Shenzhen Travel Guide - Brief Information on Shenzhen

Shenzhen is better known as a southern border town that has prospered from manufacturing than for its natural scenery or as a tourist destination. But a 50-minute drive from the city to the Dameisha district takes you OCT East, an eco-resort theme park that seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of the southern city.

On arrival, we are greeted by the sights and sounds of a small European town, complete with cobblestone streets and low stone buildings with ornate facades. This is a recreation of the Swiss Alpine town of Interlaken. Street performers add to the air of festivity. My guide told me there were guestrooms available for rent in the low buildings that line the main street. Overnight visitors can also choose to stay at the Interlaken hotel, set by the banks of a lake. The hotel adjoins Interlaken Spa, which recreates the experience of a traditional alpine resort spa.

As we were ushered towards the multipurpose hall in the middle of the park, the sense of anticipation in the air was palpable. We were about to watch an award-winning multi-media gala performance – known simply as the Tea show. The one-hour show has won several international accolades and it has to be seen to be believed. Combining Chinese acrobatics, dazzling costumes and props, dancing, laser light shows and many other breathtaking elements, it is based on the themes of Zen Buddhism and tea. After being wowed by the show, we head for the peace of the Tea Valley.

Verdant tea gardens beckon, but it is off season, so we are not able to pick our own tea. In spite of that, it still makes for a peaceful walk, and the sprawling hills are a soothing sight. Another big draw here is a large greenhouse showcasing various tropical plants and some space plants – these are plants that have been genetically engineered to survive in space.

The entire resort, set in nine square kilometres of hills and lakes, also includes golf courses and other sporting facilities like a mountain biking trail and tennis courts.

In addition to OCT East, Shenzhen also offers a variety of theme parks suitable for the whole family. Happy Valley has a water park with flume rides, several roller coasters, and interesting themed zones. From Happy Valley, it is just a short ride on the monorail that goes around the Overseas Chinese Town to Window of the World, one of my favourites. The theme park features scaled down and also fully scaled replicas of some of the world’s most iconic sights such as the Egyptian pyramids, the Tower of Eiffel, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There’s also a large complex onsite comprising an indoor ski slope and a large ice-skating rink. While I was there, the snow enclosure was hosting ice sculptures like those in Harbin in northeastern China.

Windows of the World is next to another of my favourite, Splendid China. I’ve always had a special liking for miniature models and Splendid China certainly doesn’t disappoint. I took in the ornate gardens of Suzhou, the alluring Potola Palace in Tibet, the Forbidden City, unable to stop smiling to myself.

Especially noteworthy are the models of Yuanmingyuan – the imperial Summer Palace in Beijing, and the Great Wall. While the real Yuanmingyuan is currently a pillaged ruin, the replica here has been painstakingly restored to its former glory. Likewise with the model of the Great Wall, spanning more than one kilometre - unlike the real deal which is crumbling in some parts and extravagantly restored in others, the model here gives an idea of how it might have looked back in days when it was new-ish.

The Folk Culture Village, which adjoins Splendid China, offers more insight into the country’s different ethnic groups and their different culture. This is where visitors can step into recreations of different types of abodes and witness some of the customs and ceremonies being performed. Lots of fun and educational to boot, the parks certainly tick all the boxes for a good day out.

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Shenzhen, linked by common mountains and rivers to Hong Kong, is a beautiful coastal garden city located along the southern coastline of China. Full of sunshine and the breath of modernization, Shenzhen has a developed economy and society where human

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