Shenzhen Mini Guide
Forget bargain-hunting in Luo Hu! What about Shenzhen's beach resorts? That is where you will find shops selling designer overruns as well as a sandy beach and sidewalk cafes serving all manner of regional Chinese cuisine!
Dameisha is an unexpected seaside resort on the Eastern outskirts of Shenzhen. Think: shops + sand + sidewalk cafes!
Now who would have thought?
Situated about one hour (by bus) from the Hong Kong border (if traffic cooperates) is a delightful seaside resort called Dameisha.
And this is what awaits: a shopping arcade with designer (discount) outlets, a lengthy stretch of sandy beach, and sidewalk cafes serving all manner of (mouth-watering) regional Chinese cuisine.
Did I forget to mention hotels?
Shenzhen is FULL of "best kept secrets", and Dameisha is one of them! Dameisha is vaguely reminiscent of Hong Kong's Repulse Bay, except …
- The hills are set back MUCH further from the shore;
- There are NONE of those hideous high-rises;
- Quite a few private villas with beautiful architecture dot the surrounding hills;
- The locals seem MUCH more approachable (it helps if you can speak Mandarin);
- You CAN'T have English high tea at a re-built hotel from the colonial era; and …
- There ARE no shark's nets (as far as I know).
Okay, let's get back on topic … Just WHY should you go to Dameisha???
When I first visited Dameisha a few years ago, I was surprised. There were palm trees, public squares, and a collection of lovely buildings overlooking a canal - with shop fronts that were mostly empty.
On my most recent trip to Dameisha, OMG!!! Those lovely buildings now house a collection of more than 200 famous name outlets. Everything from mass market to designer label brands is represented.
Needless to say, there are also some famous name coffee outlets. Would you believe Pacific Coast Coffee?
Glad to see the investors behind this project finally got their acts together!
If the sandy beach goes on for days, you will quickly discover that this is CHINA and not Hong Kong, which has a well-established beach-going culture.
How? Simple! In Hong Kong, the locals lie in the sun in pursuit of a tan. In Shenzhen, they walk about carrying umbrellas – lest they get a tan.
Admission used to be charged to enter the beach, but it is now free. The turnstyles are still there, however. In case you get confused, someone in a uniform will quickly arrive and show you how to do it.
What not to miss: the coconut juice. They chop open the coconut open right before your very eyes! (Don't forget to ask for a straw!!!)
What to be wary of: the changing rooms. OMG! I doubt if they've been cleaned since they opened a few years ago. If you are brave enough, take a deep breath before entering, walk on your tippy toes, and change as quickly as you can!
There are all manner of food and beverage outlets in Dameisha! If you want to go high-end, there is always the Sheraton.
And there are countless venues on Yanmei Road, which is right across the street from the beach.
I prefer to venture onto the side streets, one or 2 alleys off the main drag. That's where you can rub shoulders with the locals – and the not so local locals. Shenzhen is, after all, a city of migrants,
And that is where, I think, you can get the best food! Hakka? Hunanese? Sichuanese? Chiu Chao?
And talk about entertainment! Forget about the clubs! There are ambulant musicians! And for a few RMB, they will sing for you.
But, PLEASE, remember to tip – but don't get carried away. Ten or 20 RMB will make them happy! Don't be overly generous. If you are, you will only spoil it for the locals (who probably don't earn nearly as much as you do).
Make It Happen!
Shenzhen is a modern city with all manner of accommodation, from luxurious 5 star resorts to modest dormitories to a capsule hotel with capsules renting for just over US$10 a night.
As a city of migrants, Shenzhen has thousands of restaurants, cafes, and food stalls serving regional Chinese dishes from all over the country as well as the national cuisines of countries all over the world.
Have you ever been to Dameisha? Would you recommend it to others?
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