Western Shenzhen is mostly industrial but also has large parks and even some farmland, as well as trendy, well-to-do Bao'an center.
Unless you're here for business, your main experience in this part of Shenzhen will probably be getting to and from the airport. But you might find something else worth your while, whether it be a hike or a visit to the "real" Shenzhen—the tirelessly busy factories that have made the city what it is.
For decades this part of Shenzhen has been in a state of ongoing change. First it was factories and high-rises shooting up in what was once farmland and fishing villages. Now, thanks to government efforts to reduce pollution and turn Shenzhen into more of a business hub, many factories are moving elsewhere, with convention centers and research institutes taking their place.
This area includes three districts: Bao'an (宝安, Bǎo'ān), Guangming (光明, Guāngmíng), and Longhua (龙华, Lónghuá). All of these contain multiple distinct neighborhoods which to some extent have their own personalities.
When people say "Bao'an", they're usually referring to Bao'an Center at the south of the district, which is a trendy area with expensive malls and foreign restaurants. Go north to other parts of the district, including neighborhoods like Fuyong and Shajing, and things get more industrial and less extravagant.
1 Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport (SZX IATA) is in Bao'an district, as are Fuyong Ferry Terminal and Shenzhen Airport railway station serving the airport. The district's main artery, metro line 11, goes to the airport. Lines 1, 4, and 5 also serve the southern reaches of this area. If you're too far northeast, you'll probably be relying on buses or taxis.
2 Shenzhen North Station, one of the main high-speed rail stations in the city, is in Longhua district. The lesser-known 3 Guangmingcheng Station is in Guangming district and is served by some of the high-speed trains between Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The minor 4 Fuhai West Station and 5 Shajing West Station have limited service to the airport, parts of Dongguan, and Guangzhou East Station, with connections to Huizhou and other parts of Dongguan and Guangzhou. Other nearby train stations include 6 Shenzhen West Station in Nanshan and 7 Humen Station in Dongguan.
By intercity bus
Depending on where you're trying to go, this may be your best bet, as the area is dotted with intercity bus stations.
Art and design
- 1 China Printmaking Museum (中国版画博物馆), Yuxin Road, Guanlan Subdistrict, Longhua District (龙华区观澜街道裕新路) (The nearest bus stop is the Yu Wei Zhong Factory (维重厂) bus stop, which is served by bus route m285. You may also catch bus no. 312 and get off at the Printing Making Base (版画基地) bus stop, which is about 1km northeast of the museum), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-17:00, closed on Tuesdays. China's largest printmaking museum. Part of the China Guanlan Original Printmaking Base (中国·观澜版画原创产业基地). Free.
- 2 Hezheng Art Museum (深圳市合正艺术博物馆), Level 2, Building 7, Zhongzhou Huafu, Yu'an 2nd Road, Bao'an District (宝安区裕安二路中洲华府七栋2楼) (About 700 metres north of Lingzhi Station on Metro Line 5), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 09:00-17:00, closed on Mondays. Private art museum established by businessman Li Weiqing in 2016. Items on display include paintings, calligraphy, ceramics and sculptures. Free.
- 3 Chinese Longquan Celadon Museum (华夏龙泉青瓷博物馆), 46 Xin'an Er Road, Area 3, Bao'an District (宝安区三区新安二路46号) (About 1.6km south of Lingzhi Station on Metro Line 5. For a shorter walk of just over 200 metres, take the train to Xin'an Station on Metro Line 1, then transfer to bus 718 and get off at the Xin'an Movie Theatre (新安影剧院) bus stop), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-12:00, 14:00-17:00, closed on Mondays. Maintains a significant collection of Longquan celadon - a type of green-glazed ceramic (also known as greenware) originating from the famous Longquan Kiln in Longquan. Free.
- 4 Ebohr Timepiece Culture Museum (依波钟表文化博物馆, Ebohr Horologe Culture Museum), Ebohr Building, Jin'an Road, Gongming Subdistrict, Guangming New District (光明新区公明街道金安路依波大厦) (Bus routes b960, m366, m411 and m490. You may catch bus no. m490 from Songgang Station on Metro Line 11), ☏ . Groups of 10 or more people may visit the museum between 09:00 and 17:00 on any day of the week. Solo visitors and small groups (with less than 10 people) may only visit the museum at 10:00 on Saturdays. Owned and operated by Ebohr, one of China's leading luxury watch manufacturers. Solo visitors and small groups (with less than 10 people) are required to make an appointment before visiting (this can be done either by phone or on WeChat). Visitation time is limited to 60-90 minutes and visitors are expected to follow the directions of their tour guide at all times. ¥30 (the fee is waived if you make an appointment on WeChat).
- 5 Meilian Mahogany Art Museum (美联红木艺术博物馆), 348 Golf Avenue, Guanlan Subdistrict, Longhua New District (龙华新区观澜街道高尔夫大道348号) (Take bus no. m338 from Qinghu Station on Metro Line 4. Alight at the Shende Technical School (深德技校)), ☏ , . 10:00-18:00. Free.
- 6 China Military Uniforms Museum (华夏军装博物馆), Building A, Bennishi Industrial Park, Dalang Garments Base, Longhua District (龙华区大浪服装基地奔霓诗工业园A栋) (About 100 metres north of the intersection of Langning Road and Shi'ao Road (浪宁路与石凹路交叉口). Take a train to Longsheng Station on Metro Line 4, leave the station via Exit B, then catch bus no. m301 from the Guotai Furniture City (国泰家私城) bus stop on Bulong Road (布龙路). Alight at the Shilongzi Intersection (石龙仔路口) bus stop), ☏ (enquiries), (bookings). 09:00-17:30 (Monday to Friday), 09:30-12:00 (Saturday), closed on Sundays. Displays a wide variety of military uniforms from ancient times to the early 21st century. Free.
- 7 Shenzhen (Bao'an) Labor Museum (深圳（宝安）劳务工博物馆, Shenzhen (Bao'an) Migrant Workers Museum), 6 Yonghe Road, Shangwu Community, Shiyan Subdistrict, Bao'an District (宝安区石岩街道上屋社区永和路6号) (Take a train to Longsheng Station on Metro Line 4, leave the station via Exit B, then catch bus no. m301 from the Guotai Furniture City (国泰家私城) bus stop on Bulong Road (布龙路). Alight at the Shiyan Bus Station (石岩汽车站) and walk from there. The museum is about 500 metres northeast of the bus station), ☏ . 09:00-17:00, closed on Mondays. Tells the story of the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who built Shenzhen and made it into the city it is today. The museum focuses on Bao'an district and celebrates the recent history of the city: Deng Xiaoping's "reform and opening up" and the subsequent fast-paced industrial development that has come to define Shenzhen. Fittingly, the museum itself is located in a former factory.
At the entrance to the museum complex, the first building preserves the look of part of the factory, but that's certainly not all there is to see here. Go up the ramp to the main exhibition hall, which is full of artifacts from the recent history of industrial Shenzhen, including lots of personal items donated by factory workers to give you a window into their lives—love letters, dorm room decorations, and so on. Most of the labels are bilingual in Chinese and English. The second floor, accessible by a staircase around the right side of the building, has a display of lots of beautiful Chinese calligraphy. Free.
Parks and mountains
- 1 Fenghuang Mountain (凤凰山, Fènghuáng Shān), 宝安区福永街道, Fuyong Subdistrict, Bao'an District (bus 650, 782, b711, m333, or m334 to 凤凰山脚 Fènghuáng Shānjiǎo station, the end of the line for most of them). 06:00–19:00. Literally "Phoenix Mountain", this forested mountain in northwestern Shenzhen is covered with a network of well-maintained hiking trails paved with steps. The main point of interest is Fengyan Temple (凤岩古庙, Fèngyán Gǔmiào), a Buddhist temple partway up the mountain, dating back to the Yuan Dynasty. At the trailhead (凤凰山脚) there are various shops selling food and drinks, including bottled water, which you should definitely buy for the hike if you didn't bring any. Then plan to hike 30–40 minutes (all uphill) to get to the temple complex. The complex has lots of interesting spots scattered around, including fortune tellers, lots of shrines, and a big pool full of turtles and a few lazy fish, surrounded by people pestering them by throwing coins. There are lots of shops selling food, incense, jewelry, and other traditional items for the many pilgrims who make their way up to pray and leave offerings. For more serious hikers, the trails continue higher up on the mountain past the temple. A partial map of the trails can be found at the temple complex, though it's only in Chinese. The trail up to the temple is crowded, especially on weekends, but the trails higher up on the mountain aren't so bad.
Both the temple and the rest of the mountain have views of the surrounding area. Don't miss the two-story lookout tower (望海楼, Wang Hai Lou) in the temple complex. The views make for an incredible contrast between the traditional temple in the middle of the woods and the unending high-rises down below. From the right spot you can make out ships floating in the Pearl River.
The temple complex also has a vegetarian buffet restaurant, 1 Fenghuang Mountain Vegetarian Restaurant (凤凰山素菜馆). This is not the little place with the signs saying "Vegetarian Restaurant" in English (though the food there isn't bad either)—the buffet is located at the other end of the complex; look for signs that say "素菜馆 Su Cai Guan". The buffet costs ¥28 for breakfast, ¥58 for lunch—pay before you enter, at the Ticket Counter outside. If you want to skip the hike, the restaurant (and therefore the temple complex) are also accessible by road. Free.
- 2 Shiyan Lake Hot Spring Resort (石岩湖温泉度假村; Shíyánhú Wēnquán Dùjiàcūn), Shiyan Town, Bao'an District (宝安区石岩镇; Bǎo'ān Qū Shíyán Zhèn), ☏ . 06:00-21:00. This has been a popular attraction since the 16th century when it was named as one of the "Eight Great Views of Xin'an County" (the county of which Hong Kong and Shenzhen were part). It's on a man-made reservoir at the back of Yangtai Mountain, and is not easy to get to but it is worth the trouble. Water springs from the ground at over 60 °C, but is cooled to about 40 °C before being fed into pools. There are public and private, indoor and outdoor pools. ¥15.
- 3 Yangtai Mountain Forest Park (羊台山森林公园 Yángtái Shān Sēnlín Gōngyuán), 大浪街道布龙路 Bulong Road, Dalang Subdistrict, Longhua District (It is not easy to get to, but you can combine the hot springs with a visit to Yangtai Mountain. That way you can take advantage of easy public transport connections between them. Take the metro to Window of the World, 世界之窗. Next to Exit B there is a large underground bus station. Take bus no 392 to its terminus which is the Shiyan Hot Springs. When you’ve finished, take bus no 769 from the place where you got off. This terminates at Yangtai Mountain.). This is a forest park administered by the water and forestry administrations of Guangdong Province. The mountain, 500 metres high, lies around an attractive reservoir. It is heavily wooded with native and exotic vegetation and abounds with wildlife. As elsewhere in Shenzhen, the hiking paths are well paved with steps. The climb to the top is moderately difficult and very rewarding. Not much for sale on the trail, so bring water and snacks or buy them at the convenience stores near the trailhead. As of December 2019, there's a lot of construction going on along the trail; hiking is still possible but not particularly quiet or enjoyable. Consider hiking somewhere else in Shenzhen for the time being. Free.
- 4 Lixin Lake (立新湖 Lìxīn Hú), Fuyong, Bao'an District. An attractive reservoir in northeastern Shenzhen surrounded by parks with trees and well-manicured walkways. Adjacent to the lake is Wangniuting Park (望牛亭公园 Wàngniútíng Gōngyuán), with hiking trails on a small hill. The area is very green and good for a lakeside walk—it's not worth making the trip all the way from the city center just for this, but stop by if you're in the area. Free.
- 5 Waterlands Resort (海上田园 Hǎishàngtiányuán), Shajing, Bao'an 宝安区沙井街道 (Metro line 11 to Shajing Station 沙井站, then take bus b931 to the last stop), ☏ . 09:00–20:00. A much-hyped 1.6 square kilometer park by the water, way on the outskirts of the city, full of trees, streams, ponds, and walking paths. The activities scattered around are fun, including obstacle courses, boats, strawberry picking, and a lookout tower. If you like hills this is not the park for you, but it allows for a nice few hours walking around and exploring whatever attractions you stumble across. For travelers who are a bit adventurous, the highlight is surely the obstacle courses, some of which go over water and will get your heart racing. ¥60 for adults; ¥48 for seniors 60–64; ¥30 for children 1.2m–1.5m, seniors 65–69, and students; free for children under 1.2m and seniors 70+. Tickets only ¥40 after 17:00, and discounts are sometimes available for special events.
- 6 Honghua Mountain (红花山 Hónghuā Shān) (Gongming Town, Guangming District). It's a stretch to call this a mountain – it's really just a hill – but the view of the nearby neighborhoods from the top is nice, so it's worth a visit if you're in Gongming anyway. The pagoda on top is nice but not old (built in 2009). From the main (south) entrance the walk to the top takes ten minutes if that, but the steps are steep. From the north and east entrances there's a more leisurely set of trails that take you slowly up through the woods. Free.
- 7 Bao'an West Bay Mangrove Forest Park (宝安西湾红树林公园) (several bus stops nearby; the closest is 西湾公园站. The nearest metro station is Bihaiwan 碧海湾 a couple of kilometers away). A park protecting an area of fascinating mangrove forest along the water, with some nice boardwalks and paved walking paths. There's an adjoining park to the north with a big sandpit which is fun for kids. It's not too big, but nice for an hour or so walking around, though the peaceful atmosphere is spoiled by the screeching noise of metro line 11 trains passing by and the sound of planes taking off from the airport. Avoid coming in the middle of the day—it gets hot. Free.
- 8 Mission Hills Golf Course (观澜高尔夫) (Along the intersection of the Meiguan Expressway, the Guanshen Expressway and the Jinhe Expressway), ☏ . The world's biggest golf course with 216 holes. Each course is designed by a different world champion golfer. The Golf World Cup has granted a twelve-year franchise to Mission Hills
- 1 Bao'an Book City (深圳书城宝安城), 新桥街道沙井中心路89 (Shajing), ☏ . The Bao'an branch of Book City, Shenzhen's local chain of large bookstores.
- 2 Uniwalk Shopping Mall (壹方城 Yìfāngchéng), 99 Xinhu Road, Bao'an District 宝安区新湖路99号 (宝安中心地铁站 Bao'an Center Metro Station – the station is attached to the mall; take exit F). A very elegant, very upscale shopping center in Bao'an. Lots of foreign restaurants and fancy shops, and the bookstore next to the food court on the third floor has a selection of paperback novels in English. On the lowest level (B1) are a few shops with beautiful traditional Chinese products like statues, porcelain, and inkstones. Even if shopping here is beyond your budget, it's an interesting place for people-watching—see how the wealthy and fashionable live in suburban Shenzhen.
Shajing (沙井 Shājǐng) in the far north of Bao'an district is famous for oysters (生蚝 shēngháo)—they're said to be the "milk of the ocean floor", and the local ones are delicious and high in protein. You can get oysters on the half shell at street food carts in Shajing at five for ¥10 (2019), or find them cooked lots of different ways at restaurants in the neighborhood.
- 2 Fenghuang Taiwan Street (凤凰台湾街 Fènghuáng Táiwān Jiē), Fenghuang Mountain Avenue, Bao'an District 宝安区凤凰山大道 (bus 650, b837, m251, m252, or m264 to the stop named after the eat street, or just walk straight after descending Fenghuang Mountain). At the foot of Fenghuang Mountain on an avenue of faux-traditional architecture with light brown shingled roofs and red pillars. The specialty is Taiwanese food, but there are various other restaurants with the usual variety of Chinese cuisines as well. Good place to stop for a snack or a meal after you finish hiking down the mountain.
- 3 Pingzhou Eat Street (坪洲美食街), Haicheng Road, Bao'an District 宝安区海城路 (Pingzhou Station exit B or C). Quiet during the day but a happening area in the evening. A variety of Chinese restaurants, including seafood and barbecue, as well as a slightly hidden but authentic Mexican restaurant (across from KFC).
- 4 Xinsha Rainbow Eat Street (新沙天虹美食街 Xīnshā Tiānhóng Měishí Jiē). A bustling area in the industrial suburb of Shajing, the area around Xinsha Rainbow (新沙天虹) and Jingjibaina (京基百纳) shopping centers has lots of restaurants. Between the two malls and the streets around them, you can find cuisine from more than a dozen provinces and a few foreign countries. No one specialty predominates; you'll find all the usual suspects plus some less common ones like Henan, Hubei, and Yunnan, as well as Shajing's specialty, oysters. Take the bus from Shajing or Ma'anshan metro station, or a 15-minute walk from Shajing West railway station. If you're driving, don't come around rush hour unless you like sitting in traffic.
- 5 Jushanyuan (聚善园 Jùshànyuán). 11:30–13:30, 17:30–20:00. A Chinese vegetarian buffet restaurant out in the industrial suburbs of Shajing. Arrive early before the food starts to run out. ¥15 per person.
- 6 Hakka ecru (客家本色 Kèjiā běnsè), 44 Shiyan Avenue, Bao'an District 宝安区石岩大道44号. 10:00–21:30. Authentic Hakka cuisine—the proof is in the snatches of conversation in Hakka dialects that you'll hear from nearby tables. Try some tofu stuffed with meat (酿豆腐), or eggplant (茄子) with basil.
- 1 Kaijia Hotel (凯家酒店 Kǎijiā Jiǔdiàn), Xinsha Road and Xihuan Road, Shajing (across from Rainbow (新沙天虹 Xīnshā Tiānhóng) shopping mall), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: noon. Large hotel with WiFi and a delicious buffet breakfast. Popular with business travelers visiting Shajing. From ¥270.
- 2 TianHe Hotel (天和酒店 Tiānhé jiǔdiàn), 1 Xinghua Road, Bao'an District 宝安区兴华路1号. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: noon. Airport hotel. To get there from the airport, take bus m416 and get off at the third stop, 航空物流园. Has a Chinese restaurant and a Western restaurant inside, and there are also a bunch of restaurants and stores just down the street (right past the intersection). They can provide transportation to the airport in the morning. Free breakfast from 6:30 to 9:30, free but slow Wi-Fi. From ¥370. ¥800 deposit required when checking in.
- 3 Baolilai International Hotel (宝丽来国际大酒店), Fuyong Avenue, Fuyong Subdistrict, Bao'an District 宝安区福永街道福永大道，近107国道, ☏ . A Shenzhen institution, Baolilai Hotel has long been a popular choice for international business travellers visiting this part of the city. Restaurants serve Chinese, Japanese, and Western cuisine. Excellent massage center on the fifth floor.