Shenzhen is a well known tourist destination within China, and although it is overshadowed by its more affluent neighbour Hong Kong, it is becoming more and more an international destination for tourism and shopping, as well as industry. Thanks to this, Shenzhen has some excellent air, sea and train links to other parts of China, making the city both accessible and easy to escape from.
Shenzhen is ideally placed as a base from which you can explore other destinations in the Pearl River delta area, and offers excellent connections to other parts of China. So rather than hopping on the next plane to Thailand or the Philippines for your holidays, why not consider venturing into the Chinese hinterland? When the going gets unbearably tough in Shenzhen, there are several easy ways to escape. Here are some of them:
1) The Iron Road
Let’s start with the cheapest and often quickest transport; the good old train. This is one of the easiest ways to get out of Shenzhen, bolstered by the fact that the two major railway stations in the city are connected by the metro system, making it extremely simple to walk out of your apartment, into a metro station, and emerge in Guangzhou. The main train station that people use is situated in Luohu, at the eastern terminus of the Luobao metro line. From here, you can take a comfortable one hour train journey to Guangzhou East train station, at the cost of around 90 RMB. This line also stops at destinations along the way, such as Dongguan, the KTV capital of Guangdong province.
A brand new rail service opened last December, and it offers greater connections around China than the aforementioned station at Luohu. This new station, Shenzhen North Railway Station, offers high speed links to Guangzhou South (27 minutes), Wuhan (three hours) and Beijing (eight hours). Transport officials estimate that further track construction towards Hong Kong will be completed by 2015, allowing Shenzheners to arrive in Kowloon in a slick 15 minutes. To get to Shenzhen North Station, simply jump on the newly finished Huanzhong metro line and head, er, north.
2) The Sea
Shenzhen is blessed with a ferry terminal, situated in the expatriate colony of Shekou. Not only does it provide quick links to Hong Kong, but from here you can also travel to more exotic destinations like Macau and Zhuhai. Macau has its obvious attractions, namely casinos and the distinctive Macanese architecture, culture and cuisine more reminiscent of Portugal than China. Situated in Mainland China, Zhuhai can best be described as a more relaxed and slightly cleaner version of Shenzhen. It’s much smaller and isn’t nearly so crowded, plus it gives access to some fantastic beaches and some great coastal walks in the countryside. The wonderful thing is that both of these places are approximately one hour away on the ferry from Shekou. Prices vary, but expect to pay around 100 RMB for a one-way ticket to either city. See the following websites for sailing times:
Shekou to Zhuhai
Shekou to Macau
The ferry terminal can be reached by taxi (say ‘Shekou Kou’an’), or by taking the Shekou metro line to the ferry terminal. A few years ago it was still possible to pay the captain a small fee, and you could sit outside on the top deck and drink beer as you crossed the choppy waters, but alas times have changed. However, the ferries are very clean and comfortable below deck, and the crossings are quick.
3) The Sky
For journeys a bit further afield, including some international flights within Asia, the most convenient (and expensive) way to leave Shenzhen is to fly. Shenzhen International Airport is situated in Bao’an district in the north west of the city. Getting there is pretty simple. You can take a taxi (which always seems to cost around 100 RMB, no matter if you are in Luohu, Futian or Nanshan district), or take Luobao metro line to the Airport East stop. Because Shenzhen is a hub of business and commerce, there are numerous daily flights to cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. If you book early enough, you can usually secure cheap flights.
There is a final way to travel to Macau, and that is to use the Sky Shuttle. This bespoke helicopter service gets you to the Macau Maritime Terminal in 15 minutes, and also leaves from Shenzhen airport. I have asked around, but no one I have met seems to have taken this mode of transport. Perhaps this is to do with a fear of flying in helicopters, or perhaps it’s to do with the 4,000 RMB price tag for a one-way ticket. Nevertheless, if you have had a successful evening at the blackjack table, this might be the most outrageous way to come back to Shenzhen. See the following website for the timetable:
Macau/Shenzhen Helicopter Shuttle Service
Shenzhen is a well connected city, and there are many transport options should you feel the need to make the great escape. Happy travels!
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Keywords: transportation shenzhen travel Shenzhen South China travelling high speed train Shenzhen ferry Shenzhen
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