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.
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.
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.
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.
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 »
1. Seac Pai Van Park, February 2018. After five nights in the hustle and bustle of Macau Peninsula, I was definitely in need of a change of pace. Happily then, a day spent strolling around Coloane Island provides just that. Start your wanderings here at Macau’s largest natural green area, a beautiful, protected animal park converted from farmland.
1. St. Paul’s Ruins, February 2018. It’s amazing how few of my Chinese friends and colleagues know about the rich history and architectural beauty of Macau Peninsula. “Six days in Macau is too long, there are only casinos!” What an almighty miscalculation! Start your explorations here in the old quarter with Macau’s most treasured icon; the towering remains of this former 17th century church. Continue Reading »