Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Half Day Tour at Shenzhen, China

After we had our lunch at Kwai Fong Station, we patiently waited for our train to Shenzhen. On my previous posts, I didn’t really talk much about the food, if you noticed. Well, food in Hong Kong really didn’t suit my taste buds, truth be told. It was bland and really lacked the right flavor. Even the soda and pastries were not sweet enough for me. I think the Hong Kong Chinese are more health oriented when it comes to their food.

Anyway, we boarded our train from Kwai Fong to Lo Wu Station in Shenzhen and travel time was 45 minutes. We arrived at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border around 1:00 pm. We were then greeted by our tour guide who was bringing our visas. Visa processing is free for Philippine Passport holders for a minimum if two (2) people and it came with the package we availed at Travelmall. You can see the package inclusions here.

Lines can get really long at the immigration, so I suggest getting in line as fast as you can. There will be multiple booths at the immigration—for Hong Kong residents, for Shenzhen residents and for tourists.

When it was finally our turn at the immigration booth, the tour guide handed our visas to present to the immigration officer. No questions were asked and we were able to get through right away.

We then formally met our guide and he led us to our tour van. There were only five of us in this group during the trip. It is a new protocol for tourists to hand their passports to the tour guide. As per our guide, it was a new rule set for tourists and they can only get their passports back when the tour is done. This rule was set by the Chinese government to prevent illegal immigrants from working and settling in China. He politely apologized but we completely understood, so we handed our passports anyway.

On our way to our tour van, our guide also warned us of pickpockets. We were so glad that he did, because one of our companions almost had her wallet stolen from her bag. Luckily, she was vigilant enough and yelled to draw attention. The thief hurriedly ran away from the scene. Scary.

We finally made it to our van and headed to our first destination, the Lianhuashan Park. Before we entered the park, our guide showed us the Kingkey 100. 

From the name itself, the Kingkey 100 has one hundred floors and is the second tallest skyscraper in Shenzhen and ranks fourteenth in the entire world. It is situated in Shenzhen’s financial district in Luohu.

After taking a few pictures of the skyscraper, we entered Lianhuashan Park. The park was very clean and you can even rent a bike to roam around.

There were lychee trees everywhere and visitors are free to pick the fruits and eat them. Unfortunately, lychee wasn’t in season when we went there and the trees usually bear fruits between the months of June and August.

Our next stop was at Window of the World. The Window of the World is located in the western part of Shenzhen. It houses replicas of the world’s most iconic structures like the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Pyramids of Giza, the Colloseum and the Taj Mahal, to name a few. 

Attraction tickets cost 1,300php per person. We did not bother to purchase tickets because it was already very costly and our time was limited. I did a little research about it and it was beautiful inside the park.

It’s perfect for those people who wish take those Instagram-worthy selfies. Nonetheless, you can take free photos of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and some Thai and Roman sculptures outside. Outside of the park are a couple of fast foods, too, like KFC, where you can grab a quick bite.

The last two places on our itinerary was a jade shop and a bamboo store. There’s nothing to see here really, except for jade embedded jewelry and clothing and other souvenirs made of bamboo. It’s a pity we can’t skip this part of the tour since we will be penalized $300HKD each. Plus, our passports were with our guide and we can only get them back once he takes us back to the immigration. We were left with no choice but to tour the shops and attend their quick orientations. We did get white jades for free though from the store owner as souvenir.

We went back to the Shenzhen immigration, got our passports back and boarded the train back to Hong Kong. It was around 8 in the evening already, thus, our plan to visit Macau had to be cancelled. Back at Kwai Fong Station, we took a cab back to our hotel. We paid $200HKD something because Tsing Yi, where are hotel is located, is on another island. Plus, we had to pay for the toll fee of $60HKD. It is advisable to take either buses or trains only which costs $10-$20HKD. 

But, our feet already hurt and we didn’t have the strength to look for buses or walk around train stations. We boarded the first transportation we can find and headed back to the hotel. Too tired and lazy to look for places to eat, we just bought noodles and bread from our hotel’s 7-Eleven. Overall, it wasn’t really a great experience. However, we still had positive mindsets, as we were still looking forward to our adventure the following day: Disneyland.

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