On the Outskirts of Shenzhen: Dapeng, a New District by Alistair Heald

 

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Shenzhen is a major city in Guangdong Province, China. It is also one of the wealthiest cities in China. Shenzhen’s temperate climate, relatively low pollution levels, and close proximity to Hong Kong, Macau, and several other interesting destinations make Shenzhen one of the China’s most desirable cities to live in. While Shenzhen’s lightning fast development is attracting attention on a global scale, less is known about the various developments that are taking place on the outskirts of this bustling megalopolis.

Until quite recently, Shenzhen consisted of nine districts. If one was to ‘Yahoo search’ things to do in Shenzhen, places such as Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) or Shekou are often first to appear as recommended tourist destinations. These architectural giants warrant the interest that so many foreigners have taken in them. One of the most compelling aspects of living in Shenzhen, however, is how dynamic its geographical landscape is. On the one hand, Shenzhen is a mega city which offers a seemingly infinite variety of fun and entertainment. For many, the huge panoply of restaurants, shopping, and the bustling nightlife constitute the core of what this city has to offer. On the other hand, and, with the addition of the tenth new Dapeng District, Shenzhen also now has access to some of China’s most beautiful beaches and enjoyable outdoor activities.

The Dapeng Peninsula constitutes a major part of the Shenzhen east coast and has been nominated as containing some of China’s most beautiful beaches, according to China National Geography. Dapeng District consists of three sub districts including Kuichong, Dapeng and Nan’ao. The natural and historic features that the Dapeng Peninsula is most widely recognized for are several wonderful natural and historic features. These include Dameisha Beach, Xichong Beach and the Dapeng Fortress and Ancient Village (Dapengsuocheng), a preserved, walled historical area built in 1394.

 

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Before moving to China, I was asked by my recruiting company what area of Shenzhen I wanted to live in. Having lived in an interior province of South Africa for the past 10 years, I decided I wanted to try out the coastal life for a while. I purposefully chose Nan’ao as the place to spend my first year living in China, and I have not been disappointed. Beyond the beautiful scenery that is characteristic of the east coast of Shenzhen, one of the features of living here that has left a lasting impact on me is the pace of the lifestyle. Ordinary work days can consist of a whole range of activities including swimming at the local beach after classes or taking hikes up the hills and mountainous regions that are prevalent throughout Dapeng.

If you are inclined toward something more historical, then the Dapeng Fortress and Ancient Village provides an awesome combination of history, beauty, and entertainment. The Dapeng Fortress is over 600 years old and is extremely well preserved. There are many interesting sights within the fortress that can consume your attention for hours. One can spend the morning admiring the awesome ancient architecture within the walled city while learning about China’s history and then spend the afternoon enjoying some of the best seafood in Guangdong Province at the nearby seaside. These places will keep you entertained for hours.  The Ancient Village also offers fun-filled evenings. The streets in the village are lined with some of Shenzhen’s most fashionable inns and hotels, and bars and restaurants are plentiful! As with many other districts in Shenzhen, KTVs (private karaoke rooms) are plentiful in Dapeng and are always a great way to have a good time with friends.

If you are planning on staying in Shenzhen for any period of time, a visit to the Dapeng District is a must!

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