Shenzhen is one of China’s wealthiest cities located in Guangdong province, bordering Hong Kong and 100km south of Guangzhou. With an area of around 2,050 km², the city has a population of over 14 million, comprising a blend of many ethnicities and subcultures.
As one of the world’s largest manufacturing hubs, Shenzhen is home to modern buildings, skyscrapers and high-tech companies. Most visitors come to Shenzhen to look for cheap goods. Beside shopping, this industrial city has plenty of cultural sights and activities to enjoy.
Similar to Guangzhou, Shenzhen has a small but growing gay nightlife. A few Gay Bars & Clubs can be found in Luohu and Futian districts. The crowd is mostly local Chinese, although most places are foreigner-friendly.
As with most cities in China, the gay scene in Shenzhen is very discreet and changes quickly. Some local knowledge is always helpful. Gay men in Shenzhen are very diverse, coming from very different backgrounds.
Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport serves domestic flights and limited international flights from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur (by AirAsia) and Singapore (by Silkair and Tiger Airways). Metro line 1 connects the airport to downtown Shenzhen in 50 minutes.
You can reach Shenzhen by train from Hong Kong. Shenzhen is currently served by 3 domestic intercity railway stations: Shenzhen Station, Shenzhen North Station and Shenzhen East Station.
Several long-distance buses offer regular services to many cities in Guangdong. Beware of cams at the Shenzhen bus station, as scam artist may demand that you pay an additional fee to complete the journey, in which case you need to go to the stall that represents your limo company.
The Shenzhen Metro (深圳地铁) is the most convenient and easy to understand method of transport around the city. There are currently 5 metro lines. The most convenient line for many tourist sites is the Luobao Line which runs east-west, from Luohu (HK Border/Shenzhen Station) to Shenzhen Airport.
Unusual for China, metered taxis in Shenzhen are well-regulated and managed. It is rare that a driver would take you the long way to your destination. However, if the taxi does not have a licence properly displayed, get the next one.
Local buses run everywhere in Shenzhen and start at ¥2 for most trips. They are comfortable and most are air-conditioned. There is an attendant on the bus who can give change. Not the best option for foreigners as bus stop signs and announcements are in Chinese.
Shenzhen’s relatively light traffic and flat road in downtown makes it cycle-friendly. Bike rentals are not easily available but you can buy a cheap bicycle from a major supermarket or a second-hand bike shop.
For our list of recommended hotels in Shenzhen for gay travellers, please visit the Gay Shenzhen Hotels page.
Ping An IFC 平安国际金融中心 – now the tallest skyscraper in Shenzhen with 115-storeys.
Tomb of the Young Song Emperor 宋少帝陵 – the tomb of the last Emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty.
Shenzhen Concert Hall 深圳音乐厅 – housed in a stunning glass-wrapped setting, this concert hall hosts international artists.
Dongmen Pedestrian Street 东门步行街 – the place to go for clothes and cheap items.
Window of The World 世界之窗), 南山区华侨城深南大道 – a theme park featuring miniature-scale famous landmarks of the world, with natural landscapes and lighting at night.
Xianhu Botanical Garden (Fairy Lake Botanical Gardens) – one of China’s most beautiful gardens filled with valleys, rivers and lakes that lead to Wutong Mountains – home to Hongfa Temple.
Chinese Folk Culture Village 中国民俗文化村 – a village showcasing the myriad ethnic groups that make up China as well as its history and traditions.
Spendid China Park 深圳锦绣 – Located next to the Chinese Folk Culture Village, this park features China’s best cultural assets and landmarks.
Luohu Commercial City – a shopping mall with multiple levels and many small stores selling similar products that are rarely authentic but often very well-made.
Shenzhen Museum – one of Shenzhen’s best museums featuring exhibits from across the country.
Shenzhen Library 深圳图书馆 – one of Shenzhen’s architectural masterpieces.
Lianhua Mountain Park 蓮花山公園 – Shenzhen’s main and most central park with beautiful landscaped gardens, located at the northern end of the Futian central.
Happy Valley Theme Park 欢乐谷 – a massive amusement park that is much larger than Hong Kong Disneyland.
Minsk World 明思克航母 – a military theme park centered around the former Soviet aircraft carrier Minsk.
Dapeng Ancient Fort 大鹏所城 – a very well-preserved Ming Dynasty Port.
Portofino 波托菲诺 – famous club houses surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens.
Dafen Oil Painting Village – one of the most popular day trips from Shenzhen, this village is almost entirely dedicated to painting.
Hua Qiang Bei – the place for anything electronic.
Xin’an (Nantou) Ancient City 新安(南头)古 – the original town for the county which originally encompassed Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
Dameisha Beach 大梅沙 – one of Shenzhen’s best beaches.
Shenzhen has a warm, humid subtropical climate, influenced by monsoon. The best time to visit is in the winter months (late October-February) when the weather is mild and relatively dry.
Early spring is the cloudiest months, and the rainy season kicks in from April until late September to early October.