My First Ride in an Electric Taxi (Shenzhen, China)

My First Ride in an Electric Taxi (Shenzhen, China)

Shenzhen is one of China’s more modern cities and it’s a place where there’s a strong focus on clean energy sources and on reducing pollution. It’s also where one of China’s more well known car makers resides, BYD. So what do you get when a bus company, a car company and some government help come together?

A fleet of full electric taxis. They now have 40 full electric cars operating as taxis and plans for 100 this year and 500 or more in the future. The car is the BYD E6 which is a small five door similar in size to a Hyundai Getz. By chance, I caught a ride in one from the metro station to the hotel.

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Shenzhen China to Macau via Ferry

Shenzhen China to Macau via Ferry

There are multiple ways to get from Shenzhen to Macau including via bus, ferry or even a helicopter. Being in Nanshan District of Shenzhen I chose to go via the ferry at the nearby Shekou Port.

Shekou Port is pretty simple, basically, it’s just one big room, and as you walk through the front door head left to see the ticketing counters where there is even staff who thankfully speak English. At the terminal, there is a small stall selling items from a bakery, a couple newsstands and a stand selling mobile phone sim cards for Hong Kong and Macau. There is also 2 different ATMs and the one I tried accepted a foreign-issued Visa card, plus there is a currency exchange.

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What can you get for $4 at a Bakery in Shenzhen, China?

What can you get for $4 at a Bakery in Shenzhen, China?

Lots of tasty things, thats what! Theres a little bakery at the bottom of the Maple Leaf Nanshan hotel which I often visit to grab some lunch, the staff are friendly and the food is tasty. Even better is how amazingly cheap it is!

All this cost about 28RMB (or yuan, if you like) which is about $4.80 Australian or $4US.

So for four bucks, that’s one small milk, one lemon juice, 2 hot dog rolls with cucumber, lettuce and mayonnaise, 2 pork rolls with tomato and cucumber and one pizza slice. In Australia I know that you could get one of the drinks at least!

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Dim Sum Breakfast at Kempinski Hotel Shenzhen

Dim Sum Breakfast at Kempinski Hotel Shenzhen

Kempinski is a European luxury hotel chain and they have a hotel in Nanshan District of Shenzhen, and it’s one of the citys leading 5 star hotels. I haven’t had the pleasure of staying except to say that its in a great spot close to the new Coastal City Shopping Center which features a mix of retail shops, luxury brand retail shopping and many restaurants.

Susan and I went to the Kempinski for its very popular Dim Sum breakfast. DimSum is often referred to as Yum Cha and its a style of cooking that was founded right here in the Guandong Province, I really enjoy this stuff so I couldn’t be in a better place!

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Train from Shenzhen to Guangzhuo

Train from Shenzhen to Guangzhuo

I was heading to the trade fairs that are held every year in Guangzhuo, in particular the Canton Fair and lucky for me theres a regular fast train between Shenzhen and Guangzhuo East (Guangzhoudong).

Theres many trains running through the day on this route, about 24 trains a day, from early morning to early night. It takes just over an hour for the trip although some trains take a little longer at over 2 hours, maybe they stop at more stations but I’m not sure.

For my first trip I booked a standard ticket at 75 yuan ($11) and it was a modern comfortable train, it was a D series train if you know your China trains. The only downside is that the seats are a little cosy….

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Catching Up in Shenzhen

Catching Up in Shenzhen

It had been a hectic schedule from the start of my trip back in Kuala Lumpur then to Chengdu and then around some of Chinas great cities and sights, so it was time to take it easy for a while. Plus I was a little keen to spend some time with a new friend, so Shenzhen was a perfect place to settle for a while.

I also needed to catch up on some work, and some writing! When I came back from Hong Kong I settled in at the Maple Leaf Hotel in Nanshan District of Shenzhen. It’s a comfortable place at a great rate which I’m sure I’ll speak more about in a later post. Susan arranged the deal which made things pretty easy for me. It’s also right next door to her apartments, hmmm, how convenient!

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Hong Kong to Shenzhen

Hong Kong to Shenzhen

After leaving the China Sourcing trade fair and I headed back to Mong Kok and picked up my passport with its new visa, then from there to Tsim Sha Tsui to get my bag from the Cosmic Guest House. Then in a taxi over to Hung Hom Station to catch the train to Lo Wu (note its called Lo Wu on the Hong Kong side and Luo hu or Luohu on the Shenzhen side) which is the entry point to China mainland leading into the city of Shenzhen.

This time I purchased a first class ticket, I felt like sitting down during the 30 minute journey to the Lo Wu border! I made just one mistake, by the time I get off the train and through the border crossing formalities, it would be close to 6pm. Just when everyone finishes work!

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Train from Shenzhen to Hong Kong

Train from Shenzhen to Hong Kong

Shenzhen is right next door to Hong Kong which worked out very handy for me as my visa was about to expire. Hong Kong being a Special Administrative Region of China is just like going to another country, so, it’s a popular place to visit and explore, and to then get a new visa if you wish to return to back China.

There are several ways to get to Hong Kong from Shenzhen, including the ferry, but for this trip I chose to go on the train. Apparently this is the most popular way to get across to Hong Kong via the Luo Hu Border.

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Shenzhen Accommodation: The Orient Sunseed Hotel

Shenzhen Accommodation: The Orient Sunseed Hotel

I found and booked this place via the cTrip website and it seemed to be a reasonable compromise between price and comfort at just under 200RMB ($31AUD) and still in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen. I stayed here just before heading over to Hong Kong.

The place isn’t really close to anything, but at the same time it’s not too expensive to get a taxi to anywhere you need to go. If you after reasonable budget accommodation in Nanshan it’s probably worth checking the rates.

The place is starting to show its age but for a budget price it passes ok. The rooms are kept clean, but the carpets in the room I had graced a few stains. Otherwise everything works, the shower is clean, plenty of pressure and hot water and free toiletries included (toothbrush, soap, comb, etc.).

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Shenzhen Electronics Shopping – Huaqiangbei and SEG Electronics Market

Shenzhen Electronics Shopping – Huaqiangbei and SEG Electronics Market

So I’m told if your after electronics or digital products there’s no better place to buy than in Shenzhen, China. This is backed up by the large number of electronics factories in the city, many global brand name products like the Apple iPhone and iPad are copied, I mean made, right here in Shenzhen too.

There are many electronics markets in the city too, but lucky me, Susan being a local took me to the number one  place to go electronics shopping in Shenzhen, if not the whole of China.  It’s the Huaqiangbei electronics market area  ( I think they call it Huaqiangbei Commercial Area) and it’s mind bogglingly big, apparently many gadget lovers and techies have entered this area and never been seen again! Just one of the multi-level electronics mega-stores is enough to blow your mind, but the fact that there’s numerous of them sprawling for block after block is just amazing.

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Shenzhen OCT East – It’s Theme Parks, Resorts, Villages and more

Shenzhen OCT East – It’s Theme Parks, Resorts, Villages and more

Once again China leaves in awe of the scale of some it’s undertakings, people here think big, but I guess they have to! The Shenzen OCT East is is a combination of two large theme parks, resort hotels, three small scenic towns, golf courses and more covering an area of 9 square kilometers. It’s huge. I guess you could call it destination tourism, a man made one stop holiday utopia…

Their intention is clear, they’ve built a one stop destination for a surreal holiday experience. Packed into one big location is the adventure, excitement, wonder, thrills and eye-opening sights matched together with comfort and relaxation.

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Holiday Inn Nanshan, Shenzhen China

Holiday Inn Nanshan, Shenzhen China

The Holiday Inn is an American hotel chain, so, it’s guaranteed that the prices are going to be higher than your run of the mill Chinese hotel. But what do you get for the extra cost?

For a start, the Holiday Inn Donghua in Nanshan District is clean, like, western style clean and has western style service with attention to detail, and all the staff seemed to speak some level of English. Don’t get me wrong, I love roughing it in China, but sometimes the sense of familiarity is comforting.

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Welcome to Shenzhen, China

Welcome to Shenzhen, China

Shenzhen is an interesting city as it is another city that tells a story about the Chinas economic transformation. Shenzhen was not much more than a fishing village until about thirty years ago when a man named Deng Xiaoping had taken the reins as Chinas leader from Mao Zedong in 1978.

Deng Xiaoping had a very different view of macro economics from his predecessor and introduced the concepts of free market theory and capitalism, gathered from his visits to the west, that are the foundation of Chinas current success.

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