ARRIVAL IN SHENZHEN ACROSS THE BORDER INTO CHINA:
PANNY AND I OUTSIDE THE TRAIN STATION AT SHENZHEN, CHINA:
PANNY AND I AT SHENZHEN TRAIN STATION BOARDING THE NIGHT TRAIN TO YUNG DING:
ON THE SHENZHEN TO YUNG DING NIGHT TRAIN ABOUT TO LEAVE SHENZHEN:
The three places that this report will be based on are Sheung Shui, Lo Wu and Shenzhen. All three of which are basically the border between Hong Kong and China. A busy border, and of course the closest border to where I live here in Hong Kong. I had never been to any of those places until March of this year, when I was at all three places in one evening on route to the Fujian Province of China with my girlfriend Panny Yu.
After working in Tsuen Wan, it was Friday night and time for a weekend break to China, so I headed straight from work on the Hong Kong MTR system to a place called Sheung Shui. My reason for going there was partly because I finished work earlier than Panny and had time to kill, but also cleverly that if you get out at Sheung Shui station and hang around for half an hour, you actually save money on your journey. Because that way you are not taking a direct straight trip to the border. Thanks to Panny then that I went from Tsuen Wan to Prince Edward on the Tsuen Wan line. I changed at Prince Edward onto the Kwun Tong line, and then I changed again at Kowloon Tong onto the light blue line and got out at Sheung Shui.
It was still daylight and around 6.10 pm when I got out at Sheung Shui. I had a wee walk around taking various shots of the buildings. There were not many foreigners about in this area. And it’s not common for people heading to China to get out here. Most are in too much of a rush and too busy, so they head straight to Lo Wu (the last station in Hong Kong before the border).
Typical Sheung Shui housing. In fact, these are pretty typical of Hong Kong as a whole, however the further out of the city you get, the stronger the Chinese influence.
I found the Metropolis Plaza and thought I could pop for a beer and a bite somewhere and text Panny. But all I could find were the usual suspects – shopping centre style restaurants and fast food outlets.
Metropolis Plaza at Sheung Shui.
So in the end I couldn’t find a bar. I love to relax with a beer, particularly when I’m on holiday. So I settled for Burger King. This was only my second ever Burger King in Hong Kong. Whopper meal with Cream Soda. While I munched on it, I was texting Panny who was now finished work and on course to meet up with me at Lo Wu, before crossing into China.
It was now dark in Sheung Shui – the main streets of this town captured in their evening glory.
As with most towns and parts of Hong Kong, there is more than one shopping centre. This one was also busy, and indeed was where the Burger King was.
A map of Sheung Shui.
I picked up some juice, snacks and a few tins of beer for the trip. Once in Shenzhen we would get a night-train towards Longyan (but stop in Yungding).
From Sheung Shui there are two routes to take, both leave you right on the Chinese border. One is to Lok Ma Chau, the other to Lo Wu. It doesn’t really matter where you stand on the platform as you just need to get on the right train. I kept waiting for a Lo Wu one. And when one arrived it was full and Panny told me she was on it. I couldn’t get in so had to wait another 4 minutes.
My train to Lo Wu was arriving. This was March 2012. I had been to China first in July 2007 on my round the world trip. And officially at least, I had landed three further times in China during the intervening years (none of those times leaving the airports at either Beijing – twice, or Guangzhou – once). And for the record, I don’t count Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan as China. Given they all have separate visa regulations, currencies and the ultimate in national separatism: an international football team!
If you didn’t know the route, it’s clearly marked here. From the yellow dot of Sheung Shui, you have two choices of your onward trip to China. We were headed for Shenzhen therefore Lo Wu would be the venue of our border control.
Leaving Sheung Shui station. In rush hour.
My packed train from Sheung Shui to Lo Wu.
At Lo Wu, I joined the queue for Hong Kong immigration.
I was able to join the queue for “Hong Kong Residents” given I owned a Hong Kong ID card.
The blur and busy border departure from Hong Kong before cameras are banned and I met up with Panny in between leaving Hong Kong and entering China. It was a 15 minute process, all indoors, and all straight forward. I had got myself a double entry visa for China this time, as I’m very keen to explore more of it, given its history, size and proximity.
Panny Yu and I safely and happily arrive in China. This taken in the immigration building once through passport control. We had arrived in Shenzhen!
The madness of a Friday night influx of people to the border building at Shenzhen.
Out into the open Chinese air. For the first time in FIVE years!
A photo looking back to the border building entrance, behind which, by some 500 metres lies Lo Wu and the country of Hong Kong.
Looking a little business man like on arrival in Shenzhen. Feeling happy to be travelling again, albeit for just 2 nights and days!
View looking back to Hong Kong again from Shenzhen.
Shenzhen train station.
I was quick off the mark, making up for a five year absence (since Tiananmen Gate) of flying the Northern Ireland flag in China.
We had about 40 minutes or so before our night train would depart towards Longyan. It gave us time to go to the toilet, check our platform, buy some water etc. and for Panny to eat.
Inside Shenzhen train station.
This was our train. Although it was heading for Fu Zhou, we had tickets for Longyan and would get out at Yungding.
Shenzhen station was quite busy, our train also would be.
Chinese people hanging around at Shenzhen train station.
I was actually surprised to see some information written in English. I should enjoy it while it lasts. As dawn broke and we arrived in Fujian province, the only English writing would be in my notebook…
You don’t need me to translate this one into English for you. Panny also went for cheap and easy fast food. Strangely her fillet of fish meal would have been cheaper in Hong Kong!
We had time to walk around the train station and capture Shenzhen at night. Panny had never actually been to Shenzhen apart from passing through it. In essence both of us still haven’t.
Shenzhen by night.
Two tickets for Long Yan please. After Panny had eaten and we went to the toilet, it was time to board yet another night train on yet another journey on this round ball. This was the 9th different country Panny and I had been in together across 4 continents (we’re now up to 12 countries across 5 continents). The journey will continue…
From – Tsuen Wan, HONG KONG
To – Shenzhen, CHINA
Via – Sheung Shui, Lo Wu
Transport Used – Hong Kong MTR, Chinese Railways
Nationalities Met – Hong Kongese, Chinese, Northern Irish (me)
Beers – Polar Ice and Guinness (for the night train)
Food – Fast (Burger King and McDonalds)
Strange Currencies – Hong Kong Dollars, Chinese Yuan (RMB)
Key Song –
PAUL MCCARTNEY – SLOW BOAT TO CHINA (COVER VERSION):
My Videos –
FRIDAY NIGHT AT SHEUNG SHUI, HONG KONG:
AT LO WU, BORDER FROM HONG KONG TO CHINA: