The Pavilion Hotel – Shenzhen, China.

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1. The Pavilion Hotel, February 2018. I’ve always been pretty relaxed about accommodation when I’m on the road. Sometimes I’ll fork out for somewhere nice, other times I’m happy to slum it in basic guesthouses or hostels. But when we got to Shenzhen Wonderboy found himself so disillusioned with our first night at Star Whisper Spacecraft Hotel (it was a bit of a shithole) that he promptly booked himself a luxurious double in this swanky hotel situated in Huaqiang North Road.

2. The Pavilion Hotel, February 2018. Right across the street from the city’s famous electronics district, the location is great and, joy of all joys; the woman at reception spoke English! And he was swiftly checked in too with no complications, which felt especially refreshing after the absolute farce of Macau’s Rio Hotel (the worst check in experience I’ve ever had in seventeen years of global travel).

3. The Pavilion Hotel, February 2018. The Pavilion’s facilities are amazing! There’s a tastefully decorated ground floor restaurant and coffee shop, an in-house bar, fancy Chinese Fusion Restaurant and a fitness centre, spa and sauna. As Wonderboy’s guest, I was able to join him for a swim in the large, indoor heated pool.

4. The Pavilion Hotel, February 2018. The room wasn’t half bad either, spacious and tastefully decorated. If you’re really highly maintenance you can even order The Butler Service, though that proved a step too far for Wonderboy. I’m still curious as to what exactly it would have entailed!

5. The Pavilion Hotel, February 2018. This was the overview of Shenzhen from Wonderboy’s window. It sure beat the view of my own feet back in my space capsule. “Mate, the breakfast!!!” he sang in one of several excited voice messages. It turns out that in addition to an excellent Full English and a range of cereals, there were four chef-manned serving stations, including an Omelette Bar, freshly baked pastries, cookies, breads and… “A CHEESEBOARD! LIKE A PROPER CHEESEBOARD!” Wonderboy paid 600RMB (£67/77/$95) for his night here (NOT including breakfast!). While checking out he was asked to complete a survey of his experience, for which he received an embroidered boxed handkerchief for his troubles. When I checked out of the Spacecraft Hotel, the dude behind reception nodded at me and farted.

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: 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.

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My 5: Dongmen Market – Shenzhen, China.

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1. Dongmen Market, February 2018. Shenzhen’s Dongmen district is one of the oldest parts of the city, with a three hundred year trading history under its belt. If you’re in the mood for some shopping, or even just people watching, this is the place to come for the biggest variety of goods and price ranges to suit all budgets. But be warned, Dongmen can be pretty chaotic! So roll up those sleeves, flex your elbows and prepare to do battle.

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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: Huaqiangbei Electronics District – Shenzhen, China.

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1.Huaqiangbei Electronics District, February 2018. Wonderboy and I were pretty excited about seeing China’s Silicon Valley, a sprawling three kilometer district packed with electronic malls, stores and service centers. The largest of its kind in Asia, this is one of the busiest shopping areas in the country. Except that is, when you rock up during Chinese New Year bank holiday days to find everything shut. Doh!

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