around the world on a photo safari without the trouble of applying for a passport.
For foreigners, it's an amusing checklist of "been there, done that" icons as you stroll around miniature replicas of everything from Sydney Harbor Opera House to Mt. Fuji and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There's even a life sized Easter Island statue which may be the only global thing you haven't yet actually "done" and here is your big chance!
Unique Suggestions: If you have to go to Shenzhen on a business trip across the Hong Kong border, or to catch a cheap domestic flight the next morning to Xian, then plan on a couple hours here in the afternoon.
If you look and speak Chinese, remember to suddenly forget your Mandarin if hassled by security guards during an obnoxious photo shoot. You will be excused of all barbarian behavior if you present yourself as a foreign devil with a real passport instead of the novelty cardboard folder that comes with the entrance ticket.
Fun Alternatives: If you don't think a mini Eiffel Tower is good enough reason to take the long bus ride west to Shenzhen Bay from the railway station, then perhaps you would enjoy the nearby "Splendid China" and "China Folk Culture Village"
Splendid China is similar to "Windows of the World" except all of the miniature replicas are of destinations within China. So if you are visiting Hong Kong and don't have time to go beyond Shenzhen to see Beijing, Lhasa, and the Three Gorges then this park was made for busy executives like you. China Folk Culture Village is located right next door and presents real live ethnic minorities in reconstructed local surroundings performing whatever those folks do while dressed in native costume. It's very similar to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii which attempts the same scheme to the delight of tourists who can't afford the ticket to Tahiti.
Be wary as the city tour is not seeing famous monuments, landmarks instead its pure trips to factory and shops where the guides got 15% cut on all your purchases.
First stop is jade factory. Nope you wont see the process of making jade jewelry instead off you see racks of jewelry and jades for sale. (you could bargain).
They offer free tea, enjoy it as you will be there for almost 2 hours (time for them to force you to buy).
Then off you go to a ginseng factory, selling all herbal products, a Kung Fu Master showing how electricity runs thru him to you without being electricuted. Then off you go to cubicles with Chinese doctor, assessing your health and prescribing you all herbal medicines.. Another 1 and a half hour there, to force you to buy, yup guide got 15% on all purchases.
Last stop before a forest park is going at the entrance of Windows of the World, guide will take photos and will place it on a porcelain plate and sell a set for 75 yuan... :-(
Unique Suggestions: Your other option is to pay 40 US dollars(!!!) if you dont want to join the tour, its even higher that the hotel price!. :-)
The best way really is to enjoy the tour in your own way, you always have the option not to buy the products that they are selling.
Seeing a Kung Fu Master in person (he studied in Yunan(?) where Crouching Tiger was shoot) is really cool, and he play nice tricks.
The 40US dollars is applicable if you avail of the Hongkong /Shenzhen tour packages with compulsary tour.
Price offered at first will be sky high.
Please really bargain HARD HARD whenever you purchase goods (except shopping in shopping malls with fixed price). Especially for visitors who look very obvious a foreigner (you know what i mean here).
Unique Suggestions: BARGAIN, the final price has to be AT LEAST 50% off the offered price.
I've got a nice hand bag with RMB 60 only though i was offered at RMB 180. The whole "bargaining process" took me more than 15 minutes! but worth it :)
Our taxi driver quoted us 100Y from where the shuttle bus dropped us to our hotel. On arrival he amended that to say that he had meant 100Y each person. We paid without demur and with a smile … and resolved not to get caught again. Thereafter we checked carefully that any fare quoted included each of us and our cases.
Upon exit from Lo Wu customs, we need to transfer to Dong Men and we opt for Metro.
It seems that the SZ Metro is still new to the local folks. The station is new but the system & people flow are messy.
After purchased our tokens (ticket), we proceed to enter the waiting hall. However, the electronic device couldn't sense my mom's token and she was blocked (of course, passengers queued after her were stucked as well). A male officer came over to dissolve her problem by SHOUTING! He shouted at my mother and not 'asked' or 'instructed' her the proper way to enter. But, unfortunately my mother couldn't understand his shouting (in Mandarin), she stunt and doesn't knows what to do. The whole "stuck-and-go" process that should be dissolved in less than a minute (if he explained properly) was dragged for five minutes.
Though 5 minutes are not a big matter but what i am concerned is that the rudeness they showed to us! We are tourist that visit their country, to know them and their culture (help to boost their economy as well) , and yet we received such treatment!
I am very happy with HK's MTR's officers during my 8 days' stays there. They are very friendly, polite and helpful. At least, we were not shouted in the crowd!
Unique Suggestions: Be smart. My mom is old and couldn't understand Mandarin well. That's why she "triggered" that officer to be more angry. If you are not sure of the machine's operating system, observe for few minutes before you enter.
1. Incidence with my FAKE RMB 100
We did not realised that this pc of RMB100 note is a fake one until we came to this shop in Dong Men.
I've selected my choice of blouse and got a "cash bill" for it and i went to the shop's cashier for payment before collect my goods. The cashier (male) got very angry and shouted to me when he received my money. He was harshed! I was so shocked and i wanted to pull back my money (which he is holding as well) but he did not let go. He claimed that my money is fake and threatened that he'll call police if i do not give him another note. i thought he angry with my big note and refuse to change for small notes (the blouse only cost RMB 18 while i paid him RMB 100). His is very fierce and i do not how to response (i was alone!). Luckily, he's handset rang and he's busy answering his phone and i found my "chance" to runaway!
I still couldn't figure out what happended until i came to second shop. The shop assistance told me the money is fake and asked for another note. Then only i realised...
Unique Suggestions: Make sure your money is REAL! How? Change RMB before your travel, at your home country, though the rate isn't as attractive as in Shen Zhen.
Actually shopkeepers there aren't polite. They'll scold & "curse" customers that did not buy after bargain. I think that's the "culture" there. Even the officer in Metro station did not help tourists politely. see my next tip in "tourist trap".
We took the package of a day trip to Shenzhen from Hong Kong. Everything was pre-arranged (including train fare to Shenzhen, lunch at a Shenzhen restaurant, group visa, tour bus with tour guide, and designated stops), so we thought we didn't have to spend anything anymore except if we wanted to buy souvenirs or jade items. Everything went well, until it was time to go home.
As we were approaching the train terminal, the tourbus speeded down and our tour guide made an announcement. "Everyone please pay 40HKD," she said. We all looked at each other and wondered if all of us will pay a total of 40HKD. When we just stared at the guide, she repeated her announcement. One of us clarified whether it was 40HKD for all, or for each. Then she said for each. We could pay in US dollars, HK dollars, or Philippine pesos if that's what we had, as we told her we didn't carry with us enough HKD. We haggled since some of us in the group were still students, but it appeared that she wouldn't let us off the bus til we paid up. So we all pooled our money to cover for the others who did not have enough cash. When we paid up, the bus stopped, the door opened and we went off the bus, feeling like we were robbed!
As in all tour packages, hidden charges apply. Since shenzhen isn't much of a place to see, unless you plan to buy off all the jade you can buy, paying for them isn't that worth it.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure you have enough cash with you for tips when traveling on a package to Shenzhen from HK. Since the arrangement we had was a group visa, an absence of one will create some problems in the immigration going back to HK. It's won't be convenient to be held up just because of a lousy tip requirement for your tour guide and tour bus driver.
As part of the tour, we were brought to two government factories, making a variety of goods, from ceramics, to jewelry, to tea. The salesladies were soooooo persistent in selling their merchandise that they were just annoying. I've never met people as annoying as these people.
Fun Alternatives: If you really wanna go to Shenzhen, try to go there without the tourist guides. And DON'T go to the government factories.
Its a miniature of landmarks around the world. The 5 continents seem to be represented from what I remember. There's the pyramids, the manhattan skyline, the great wall, eiffel tower, leaning tower of pisa etc etc. It was built for tourists. Yawn. Maybe good for the usual photos.
Unique Suggestions: Skip the place. Not worth it.
Before i visit shenzhen,i read about tips and dangers from VT, the most common things VT's members said is about Fake money,when i went there by my self i always double check the money that i receive from the shop and from the taxi driver,luckily all the money i've been received is not fake.
But there is another problem,we must know how to differentiate RMB 5 and RMB 0.50 , and RMB 1 and RMB 0.10.
Until my last day in shenzhen then i realise i received several 50 cents note and 10 cent notes,this tell me i've been cheated for couple of time,soo becareful ..
1 yi yuan = 0.10
Unique Suggestions: 1.how to check fake money?
go to tis website
and anoher tips shopping in shenzhen
If u dont want to buy the particular item,NEVER BARGAIN.
When you start bargain,there will never stop forcing u to buy.
One of the must things to do when Shenzhen is take advantage of the cheap beauty services such as manicure, pedicure, foot massage, etc. When in Luohu Commercial City, you'll come across ladies saying cheap manicure, missy. only rmb20. While that is true though, once you get in, the nail specialist (usually a teenager guy with spiky, colored hair) will start pestering you to try their other services - they'll find some calluses or corns and they'll remove for more money, nail polishes for more money, etc. then by the time time you get done, you end up paying 100 bucks. the trick is to not budge. say no to everything they offer. :)
Unique Suggestions: other bigger "beauty" places in luohu have higher fees already, so their nail specialists are not as aggressive in offering you extra services. however, these places also encourage tipping (what's the fun of being in china when u have to tip for services). it's all up to you.
Fun Alternatives: my suggestion, go to the cheap places, put on your earphones, close your eyes, or read a book and ignore the barrage of offers