Living in Shenzhen
Shenzhen is home to more than 14 million people. This dynamic and still growing city has something to offer everyone. From an electronics mall to a painting village to world-class restaurants, Shenzhen’s entertainment scene provides a wonderful spectrum of diversity.
Nestled in the southwestern corner of Shenzen, lies Shekou, home to Shekou International School. Shekou, which means “Snake’s Mouth” (a reference to the delta of the Pearl River), is a vibrant expatriate community with a small town feel. Life in Shenzhen is more affordable that most other large Chinese cities, with one of the better living environments in China as well. Have a cup of coffee at Starbucks and you will hear multiple languages being spoken or mosey on down to Old Shekou for a foot massage or a bit of shopping. Shekou is located on the South China Sea and is just a short ferry ride from Hong Kong.
Accommodations in Shekou
There is no shortage of apartments in Shekou. As a growing city, new apartments, less than two years old, are available. There are also older apartments, usually with larger living areas, on the market. Apartments are owned by individuals and will vary in terms amenities and furniture. Apartments are normally furnished with all the necessary furniture and electronics including TVs, air conditioners and washing machines. Dryers are uncommon in this part of the world though some apartments may have a combination washer/dryer. Ovens are also rare but small countertop electric ovens can be purchased.
Most complexes have a pool and some even have a gym. Apartments are built above or surrounding retail space which makes it easy and convenient to pop downstairs for groceries, a quick meal or even a game of pool. Many of the complexes are located near the sea, offering breathtaking views.
Day to Day Life
There are several international grocery store chains in Shenzhen including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Carrefour, Metro and Jusco. In addition there are several “import” mom and pop stores located throughout Shekou. Western items are available, though in some cases they are more expensive. What you can’t find in Shenzhen, can almost certainly be found in Hong Kong. Local and imported fruits and vegetables are available in most grocery stores though a trip to the local wet market is always an adventure and a cost saver. Shekou now has an online grocery delivery service.
Domestic help is inexpensive and services range from hourly help to live in. Fees will vary depending on years of experience and English ability. In general rates can range from 25 to 30 RMB per hour to 5000 per month depending on the service needed.
SIS offers an employee shuttle bus that operates during the week to bring employees to and from school.
Shenzhen has an extensive subway system that connects most parts of Shenzhen. The subway is clean, modern and inexpensive. Shenzhen is spread across a large geographical region and using the subway to get from one end to the other is a great time saver. Shenzhen also has an excellent bus system. Public buses run frequently and though they can be quite crowded during peak hours, they are a great way to see the city.
If public transportation is not your thing, taxis are abundant across the city and are usually easy to find. Taxi fees are reasonable but if you prefer to bike, Shekou is easy to navigate. Our campuses are less than a 15 minute bike ride from the most popular apartment complexes.
Getting to Hong Kong for shopping, dining and just an adventure is easy from Shekou. The Shekou port which is just a 10 minute walk from our Jingshan campus offers multiple ferries to Hong Kong throughout the day. If you prefer to travel by land, the Shenzhen Bay Entry port is just a 10 to 15 minute taxi ride from Shekou. As one of the main entry/exit points to Shenzhen, buses and taxis to Hong Kong can easily be found.
Recreation and Entertainment
Shenzhen is known for its bargain shopping from the famous Lo Wu commercial center where you can have clothes tailored, buy off the rack, or purchase shoes and purses to Huaqiang Bei where you can find 8 floors of electronics. And after your shopping excursion, you can visit one of the numerous spas located throughout Shenzhen for a foot or body massage. If shopping is not on your top ten list of things to do on a Saturday, a trip to Dafen Oil painting village is a must. You can buy artwork or even have paintings created from a photo. There are several beaches outside of Shenzhen where you can easily spend a weekend. If that’s not enough there is always the Overseas Chinese Town art gallery.
Shenzhen and Shekou both offer numerous dining options. Shekou has many Western style restaurants and bars that offer everything from pizza and burgers to filet mignon. There are also numerous ethnic restaurants around Shenzhen. You can find everything from Vietnamese to Turkish food. For true foodies, many Hong Kong restaurants feature Michelin star chefs from around the world. Closer to Shekou, many of the upscale hotels offer fine dining as well.