Photograph by BobbyLau, Getty Images
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The Wutong Mountain stretches over Shenzhen.

Photograph by BobbyLau, Getty Images

Discover the Best of Shenzhen 

Ten things to do in this rapidly-growing Chinese city.

Wildlife

The Mangrove Wetland of Shenzhen is a bird lover's paradise, home to more than 200 avian species. Located in the northeastern corner of Shenzhen Bay, it is one of the most important stops for migratory birds in the region, attracting more than 100,000 during the winter.

National Park

Home to the highest point of Shenzhen, Mount Wutong National Park lies east of the Louhou district. Densely vegetated, it is most popular during the Rhododendron season but offers a stunning vista of the coastline and Shenzhen Reservoir year-round. There are numerous hiking trails for hikers, but there is also a road that goes to the satellite station at the top.

Archeological Site

Dapeng Fortress had been an important seaside military town since its inception during the Ming Dynasty. With a 1,200 meter long wall and a five meter wide moat, it witnessed the start of the Opium War. Abandoned for more than 100 years, it is now a protected heritage site and free to visit.

UNESCO Site

As a city where innovation is constant, Shenzhen's cutting-edge modern buildings have earned the city the status of a UNESCO City of Design. From the MOCAPE to OCT Loft, Shenzhen is home to different facets of designs ranging from architectural to crafts that are suited for all ages and taste.

Cultural Experience

The Gankeng Hakka Town on the outskirts of Shenzhen is a time slice preserving the Hakka migration to the area three centuries ago. Located near mountains and rivers, the cultural village is home to picturesque lanes and unique watchtower house. There is also a chance to experience the traditional Kylin dance or sample the Hakka cuisine.

Best Day Trip

For a complete change of scenery, Macau is only a ferry ride away. A former Portuguese colony, its historic center is a treasure trove of European buildings. Alternatively, it is also known as the Las Vegas of the East for a reason with endless casinos and world-class hotels.

Off the Beaten Path

Witness the evidence of Shenzhen's fast rise with the Old Qingshuihe Train Station. Abandoned due to chaotic urban development, the station was once a major thoroughfare for trains transporting goods between China and Hong Kong. While you cannot enter the carriages, you can see the old trains up close and walk on the tracks. It's also a great photo spot.

Most Iconic Experience

Explore the Dongmen Pedestrian Street for a spot of shopping and street food. The area has been a market since the Ming Dynasty and now encompasses 180,000-square-meters of space. Hidden between the many department stores and top high street brands are relics of its past such as the Siyue Academy, a former Ancestral Hall from the Ming Dynasty turned private school.

Historic Site

The resting place of the last emperor of the Song Dynasty, King Zhao Bing's Mausoleum might be a small tomb but it has great historical significance. The emperor was hunted to the region by the Mongols, and recognizing defeat, his chancellor and he committed suicide by leaping off a cliff. The boy's body was found and buried here by the locals.

Local Quirk

While Shenzhen is home to people from all over China, they all have one thing in common: a love for hotpot—a meal with a boiling broth of choice which acts as the base for anything you throw in to cook throughout the meal. Suitable and customizable for all tastes, it's a huge melting pot with room for everything and as such, a great reflection of the city.