Eastern Shenzhen has some of the best of Shenzhen's nature, including beaches and mountains, dotted with Hakka villages and other historic sites.
It includes the following districts:
- Yantian (盐田, Yántián) – home to one of the world's busiest container ports, popular but crowded beaches, and seafood restaurants
- Longgang (龙岗, Lónggǎng) – suburban development has surrounded the old Hakka villages out in this district
- Pingshan (坪山, Píngshān) – quiet suburbs where you can walk through the neighborhoods and feel a calmer pace of life than the rest of Shenzhen
- Dapeng (大鹏, Dàpéng) – getaway destination with quieter beaches and historic sites
Metro lines 3 and 10 stretch pretty far into Longgang, but as far as the other districts are concerned, you're stuck with buses or cars. This means that a trip to Dapeng from downtown Shenzhen is quite an undertaking, and unless you have your own car you may want to spend the night.
More metro lines are under construction.
Museums and galleries
Art and design
- 1 Dafen Oil Painting Village (大芬油画村; Dàfēn Yóuhuà Cūn), Dafen Village, Buji, Longgang District (龙岗区布吉街道大芬社区) (Dafen (大芬) Metro Station, Metro Line 3), ☏ . In 1988, a Hong Kong businessman called Wong Kong, who had a business specialising in reproduction art, decided that there was no future in Hong Kong and set up in Dafen, even though it was not in the SEZ. Soon he was joined by artists from all over China, some classically trained but many just talented amateurs fresh from the paddy fields. And so Dafen was born. It is set in what was once a Hakka village and consists of street after street of studios, galleries, and shops selling oil paintings, watercolors, and embroidered paintings. Examine things carefully, as some of the artwork is machine printed, rather than hand made. Much of it is rubbish but some of China's best artists also have studios in Dafen. For a few hundred yuan you can commission an artist to copy your favorite piece of art, your wedding photo, or photos of your family. Insist on "A" quality - it costs a little more but it's worth it. You can also get incredibly rapid framing while you wait and inexpensive art supplies. Drink tea with an artist in their studio, or learn a bit of Chinese calligraphy from an expert. There is also a handsome modern gallery exhibiting works by Dafen local painters.
- 2 Hechangyuan Museum (和畅园博物馆), Building 9, COFCO Yipin Lanshan, Danzi Avenue, Pingshan District (坪山区丹梓大道中粮一品澜山8栋) (take a train from Shenzhen North to Pingshan, then go to the station's south plaza and catch bus no. m325. Get off the bus at Guangzu Park (光祖公园); or catch bus no. m427 from the Pingshan Railway Station bus terminal and alight at Kengzi Central Primary School (坑梓中心小学)), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 09:30-17:30, closed on Mondays. A private art museum specialising in paintings, calligraphy and ceramics. Free.
History and culture
- 3 Dongjiang Column Memorial (东江纵队纪念馆, East River Column Memorial Museum), 1/230 Dongzong Road, Pingshan Subdistrict, Pingshan District (坪山区坪山街道东纵路230号-1) (take a train from Shenzhen North to Pingshan, then catch bus no. m426, m479 or HSR Pingshan Express Shuttle Bus 2 (高铁坪山快捷线接驳2线); alight at the Pingshan People's Hospital (坪山人民医院站)), ☏ . Tu-Sa 09:00-12:00, 14:00-16:30, closed on Mondays. A museum devoted to telling the story of the Dongjiang Column, a column of Guangdong-based Communist guerrila fighters who fought the Japanese in World War Two. All information is in Chinese only. Free.
- 4 Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum (深圳中医药博物馆, 龙岗区中医药博物馆 Longgang District Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicine), Level 2, Science Education Building, Longgang District Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1 Dayun Road, Tiyu Xincheng, Longgang District (龙岗区体育新城大运路1号龙岗区中医院科教楼2楼) (bus routes m219, m280, m315, m320, m322, m367a, m367b, m386 and Express Bus 168; you can catch bus nos. m320 and m322 from outside Ailian Station on Metro Line 3), ☏ . Su-F 08:00-12:00, 14:00-17:00, closed on Saturdays. Free.
- 5 Dapeng Ancient Fort (大鹏所城; Dàpéng Suǒchéng), 大鹏街道鹏城社区南门围二巷八号 (direct buses to the fort are available from the public bus terminal outside Shenzhen North Station; look for Dapeng Holiday Route No. 3 (大鹏假日专线3路)), ☏ , email@example.com. M-F 09:30-18:00. Dapeng Fort is an amazingly well-preserved Ming Dynasty Fort. Founded in 1394, it shared with various other forts the duties of guarding the entrances to the Pearl River and was prominent in the defense of the river during the Opium War. It is extremely well preserved and undergoing restoration as a museum. The old buildings in the adjacent village have been turned into shops selling souvenirs, food, and clothes, and nearby is a popular beach and a huge Buddhist temple (东山寺; Dōngshān Sì). Free.
- 6 Longgang Museum of Hakka Culture (Crane Lake Fortified Hakka Village, 龙岗街道客家民俗博物馆, 鹤湖新居), No. 1 Luoruihe Street North, Nanlian Community, Longgang Subdistrict, Longgang District (龙岗区龙岗街道南联社区罗瑞合北街一号) (Nanlian Metro station, Line 3 – take exit C1, go straight, and turn left at the big traditional gate), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-17:30. Half of Shenzhen City was originally of Hakka ethnicity. This came about after the 17th-century Kangxi Emperor depopulated the coastline to a depth of 30 km as part of his campaign against Ming loyalists in Taiwan. When the coast was repopulated, the Hakka (descendants of 13th-century immigrants from north China) were quickest to come. Relations between the Hakka and the Cantonese were often strained. During the 19th century, half a million people lost their lives in civil strife between the Hakka and the Cantonese. Accordingly, most Hakka settlements of any size were heavily fortified. The most common form of fortification in southern China is the "wei" (围 wéi) and one of the biggest of them anywhere is the Crane Lake Wei in Longgang. It doubles as a semi-open-air museum of Hakka culture, which is very quiet without too many visitors, maybe because it's located way out in Shenzhen's suburbs. ¥10.
- 7 Dawanshiju Hakka Fortified Village (大万世居 Dàwànshìjū). 10:00–18:00. Might take a lunch break 11:30–14:30, but check all three doors because sometimes two are closed while one is open. Another well-preserved and enormous Hakka wei. It is of a similar scale to the Crane Lake wei, but pretty run down and without as many informative signs. Still, an interesting look at traditional Hakka life in what is now Shenzhen. Free.
- 8 Gankeng Hakka Small Town (甘坑客家小镇 Gānkēng Kèjiā xiǎo zhèn), Gankeng Village, Jihua Subdistrict, Longgang District 龙岗区吉华街道甘坑村 (Gankeng 甘坑 Metro Station). Another Hakka town with lots of traditional buildings: walk down the old narrow alleys, see the museums of household tools and artifacts, go inside the huge round house on the hill with views overlooking the town, and sample Hakka cuisine from various shops and restaurants. Free (including the museums).
- 1 OCT East (东部华侨城). M-F 09:30-17:30, Sa Su and holidays 09:00-17:30. An amusement park built by the same company that brought you Window of the World. Located on the mountainside behind the Dameisha beach neighborhood, it features thrill rides, shows, a water park, and a replica of a European town, not to mention beautiful views of the mountains, forest, and ocean. To reach all the different rides or attractions, be prepared to climb a lot of stairs or escalators, as well as gondolas and funicular railways (included in the price of your ticket). There are a few themed hotels.
The park is divided into two main sections: Knight Valley (大峡谷) and Tea Stream Valley (茶溪谷), with separate tickets. There's also a Buddhist temple, Huaxing Temple (大华兴寺), but if you've been to other temples in Shenzhen it can be skipped without missing much. And there's a good golf club on the hilltop called Wind Valley Golf. Be warned that if it rains, the roller coasters, gondolas, and funiculars all stop running. If you get stranded at the top of the mountain as a result, the park will arrange cars to take you back down. Food in the park is reasonably tasty but a little overpriced. ¥200 for Knight Valley, ¥180 for Tea Stream Valley, ¥250 for a combined ticket.
Parks and mountains
- 2 Dapeng Peninsula National Geopark (大鹏半岛国家地质公园, Dapeng Peninsula National Geological Park), 1 Geopark Road, Nan'ao, Dapeng New District (大鹏新区南澳地质公园路1号) (there are various ways to get here. From Central Shenzhen, one way to get here is to catch bus no. e26 from the Huangbeiling Metro Station (on Lines 2 and 5), then get off at the Dapeng Centre (大鹏中心) and transfer to bus no. m423, which terminates at the park), ☏ . The park is open all day. The museum is open Tu-F 09:30 to 16:00, Sa Su 09:30-17:00, closed on Mondays. There is a geological museum at the entrance to the park. Free.
- Qiniang Mountain (七娘山 Qīniáng Shān), Dapeng. The second tallest mountain in Shenzhen, at 867.4 meters. Free.
- 3 Longgang Public Golf Course (龙岗高尔夫), Next to the International Velodrome, He Keng, Henggang Town, Longgang District, ☏ . This course was the brainchild of a former official of the Shenzhen Government who wanted to bring golf to the masses. It is as an eighteen-hole 72 par course, situated on rolling hills in the Longgang District. The founders of the course wanted to keep green fees at 20-30% of commercial golf courses.
- 4 OCT East Golf Club (东部华乔城高尔夫), OCT East, Dameisha (盐田区大梅沙东部华乔城) (Buses 53, 239, 103, 360, 364). Shenzhen's newest and poshest golf course. It has two 18-hole courses, each with its own luxury clubhouse. Set in spectacular mountains overlooking Dameisha and Mirs Bay.
- Century Seaview Golf Club (世纪海景高尔夫求会), Yangchou Bay, Nan' ao Town, Longgang (龙岗区南澳洋畴湾), ☏ . An 18-hole PGA golf course set in beautiful mountain and sea surroundings near Nan'ao Town, Dapeng Peninsula.
Shenzhen has some of China's best beaches, many of them untouched stretches of National Park, and most of them are in this part of the city. In 2006, Chinese Geographic Magazine named the Dapeng Peninsula, as one of China's top ten most scenic coastlines.
- 5 Dameisha Beach (大梅沙). The most well-known beach in Shenzhen. Easily accessible from downtown, but it's often crowded and the water is dirty.
- 6 Xiaomeisha Beach (小梅沙). Close to Dameisha. Also crowded and the water is also dirty. Especially avoid going on the weekends and during summer vacation (July and August).
- 7 Beizaijiao Beach (背仔角 Bèizǎijiǎo). Closes at 19:00. A small beach, a few hundred meters long, not far past Dameisha and Xiaomeisha, but less developed, less crowded, and cleaner.
- 8 Jin Sha Wan Beach (金沙湾). From Shenzhen take one of several buses (e.g. 364, E11, or H92) to Dapeng Station (大鵬站) in Wangmu (王母虛) Village in Dapeng. Then you can take a quick shuttle bus south to JinSha Beach. Entry is ¥10. On weekends and holidays the beach can be quite crowded. The sand is rather coarse and not particularly clean, but it can be fun to go here and people watch. Also it is interesting that you can look out and see East Ping Chau (東平洲) island just two miles off the coast, which is part of Hong Kong's New Territories.
- 9 Judiaosha Beach (桔钓沙 Júdiàoshā). ¥35.
- 10 Shuitousha Beach (水头沙 Shuǐtóushā).
- 11 Xichong Beach (西冲海滩). Beautiful Xichong beach is far from the downtown core, well past Dameisha. Less developed, this beach is much more peaceful and clean than other beaches in Shenzhen. Visit Sun Sailing for watersports or local fine dining.
- 1 Longgang Book City (深圳书城龙岗城), Cultural Center Area C, 8028-4 Longxiang Boulevard, Longcheng Subdistrict 龙城街道龙翔大道8028-4号文化中心C区, ☏ . The Longgang branch of Book City, Shenzhen's local chain of large bookstores. Look for a big red building.
Sea urchins (海胆 hǎidǎn) are a specialty of Nan'ao (南澳 Nán'ào), Dapeng district. They're best around April and May.
- Nan'ao Town (南澳镇). Way out on Dapeng Peninsula, famous for fresh seafood. Sea urchin is a specialty.
- 1 Yantian Seafood Street (盐田海鲜街), Seafood Street, Yantian 盐田区盐田海鲜食街. Dine among the container cranes. The theme is Hong Kong style seafood, allegedly fresh from the markets next door. Seafood Street itself, right on the water near the port, has several middle-to-high-end seafood restaurants—you choose the fish from the tanks, they cook it how you like it: oysters, clams, crab, fish, eel, shrimp, snails.... If you're on a budget or not in the mood for fish, there are various other restaurants on the perpendicular Beishan Road (北山道 Běishān Dào). On the way, enjoy views of one of the world's busiest container ports, and of the green mountains behind it. You might spot people fishing too.
- 1 Crowne Plaza Shenzhen Longgang, 9009号 Longxiang Ave, Longgang, ☏ . Good quality rooms. Number of restaurant options in the hotel and in the nearby streets.
- 2 [dead link] Sheraton Dameisha Resort, 9 Yankui Road, Dameisha, Yantian, ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00.