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An Amazing Shenzhen

Splendid China Entrance It was Monday, May 6. From Quarry Bay we took the MTR Kwun Tong Line to Kowloon Tong where we were to exchange rail to KCR. Adult fare from Quarry Bay is HKD11.80. The Kowloon Tong station was very busy that day. Everybody seemed to be in a hurry. From the MTR station, we followed the direction to the KCR flatform. The train was to take us to the Honkong-China border at Lo Wu; fare was HKD31.30 for a 50-minute travel. We were able to get a seat in Tai Wai. From the window, you would see a typical province with lavish greenery. The train we were on is terminating at Sheung Shui station, so we changed to another train.

Upon arrival at Lo Wu, everyone rushed to the door while the passengers waiting outside the flatform forced themselves into the cabin. We walked towards the KCR exit while checking for a travel agency office because we didn't have a hotel reservation. All offices were closed including China Travel where we got our tickets to Macau so we decided to get out taking our chances that there would still be some outside.

Splendid China: Great Wall We cleared Hongkong Immigration and walked around through the Lo Wu bridge that separates Hongkong from China. The surroundings are still under major renovation including immigration and tourism offices. All visitors are required by the Chinese government to secure a visa. Arrival visa is available at the second floor, just before the immigration counters. It took us only 15 minutes to secure our visas. Processing fee is HKD100 and is valid only for the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone for five days.

We were able to arrange for a room in Ambassador Hotel at Jielu Travel Agency for HKD270. We had one HKD100 bill changed to Chinese Renmimbi (RMB) whose value is a bit lower than HKD. We checked with the travel agency which bus to take. It is a good idea for visitors to have directions written in Chinese characters. We walked outside and everyone was offering a taxi ride. We went through the station below Lo Wu Commercial Center towards the main street without any idea where to find the bus. There was nobody who could understand us because they don't speak English. We walked along this street until we finally got one at the next corner just after the overpass.

Windows of the World: Egypt We placed our fare in the fare box and find a place to seat. The driver called our attention but we didn't understand him. There was a Chinese-American beside us and explained that we need to add RMB2 however we didn't have a change. We ask the people inside to have our bill changed and nobody replied. There was a kind man at my back who offered RMB2. We showed the driver the brochure we got from the agency and asked him to drop us there. Fortunately, this Chinese-American guy knew the place and was disembarking in the same bus station.

I was amazed by Shenzhen's clean and green surroundings. The roads are wide and the buildings are towering just like in Hongkong. Finally, we got our way to our hotel at 11am. Guest officers do not speak English either except for one who helped us get instruction how to get around. After lunch, we rode a bus to the Window of the World, a theme park showcasing famous landmarks of the world, sculptures, houses, ancient and modern landscapes and cultural sites in replicas and some performances.

Windows of the World: Niagara Falls We took the elevated monorail ride that goes circular around the park before we started walking along. You would find the Angkor Wat of Cambodia, the pyramids of Egypt, the Grand Canyon of America, the Taj Mahal of India, the Sydney Opera House of Australia among others. My kid and I rented a water bike for HKD35. We passed by the African Village and enjoyed our snacks near the Niagara Falls of Canada. The 108-meter Eiffel tower stands great as if it was the real from afar. Nearby is the L'Arc de Triomphe.

Windows of the World: L'Arc de Triomphe At 7pm, we watched a spectacular 40-minute show of multi-cultural dances and performances depicting the world history at the World Square and fireworks display.

We arrived the hotel at 9:30pm.

The following day we visited the Splendid China with all the miniatures of the famous Chinese structures. The theme park is laid out according to the map of China. We rented a car to tour us around the park. It took us an hour to visit the Great Wall, Potala Palace, Terracotta Warriors among others.

There are shops out side the park where you can hunt for souvenir items. Before taking something, always ask the price and offer one third of that. If the vendor shakes his head, try to punch into the calculator a price higher than you initial bargain but never pay more than half of the price! Finally, we went to Lo Wu border and back to Hongkong.