Enjoying Modern and Ancient Culture in Shenzhen

The beautiful city of Shenzhen is a bustling metropolis just on the other side of Hong Kong that is becoming an even more popular Chinese city every year. Over 15 million people call this place their home and much of that population is a young and adventurous crowd who know how to party.

Shenzhen at night

However, Shenzhen is also home to thousands of years of ancient history, and although some of it has lost its authentic feel, there are still beautiful places to enjoy the ancient culture of Shenzhen, alongside its modern growth and stature. Here’s how to get the best of both worlds in beautiful Shenzhen!

The Ancient Shenzhen

Shenzhen Museum

This free museum is full of beautiful relics of ancient China, dating back to the Shang Dynasty. Many of the lovely artifacts are on constant rotating display, but there are also permanent exhibitions. These offer you insight into the history of Shenzhen itself and the archaeological discoveries that were made there. You can always check their website to see what’s on display now. To get there, take the Metro Line 4 to the Citizens’ Center Station. The museum is located at the east gate of Block A of the Citizens’ Center.

Hakka Villages

After the Kangxi Emperor had depopulated the coastline, it lay bare until the Hakka people began to repopulate it. Thus, half of Shenzhen was originally populated by the Hakka people. Now, some traditional villages still remain in place.

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You can even wander through them and learn more about the ancient Hakka culture, and how it survives to this day. Head to the Pingshan District, and you’ll be able to visit three of the twenty or so walled villages in Shenzhen. One of the best preserved of these villages is Longtian Shiju, accessible by bus. Just get off at the Kengzhi Market Station.

Hakka village

Chiwan Tian Hou Temple

This beautiful temple was originally built during the 1400s and reflects all of the elegance and grace of the Song Dynasty that it belongs to. Due to the turbulent history of the area, this temple has been torn down and rebuilt multiple times throughout the years. It is dedicated to the Goddess Tian Hou, who supposedly protects and guides those sailors who travel the South China Sea.

Entrance costs 15 yuan and will give you access to all three levels of this beautiful temple, and its Drum Tower. Take either the M371 or 226 bus and you will be dropped directly in front of the temple.

The Modern Shenzhen

OCT Loft Contemporary Art Terminal

This fantastic neighborhood is home to interesting modern art displays and is the trendy area for hip young people. Featuring great coffee houses like GEE Coffee Roasters and La Patisserie, and a creative market every first and third weekend of each month, this area is great for artsy culture! Don’t forget to check out OCAT, a warehouse art space that you can explore for free.


Coco Park

If shopping is your thing, you’ve found your place at Coco Park! Located in the Futian District, this area is home to hundreds of beautiful boutique and brand name stores. You’ll spend hours wandering these trendy streets, and as the sun goes down this area truly comes to life! After your shopping ventures, relax at one of the many restaurants and bars, featuring traditional Chinese delicacies alongside Western dishes.

Take the metro, either Line 1 or 3, to the Shopping Park Station to arrive at Coco Park.

Dafen Oil Painting Village

One of Shenzhen’s top attractions, this area is an interesting place to wander and watch the local artists as they copy well-known paintings. If you’re looking for a cheap copy of the Mona Lisa, you can bargain for it here. Also, you can ask an artist to paint your family or to put your favorite picture on canvas. There are different boutique cafes and galleries with original work, such as sculptures and calligraphy.


Take the Metro Line 3 to the Dafen Station, and walk across the bridge downhill for about 10 minutes until you see the bright buildings and sculptures that mark the entrance to the Oil Painting Village.

Shenzhen is a beautiful city that is continuing to grow and develop its own culture and style. You can immerse yourself in the interesting and varied presentations that this flourishing city offers to you by taking advantage of both its modern and ancient attractions.

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Cez Krol

Travel blogger at eTramping
Cez lives in China like a local for the past 4 years. Apart from speaking the language, he loves to discover more about this unique country of extreme contrasts. He shares his China experiences here at Sublime China and on his blog eTramping, so go and check out what's out there for you in China.
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