Shopping in Shenzhen is the latest ‘must do’ when you travel to Hong Kong. Locals stream over the border into China at weekends, so the best time for tourists to shop up a storm is mid-week. You can take a day tour by catching a first-class train from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, or for the serious shopper you might need to stay a night or two. Most visitors to China will need an entry visa so dont forget to arrange this before you leave.
The Luohu Commercial City (LCC) is right next to the main border crossing and where most one-day shoppers spend their time. There are around 1500 stores in this five level mall selling a range of fashion, electronics and homewares. Most popular things to buy include fabrics, handbags, jewellry, DVDs, luggage, soft furnishings and even tailor made clothes, shoes and prescription glasses. Although many of the items are imitation or counterfeit, the prices are cheap and the quality is good.
If you have a favourite outfit or pair of shoes you want copied, take them with you to the LCC to one of the many reliable tailors and they can replicate the items within a few hours. If you want a custom made suit or have a picture of an outfit you like, it might be best to stay overnight so that you can return to the shop for a fitting or two before picking up your hand-made goods.
The four star Century Plaza Hotel Shenzhen is located a short cab ride from the LoWu Railway Station and ideally located for an overnight shop-over. If you have any energy left there is a gym for a post-shopping workout, or a pool for soaking your aching body. There are several restaurants offering your choice of Chinese, Japanese or western cuisine.
The five star Shangri-La Hotel Shenzhen is within walking distance of the shopping plaza, or you might want to catch a cab if you are loaded up with shopping bags. The hotel offers fantastic views over Hong Kong’s New Territories and the Shenzhen skyline. Head down to Champ’s Bar & Grill, an American style sports bar for a snack. Favourites from the menu include chicken wings, ribs and hamburgers, perfect post-shopping comfort food.
A final point to watch – be careful for the touters out the front of the shopping centres and around the stations offering everything from Viagra to fake watches and DVD’s even unreleased iphones and laptops. Respond with a firm NO and keep on walking!