5 Reasons to Visit Shenzhen

From a burgeoning arts scene to China’s best golf opportunities, here’s why you should make Shenzhen your next travel destination.

Jun 6, 2013
An example of the city's modern, cutting-edge architecture, the Civic Centre is home to City Hall and the Shenzhen Museum.
The Shenzhen Civic Centre, home to City Hall and the Shenzhen Museum, is known for its modern winged roof.
Photography iStock

In the last 30 years, Shenzhen has transformed from a small village to a modern metropolis. It’s one of China’s fastest-growing and wealthiest cities, but beyond its status as an economic powerhouse, Shenzhen is a hub of creativity and design and a destination for adventurous travellers. Here are the top five reasons to visit.

Get creative.
Appointed a UNESCO City of Design in 2008, Shenzhen is awash in striking architectural landmarks, and is home to a number of artists and designers. Modern, cutting-edge buildings dominate the city skyline, including the winged roof of the Civic Centre, which houses Shenzhen City Hall as well as the Shenzhen Museum. The jagged, glass-paned Shenzhen Cultural Centre is another highlight. Created by renowned Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, the centre is home to the Shenzhen Library and Concert Hall. Go deeper into the local arts scene with a trip to OCT-LOFT Creative Culture Park, where artists and designers display works and hold regular events, including a weekend arts market.

Step into nature.
A haven for nature lovers, Shenzhen Xianhu Botanic Garden (Fairy Lake Botanical Garden) grows thousands of species of plants and covers more than 10,000 square metres (107,600 square feet). Since its development in 1983, the garden has served not only as a scenic escape, but also as a centre for scientific research, education and tourism. Divided into six major sections, the garden includes a temple area, a desert landscape and a petrified forest.

Tee off on China’s best courses.
Take a break from Shenzhen’s modern cityscape for a round of golf. Known as one of China’s top golf destinations, Shenzhen is home to more than a dozen courses, including some of the world’s premier golf venues, most of which capitalize on the beautiful natural surroundings. Perched waterside at the base of a mountain, the Longgang Public Golf Course provides a challenge, with hilly terrain dominating the last nine holes. The semi-private OCT East Wind Valley Golf Club overlooks Mirs Bay and features two 18-hole championship courses built along steep, mountainous terrain.

For a truly unforgettable golf excursion, book a tee time at Mission Hills Golf Club, the world’s largest golf club and just a short drive from Four Seasons Hotel Shenzhen. Twelve 18-hole courses designed by a host of international golf superstars, including Jack Nicklaus, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, compose Mission Hills, which hosts some of the world’s biggest golf tournaments.

Take the family on a thrill ride.
Whether you’re travelling with children or thrill-seeking adults, take a day trip to Shenzhen Happy Valley. The theme park features more than 100 rides, games and shows in nine distinct areas. For a more educational park experience, try Splendid China Folk Village, where you can sample the cultures of China’s various provinces and ethnicities. Travel the globe in one day at Window of the World, a replica park with miniature reproductions of 130 of the world’s most famous and impressive monuments, including Giza’s pyramids, the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal.

Walk through history.
Beneath Shenzhen’s modern façade lies a wealth of history. Nantou Ancient City, located in the Nanshan District, dates back to the fourth century and showcases remnants of a Ming dynasty town. Once a walled city, the area is still home to about 20,000 people, most of whom are descendants of the indigenous Cantonese inhabitants, and many of the historic fortifications remain intact. Stroll through this ancient city, and you’ll find local shops and landmarks, including the 14th-century Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tianhou Temple, one of China’s largest and most revered temples.


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