My journey through China to date had been a fairly busy one and quite a fast pace. My travelling friend and I were thinking that a bit of time out in China somewhere would be a great idea to slow the pace down, especially since our next destination was likely to be the immensely busy Hong Kong.
After a chance meeting with a writer for Rough Guides books in Renmin Park in Chengdu who gave us some advice on an idyllic beach in south China, we researched some accommodation in the area and booked a flight this time (it was further plus the train routes weren’t very direct) and stayed at Dameisha Beach Resort in Shenzhen from the 24th to the 28th May.
As before, don’t forget that you can click the photos in the post to see more from each set.
Arriving at Shenzhen airport
The first thing that struck me was how huge and busy Shenzhen was! I hadn’t really researched the city since I was planning to travel straight out of it upon arrival. I learned later that it is famous for shopping, and you can see why with some of the most impressive shops I’ve seen in China.
This brings me to the fact that the further south you head in China, the more developed the cities seem to become. Taxis had screens in the seats (as above – this was a series of Mr Bean clips, probably picked due to the lack of reliance on language in the episodes), buildings were lit up like Christmas trees and shops were noticeably cleaner and had more presentable shop fronts and furnishings. On noticing this, I wonder what it might have been like further north of Beijing.
However, beware as I had a bit of a scary moment in terms of taxis from the airport. With any city, make sure that you get the right type of taxi. If in doubt, ask someone or stand at a taxi rank. Never accept a lift from a man who doesn’t have his vehicle right there in view. This is because a taxi that wasn’t licenced to pick people up from the airport, and was designated to a different zone, picked us up. I’m very glad I wasn’t alone as we had to be ‘traded’ from the first taxi to another on a busy roadside. I’d seen it happen to a couple of people in front of us, so it was fairly common. But at night, in a foreign country where the taxi driver and you only have a phrasebook to communicate, it can be very worrying. Needless to say, besides a hiccup with the 2nd driver being lied to about our agreed fare, all was OK in the end and we arrived safe and sound at Dameisha.
Dameisha Beach Resort, Shenzhen
Upon arrival at a gorgeous, brand new hotel in Dameisha, I hit the beach. I’m not a sunbather in the slightest but the beach was an amazing place to people watch. With the mountains behind and nothing but blue sea and sky in front, it was gorgeous! Chinese people enjoyed jet skiing and swimming classes by day, and the local kids came out at night to congregate on the beach.
As a cool, refreshing drink in between bouts of sun, I highly recommend buying a young coconut as above. For an extra Yuan (about 10 pence GBP), the shop assistant will chop it open and give you a straw. Inside, the coconut milk is more like delicately flavoured water than familiar coconut milk. Make sure you choose a coconut that has been in the fridge for the best cold drink!
A common sight in beach towns are the seafood restaurants with live fish outside in tanks. To a foreigner like me, this is like a mini aquarium right there! I haven’t (yet) ordered some live seafood for my dinner, but it looks very tempting. Even if I AM torn inside when I see live fish right underneath posters depicting pictures of the dishes they could become!
Leaving China from Shenzhen
From the beach resort, it was only a taxi ride to Hong Kong’s border crossing so this makes an ideal stop off before leaving China officially. Although Hong Kong has now been handed back to China, if you have a Chinese visa, once you enter Hong Kong you are actually leaving China and cannot re-enter unless you have a special multiple entry visa for China. That’s important to note as you should choose your onward travel from Hong Kong carefully – for me this ruled out travelling by train from Hong Kong to Vietnam; a preferable route that many had recommended.
This concludes the China part of my trip. After this I spent a few days in Hong Kong. Keep an eye out for my future updates covering the bustling city!