I arrived Shenzhen from HK via MTR on Friday. It was calm even though I was delayed slightly for the visa. The next day (Saturday) on my return to HK, things changed tremendously. Just remember that you need to pass through two immigration checks - Chinese and HK, and finally another que for the tickets. BTW, Chinese immigration separates the arrival and departure cards; so you'll have to fill up cards two times as compared to once in most countries.
The area called Taizi, Prince, Plaza was a nice little place where vendors could go to sell goods at night. Moms would take their kids to roller-blade. Now it is completely torn up and will be for 2 years. They are constructing new buildings to take the place of the plaza.
What does that mean for you? If you are planning to stay in a local hotel, you will experience construction site noise all day, and probably all night as the construction progresses.
Update - I was her during the first week in February. The construction seems to have slowed. The Plaza still exists, but the sunken area in front of the ship is gone. A new building is being put up between the plaza and the ship. Everything is open around the plaza, and it is business as usual. I expected the place to be a mess, so I got a hotel far from here, but there was not need to do that, it turns out.
There has been an increased number of fake 50 RMB bills (green color), many from taxi drivers from airport or on night shifts.
When you get changes back from taxi drivers, insist on 10/20 RMB bills (and older ones) and do not accept new green color 50 RMB bills.
Also take down driver's name plate numeber and vehicle lic just in case you have to call in to complaint.
Please make sure you secure your Shenzhen VISA from your home country. Starting Apr. 21, 2008, they will only issue Shenzhen Visa at the Lowu border if you have a Hong Kong ID. I was told they are stricter now due to the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
I am really really sad that Chinese don't do recycling as much as we do back home in Taiwan. I have been walking around in this place, but I rather see people calssify their trash. You know, China a is HUGE country, what will happen if a person can recycle one coke can or a bottle? Please help us to save the world, please start to recycle your reusable trash. It is treasure to our world.
Shenzhen has the highest crime rate in China therefore travelers should take some special precautions and extra care in order to have a safe trip.The main crime is pickpocketing that the foreigners face quite often.You should be careful on the crowded streets , shopping areas ans especially on the public transports like metro and buses.Metro is the most convinient way of city transport in Shenzhen so take extra care for your belongings while traveling.
I always carried by back bag on my chest and did not carry anything in my pockets.Even to take 1 picture i have taken my camera from my bag and replaced it when i am finished.Carrying any valuables in your hand even for a few minutes may encourage the skillful pickpocketers to follow you and wait for the right time for them to take their action.
Be confident when you are in such places and even it is your first trip make them believe that you are experienced in the city.This may discourage them to get close to you.
Don't forget that China is a safe country when you compare with many other countries inc. the ones in Europe so just pay little bit more attention than you usually do in order to prevent any unwanted events.
Wherever you go or whatever you want to visit try to get written cards in Chinese ...
Ask for the hotel staff, or related friends who can write Mandarin, to write down the address you wanna visit,...
Or the name of the food you like ...
Or the souvenir you want to buy ...
The shop you are looking for ...
It can be so frustrated when one is not understanding your request.
And it's easy to show your written card and hit your wish.
You will be warned, we got warned, I was warned ...
Walking around in Shenzhen somebody could try inviting you for a chat. A chat in Chinese? Nope, in broken English he is trying you to join him to one or another place. To buy a watch, a handbag, a painting ... "... best there is", ... ofcourse.
It does not matter if you are an elder person, a young unsuspecting tourist ...
They just want you to follow them.
DO NOT !!!
To me it seemed a problem how to manage in your native tongue for asking something particular. I could not find anything about my concern, and I was right.
Speaking Dutch, English, French, German and some Indonesian and Spanish people could not understand me. Ofcourse, most of the Shenzhen people do speak Mandarin and even when speaking English they pronounce it like in Mandarin ... and sounds like poor, broken English.
I know the Chinese language is a sensitivity to sound and that is fascinating as well as disturbing. When in group or accompanied by a guiding person it is fun to hear the mandarin, let alone what they are talking about ...
How do tourist people manage when they are all alone... I wandered ... and still wander.
Intellectual property rights are a farce over here so do be aware that the branded item that you've bought might be a fake* or a stolen item.
*It's quite a common sight over here to watch the shop vendors hide counterfeit items as soon as a spy gives word that a raid is about the take place. Once the authorities leave, the goods will come out in a nanosecond.
When you are visiting the theme parks like Window of the World, Splendid China, it can be a long walk and tiring especially if under the hot sun in the summer.
So do use the tram even if it does cost some money if not included in your admission.
You can get an overview on the tram and later still walk around to your favorite places if time permit or your legs allow.
I did not experience any danger or crime, but it was unsettling traveling alone. Unlike Hong Kong most people do not speak English. Also, I took a cab to Minsk World and there were not any taxi cabs waiting when I wanted to leave. I had to walk several blocks before I got lucky and flagged a passing taxi. Luckily I had "Lo Wu Station" written in Chinese so I handed it to the driver. I would advise taking a group tour from either Hong Kong or set up a tour when you arrive at your hotel in Shenzhen. The Shangri La hotel was located in great spot next to the Lo Wu station.
The foods here are very good but some are just to hot(spicy) for my liking. Also drink bottled water, beers and sodas. I heard about alot of people getting sick from drinking the water. It is a good idea to always stick to bottled or canned beverages when traveling. Also pick pockets are always looking for an easy victim, just be aware and smart, never leave items unattended.
I wish I had read these warnings earlier. I had an unfortunate experience of losing a gold chain (value USD1500/-) Some miscreants snatched it while waiting at the bustop at Shenzhen.As we had no time to find out the police office and there was no hope of getting it back we just retuned without even completing the visit. we were scared particularly due to unhelpful attitude of fellow pasengers. We had language problem also. Please be very careful when we carry anything valuable. I dont think government can do anything on such matters after the occurance. Visitors themselves have to be careful and alert.There are good and bad people everywhere. Some places it will be 1-5% ; while in other places it will be 20-25%.
It can be indeed be pretty scary in SZ - if you are labeled "tourist" and do not look Chinese. Even if you are Chinese and aren't careful - you can be prey. So my advice here is:
- If you aren't chinese, find someone chinese to travel with. Even if they are just someone you met on the train - at least you can walk away from the "peddler zone" with them. Many folks from Hong Kong speak english - just select and make a friend. And not everyone is in a rush - even though it looks that way. It's merely a method of avoiding becoming prey.
- If you are Chinese - then don't dress or act as a tourist. Walk and talk as if you own the place. Drab colors and worn clothing are the norm.
- Always carry your passport and credit cards on your body using any convenient security pouch. This way, everything else (luggage, packs, are disposible - no worries). The layering method also works to improve security - e.g. 2 shirts...
- Know where your stuff is and put it away. In the case of women's purses it's best not to have one. But if you must have one - make sure it is a sturdy one that someone can't just grab from you.
- React instantly - Be sensitive to any unusual circumstances and either stray away or react immediately to the threat.