5 Helpful Tips for People Going to Shenzhen

Going to Shenzhen for the first time? Here are things you should know.

Shenzhen has become a booming city fueled by growth after it was set as the first Special Economic Zone in China in 1979. Today, this city is not only a destination for businessmen but also a city where you can study or have a wonderful trip.

Inclusive as it is, Shenzhen is still a strange city for many expats. The following is a quick list about what you should care about when you go to the city for the first time.

Get Some Useful Local Telephone Numbers

In case you have an emergency while you are visiting Shenzhen (such as fire or traffic accidents), or any other trouble, or have complaints or questions, writing down some telephone numbers may be useful.

Code Numbers

  • China Country Code Number: 0086
  • Shenzhen City Code Number: 0755
  • Postcode: 518000

Emergency Numbers

  • Police (Calling): 110
  • Police (Text message): 12110
  • First-aid Ambulance: 120
  • Fire: 119
  • Traffic Accidents: 122

Complaints

  • Consumer complaints: 12315
  • Price complaints: 12358
  • Quality complaints: 12365

Tourism

  • Shenzhen Tourism Bureau: 0755 - 83369446
  • Shenzhen Tourism Association: 0755 - 83776373
  • Shenzhen Traffic Tour Enquiries: 95000
  • Consumer Council: 0755 - 82244326

Banks

  • Bank of China: 95566
  • Agricultural Bank of China: 95599
  • China Construction Bank: 95533
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China: 95588
  • Bank of Communications: 95559
  • Standard Chartered Bank: 800-820-8088
  • Citibank: 800-830-1880
  • HSBC: 800-820-8828

Airline Companies & Major Airport Services

  • Shenzhen Railway Station: 0755 - 82326560
  • Baiyun Aviation Services Limited Box Office: 0755 - 82263969
  • Shenzhen Airlines Ticket Office: 99777
  • Air China Shenzhen Business Department: 0755 - 83241441
  • China Southern Airlines (Group) Shenzhen Box Office: 0755 - 83288001
  • China Northern Airlines - Tianchi Ticket Office: 0755 - 25568583
  • China Southwest Airlines Shenzhen Business Department: 0755 - 83261488
  • Shekou Port Airline Ticket Office In Hong Kong and Macao: 0755 - 26691213
  • Shekou Port Domestic Airline Ticket Office: 0755 - 26695600
  • Silver Lake Bus Station: 0755 - 82439774
  • Luohu Bus Station: 0755 - 82321670
  • Futian bus station: 0755 - 83704526
  • Nanshan Bus Station: 0755 – 26162978

If you need help or just want to know more information about Shenzhen, you can also look through some local informative newspapers or websites. Like EyeShenzhen, this is Shenzhen’s first English-language portal website, which provides precise, up-to-date and useful information for expats and visitors living in Shenzhen.

When You Arrive, You Need to Apply for Temporary Residence

Unless you are staying in a hotel (in this scenario you need to check-in and register at the hotel right away), Chinese law requires expats staying more than 24 hours in China to register for temporary residency. If you don’t do it within 24 hours of your arrival, it can cause a lot of issues, such as inconvenience for your future visa applications and potentially being fined up to 2000 RMB.

You can apply for a temporary residence permit by going to the nearest police station with your friend or relative or homeowner. Of course, to make the process easier, you’d better go with someone who can speak Chinese.

In addition to going to the police station, you can also register through the WeChat app, a social app you are most likely to use in China today. What you need to do is download the app, follow the WeChat Account “深圳公安” and find the menu of registration of residence for expats.

You Don’t Have to Speak Mandarin, But You’d Better Get Written Cards in Mandarin

Fortunately, you don’t have to speak Mandarin in the city center. At many Shenzhen restaurants, menus will have photos and English translation so you can get basic information about what you want to eat. Metro stations and road signs in the center are in English and Mandarin so it doesn’t seem like a problem to go out. Many people in the markets also can speak basic English.

But just in case, you’d better have some signs to show what you want in Mandarin, which can help locals who don’t speak your language understand what you want. You can ask the hotel staff or friends to write down something like the address of your hotel, the place you want to visit, the name of the food you want to try on a piece of paper or record them in your phone. In some scenarios, this will be a big help.

Choose a Good Time to Visit Shenzhen

Generally speaking, anytime is a good time for visiting Shenzhen. As a subtropical city, it has mild winters and hot summers. If you don’t do a lot of outdoor activities, shopping malls and restaurants are all air-conditioned in summer. But the summer temperature, which can reach 32℃, could be a pain for some people going out.

Your visit should be really carefully planned around the Spring Festival. It is the biggest traditional festival in China so many Shenzhen citizens leave the city to return to their hometowns for family reunions, which makes travel arrangements and food delivery service much more difficult. This is also one of the high times for visiting Hong Kong so the border between HK and Shenzhen will be very crowded and public transport will be busy.

Use RMB, Not HKD

Hong Kong borders Shenzhen, but it doesn’t mean that you can use Hong Kong dollars in this city. The popular currency in Shenzhen is RMB. While there might be some vendors who will take HKD and USD, they will also have a chance to charge you more.

It is much easier to shop by having RMB. There are banks that take international credit and debit cards and dispense RMB, such as HSBC or BOC ATMs.

In addition to cash, other payment methods like AliPay and WeChat are also available for expats. But neither of these apps support foreign credit or debit card transactions, so you’ll need to get a Chinese card to use them.