外文标题：China Travel - Guangdong Province
After years of "next time" I finally took a decisive action and paid a visit to Guangdong province. To be precise, Guangdong province which included Shenzhen and Guangzhou in addition to my final destination in China Macau.
My time in Shenzhen was very limited (only two nights) which means I did not manage to physically visit the city but merely some bits and pieces here and there. It was enough to get some idea what Shenzhen is all about. And, boy, it is one hell of a city: huuuuuge, modern, clean and orderly. It looks and feels like a true paradise for an urban planner with wide tree-lined avenues, lots of tall and massive buildings, good public transport, lovely parks and retreat areas and the small architecture to complete the entire picture. Perhaps a bit like Simcity in real life.
I have heard some negative talks of Shenzhen in the past: that it's dangerous, dirty (wtf?), polluted and unpleasant. I never believed it anyway but now I would just laugh at anyone saying anything of the sort. Shenzhen is a fascinating, beautiful, lovely, very clean and simply an incredible city which is in a league of its own when it comes to modernity and dynamism. A true superstar of China and a showcase of the explosive development which has been taking place there for the past 30 years with Shenzhen in the front.
Some basic facts about Shenzhen:
- population: 9+ million
- area: 2000 sq.km
- established: 1980 (yes, it's merely 30 years old!)
- bordering Hong Kong to the South and very close to another Chinese magapolis Guangzhou to the North-West
One absolutely incredible fact about Shenzhen is that this city has been built virtually from scratch in just 30 years. I mean a 10 million city in 30 years... this is something. It was established as a free economic zone in 1980 and has grown to a massive metropolis by now which is bigger than London...
shenzhen Location Map
Close-up map. Shenzhen As you see it's pretty much squeezed in between Hong Kong and Guangzhou
Anyway, here are the photos. I know I did not see everything I wanted due to limited time but I guess this is a reasonably good preview of what to expect there. And I am more than confident it is not my last time there...
It took ages to wait at the passport control after which I took a taxi from the airport. The ride was amazing: a fresh new motorway, all modern and neat around it, massive residential blocks around. We surely came to a big city. However, despite showing the driver a map with Chinese writing he managed to get lost (he knew location just approximately). It was very strange because Shenzhen is extremely easy to navigate and all it took were two right turns to get to my destination... anyway I started showing the driver where to go with hand gestures and after about 10 minutes of messing around we got to the place which was Enping street in OCT-LOFT area. All I knew about it was that my hostel was meant to be there and picture of the map location...
1. Here is the first view nearby. It was almost midnight. Some large apartment blocks around
Did not quite expect something like that. The whole area was simply overwhelmed by trees, bushes and other greenery. It felt almost like walking in a tunnel of green. Of course, everything was taken good care of with lovely pedestrian paths, decorative lighting and a very peaceful and I would say romantic atmosphere all around. It seemed like an exceptionally nice area. I was to find out more the day after. One thing I noticed was the feeling of total safety. I saw lone women walking in the dark and playing around with their iPhones, or couples just having romantic time under a tree and having a drink or a snack. Mind you it was midnight and just an occasional person on the street. Usually it would not be considered a good time to go for a walk on your own, especially if you are a woman and show around your iPhone, camera or other expensive gadget. I was later to find out that any worries of personal safety were wrong. I spoke to an Irish expat living in Shenzhen and he ensured me that if there is one thing to enjoy then it's being sure that physical attacks of any kind are extremely unlikely if not impossible in Shenzhen or any other major Chinese city. Seemingly there is no much violent crime there apart from such nuisances as pickpockets. Good. That's what I like, feeling safe.
View from Shennan Avenue overpass to Qiaocheng East Rd. in Nan Shan district. Typical view of Shenzhen: wide avenue (note it is not even one of the "main" avenues), wide pedestrian sidewalks, clean, well ordered and simple with plenty of trees and other greenery around. Everything just looks in order and has that general feeling of neatness and tidiness
Great Street Views.........
Ticket machines in the metro. Fares are at 2-7RMB (typically 3-4 RMB which would be around 0.5 EUR). The machines accept coins and notes. The ticket comes in a form of RFID token or a multi-use RFID card which have to be touched to a ticket reader at every ticket gate.
Nearby the hostel I stayed (it's called LOFT Youth Hostel, located in OCT area and I would highly recommend it to any budget traveller going to SZ, it's a very modern, cool and open place). What I immediately noticed was the attention to taking care of public spaces in the city. This was not only the case in this area but everywhere I went.