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With the new high speed train taking HongKongers to Shenzhen in just 20 minutes, how can you resist? After all, there’s much more to Shenzhen than cheap shopping.

Geographically part of Guangdong Province but administered directly by the Central Government of China, Shenzhen started life as a fishing village. Just 38 years ago, it was selected by Deng Xiao Ping to be China’s first foray into an open-market economy. As a result of the flow of people from other parts of China searching for a better life, less than ten per cent of the population in Shenzhen is originally from the city. This explains why Mandarin rather than Cantonese – the main language of Guangdong Province – is spoken there. Shenzhen is the perfect place to entertain the children, get your shopping fix and practice the family’s Mandarin. And it’s all less than two hours away.

Shenzhen is a new city. Most of entertainment for the population was artificially introduced in the form of theme parks – and lots of them!

Splendid China 錦綉中華 (jǐn xiù zhōng huá) is a theme park that scales down China’s monuments to a manageable size. You and the kids can spend a couple of hours exploring the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta warriors, Li River and more. Splendid China is suitable for younger kids and their older siblings. It’s very easy to get to: just a 20-minute taxi ride from Lo Wu station, or five-minutes by taxi from Shenzhen Bay checkpoint. The average visit takes around two to three hours.

Window of the World 世界之窗 (shì jiè zhī chuāng) is next door to Splendid China. Many visit the two parks on the same day, but I wouldn’t recommend it with young children. Some of the world’s most famous monuments are replicated here, and many are life-size. The Pyramids, Great Wall, Eiffel Tower, Colosseum – after a day here your children will feel as if they’ve travelled the world. The average visit lasts half a day.

Shenzhen Amusement Park 欢乐谷 (huān lè gǔ), also referred to as Happy Kingdom or Happy Valley, is a 15-minute taxi ride from Lo Wu station. Suitable for over-eights, this theme park has rides, rides and more rides, and is equivalent to a Chinese Disneyland. The park gets very crowded, especially at weekends and during China’s holidays.

Evergreen Resort 青青世界 (qīng qīng shì jiè) is a 35-minute trip from Lo Wu station. This park is a botanical garden, nature reserve, aquarium, forest, organic farm and playground all rolled into one. There are a lot of interesting activities for young children, from crossing ponds and lakes on rope bridges and visiting a rainforest, to learning about plants and aquatic life. The park has two restaurants and one hotel. Allow a day trip or a weekend visit. By Kate Zhou.

Where to Stay

Shangri-La Hotel Shenzhen

Shangri-La Hotel offers 522 guestrooms and suites with the impressive views of Shenzhen’s skyline and Hong Kong’s New Territories. Within walking distance from Lo Wu station and Shopping City, this is the ideal retreat for a shopper’s weekend getaway!

Wyndham Grand Shenzhen

Located within 5-minutes’ walk from the Convention and Exhibition Centre subway station, you can easily navigate around the city, using the Wyndham Grand as the perfect base. This five star hotel boasts an array of services and amenities that won’t leave you disappointed!

Hilton Shenzhen Shekou Nanhai

Ideally located in the core of Shenzhen’s western coastal city belt, the Hilton Shenzhen Shekou Nanhai hotel faces Shenzhen Bay on the west, Pearl River Estuary on the east and Hong Kong across the sea. The Hilton is close to Sea World and the Shekou Princebay Cruise Centre, which connects the area to Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong Central, Macau and Zhuhai.

Four Seasons Hotel Shenzhen

Occupying an enviable spot in Shenzhen’s new central business district of Futian, the modern design and high-tech amenities of the Four Seasons fit right in with the international energy of the city. After a day spent exploring, relax with a treatment at the Spa, and then enjoy an evening of fine dining at Zhuo Yue Xuan Cantonese restaurant.

The Langham Shenzhen

Located in Futian, the city’s commercial and retail hub, The Langham is near Shenzhen Railway Station as well as the Convention and Exhibition Centre, connecting many tourist sites and natural attractions.

The St. Regis, Shenzhen

Conveniently located in the prestigious Kingkey 100 in the hub of Luohu district, one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world offering a panoramic views of Shenzhen and northern Hong Kong.

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