Hello from the Other Side – Hong Kong & Shenzhen8 January, 2016
It’s no hidden secret that Singaporeans love Hong Kong- its incredible dim sum and shopping streets draw hoards of Singaporeans over every year. Yet, right across its border, Hong Kong’s perhaps less sexy sister, Shenzhen, puts up a mean fight with her massive wholesale market buildings and #idonteven replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Grand Canyon and even its Great Wall (we don’t kid). If you are planning to visit Hong Kong and Shenzhen this holiday season, we have rounded up 5 things you definitely have to do when you’re in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
- Shop till you drop
Shenzhen is a commercial city, with tons of wholesale markets. For branded knock-offs that look almost identical to the real deal, head to Luohu Commercial City, where you can indulge in a world of imitation goods. One useful tip – Ask the shopkeeper for their catalogues. Most of the goods on display in the shop are just a mere fraction of the actual bounty they hold. Apparently, the authorities have been cracking down on fake goods, so the shopkeepers hide their goods in Secret Location XYZ before bringing them over to customers when requested.
For more mainstream clothes, shoes and bags, head over to Dongmen, with shopping streets and incredible wholesale markets like Baima awaiting you. Bargain hard, bargain mercilessly – We even bought a massive backpack (yes, the Indiana Jones kind) to dump our wares in them. For a less intense shopping experience, the area also has high street brands like H&M, Uniqlo and Baleno.
Luohu Commercial City (罗湖商业城): 广场路25号
Getting there: Luohu metro station (Luobao Line 1), Exit J
Dongmen Shopping Area: Dongmen Pedestrian Street (东门步行街)
Getting there: Laojie metro station (Luobao Line 1), Exit A
- Visit replicas of famous world structures
Want to visit the Eiffel Tower but never had a chance to? For a cheaper alternative, visit Windows of the World in Shenzhen, where a replica of the Eiffel Tower awaits you. There’s even a lift to the top for only 20 yuan (S$4-5) to get a great vantage point of Shenzhen city. The attraction also contains replicas of the Arc de Triomphe, Grand Canyon, Egyptian pyramids, a miniature London Bridge… If you are short on time, grab the night ticket (1/3 of the day entry ticket price) and catch the night show at 7.30pm.
Windows of the World (世界之窗): 9037 Shennan Ave (世界之窗:华侨城深南大道9037号)
Opening hours: 9am – 10.30pm (night entry starts at 7.30pm)
Day Ticket prices: RMB 180
Getting there: Windows of the World metro station (Luobao Line 1), Exit J
- Visit replicas of famous China structures
Yes, China replicated itself. At Splendid China Folk Village, you can visit miniature versions of the Great Wall of China, and other famous sites like Huang Shan and Xihu (West Lake) at the Miniature Park area. Catch the daily performances as well – We particularly enjoyed the Mongolian-Han battle performance, complete with stunts, fire, smoke and real horses. Round off the day by dressing up as a Chinese princess or wearing a Chinese ethnic group costume at the China Folk Cultural Village for only 10 yuan.
Splendid China Folk Village: 9003 Shennan Ave (锦绣中华民俗村: 深圳市南山区深南大道9003号)
Opening timing: 10am (weekdays), 9.30am (weekends)
Closing timing: 6pm (Splendid China Miniature Park), 9pm (China Folk Cultural Village)
Day Ticket prices: RMB 180. Click here for the performance timing schedule.
Getting there: Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) metro station (Luobao Line 1), Exit D
- Go merciless on milk tea
Gong Cha, Koi, Each A Cup.. While we have our milk tea staples in Singapore, China’s reigning milk tea king, Coco, absolutely redefines the milk tea game. The ubiquitous shop is found in almost every street corner, offering iced milky bubble tea that hits your flavour senses instantly, and retains a rich tea after-taste that leaves you simply craving for more. We recommend Taro Milk 芋香鲜奶 (without the barley!) and Milk Tea 3 Brothers 奶茶三兄弟 (with pudding, pearls and grass jelly). Coco is available in Singapore, but when we tried its Chinatown outlet, we were overwhelmed by its excessive sweetness – We’re definitely sticking to the Coco China versions.
COCO都可茶饮 Dongmen Outlet: 1234 Space Basement 1, Exit D/E/H of Laojie Station (罗湖区建设路3018号华润1234space B1层, 店铺号：B121)
For other COCO outlets, refer here.
- Satisfy your #instafood cravings.
You’ve probably seen this over-the-top Hong Kong egglet waffle structure all over Instagram, and it IS as good as it’s raved about. Oddies Foodies’ The Mob in Hong Kong (picture above) is simply delicious – with a gooey mochi core inside a black sesame egglet waffle, placed on top of gelato and rich matcha sauce, AND paired with apple yuzu jelly and some crunch for texture. Enough said- Yes, cross the border and get it.
Oddies Foodies’ The Mob: 149 Wan Chai Road
Getting there: Wan Chai MTR station (~500m walk from station)
We’ve all definitely heard our fair share of grumbles and complaints about travelling in China (getting scammed / a bad deal, losing our way around…) but China also has its treasures of exciting cities like Shenzhen, that are full of life and activity (and awesome food as well!). With its value-for-money shopping deals and other theme parks (e.g. Happy Valley), Shenzhen has certainly earned a spot on our nearby short-trip destination list.