Shenzhen

When you are new in Shenzhen it can be hard to get your head around the size of this sprawling and still expanding city… you will be forgiven if you don’t get outside your district of the city much, let alone know exactly how far Baoan stretches before it becomes… Guangming? And who knows where Longhua stops and Longgang begins…? Probably quite a lot of Shenzhen taxi drivers wouldn’t be that clear…

So we’ve put together two maps, the first showing all the districts of Shenzhen (hover over to show labels)… and laowai will definitely appreciate having the proper pinyin tone marks 😉

Shenzhen Map

Thumbnail linking to Shenzhen map

Shenzhen city districts map (click to view)

Guangdong Map

Guangdong Province Map thumbnail

Guangdong Province online map (click to view)

Secondly (above) we did a Guangdong Province map so you can see what is beyond the world of Shenzhen (heading away from Hong Kong!)… look how much cool China there is to explore in every direction… especially the coastline to the west down towards Hainan… enticing!

The cartography is by the awesome @PatrickStotz of Mappable.info – check out his site for some incredible digital maps.

Your comments are welcome, especially corrections!

And what other maps would be useful? For example, we’re thinking of doing a Shenzhen Metro map to help expats with the station name pronunciation…

Here are 6 places where you just kind of have to go, in order to be able to say that you’ve been there, and not seem like a complete Shenzhen noob… As for how great a use of your weekend time they are, your mileage will vary…

1. China Folk Cultural Village

Located at the west side of Shenzhen, China Folk Cultural Village was founded in 1991. An area of 158,000 square kilometers, the village is a kind of light-hearted park showing simplified versions of some of China’s 56 minorities. Lots of mini performances to see and about 56 gift shops.

2. The Window of the World

Often called “World Window” in Chinglish, this theme park located in western Shenzhen should probably more correctly have been called Window on the World… but anyway it has about 130 reproductions of some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world squeezed into 48 hectares. These include a 108-metre scaled-down replica Eiffel Tower, mini Egyptian Pyramids and the Taj Mahal.

3. Dafen Village

This suburb of a suburb [Buji] of Shenzhen was created in the early nineties by a group of twenty artists under the leadership of the painter and businessman Huang Jiang. They specialized in producing copies of paintings by famous artists like Van Gogh, Dali, Leonardo and Rembrandt. They often turned out sev aeral replicas a day from their residence in this town. More artists joined them, since the Chinese practice is to have lots of similar shops clumped together. Thousands now live here. The village sells both originals and replicas. It is possible to commission paintings for low prices. The village has a large sculpture of a hand holding a paintbrush outside its gates. This may or may not be for sale.

4. Happy Valley

Happy Valley is actually the brand of a Chinese national chain of amusement parks located in various cities. But Shenzhen’s was the first one, opened in 1998. Since then five more have opened in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Wuhan, and Tianjin. So basically Shenzhen has something in its history that is older than these other cities now.

The 350,000-square-metre park is composed of nine themed areas including Spanish Square, Cartoon City, Mt. Adventure, Gold Mine Town, Shangri-la Woods, Sunshine Beach, Typhoon Bay, Playa Maya Water Park and Happy Times. All of these involve vast amounts of queueing for things. The Playa Maya Water Park is open for five months each year, and is themed after the Mayan civilization with buildings and statues in Mayan architectural styles. Outside of the park the “Happy Line” monorail train has a stop near the entrance of Happy Valley and is definitely worth ticking off your SZ bucket list.

monorail… Monorail… MONORAIL!

5. Shenzhen Bay Sports Center

This is a multi-use stadium in Shenzhen opened in 2011 as one of many large projects for the universiade. The facility’s main use is table tennis, swimming and football competitions. The stadium holds 20,000 spectators.

6. Wutong Mountain

At 943.7m in height, Wutong is the tallest mountain in Shenzhen. One of Shenzhen citizens’ most popular activities is climbing the mountain on one of the many trails. The trails vary in difficulty. Along the way there are some breathtaking vistas, as well as large spiders, mosquitoes, and snakes. On a clear day you can see Hong Kong. Bring plenty of water.

View from Wutong Mountain on a pretty clear day…

click to open video

click to open video

Zhuang Tiefeng, villager from Shuiwei, Shenzhen, said, “In the old times that place was just marshland, and that way was also marshland. It belonged to the old village. My name is Zhuang Tiefeng, I am 65 years old. I was born in Shuiwei. In the old times we were all farmers. When we were not farming the villagers would go fishing. After the opening up and reform, Shuiwei village had a huge change. The old way of farming gave way to new industry and business and we were able to rent out our buildings to people from outside. The village income changed from tens of thousands of RMB to hundreds of millions of RMB. That’s an amazing change!

>>Read the full CCTV article text here