I live in the Guangdong province of China and this comes with many good things. Cantonese culture and food. Mild winters. And several cool cities nearby that have lots of things to do.
In China cities are ranked by tier, 1st tier being the most developed cities with the highest GDPs – cities like Beijing and Shanghai. In the Guangdong province there are three 1st tier cities: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Dongguan.
My friend Lauren lives in Dongguan and I’ve visited her before (read about it here) so for our May Day holiday we decided to go to Shenzhen.
Shenzhen is one of China’s fastest growing cities and home to more than 15 million people. Chinese and foreigners alike are drawn to this giant city because it is located right next to Hong Kong and it offers so many job opportunities! It’s also a cool city to visit for its parks, downtown areas, and mountains.
Here’s some cool places to check out if you visit Shenzhen for a weekend!
Splendid China Folk Village
I was really surprised with how much I loved this place. There are mini replicas of some of China’s most famous landmarks here, like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, West Lake, Dali pagodas, Terra-Cotta Warriors, and so on. There’s also an area dedicated to China’s minority groups featuring lots of food, traditional dances, and special performances related to their customs.
Even if you’re a foreigner who’s been living in China for awhile, it was really cool to see so many of China’s famous places. Coming here has also inspired me to travel more to places I still haven’t seen!
You can also check out Window of the World, which is similar to Splendid China except it has mini replicas of famous landmarks all over the world like the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, etc.
Ping An Finance Center
If you’re looking for a cool 360 view of Shenzhen this is the place to go! For 200 RMB you can go to the 116th floor of the Ping An Finance Center and take some shots of Shenzhen (and Hong Kong in the distance). They also have really cool videos to watch before you go up.
Coco Park and Seaworld
The Ping An Finance Center is conveniently located right in Coco Park, so you should stick around the area and look around. This is one of Shenzhen’s biggest shopping and bar areas, where foreigners and Chinese alike come.
The Seaworld area is a little farther away and isn’t the normal American Seaworld you’re thinking of. It’s basically just a giant area filled with restaurants, bars, and other entertainment. They have a giant ship in the harbor with places to get food and listen to live music. We ate some goooood Mexican food here, which makes it that much better.
Shenzhen Bay Sports Arena
Because Shenzhen is such a giant city, lots of world famous performers come here. I saw Fall Out Boy perform here and that’s been my dream since I was a 16 year old teen riding the bus and listening to “Dance, Dance” while studying for my Shakespeare tests and doing Geometry homework. Those were the days.
This was my first real concert in China, and it was very different than an American experience. The crowds are more tame. We sat for a lot of the show. This might a combination of the venue or because they were singing English songs and the Chinese audience only knew parts of the most famous songs, but we all still had a good time. I’d love to see another concert in China and see how it compares.
There’s even more things on my Shenzhen to do list now that I know a little more about the city! I’m excited to go back again sometime and see what else is out there.
It was also a fun weekend to celebrate my friend Young’s birthday and catch up with other friends I hadn’t seen in awhile!