Plan Your Shenzhen Visit
Shenzhen is a great place to start your exploration of China, with numerous attractions and modern facilities and located just across the border from Hong Kong. This Guide helps you to plan your visit. For an introduction to Shenzhen, see About Shenzhen, and for information on Shenzhen’s many attractions, see Shenzhen Attractions.
When to visit?
Shenzhen can be visited at any time of the year. However, you may like to pick the time of year that will best suit your climate preference. Shenzhen has a subtropical climate with a long hot and humid summer from April to September. Some travellers will greatly enjoy this weather, while others may find it uncomfortable particularly if they are used to living in a cooler climate. For more information on the climate in Shenzhen see About Shenzhen.
You may like to time your visit so that you include the rich experience of participating in one of the traditional Chinese festivals. However many Chinese people also travel for these festivals so you will find that flights, airports, transport and accommodation can be very crowded and busy. You will need to make your travel bookings well in advance. For more information visit the Traditional Chinese Festivals section of the China Internet Information Portal.
How long to stay?
You could spend a few days in Shenzhen as part of a Hong Kong holiday. Alternatively you could easily spend a week or more experiencing all that the central Shenzhen area districts of Futian, Luohu and Nanshan have to offer. If you want to travel further afield to experience the attractions of the other Shenzhen districts then at least two weeks is suggested.
People’s Government Building (Galleries)
Is a visa needed?
Yes, you will need to arrange a Chinese visa. While travellers from many countries do not need a visa to enter Hong Kong, a Chinese visa is required if you travel to Shenzhen from Hong Kong or if you travel to Shenzhen from any international location.
It is recommended that you obtain your visa in your home country before you commence your travel. It may also be possible to arrange a visa in Hong Kong that permits entry into Shenzhen only (that is, you cannot travel to other parts of China) for a short period only (and you will need to have obtained your visa before boarding your transport in Hong Kong).
Visa classes and requirements can change from time to time. For the latest information contact the Chinese embassy your country. Information on Chinese embassies can be found in ‘The Ministry’, ‘Missions Overseas’ section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China website.
Crossing the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen involves two steps. First, you will exit Hong Kong at an exit gate/point, where your passport will be checked and stamped. Then, you will enter Shenzhen at a separate entry gate/point, where you will complete an entry card and your passport and Chinese visa will be checked and passport stamped. When returning, you will go through the process in reverse.
How to get there?
Connecting services from Hong Kong International Airport
To get to Shenzhen from an international location, you can fly to Hong Kong International Airport and then take a connecting ferry, bus or limousine service from the airport to Shenzhen:
- Skypier: Skypier provides a direct ferry service between Hong Kong International Airport and six ports in the Pearl River Delta including Shekou port in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen. Bus or taxi transport is available from Shekou port to your final destination. For more information visit the Skypier section of the Hong Kong International Airport website.
- Skypier airline check-in at Shekou port: Passengers of participating airlines may also be able to use the Shekou port one-stop check-in service, where they can obtain their boarding passes and check in their luggage which will be directly transferred to their final destination. For more information visit the Check-in at PRD ports section of the Hong Kong International Airport website.
- Mainland Coach Services: Airport mainland coach services depart from Hong Kong International Airport for mainland China destinations including the 24-hour Huanggang border entry point in Shenzhen. For more information visit the Mainland Coach Services section of the Hong Kong International Airport website. From Huanggang you can take a taxi or the Shenzhen Metro to your destination.
- Skylimo: Skylimo provides a direct limousine and MPV service between Hong Kong International Airport and locations in Guangdong province including Shenzhen. In the Arrivals Hall at Hong Kong International Airport ask information staff for directions to a Skylimo counter to arrange travel to the 24-hour Huanggang border entry point. For more information visit the Skylimo section of the Hong Kong International Airport website. From Huanggang you can take a taxi or the Shenzhen Metro to your destination.
Travelling to Shenzhen from Hong Kong city
If you are combining your visit to Shenzhen with a visit to Hong Kong, then you could use the Hong Kong MTR (Mass Transit Railway) train services to the Lok Ma Chau or Lo Wu border crossings in Shenzhen. Lo Wu was previously the only rail connection point, however the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line provides a new way for passengers to cross the border and travel to Shenzhen. Lok Ma Chau Station is linked to the Huanggang border entry point. For more information visit the MTR website. From Huanggang (Lok Ma Chau) or Lo Wu you can take a taxi or the Shenzhen Metro to your destination.
Flying direct to Shenzhen International Airport
There are international flights to Shenzhen International Airport, located in Bao’an District west of the central Shenzhen area. For more information about airport services, flights and transport to and from the airport visit the Shenzhen International Airport website.
Travelling to Shenzhen from other parts of China
To get to Shenzhen from other parts of China, you can take a domestic flight or travel by bus or train. A range of domestic airlines offer flights to the Shenzhen International Airport from locations across China, including Shenzhen’s own Shenzhen Airlines. For more information about airport services, flights and transport to and from the airport visit the Shenzhen International Airport website. For experienced travellers, express bus services travel between Shenzhen and locations across China, and Shenzhen is also accessible by high-speed rail from Guangzhou, which is the capital of Guangdong province, where there are connecting services with other parts of China including Beijing.
Where to stay?
Shenzhen offers a range of quality star-rated accommodation, including hotels and resorts, which can be booked directly, online or through travel agents.
How to get around?
To get around in Shenzhen you can use the Shenzhen Metro or Shenzhen’s bus and taxi services, and you can purchase a map to help you find your way.
The Shenzhen Metro is a modern underground rail system with four lines. A new fifth line and extensions to the current lines will open during 2011, with further expansion in future years. The Shenzhen Metro can be used to access many attractions as well as shopping areas and transport hubs. Announcements and displays on the Shenzhen Metro are in both Chinese and English. For more information visit the UrbanRail.net website.
Buses and Taxis
Shenzhen has efficient taxi and bus services. Ask the staff of your hotel to help you with identifying bus routes.
To help find your way around in Shenzhen, consider purchasing a map of Shenzhen that has place names in both English and Chinese. You will be able to point to locations on the map when using taxis or asking directions.
The informative and easy to use Shenzhen Insight Flexi Map is available through bookstore chains and map retailers in many countries, or can be purchased online. For more information visit the Insight Guides website and enter ‘Shenzhen’ in the ‘Search Bookshop’ box.
Alternatively, if you don’t purchase a map before you travel, other maps can be purchased from Shenzhen Book City or may be available for purchase at your hotel. If you travel to Shenzhen Book City ask the staff of your hotel to assist with directions.
To find out more about Shenzhen see: