Across the border from Hong Kong is a former fishing village that had a population of 30,000 just 30 years ago. Today the city of Shenzhen is China’s third largest city with 10.5 million inhabitants. Any city that has grown that rapidly will show signs of the strain. But for a visitor it is a wonderful metropolis with a lot to see.
With dear friends visiting from Australia, we hoped to show them a glimpse of modern day China. I booked three rooms at the Sheraton Dameisha Resort. This beach-front property is 20 minutes by taxi from the Luohu Railway Station – a walk-across border crossing from Hong Kong.
Many visitors from Hong Kong don’t get much further than the shopping mall attached to this train station. Luohu Commercial City is a six store bonanza of stores, teeming with merchandise both genuine and fake. See a lot of people on the streets with Abercrombie & Fitch T-Shirts? Wonder how she could afford a Chanel handbag? Perhaps it is real. Or maybe it comes from this mall.
Having been here a few times myself, we knew which merchants to visit. We explored for hours then caught a taxi to our hotel.
The Sheraton Dameisha is one of the most spectacular hotels I have ever visited.
Designed to resemble a twisted cruise liner, this modern building houses only beach-view rooms. The modern art-filled lobby offers access to three restaurants. For the kids the pool extends for hundreds and hundreds of metres and has slides and smaller infant pools. We made camp near the swim-up bar for fresh juices and ice creams in the summer sun.
The hotel has a private beach which is remarkably clean and quiet. Later we realised the private beaches are separated by chain-link fence that extends deep into the water. Next door is the public beach. These were slightly more crowded!
We took advantage of some of Shenzhen’s many attractions. One day we took a taxi 30 minutes to Dafen Oil Painting Village. This small enclave used to be a remote village of painters. Today it is surrounded by the city, but has maintained its unique status through careful planning. Want an original piece of modern art? Care for a copy Matisse? If it exists in the art world it can be bought or made in Dafen.
What’s wonderful is to come across an artist at work whether copying or creating.
For those living in Hong Kong, the best part of the vacation is the ease of return. Walk across the border at Luohu and take the MTR home. We were 30 minutes by train from our home.
It was a wonderful and relaxing break. I recommend it for all!