New and returning students welcome! For your own sake, stick this piece on your desk, board, or another place for super important stuff that you want to come back to in the future—you will need it sooner or later. Coming to a new city can be exciting and refreshing, especially after a couple of years studying as an undergrad or going through a daily work routine. As for exchange students, this is time to enjoy every minute of your brief stay. We are all trying to get 100% out of our experience and leave PKU Shenzhen with many wonderful memories to cherish for the rest of our lives.
Still, between keeping up with daily chores, attending classes, and being around the same crowd, life in Shenzhen will inevitably get a little restless at times. Annoyed by the same food on campus? Feeling like the classes are getting the best of you? Not so happy to see a few of those classmates on a daily basis? When that happens remember to pull out this list and take a break to recharge!
Being one of the countries with the most geographical and cultural diversity in the world, China has a thousand places worth seeing. Not to mention, Asia offers endless opportunities for exploration. But often the time and budget are not in our favor. We are in a prime location which offers many possibilities for a quick getaway. Here is the list of five places you can get to in a few hours. Once there, take a deep breath and have a break from your life in Shenzhen.
For a quick but memorable getaway, there is nothing like going to Guilin. Though it’s located in the neighboring province of Guangxi, Guilin is very reachable thanks to the high speed trains (3 hours). In Guilin, you are facing many choices about how to spend your day. You can head to the rice terraces or take a boat ride to Yangshuo or just explore the sights in Guilin (Sun & Moon pagodas; Red Flute Caves are a must). The city sits along the Li River, and it is widely known as one of the most beautiful areas in China.
Dapeng Fortress (大鹏城)
Close to Shenzhen, the nearly 600 years old fortress of Dapeng is a true escape from the scenery of the city. If you want to see some history and feel like you’re in a different era, definitely make the journey. You need to first take the subway and change for line 5 at the Xili station and continue until Yijing station where you will change for a bus heading for Dapeng.
Kaiping’s diaolou (碉楼)
To get to Kaiping you will first need to take the bus from Shenzhen and be there in 3.5 hours. The most praised sight is definitely the Zili village Diaolou where you can find barbicans built by local overseas Chinese to protect their property. The towers are an interesting mix of foreign and Chinese architecture situated in open space that does not fit into the general idea of what an old Chinese building traditionally looks like. Still, they are just breathtaking and definitely an unexpected sight. For quicker transportation, take a taxi from the station (around 600 Y but can be negotiated) and get the tour around different diaolou for the whole day.
4. Huizhou (惠州)
A 30 minutes ride by speed train from Shenzhen North station, Huizhou is a town known for its West Lake (same name as the lake in Hangzhou) where the famous Song dynasty writer Su Dongpo got inspiration for his work. Then you can continue to the Gao Bang mountain where you can try the local honey and slow down for a cup of tea before “climbing” the mountain (it’s really a hill). Once you make it to the peak, you can enjoy a lovely pagoda and a view of the Huizhou city.
Hong Kong – Lantau
Lantau Island is actually the largest of all the islands in the Hong Kong SAR. Even though you feel very removed from the insane urban environment of Hong Kong, Lantau is still packed with tourist attractions. The most popular is of course Hong Kong Disneyland, which has already completed many parts of its massive expansion, which includes Marvel, Frozen, and Moana attractions. Lantau also holds the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, which provides you an amazing photo taking opportunity and drops you off at the base of Hong Kong’s famous big Buddha. For those looking to avoid these tourist attractions, there is Tai O fishing village. Famous for its delicious food and unique stilt houses over the water, it is a beloved cultural area of Hong Kong—if you are really looking to go all out, stay or eat at the gorgeous Tai O Heritage Hotel, which was awarded a Cultural Heritage Conservation award by UNESCO.
Written by Dominika Mindekova
Photos by Dominika Mindekova (unless otherwise noted)