Before coming to China I expected to find thick clouds of choking smog and fields bubbling with pollution. Upon arriving, I quickly discovered just how effective the steps the country has taken to combat pollution and improve air quality have been.
Now, living in Shenzhen, a literal stone’s throw from Hong Kong, my preconceptions are continuously proven wrong. This modern metropolis has electrified buses whizzing between destinations whilst communal bikes from Mobike and OFO dance through pedestrians and metros rumble below ground.
Shenzhen really does have an excellent, clean public transport network. The city also packs in plenty of beautiful parks within its limits which help to keep the air fresh. One of Shenzhen’s most famous green spaces is the Shenzhen Bay Park.
Shenzhen Bay Park is a coastal park built on a 13 KM long reclaimed stretch of land. Opened in 2011, this park stretches along the south coast of both Futian and Nanshan district, offering spectacular panoramic views. Look inland and you can marvel at Shenzhen’s ever-changing skyline. Turn around and you will witness Hong Kong’s many mountains piercing the sky. You might hear a gentle splash as water sways against the boardwalk, mixed in with the sound of chirping birds and rustling leaves. The park is a peaceful oasis, offering a welcome escape from the bustle of city life.
Aside from simply being a great place to relax, the park is full of people taking in the beautiful landscapes. Photographers frequently gather for misty sunrises and sapphire sunsets. There is plenty of nature, architecture and other attractions to take in too.
It’s not just photographers that frequent the park. The 13 kilometers of flat, uninterrupted pedestrianized walkway is particularly appealing for runners, especially when accompanied by a cooling sea breeze. Toilets and water fountains are conveniently scattered throughout the park and there are plenty of benches and recycling bins.
If that’s not enough, the park is seamlessly connected to the new Shenzhen Bay Talent Park, which features a spongy 2.5km circular running track, showers, lockers and a children’s play area. Between Monday to Friday bicycles can be seen racing through Shenzhen bay but beware, the 15km/h speed limit is generally ignored. (Bikes are banned at the weekend and on public holidays.)
As brilliant as the park is, there are a few rules to abide by. Due to it’s proximity to Hong Kong you are not allowed to swim in the sea. There is also a ban on hand-gliding. Tug-of-war is also frowned upon, as are ball games, skating and hammocks. Whilst the rules may seem unnecessary they certainly help to make the park a more relaxing place. A quick internet search of ‘Shenzhen Bay Bikes’ will immediately show you why the rules are a vital way of ensuring the safety of all park-goers.
I am in love with this park and it has greatly improved my stay and general life here in Shenzhen. If you’d like to visit Shenzhen Bay Park, it is served by the Shenzhen Bay Metro Station (Line 9 Exit C). Alternatively, you can walk to the coast from Houhai Metro Station (Line 11 and Line 2 Exit G) or go to Dengliang Metro Station (Line 2 Exit C) for Shenzhen Bay Talent Park.
Guest post by Andrew Isles
Andrew is originally from Slough, UK and has lived in China for 3 years. He has taught English in Shijiazhuang and now lives in Shenzhen. In his free time he likes to play football and travel. You can check out his YouTube page by searching ‘BAIMA Adventures’ or following this link