Coined the Silicon Valley of tech hardware, Shēnzhèn is located in the Guangdong province in southeast China. It’s one of the world's most affluent cities. Since the 1980s it has grown from 300,000 to 12.5 million residents. Shēnzhèn is also linked to Hong Kong by rail so I can be across the border in less than an hour.
In anticipation of my move to Beijing in 2016, I went all out with finding as much as I could about one of the most populous cities in the world. I read article after article online, bought a Lonely Planet guidebook, watched YouTube videos, the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, and The Karate Kid!
Now, I’m discovering all that I can about Shēnzhèn, which is where I will be at the top of the year. Things I've learned thus far: it has lively music and literary scene, as well as tons of green spaces. So here's 5 things I’m most looking forward to checking out my first month in my new home:
1. Taking a hike up Lianhua Mountain - Shēnzhèn is full of mountains, hills and beaches. I’ve read that it takes about 15 minutes to reach the peak of Lianhua, which provides excellent views of the city.
2. Visiting Dameisha Beach - Located on the northern shore of Mirs Bay, along the Yantian District coastline — which isn’t far from my school, is one of the largest beaches in Shēnzhèn. Until it gets warmer, I simply want to bask in the view of the ocean.
3. Copping a seat at Shenzhen Library - It’s the largest library in the city, said to have 2,500 seats for readers, and it’s over six floors high in the heart of Futian District. This area is also home to Shenzhen Book City, the largest book mall in China.
4. Visiting Quirky Theme Parks - Last year I visited Shēnzhèn for the first time and one of the places I walked through was Window of the World theme park. Think: more than 100 miniature replicas of national landmarks from Ankor Wat in Cambodia to the Eiffel Tower in France and the Pyramids in Egypt.
This time I want to hit up Splendid China Folk Culture Village, which tells the history of Chinese (and Tibetan) culture.
5. Listening to live music in the expat area of Shekou - It translates as “snake’s mouth”, reflecting its location at the mouth of the Pearl River. The Sea World entertainment complex is suppose to be full of plenty bars and live music venues.