Boasting nearly 60 million visitors in 2015, Hong Kong may be China’s most-visited city due to it’s impressive city skyline, ancient traditions and formidable cuisine, but just 10 minutes away lies another destination wonder in Shenzhen. With a diverse culture rich in art, music and nightlife, Shenzhen’s allure and proximity offer an unforgettable experience filled with rich treasures for any serious traveler.
Experiencing Nightlife in Shenzhen
If you’re a night owl, you’ll appreciate the allure of club life in Shenzhen. There are looser restrictions for how long a place will stay open and it’s not uncommon for the music to continue playing into the early hours of the morning. From techno to pop to local hip hop artists, you might be surprised at just how lively and diverse the music scene here can be.
The Terrace has been on the list of Shenzhen hotspots for over a decade thanks to its combination of delicious, Thai-centric cuisine and rotating live music. They’re also known for their special themed events, so depending on the dates you travel, you might want to schedule time for one of their must-attend parties.
An all night dance party may not be on the itinerary for every night of the trip, which is perfect if you want to head to COCO Park. Though technically a shopping mall, it does cover five levels and houses five theaters; plus, row upon row of retail shops. It also has a variety of restaurants and cafes, providing something for everyone when dining in Shenzhen.
One of the best ways to explore the local nightlife in Shenzhen is to connect with the locals themselves. They’ll guide you to their top hotspots, parties, and hidden gems. Also, talk to others who have already been to the Shenzhen hotspots. There are several travel forums and review-based sites for you to get firsthand experiences from other travelers and tips for what to expect.
Dining in China
Hong Kong dining options are a smorgasbord of flavors and ingredients which locals and travelers alike clamor over, especially experiences like dim sum and dishes like steamed buns and minced pork. Fortunately, since Hong Kong isn’t too far away, you can enjoy the restaurants and street cart snack options from this food haven, while also experiencing the local cuisine in Shenzhen.
While the flavors and options won’t differ too much from what you’ll experience a few miles away, you’ll find areas where certain dishes are revered more than others. In the Bao’an District, enjoy Cantonese congee (think of it as a creamy rice), which is a staple for many locals, at Yinxing Porridge Shop.
Hot pot, stir fry, and dim sum are all popular to Shenzhen as well. If you’ve never experienced hot pot, it’s a cook-as-you-go experience. A platter of fish, vegetables, sauces, and noodles or rice arrives at the table to be dipped into a hot pot of boiling broth. Typically, this is a shared experience similar to fondue, but in some cases, restaurants serve individual dishes filled with selected ingredients and with a flame lit underneath until the pot starts boiling.
Art and Music Abound
Immerse yourself into a cultural experience that combines Eastern music and art with Western influences and inspiration from other parts of the globe. It’s not all nightclubs and over-the-top experiences in Shenzhen, there are plenty of low-key options, such as the city’s love for jazz.
One of the premier places for live jazz is at B10, a venue known for its music events and celebrations. Every year, they host the OCT-LOFT Jazz Festival, a two-week concert inviting the best of the best to perform and inspire local jazz lovers.
The OCT Contemporary Art Terminal is a must for art enthusiasts visiting the city. It’s filled with galleries of rotating exhibits and showcasing developments that have been made over the years with the kind of art that’s being produced and the freedom of expression that is unique to this region of the world.
It’s not only stagnant art you’ll see in the spaces of Shenzhen, you’ll also find interactive displays, experimental art, and artist performances which inspire a cultural trend here that follows an unofficial motto of “anything goes.”
Traveling Beyond Borders
Each city has its own personality. There’s only so much you can research before you have to take the leap and experience it for yourself. Sometimes lesser known cities or countries get overshadowed by more popular destinations close by. Shenzhen is one such place.
Whether you choose to head over for the day or stay a week, it’s worth it to explore and immerse yourself in a new culture. The adventure can feel rewarding and the memories are unforgettable.