Beware of touts
Once you cross the border in Shenzen in Lowu, if you are not in a group, you will find many touts on the roads trying to get you to their establishments.
As there is a daily deluge of tourist pouring from Hong Kong, they are very experienced to scan and identify potential "customers" who are first timers.
There are those less threatening that will be at a corner just advertising anyone passing by. There will be some who will stalk you. Just do not be surprised or annoyed. Avoid eye contact and just go to another shop or restaurant or hotel lobby to get your orientation before continuing your journey.
Also watch out for pick pockets. The noise, people and lack of English signs compared with Hong Kong just add an element of adventure if it is your first time in China and Shenzen.
A friend bought some fresh lychees. Choose to best picks and reaching back Hong Kong found some "rotten" ones at the bottom. What a laugh.
The rule of the game in Shenzhen during shopping is BARGAIN (75% starting bid). A calculator will be handy as locals most of the time dont speak English.
It is important that you only bargain once you really like the piece, and intent on buying. As once the shop owner agree on your bid price, they will do all possible to force you to buy it, or at worst shout some colorful *%$^!. At times you cannot say 'thank you, ill search around then come back for it".
My experience of it is in Lowu Shopping Center, he wont allow us to leave his store without buying, as he agree on our bid price (after lengthy bargaining, but last minute I got a change of mind on buying it, so i want to look around first..).
I told him I will call the police for he is harassing us, then he let us go.
Thefts / Robberies
i am over here since 1 year...some tips for you...
if you are in shenzhen and are awwed by the fact of huge skyscrappers and glamourous city.... its time to look upon stark reality on roads...time to focus on road and people around you who are walking nearby you...on any road in shenzhen.
never keep wallet in the pockets of your pants when in buses or in subway trains...keep them in your bags. hold your bag tight during your journey in crowded place.
dont keep passport always with you. try to keep a xerox copy of it. make sure you keep a copy of the chinese visa too...so that it helps you to explain your stay permit in shenzhen or in china if police asks.
dont wear backpacks. while walking, thieves have a tendency to steal by opening the zips....people walking around you wont even alert you on the activity going on at your back !!
worst part is that if at all you become a victim, no one will come to save you or shout at the bad person. its a wild wild world...
mobile fones, electronic gadgets, dont keep them in your hand unless you require them, they might be snatched away...
if you are travelling late nights in taxis, in lot of places there are unauthorized taxis. you can easily be a victim. hence, take red colored taxis....and keep minima money for your bare expenses while travelling at night.
dont carry your atm / credit card in nights. dont carry atm / credit cards in your wallet or card holder. you might lose them if you become a victim of pickpocket...
if anything call up police...but issue is ...do you know chinese ? hence, try to learn some elementary chinese before you come over here...
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Use the trams
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.
Fake Ren Min Bi Currency Note!!
We changed RMB right after we exit Chinese customs @ Lo Wu (since we get to Shen Zhen via KCR train from Kowloon). This licensed money changer is located inside customs' building and yet, we got 1 fake RMB 100 note out of 15 pcs. Consider lucky ya!
This is our first time travel in China and we had a bad experience with this piece of fake RMB 100 note... Learn more in my "tourist trap".
We can't do anything about that coz we realised that fake RMB is all over Shen Zhen, passing onto tourists like us (shopkeepers did check every RMB notes they received from us!), coz they knew that we won't do anything much but sigh...
Beware, not only RMB 100 but RMB 50 also! We brought back this fake money for souvenir and we still could not differentiate a fake and an "original" note...
My advice, change RMB at your home country (bank) before travel though the exchange rate might not as high as in Shen Zhen. But this could save you from unfavoured incidents & hassles!
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Pickpockets at Shenzhen
Shenzhen is notorous for pickpockets so be very carefully especially in crowded shopping areas and places of interest. Always carry your valuables in front of you so that you can see them, or put them in a waist pouch. Make sure not to put all your money at one place and stay alert especially when someone bumps into you.
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Get written cards in Mandarin!
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.
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cellphone snatchers in shenzhen
Be wary. Be very wary.
Shenzhen has a high crime and Ive fallen victim to cellphone robbery. While walking along Huaqiangbei (a shopping district),around the corner to the metro station, one man grabbed at my ankle, naturally I got off balanced and bumped onto another man, who I later realized was the one who took my phone right out of my pocket. This is their strategy, the often work in pairs or more, and you wouldnt know what's going on until it's too late.
This is serious.
I have no pic of this but read what happened.
Well, we left Hong Kong one bright morning travelling to Shenzhen by car.
Highways are large, no traffic, the sun was shining, I had a good feeling on that morning...
...until we reached the customs.
Customs is there because Hong Kong, even being part of China since 1997, it still has a particular status probably because of its richness.
One more info. Chinese citizens are not allowed to move anywhere for living. If someone is born in a certain place, he has to stay there unless given the permission to go elsewhere. This is because the areas close to the yellow sea, large towns like Shanghai or Hong Kong itself, are growing very fast, the government is pushing this, but could never support 1 billion people wanting to go there leaving the rural, and far poorer inner areas of china. This is the reason of this control.
There were large queues of people at the customs, so we chose one and wait, I came last.
The other guys went through the customs, and when it was my turn, the policeman took my passport, made a call, a bell rang, and some more policemen came out from nowhere.
I was standing in the middle of these guys talking fast in chinese and not explaining nothing to me. After 5 minutes of pure panic a guy told me there was a problem with the passport but that I may procede....
Dunno what happened exactly, but what a scare!!
Always remember to put your passport inside your bag because passport snatchers abound in China entry/exit points. I know someone who ran after the snatcher and caught him but he still had to "pay" the crook so he can get his passport back.
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.
dear fellow travellers,
do not follow dvd touts from the Dong Men Shopping Area. I am an avid dvd collector. i know china still sell fake dvds even with the recent crackdowns. they are no longer selling them in open but selling behind shops fronts. I have bought fake dvds in other chinese cities but had no problems.
in shenzhen Dong men shopping area, i was approached by few people whispering "sexy dvds". i had no interest in "sexy" dvds but asked them if they had hollywood movies. i followed them to a dark corner in a builing and chose about 7 dvds from their portfolilo. when they came back with the disks, i paid them with a 100 yuan note. there were 3 of the team surrounding me and it was quite dark. they inspected my 100 yuan note and shouted "older". i was bit distracted with 3 people surrounding me so i gave then another 100 yuan. this process repeated 3 times as i had four 100 yuan notes in my wallet. the note was returned to me each time. I ended up paying with honkg kong notes. I only realised that i got swapped with fake 100 yuan notes when i went to another store to buy something else. they informed me that the four 100 yuan notes that were counterfeits. given that i always exchanged my money in major banks in china, i realised that the dvd sellers must have swapped my real notes with the counterfeit ones.
i suppose it's my fault for trying to buy fake dvds, but if ruined the good experience i had in rest of china.
There is an extreme amount of beggars in Shenzhen because they attack those on their way across the border from Hong Kong. Although some may be genuine, many of these beggars are fakes and probably making quite a living off of it too.
I've heard many accounts of adults kidnapping children and either injuring them so they look needy or forcing them to act. It's quite sick and although it's hard to ignore them since then follow you until you give in, you really need to keep focused, watch your wallet, and quickly get away.
Pickpockets and beggars
Due to its economic boom, Shenzhen is filled with pickpockets and beggars. Please be aware of your personal belongings, especially at the border check points, outside hotels and in street markets. Beggars are observed at many areas and are not what they look to be! Most are not poor at all.
- Family Travel
Shenzhen Visa from the LoWu border
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.
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