Shenzhen is the hot geek destination right now. Since the hacker camp last spring, it seems like there are at least 3 hackers roaming the neighborhood at any given moment. Add the constant HAXLR8R classes and you’ve got a great vibe. We put together a wiki page to help plan your trip to Shenzhen. Where to stay, how to get data, what to eat, and how to meet us for a beer.
The first draft is below, the latest version will always be on the wiki.
So you’re coming to Shenzhen? Tickets purchased, about to make the big trip and explore the markets yourself? Maybe a factory tour or two? Here’s some stuff that might make your trip smoother.
Yes, we’d love to hang out in Shenzhen!
There’s always lots of hackers in Shenzhen and you’re welcome to join us for food, drink, foot massage, or KTV.
Your welcome meal choices are:
You will need WeChat to coordinate all your new friends. Get it for iPhone or Android. Hey, it’s got more users than teh Facebook!
Factories are usually way out in Bao’on and we avoid going there unless absolutely needed. You can get the metro to the last stop and then take a taxi. Getting back is more difficult.
Seeed Studio is one very easy and friendly factory to visit, located 30-40 minutes from Huaqiangbei market by metro at Xili stop. Send them an email a few days before you’d like a tour.
Mobile data is key in China. Access to Google Maps, translation, and other info makes life so much easier. Mobile phone SIM cards with data plans are cheap and easy to get. Until recently you could buy them anywhere, but now you need to head to a phone shop and show a passport.
Major providers are China Unicom, China Telecom, and China Mobile. I prefer China Unicom for no particular reason, but shops for all are next door to the Hacker Camp Shenzhen meeting locations. Check the Google Maps layer here.
In China Unicom look for a sheet with a list of plans like the table above. There’s are two or three packages – A, B, and C. Since most people are interested in data, plan ‘A’ is probably best.
I’ve been using package A 96RMB ($16) plan with 300MB data for the past few months, before that I used the 156RMB plan with 500MB of data. If you’re here for a week 300MB is probably enough. More than a week with lots of exploring and searching – get the 500MB plan to be safe.
Find a Unicom shop, the orange and white signs stand out all over the place. There’s one near the workshop shown on the Google Map layer, as well as a dozen scattered throughout the market in Huaqiangbei.
Grab a sheet of plans and find someone at a counter. Show them your phone, point to the plan you want, and hand over your passport – someone at the shop may speak a tiny bit of English but don’t count on it. They’ll setup the plan, make a copy of your passport, and hand you a SIM. Data should work immediately.
Handing over a passport has never been a problem, it’s quite common in China. If you’re cagey about it, you can try to buy an ‘underground’ SIM in Hong Kong but they’ve not worked properly for the past year or so.
Here’s some stuff to show you around and get prepared for Shenzhen.
Where to stay
We recommend the City Inn Ke Xue Guan on corner of Songling and Nanyuan road.
For long term check out the Mid Century Serviced Apartments. They are terrible at communicating, but generally have a room for you when a reservation is made online. Or stay in City Inn and get into Mid-Cen once you’re here. They’re a block away from each other, both on Songling Road.
For $150+ you can stay in the beautiful, yet hard bedded, Huaqiang Plaza Hotel in the middle of the market.
Here’s some logistical issues you might encounter coming to Shenzhen.
Most people need to apply for a Chinese visa before leaving their home country. Plan in advance for at least for ten days processing time. Most people will probably apply for a tourist visa (L class), listing Shenzhen as your sightseeing city. You will need to provide:
We use Wooee Visa as our visa processor. Most Americans should be able to get a one-year multiple entry visa without problems.
Most likely you’ll arrive at the Hongkong airport. Flights to Hongkong are cheapest, and it’s just a few minutes from Shenzhen.
Hongkong Airport Limo to Shenzhen
Not actually a limo, but a van that can take 6 people to the Shenzhen Huanggang border checkpoint.
Hongkong MTR to Shenzhen
This is the long route and can be confusing for the first time. However if you’d like to grab a taco and visit the Apliu Street electronics market this is the way to go.
Shenzhen Airport arrivals
Shenzhen has a brand new airport terminal and flights directly to Shenzhen are becoming more common
-Grab a taxi: A taxi from the airport to the Huaqiangbei area is around 130RMB ($20-$25) and takes about 40 minutes
-Take the metro: The green line (Loubao) goes from the airport with stops at Huaqiangbei and Science Museum. The ride takes more than an hour and costs around 10RMB ($2).