Exploring Vibrant Shenzhen: Your Essential Visa Guide, Must-Have Apps, and Cashless Payments

2023-10-23 00:08:31 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of Vytravels.com, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Unveiling the vibrant cityscape of Shenzhen, where cutting-edge technology meets cultural charm, is an adventure waiting to be explored. From the seamless entry process with QR codes to the captivating dining scene of Michelin-star restaurants, this guide unravels the secrets of this rapidly blossoming destination. Discover the essential apps that will connect you to the heartbeat of the city, the bustling transportation options that whisk you through its streets, and the tips and tricks guaranteed to enhance your Shenzhen experience. Prepare to be captivated as we delve into the vibrant tapestry of Shenzhen, a city that beckons visitors with its modern allure and embraces them with its warm hospitality.

QR Code for Entry and Exit in Shenzhen

In order to enter and exit Shenzhen, visitors are required to generate and scan a QR code. This QR code serves as a verification process and must be generated within the previous 24 hours. It is important to note that a screenshot of an old QR code will not work; only a freshly generated one will grant access.

Obtaining a QR Code

To acquire a new QR code, visitors have two options - they can either resubmit their information or simply tap the renew button. This ensures that the information provided is up-to-date and in line with the latest requirements. This process allows for smooth and efficient entry and exit at the border.

On-arrival Visa for Shenzhen

If visitors wish to stay in Shenzhen for a period of up to five days, they have the option of obtaining an on-arrival visa. This visa is exclusive to Shenzhen and offers the opportunity to explore the city for a limited time. The clock for this visa starts ticking from 00:00 the day following the entry date, so it's important to plan accordingly.


Entry Points and Application Process

There are five entry points in Shenzhen where on-arrival visas can be processed: Luohu, Huanggang, Fuyong, Shekou, and Shenzhen Baoan International Airport. For visitors coming from Hong Kong, the MTR's East Rail Line to Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau stations provides the simplest option to reach these entry points.

Upon arrival, the application process involves taking a numbered ticket, providing a photo, and filling out an application form. An immigration officer will then ask a few questions and collect the passport. After a short wait, the passport is returned with a full-page visa attached.

Visa Processing Fee

The visa processing fee varies depending on nationality. For US citizens, the fee is 956 yuan (US$130), for British citizens it is 304 yuan, and for most other nationalities, it is 168 yuan. Payment can be made through a Chinese e-payment app or with a credit card, offering convenience to visitors.

Essential Apps for Visiting Shenzhen

When visiting Shenzhen, it is recommended to download certain apps to enhance the overall experience and make navigating the city easier. These apps offer various functionalities and cater to different needs.

WeChat - Your Digital Transaction Companion

WeChat is an essential app in Shenzhen as most vendors prefer digital transactions over physical cash. This widely used app allows users to make payments through WeChat Pay, ensuring a convenient and seamless transaction experience.

Didi Chuxing - The Chinese Equivalent of Uber


Didi Chuxing serves as the Chinese version of Uber and is a great tool for ordering taxis in Shenzhen. With the built-in translation tool, communication with drivers becomes easier, making the entire transportation process smoother for visitors.

Dazhong Dianping - Browse Reviews and Recommendations

Dazhong Dianping is an app that provides users with the ability to browse reviews and recommendations for restaurants, cafes, and tourist spots in Shenzhen. Although the app is primarily in Chinese, it is user-friendly and allows visitors to gauge the quality and popularity of various establishments.

Alipay or AlipayHK - Making E-Payments Simple


Alipay is a digital payment service that accepts foreign-issued credit cards, making it convenient for visitors to make e-payments in Shenzhen. Alternatively, AlipayHK can be used, which is linked to a Hong Kong bank account. Both options provide a hassle-free way to make payments during the stay.

Baidu Maps - Accurate Navigation in Shenzhen

While Google Maps works in Shenzhen, Baidu Maps is more accurate when it comes to pinpointing locations and providing directions. As a result, using Baidu Maps can help visitors navigate the city more effectively, ensuring they reach their intended destinations without any confusion.

Google Translate - Break Down Language Barriers

For visitors facing language barriers in Shenzhen, Google Translate comes to the rescue. This app offers a Conversation mode that instantly translates spoken languages, allowing for more effective communication with locals and making the overall experience more enjoyable.

Should Hong Kong Compete with Shenzhen as a Shopping and Dining Destination?


Shenzhen's rise as a shopping and dining destination has left some questioning whether Hong Kong should strive to compete. With its international dining scene and a growing number of Michelin-star restaurants, Shenzhen has clearly positioned itself as a culinary hub. Additionally, its diverse shopping options appeal to locals and tourists alike, making it a worthy contender.

Getting Around Shenzhen

Exploring Shenzhen is made convenient with the city's extensive transportation options.

Buses and Metro

Shenzhen boasts more than 1,000 bus routes and 16 metro lines, providing visitors with a comprehensive public transportation system. By utilizing the Shenzhen Tong IC Card or the EasyGo QR code on AlipayHK, one can easily access buses and enjoy seamless travel throughout the city. Metro announcements are made in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English, ensuring ease of navigation for international visitors.

Taxis - A Convenient Mode of Transportation

Taxis are a popular mode of transportation in Shenzhen and can be hailed easily throughout the city. Compared to Hong Kong, taxi rides in Shenzhen are generally more affordable. With a minimum fare of 10 yuan for the first two kilometers and a per-kilometer rate of 2.60 yuan thereafter, taxis offer a convenient and cost-effective way to get around.

Michelin-Star Restaurants in Shenzhen

Shenzhen's dining scene has been catapulted into the international spotlight with the emergence of Michelin-starred restaurants. These esteemed establishments, helmed by renowned chefs, have raised the standards of Western dining in the city.

Useful Tips for Visitors in Shenzhen

Bring Physical Money as Backup

While Shenzhen is largely cashless, it is advisable to carry physical money as a backup. Although many vendors prefer digital transactions, some may still accept notes and coins. Conveniently, yuan notes can be withdrawn from ATMs and banks across Hong Kong, ensuring visitors have a contingency plan in case the e-payment system isn't viable.

Ask for Help - Locals are Friendly and Willing to Assist

In a foreign city like Shenzhen, it's always helpful to remember that locals are generally friendly and eager to assist visitors. Should you encounter any difficulties or have questions, don't hesitate to ask for help. Locals' willingness to lend a hand can make your experience in Shenzhen all the more enjoyable.

Protect Yourself from the Sun with a UV Umbrella

Shenzhen's scorching summer sun can be relentless, particularly for those accustomed to the weather in Hong Kong. To shield yourself from the sun's rays and ensure a more comfortable experience, it is advisable to carry a UV umbrella. This simple accessory can provide relief from the heat and enhance your overall exploration of the city.

With these tips in mind, visitors can make the most of their trip to Shenzhen and navigate the city like a pro.

Embrace the Marvels of Shenzhen

As we come to the end of our exploration of Shenzhen's wonders, we invite you to embark on your own journey to this captivating metropolis. Whether you seek the thrill of scanning QR codes for seamless entry, the delight of indulging in Michelin-starred gastronomy, or the convenience and charm of navigating the city's vibrant streets, Shenzhen offers it all. Embrace the technological marvels and cultural delights that await you in this cosmopolitan gem. So, pack your bags, download those essential apps, and set forth on an unforgettable adventure through the streets of Shenzhen.

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