Shenzhen questions...

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Shenzhen questions...

    Hi!
    This is my first post.
    I'l be in HK this summer for 20 days vacation. After reading this forum and other websites, I learned that there is a city named Shenzhen which seems the place to go for bargain!
    Actually I'd like to go to Shenzhen from HK for three things:

    - SEG Electronic Components marketplace
    - having a taylor suit made
    - having a full body (2-3 hrs.) massage at a cheap price (no sex, thanks!)

    Now the questions:

    1) If I understood, since I am an Italian tourist, I don't need a visa but I just have to pay 100HK$ at custom border just after jumping out from the train to have my passport stamped. Is this correct?
    2) Since I am an electronic engineer, I started to have an heartache after reading about SEG! I have a LOT of things to buy, but... is it safe? e.g. If I buy a microcontroller, an eprom programmer or DDR modules at SEG, is it possible to receive a fake one? Any horror story to tell?
    3) Any suggestion for a tailor in Lo Hu? Is it possible to have my body measured in the morning and to come back in the evening to pick up the suit?
    4) Any suggestion for a cheap massage center with "NO SEX happy ending" in Lo Hu? A cheap but good alternative in HK?
    5) I traveled a lot (most part of Europe, USA and Japan) and never had problems with pickpockets, but reading reviews about Shenzhen, it seems to be more dangerous than NY Bronx at Night! What about the safety in Shenzhen (and in HK in general)? I successfully survived in Naples, Prague and Lisbon. I'll be able to survive in Shenzhen?

    Thank You for your help and sorry for my bad English!


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Yuen Long
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    Hello,

    Shenzhen is a good place to visit, but yes you need to be careful of a few things:

    1. You will need a visa to enter the PRC, however it is true by taking the MTR East Rail Line to Lo Wu you may get a visa at the border. (Please double check though as regulations have been changing daily in China and that office may close or be closed any day) The fee used to be $100, but it is HKD$150 and you go to a visa office in the immigration building. The time it takes varies based on how many people are there, so if you go at a slack time. (Evenings, Mid Weekdays) it could be as fast as 10 minutes total, or I have went on weekends and waited in line with other people for 1.5 hours.

    2. The only suggestion I have is to look over everything you want to purchase. Check for defects and brand names etc. Also if possible with these things test them before taking them away. I am not familar with the toys you are looking for, so I can't really help you much there.

    3. I am not sure of any tailors like that. You can also get a suit made in Hong Kong though, I think it's hard to pick up one in a day even in Shenzhen. (Not saying it is impossible) But, to keep yourself cool it may be better to buy in HK. I have found a place that is around HKD$1100 for a nice tailor suit and it's around 5 days or so to pick up.

    4. Massage places are all over,hard to give an address though. You can normally spot them with someone dressed up outside with a little podium. The price for a massage is indeed cheap. But it depends what you want. (Showers, Sauna, Steam Room, Swimming, Dinner and Massage) or just a plain old massage. Also foot massage and body massage is different. So it is really about your needs. I have done massage for as low as RMB59 for 3 hours, and I have done much more expensive to have the sauna etc added in.

    5. Shenzhen can indeed to be dangerous. Be careful to keep your guard up, but also don't walk around in fear. Don't dress in expensive clothes and watches etc. Try to look like an everyday person and watch your belongings. Try to take as little as possible with you. I don't even take a full wallet. I take some cash, ID card, passport,octopus card, bank or credit card for emergencys, house keys and that is normally it, Make sure not to use back pockets, backpack etc.

    Also being foreign expect a bullseye on your forehead for all the beggars. I have had a crowd of them waiting for me to get out of a taxi before. Then they walked with me for over a block bumping me with their cups. They are not generally dangerous and if you give them even 1RMB they will back off. Just a heads up to expect that though.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    14,256

    Pretty much as HKChigger says

    Suits, You won't get sameday service so no chance of that happening.

    Massage places go to a place called Queens, I personally haven't been yet but a lot of my friends and locals recommend it.

    Last edited by jimbo; 30-06-2008 at 11:29 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #4

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    Jimbo is Queen's in Lo Wu? Any idea where abouts/cost/services?


  5. #5

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    Oct 2005
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    Its over in Shenzhen side and its very cheap, I'll try and get the location etc for you.

    Here you go.

    Queen Spa - Shenzhen - Reviews of Queen Spa - TripAdvisor


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    554

    They have stopped issuing visas at the border. In some cases you can't even apply for a China visa in Hong Kong, but only in your country of origin.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by HKChigger
    You will need a visa to enter the PRC
    Probably will be better to have my passport stamped in Italy, just to be sure. I have 5 weeks so no problems...


    Quote Originally Posted by HKChigger
    Also if possible with these things test them before taking them away.
    The problem is that is not so simple to test a "virgin" microcontroller. Yes, I can take with me a programmer and my eeePC, but I'd prefere to travel in Shenzhen as light as possible!


    Quote Originally Posted by HKChigger
    I have found a place that is around HKD$1100 for a nice tailor suit and it's around 5 days or so to pick up.
    Do you have the address?


    Quote Originally Posted by HKChigger
    The price for a massage is indeed cheap. But it depends what you want. (Showers, Sauna, Steam Room, Swimming, Dinner and Massage) or just a plain old massage.
    Just a plain old massage!
    Last august I was in Tokyo and got a WONDERFUL full body massage from a trained japanese guy. The best 45 minutes of my life!!
    Do you know if japanese masseurs are better than chinese masseurs???


    Quote Originally Posted by HKChigger
    Don't dress in expensive clothes and watches etc. Try to look like an everyday person and watch your belongings.
    Normally my strategy is the following: jogging shoes, jeans, T-shirt, an old Casio watch, no rings, and money and credit cards shared between 4 places: 2 in the front pockets of the jeans and 2 on the front pockets of the jeans legs (closed with buttons). And I am anytime aware of what is happening around me, watching for sounds and stopping suddenly and looking directly in face of anyone that seems to follow me or entering big shops and watching for back exits. Normally this is enough to have no problems with pickpockets all over the world. My only concern is if there are more dangerous pickpockets. (e.g. a band who surround me and point a knife or a gun to my face).
    Had a little problem a few years ago in Paris with a band of black people who tried to sell me watches and tried to touch me. No luck for them in touching me, and with a speed up on my jogging shoes I was out of reach in a few seconds!
    Another time in Rome with a band who "liked" my girlfriend. They follow us for a while at distance (too many people around), so after we turn a corner we just run, run and run again and they lost our traces!

    Quote Originally Posted by HKChigger
    Also being foreign expect a bullseye on your forehead for all the beggars. I have had a crowd of them waiting for me to get out of a taxi before. Then they walked with me for over a block bumping me with their cups. They are not generally dangerous and if you give them even 1RMB they will back off. Just a heads up to expect that though.
    Hmmm... normally when someone ask me for money I answer a gentle but hard "no!", or directly continue to walk without saying a word.
    This last strategy may be a problem? (to give no money at all!)
    There is the police on the streets and in the metro stations in Shenzhen? Is the metro generally safe? May I use the octopus card? Where to change for RMB? (in HK?)

    Thanks a lot for your very complete answer!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    67

    Just a few answers

    1. With beggars, walking ahead without saying anything is fine. In fact this is the best way to deal with anyone who talks to you on the street, sadly even children as they may be used as fronts for adults trying to get money from you. Just never deal with anyone who talks to you on the street, they want money, very simply. If someone bumps into you or distracts you, hang on to your wallet.
    2. There are police and everywhere has guards. The metro is totally safe, just watch your wallet around ticket machines.
    3. Shenzhen has its own "Octopus" card which you buy at any metro station.
    4. Shenzhen has been cleaned up in recent years. The migrant population from the countryside has been reduced so most people have jobs and are not into crime. There are far more police now and many video cameras. Criminals will always be part of a group, never alone, so you can look out for two or three people hanging about and watching other people. Crime is not violent, they will just try pickpocketing or some scam to get money. Make sure any taxi you take has a licence displayed on the right hand side of the front windscreen. Never take a fake taxi, even though some will look like red regular taxis but without a licence displayed.
    5. For the tailor, no quality tailor will do something in a day. They do the cutting themselves and then send the clothes to a sewer for sewing. They then inspect the clothes when they come back. Tailors do not charge for making adjustments after you try your garment on when it is finished but you need to allow a day for these final adjustments. Be as specific as you can with what you want, say you want "high quality" and be fussy about the finished product.Everyone works against the clock to make money so any mistake is just because the job has been rushed, not because they are not competent.
    6. Most people in Shenzhen are well-meaning and have arrived from the countryside where they had a very poor life. Often they have never seen a foreigner before and might be scared of having to deal with one or having to speak English. A few manners and being nice to everyone goes a long way, but don't put up with anything where you are getting the wrong end of a deal. The exception to people coming from the countryside are the tailors, who come from Shanghai and go back every Chinese New Year.


  9. #9

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    Jun 2008
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    Thank You SZTAITAI for your complete and informative answer about the safety in Shenzhen.
    I survived a lot of bad cities in Europe, so after reading your words I'm sure I'll be fine in Shenzhen too!
    Now I just have to have my visa stamped in Italy (just to be sure... ;-) )


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by SZTAITAI
    2. There are police and everywhere has guards. The metro is totally safe, just watch your wallet around ticket machines.
    4. Shenzhen has been cleaned up in recent years. The migrant population from the countryside has been reduced so most people have jobs and are not into crime. There are far more police now and many video cameras. Criminals will always be part of a group, never alone, so you can look out for two or three people hanging about and watching other people. Crime is not violent, they will just try pickpocketing or some scam to get money.
    I have personally had a book stolen from my bag on the SZ metro in the past six months. No idea why they wanted the book, I am guessing they were just fishing for something valuable. So I dispute the "SZ Metro being totally safe" comment.
    Whilst there are a lot of police--especially if you count those guys in the green and the guys on the blue uniforms who appear to be some sort of guards (but not police)--I am of the opinion that most just look the other way. After all, there are five floors of fake merchandise there (with signs asking you to report fake mercahandise) and, as you correctly point out, small bands of petty criminals which you suggest are easy for tourists to spot so you'd think the police could do the same.
    And the petty criminals all know where the cameras are, so it isn't like cameras stop anything (so beware the elevators and escalators).
    SZ has been cleaned up, but that seems to mean they removed most of the beggars.

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