One Fine Adventure: Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
I flew into Shenzhen on an unseasonably warm day in January and my luck held throughout my time in the city. My primary purpose in Shenzhen was getting across to Hong Kong for a visa renewal so I opted to get that taken care of straight away. I took the Shenzhen Metro from Shenzhen Bao’an International to Futian Port at the Shenzhen/Hong Kong border crossing. The metro ride was very inexpensive and easy to find from the airport. The ride is long, but incredibly smooth and the people watching is on par with anywhere else in China. You are almost guaranteed to run into an eccentric character or two.
- Take the Luobao Line from the airport toward Luohu
- Transfer to Longhua Line at Convention & Exhibition Center toward Futian Checkpoint
- Get off at the end of the line and follow the signs to the checkpoint
From here you will have to pass through the border checkpoint. I have heard from several people that depending on the time, day of the week and luck will all play a role in the ease of your trip across the border. I have only used Futian once, but it was a breeze. Getting through the Chinese exit immigration is simple. . Get your passport stamp and head to the bridge over the Sham Chun River. Make sure to take off your hat as it is likely that HK immigration agents will be checking temperatures of people crossing the border.You will have to pass through Hong Kong a immigration check point and that point you can either turn around and go back or spend some time in HK.
I decided to take the metro from Futian to Lo Wu Immigration Control Point. The metro ride was simple, but required one transfer. It was not necessary to choose a different immigration route, but I wanted to see what the other location looked like compared to Futian. Again, it is up to you when to choose an ideal time to arrive at the checkpoint and hopefully that lines will not be too long. I have used Lo Wu three times and each time I avoided peak hours and had no problem getting across quickly.
Back on the Shenzhen side of the border I had a fresh 90 days to stay in China. I was only in Shenzhen for a few short days before moving on the Yangshuo. Fortunately I spent as little time in my hostel, Melbourne’s Home Hostel, as possible. I use Hostel World links because I have never had a booking issue when using this website, but I receive no kickbacks from the site. Melbourne’s Home is a great hostel located in a very convenient part of Shenzhen. The KK100 is nearby along with many parks and metro stops. Beds and linens were clean, the shower always worked. Most importantly the power was always on and the WIFI worked in the rooms. It was everything you could hope for from a small and cheap hostel. If you are coming through Shenzhen I would highly recommend Melbourne’s Home Hostel.
The proximity of Shenzhen to Hong Kong creates a unique mixture of cultures. I felt very close to the Chinese mainland culture on the streets and I could also sense an international influence in restaurants and stores. Sandals and shorts are normal attire for the people on the street. The culture seems to have a slow paced flow compared to many other Chinese cities that I have visited. Shenzhen is between two major transportation hubs and is also growing quickly as an alternative for either Guangzhou or Hong Kong. Stories about the chaos of Lunar New Year, travel had circulated through my office, but I could not believe my eyes when I crossed the border into Shenzhen. Families camping on the streets near Shenzhen Railway Station with incredible amounts luggage. Over three billion trips were made during the new year celebration and this foreigner was crazy enough to be a part of that adventure.