If you’re considering living and working as an expat in Shenzhen, I have good news: you will never be bored. Shenzhen itself will keep your weekends busy, from hiking Mount Wutong, to visiting Window of the World, to shopping at Luohu Market.
One of the nicest things about Shenzhen is its proximity to other Chinese cities. After all, isn’t exploring the country one of the main reasons you want to teach in China? Even if time and money are tight, there are plenty of weekend trips you can take to maximize your time in China. Here are a few of my favorites.
Shenzhen is right across the border from Hong Kong. If you live in Futian District, you can probably make it through customs, jump on the metro, and get into Hong Kong’s city center within an hour and a half! Hong Kong is the city with the most skyscrapers in the world, famous markets, and dim sum to die for.
If you want great scenery, take the famous cable car to the top of Mount Victoria and enjoy the 360-degree view of Hong Kong. If you’re looking for a day hike, check out Dragon’s Back, Lantau Peak, or Tian Tan Buddha. Dragon’s Back and Lantau Peak introduce you to the natural side of Hong Kong, with gorgeous mountain scenery. You can climb steps to the top of the Tian Tan Buddha statue for the ideal view of the sunset over the city.
Like Hong Kong, Macau is an independent territory of China. Westerners affectionately refer to Macau as “The Las Vegas of Asia,” so this is the place to go if you’re hankering for a weekend of partying and gambling. Some of the most popular casinos are the Altira, Babylon, and Broadway Macau Casinos.
If you’re not much of a gambler, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Macau! Go to the Macau Tower to experience one of the tallest bungee jumps in the world. See a magic or variety show. Walk around the ruins of St. Paul’s. Macau was a Portuguese territory until 1999, so fantastic Portuguese food and Portuguese-Cantonese fusion abound.
Take the ferry from Shekou Port in Shenzhen to Macau, and then take a taxi or bus downtown.
You can easily hop on a high-speed train from Shenzhen to Guangzhou! This city is the capital of Guangdong Province, where Shenzhen is located. Guangzhou and Shenzhen are the only tier-one cities in Southeast China.
The biggest must-see attraction in Guangzhou is the Canton Tower. Eat at Twist Mediterranean Buffet, a rotating restaurant that sits atop this nearly 2000-foot structure! You can also take a cruise on the Pearl River, which is the best way to see the city’s most picturesque spots. If you like museums, the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum is very popular.
Okay, you caught me, Dapeng is part of Shenzhen! However, I included the town in this list because it’s a classic vacation spot for people living in Shenzhen city. Dapeng is a little beach town about two hours away from Shenzhen’s city center. The best way to get there is by riding the metro to Luohu Station, then taking a one-hour cab ride into the town.
Try to go on a sunny weekend, because Dapeng’s beaches are beautiful, with mountainous scenery. While you’re there, order as much fresh seafood as you can get your hands on! Set aside a full afternoon to walk around Dapeng Fortress, a walled village built in 1394 to protect villagers from Japanese pirates. Walk the fortress’s alleys to enjoy cute cafes, gardens, and ancient buildings.