My 5: Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park, China.

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1. Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park, February 2018. Parks and temples, temples and parks: China! I limit myself to just one or two parks a place these days, knowing that in most cases the green spaces on offer are much of a muchness for a grisly old China veteran like myself. Wonderboy and I hadn’t even planned on hitting this 660.000 square meter municipal park until we walked right into it. Tempted in by the call of live music, we found a place crammed with excited locals out for an afternoon walk during the Chinese New Year bank holiday.

2. Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park, February 2018. The park is pretty new, opened in 2004 and now enjoying National Key Park status awarded by The Chinese government. First timers in China will be utterly enchanted by the place, stuffed as it is with a million and one things to see and do. There’s a gorgeous rose and butterfly garden, a forested boardwalk, a picture perfect lake, dozens of pavilions, pagodas and endless sculptures, bridges and fountains. Lovers of the bonsai will find some breathtaking collections here, while there’s also a science hall and several art exhibitions.

3. Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park, February 2018. A large open square connects the rose garden to the forested mountain park section. It’s the perfect space for group dancing and these ladies seemed only too happy to show off in front of my camera.

4. Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park, February 2018. You could easily spend a day here. As it was, Wonderboy and I whizzed through in a couple of hours, seeking out those little details and oddities that set the place aside from other such parks around the country. Don’t miss the curious stretch that showcases a number of national gardens, with landscaped corners dedicated to China, Japan, France, Canada, Bolivia and Nepal.  

5. Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park, February 2018. Entry to this amazing park is free, with opening hours between 06:00-10:00. To get there, jump on either the Luobao Line (get off at Zhuzilin) or alternatively go with Line 7 where there are entrance points at both Antuo Hill and Nonglin stations.

For more on my adventures in the city, check out my other 5s on Shenzhen.

Like these? Then why not have a leaf through my zillion articles from all around China.

My 5: OCT-LOFT Creative Culture Park – Shenzhen, China.

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1. OCT-LOFT, February 2018. Art lovers will find plenty to admire about Shenzhen. The city’s parks and squares are full of sculptures and statues, while a half-day visit to Dafen Oil Painting Village and its modern art museum is a must for anyone visiting the city. And then you’ve got OCT LOFT, a so-called Creative Culture Park built from the bones of a former electronics factory in 2005.

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My 5: Dafen Art Museum – Shenzhen, China.

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1. Dafen Art Museum, February 2018. Appropriately perched to the side of Dafen Oil Painting Village, this handsome art museum is well worth an hour of your time. Housed in a striking modern building on a large open square, it showcases original paintings from local artists.

2. Dafen Art Museum, February 2018. As with the adjoining oil painting village there’s no entry fee, you can just stroll in and investigate at your leisure.  

3. Dafen Art Museum, February 2018. It’s a huge air-conditioned space inside and you can take as many photos as you want. There wasn’t much of a security presence either, which added to the relaxed vibe. The whole museum takes a stripped back approach, with barely any literature at all to accompany the paintings, just the name of the painter and the year it was created.

4. Dafen Art Museum, February 2018. The museum hosts an annual Oil Painting Fair every October. There are special exhibitions and a huge live auction that fetched over 700 million RMB in 2017 ($1.1000000). I wonder how this fantastic painting, almost photographic in its clarity, would cost to take home.

5. Dafen Art Museum, February 2018. The museum is open daily (except Mondays) from 10:00-17:00.

For more on my adventures in the city, check out more of My 5s on Shenzhen.

Like these? Then why not have a leaf through my zillion articles from all around China.

My 5: Dafen Oil Painting Village – Shenzhen, China.

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1. Dafen Oil Painting Village, February 2018. Shenzhen’s world famous oil painting district was once responsible for a staggering 60% of the globe’s known replica oil paintings. Wherever you were in the world, from hotels and cafes to restaurants, offices and train stations, chances are that painting on the wall came from Dafen. These days it’s mostly a tourist curiosity, though there are still plenty of studios (about 600) and galleries among all the shops and cafes. Needless to say I didn’t pass up the opportunity to scoot over there myself to see what the deal was.  Continue Reading »

My 5: Cheoc Van Beach, Macau.

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1. Cheoc Van Beach, February 2018. Visitors to Macau’s pretty Coloane Island could easily set aside a full day for its many sights and delights. Seen the pandas at Seac Pai Van Park? Checked out the stilt houses in Coloane Village? Grabbed some sausage rolls and egg tarts at Lord Stow’s Bakery? Very well, then it’s probably time to take a leisurely walk to Cheoc Van Beach, about one and half kilometers from the village main street down Estrada de Cheoc Van.

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My 5: Coloane Village, Macau.

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1. Coloane Village, February 2018. It’s almost criminal to think that thousands of people come to Macau and see out the entirety of their visits in the neon bubble of Taipa Island’s towering hotel-casinos. Sure, Macau is world famous as a gambling mecca and shopper’s paradise, but it also boasts some gorgeous rural scenery. Most unforgivable of all, it’s just a fourteen-minute drive (ninety minutes if you’re walking) from The Venetian down to sleepy little Coloane Village.

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My 5: Chongwu Stone Arts Expo Park Beach, China.

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1. Chongwu Stone Arts Expo Park Beach, February 2018. I should start this article by saying that I’ve cheated a little bit here. Strictly speaking I should have covered Chongwu Stone Arts Expo Park with just a singular Top 5. But then I was so taken with the compound’s gorgeous little private beach that it felt wrong to cram in one or two photos at the end, at the expense of some sculptural delights.

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