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Shenzhen Travel Tips - Helpful hints and advice on local destination information

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As it sits directly across the causeway from Hong Kong, Shenzhen is used to international exposure. In its earliest days it was strategically placed here to capitalize on the international business community in Hong Kong. So it's no surprise that locals are accepting and tolerant of Western culture.

This has also paved the way for excellent facilities that are well up to international standards. Local public transportation is already excellent, but it's expanding and will eventually be world-class. Even first-time visitors to China will find plenty of comfort in the international atmosphere of Shenzhen.

Customs and etiquette

Chinese etiquette may seem daunting to first-time visitors, but this particular region has a vibrant and diverse cultural base. It's understood that tourists can't possibly grasp all the nuances of the local culture, and locals almost always understand this and often recognize foreign means of respect.

The most important thing to remember is that ‘saving face' is important in China. Visitors do well to avoid sensitive political issues and to remain mindful of the decorum and honorific titles that prevail in Chinese culture.

Tipping is extremely rare, though it works its way into upscale hotels and restaurants that deal almost exclusively with international clients. In smaller restaurants as well as in taxis, tipping is not expected and is likely to be outright refused. A percent service charge may be added to dining bills.

Money

The renminbi (RMB) or yuan is the unit of Chinese currency. Chinese currency can only be traded within the People's Republic, so travelers must exchange any unused portion before leaving the country. The Bank of China is the most accessible bank for tourists, but the moneychangers in the marketplaces offer better rates.

Cash will be necessary at merchant stands, noodle shops and most small restaurants or shops. Bigger establishments, especially those are in any way connected with the international tourist trade, most certainly accept credit cards. ATMs are widely available throughout the central districts.

 

Weather

The climate in Shenzhen is subtropical, and the most popular time to visit is from October to December, when the weather is warm but not too hot. Domestic tourists pour in during the Chinese National Holiday (a week in October), at which time hotels consistently book solid.

While this cool season is most comfortable, there are reasons to visit at the height of summer. Among these is to enjoy the beaches of Shenzhen, which have been getting a lot of positive press in the last few years. Bear in mind that thunderstorms characterize the spring, and typhoons are possible as late as October.

Transportation

Still being developed, the Shenzhen subway currently operates two lines to central neighborhoods and offers well-priced, efficient transit around town. The Green Line (No. 1) travels from Luohu to Window of the World theme park, while the Blue Line (No. 4) connects the Children's Palace with Huang Gang.

There's also a tour bus that parks in front of the train station that completes a loop of the city in two hours. Among the many taxi companies, Red Taxi is the most expensive, while Green Taxi is much more affordable while still widely available.

Shuttle buses and taxis connect from Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport (SZX). Public buses 327 and 355 provide slow (albeit cheap) transport to the city center. Airport Bus number 330 can reach the city center in about 40 minutes.

Fast facts

Population: 8,615,500
Spoken languages: Cantonese, Mandarin
Electrical: 220 Volts, 50 Hertz
Phone/calling code: +86 755