10 Experiences Unique to Shenzhen

Shenzhen at night
Shenzhen at night | © Jo HK/ Wikimedia commons
Sarah Karacs

Mercurial metropolis Shenzhen is a unique city in many respects. Just over 30 years old, it has developed at a breakneck pace to become an electronics hub that’s home to exciting and bold new architecture alongside a number of curious cultural offerings. With China’s youngest population and also the highest number of migrants, there are so many experiences you can have here that you just wouldn’t be able to replicate anywhere else.

Explore the urban villages

Shenzhen mght be a young city, but that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of legacies of older times. Wedged between the shiny skyscrapers and massive roads you’ll find a unique slice of city life. These urban villages are found in the locations of the original villages that existed before Shenzhen became a Special Administrative region. It’s evolved organically, frenetically and outside the remit of urban planners and is home to many migrants trying to survive in the city on a shoestring.

Wander through a Hakka beach village

There are a number of beaches in Shenzhen, but one of the most charming is also home to an ethnic minority village well worth exploring. Meaning “southern inlet” Na’nao is a hamlet of Hakka origins, Hakka being an ethnic minority in China with its own culture and dialect.

Visit Dapeng fortress

Built in 1349 to fend off marauding Japanese pirates, the fortress offers a rare glimpse at South Chinese military history. It later developed into a town during the Ming and the Qing dynasty. Its historic streets are well worth a visit, boasting mansions built for admirals of yore.

Dapeng fortress

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