How to Survive in Shenzhen during Your First Visit

Shenzhen CBD and River | Img. By : SSDPenguin (Own Work) CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

As one of the most popular tourist hotspots in the Guangdong Province, Shenzhen is also one of the most populist areas in the Chinese Republic. As a city that’s listed on the UNESCO Creative Cities, a visit to the bustling metropolis can be a dizzying and confusing experience for the uninitiated. From travel tips to making the most of your holiday in spite of the crowds, here are some guidelines on not only how to spend a drama-free getaway in Shenzhen but to enjoy the experience as well.

1. Secure the Perfect Hotel
One of the best ways to ensure visitors have a grand time on holiday in Shenzhen is to secure an accommodation provider that offers easy access to the city’s top highlights. As a city that is synonymous with traffic congestion and over-crowdedness, staying in a strategic base can save vacationers both time and money and the hassle of long transfers. Those who are visiting the city for the first time can also consider finding an alternative to hotels in Shenzhen which themselves may be in less than ideal areas of the city by opting for an aparthotel. Providing a secure and tranquil base from which to explore the area’s main highlights, make sure the venue you select offers privacy as well as quality accommodation, regardless of whether it’s the Somerset Grandview Shenzhen or any of the countless and similar establishments in the city.

2. Use Public Transport
Finding seamless and efficient ways to getting around Shenzhen is also imperative for first-time visitors to survive the city’s infamous traffic blocks and other travel hassles. Using public transportation is one of the best ways to get where you want to go in a fast, comfortable and reliable way and no other transport service quite matches the Shenzhen Metro in this regard. Covering nearly every corner of the city centre, the metro provides trains every three minutes from the wee hours of the morning to 11 pm. The 8 line metro connects 199 stations around the city to provide commuters an easy and affordable means of travel. Bus services in Shenzhen are equally competent with three varieties of city buses operating in the city for fares that are more than affordable. Announcements regarding the next station are also made in English and visitors can purchase a Shenzhen Tong Card and pay for both the metro services and the buses they take during the holiday.

3. Tips for Handling Communication
Communicating with locals and service providers in and around Shenzhen is another challenging aspect of a holiday in the area that is experienced by first-time visitors. Most residents speak Mandarin or Cantonese so ensure you have the destination or the location you are looking for written in Chinese characters. Visitors can get the concierge of their hotel to complete this task while carrying a phrase book of useful Chinese greetings and expressions will also come in handy. Don’t expect residents or service providers outside of your hotel or other western tourist oriented hubs in the city to comprehend English as some of the residents also speak Hakka or Teochew or other languages from different regions of China.

4. Secure Access to Local News and Events
It is important to stay up-to-date on local as well as current events taking place not only in China and Shenzhen but the world at large when on holiday. Pick up a copy of the Shenzhen Daily to find local events in the city or other festivities you may wish to experience while on holiday while the China Daily is another great English-language publication for travellers. Visitors who are staying for an extended period will want to tune into Topway Cable Television which airs programs from international cable networks such as CNN, NHK, BBC, and HBO. Hong Kong English TV is another widely available English channel that offers travellers and expats programming other than Chinese content.

5. Safety Measures
Although it is a relatively safe city, pick pocketing and petty crimes are a part of life in Shenzhen. Visitors should be careful when handling and carrying cash in public places such as shopping malls, buses, train stations and theme parks.