If you love a bargain then Shenzhen is the place for you. The first time you visit it can be a little overwhelming and it took me several trips to work out a simple routine and how to reduce a lot of angst and stress. Here are my tips for your visit to Shenzhen from Hong Kong.
You will need to get to the train that goes over the border – the East Rail MTR line. One of the reasons we usually stay at Hotel Icon is it is right next to the Hung Hom station which is where the train starts but you connect via many other lines as well.
You need to get off at Luaho ( or Lo Wu) walk through the HK side of the station, over a small bridge over the river and into the Shenzhen side and apply for a Visa there at the Visa office.
This link is quite good and up to date. Keep in mind the photo showing the escalator to the Visa office is taken facing Hong Kong – you will be walking in the direction of the men in the photo so you need to keep an eye out for the sign on your LEFT then go up the escalator. It is usually pretty quick and takes no more than 10 minutes.
Once you leave the station there will be buildings to your left ( another train station) and on your right – Lo Wu Centre, which is the place you want to go.
Its an old 6 story shopping mall straight out of the 80’s and full of fake/knock off shops. Half of the top floor is the amazing fabric market and it is surrounded by tailors and dressmakers. I use one right in the middle called Maria and Mr Fong if you do want something made. They can deliver to your hotel in Hong Kong and are VERY good at copying your favourite things if you take them with you. Behind their stall is a very good restaurant with fantastic Peking Duck.
Maria has a niece who has a stall making sheets but she is very good at finding other things for you through her friends. I find this much easier and more pleasant than being hassled at every shop and every corner of the mall and often I just give hers photos or magazine cuttings of things I want – sunglasses, bags, wallets etc….head into the restaurant and people just keep bringing stuff to me !
Don’t be afraid to inspect stuff very carefully and reject anything that has a scratch or weird stitching etc….its amazing how the quality gets better and even the stuff they claim no-one has suddenly appears late in the day ( no doubt when some poor sap has been sent out to find it)
Otherwise the shops change all the time and anything I told you to go to at the time of writing is likely not be there anymore or has moved. The 3rd floor has a heap of jewellery places – knock off Tiffany and Pandora and stuff . Not my thing but some people love it.
The basement has a heap of foot massage, beauty treatments and dentists ! I have some flight attendant friends who get all their dental work there :-/
There are lots of great optical stores and I have had many pairs of glasses made at the big one on the ground floor near the main entry ( saving around AUD$800 per pair!) They have their own optometrists or take your script if you have it.
If you want a nice break the Shangrila is a short walk across a main road a bit further along . A group of us had a lovely lunch there one trip which broke up and very long and exhausting day of shopping. I think we spent over 12 hours in that little shopping centre !
( ps. Naturally their first price will be ridiculous and the real price will be much, much less. You should pay about $50 for a good Hermes wallet or $150 for a bag. The quality can vary dramatically.)