|Ultimate Shenzhen Universiade Guide|
Everything you need to know about Shenzhen and the Universiade in this guide .
Athletes will probably be picked up at the airports, but for other visitors this might be useful. I assume most people will arrive via one of the following airports:
Tip: if you have a single-entry visa for China, you can only enter China ONCE (so don't go to Hong Kong if you still need to come back to Shenzhen).
When you arrive in Shenzhen, take a taxi or metro as described below:
Tip: always keep your passport and your address (in Chinese) with you
Tip: the Shenzhen Universiade athletes village is on the new blue Longgang line (see right top in this map : 大运 / Universiade )
Tip: you can buy a Shenzhen Metro card for 100 RMB and that is much better than buying a new ticket (green coin) every time. Only disadvantage is that it is very difficult to return the card (and get the remaining money out) at the end. So you might lose a few dollar (or donate the card to me :))
Tip: Metro will operate from 6: 30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on the opening and closing days of the Universiade and from 6: 30 a.m. to 12 a.m. during the Games.
You can withdraw money in all ATM machines. Most of the machines are bi-lingual (English + Chinese) and are easy to use. You can exchange money at all major banks as well. Shops in general do not accept foreign currencies. You can pay with creditcard in department stores.
Tip: try to examine the money after you get it from the ATM (especially the 100 RMB notes) so you can spot fake money later:
Eating and drinking
When I first came to China I ate in small restaurants quite often and as a result often got "water-poop" aka diarrhea. Even good looking restaurants can cause this though, so do not try crazy stuff just before an important event/appointment. Especially very spicy food (Hunan / Sichuan) can cause this, so be careful. That being said, do try out different things!
Chinese use round wooden chopsticks in general. It's easier than the Korean flat metal chopsticks. Soup is eaten with a stone spoon. You can ask for a fork and knife in some restaurants, but hey... you are in China. Try to use the chopsticks and if you drop them on the floor, just ask for a new pair (Chinese also do this).
Tip: you can NOT drink the tap-water. Always buy water in the supermarket or other drinks. You can use it to brush your teeth. Tea in restaurants is normally boiled from tap-water, but should be OK.
Tip: do NOT eat the dry (or even fresh) red chillis. They are just added as flavor, not for eating. Same for the small pepper balls in Sichuan dishes.
Tip: you often need to pay "tea money" or some extra charge of around 2 RMB per person. If you don't want to use the napkins they offer, you can return them and you don't need to pay for it.
Tip: we also have McDonalds, KFC and Pizzahut, but really... you can eat that everywhere. Try to eat Chinese!
Tip: if there is a small empty bowl on the table, you are expected to wash your own ricebowl + teacup + chopsticks first. You wash them using (cheap) tea. It's not in every restaurant, but it is always possible if you ask for it.
The venues are really beautiful and many were built especially for the Universiade. They are all over the city though. Remember the important districts from East to West:
click for larger version
Left middle : Shenzhen Airport (Bao'an)
Middle: Nanshan + Futian + Luohu
Right top: Universiade village (Longgang)
I published an overview of all the sports as well as information about buying tickets . For the latest information, always consult the official English Universiade page.
Weather and clothes for August
The best (English) 7-day weather forecasts can be found on the website of the Hong Kong Observatory . If you want to know if it will rain soon, be sure to check out the radar images . There are also 14-day forecasts via the weathernetwork (less accurate).
In general the weather is hot and humid (33C daily in the summer). If there is a tropical storm near, it can rain EXTREMELY hard, but usually not the whole day. For more about weather see here . The past few weeks (July and early August have been very nice with lots of sunny warm weather). During the summer I wear shorts and thin t-shirts and sandals. Women in Shenzhen also wear shorts or skirts, both in the long and ultra-short version :) Some colleagues wear a sweater in the office (because they think the airco is too cold), but I have not touched a sweater or jacket since early this year.
Tip: You do not need warm clothes. Even in the evening it is very warm (cools down to perhaps 25C minimum).
Tip: take a small umbrella (or buy one here; probably cheaper)
There are lots of shopping tips in my Shopping Category . I recommend:
Shenzhen is not an ancient capital like Beijing or Xi'an or Nanjing. So if you are expecting many old temples, city walls and palaces, you will be in for a big disappointment. Shenzhen is very very modern with lots of glass skyscrapers. Nonetheless, there is plenty to see and do. If you have never been to China before, then just going to shopping areas I mentioned above will already be interesting. Below are the sites that I recommend:
Not related to Chinese culture at all, and in my opinion only so-so, but listed for completeness:
Tip: take the bus or train to Guangzhou. It's fun to get out of Shenzhen and see some other parts of Guangdong.
Shenzhen Daily is an English language local newspaper and it is really great. I read it online every day and it is the best way to keep informed about what is happening in Shenzhen. You can buy Shenzhen Daily at all those small newspaper-stands you see everywhere. It's really cheap as well and the editors are nice people.
Tip: you can read Shenzhen Daily online here szdaily.sznews.com
Etiquette and manners
I'm not the best person to write about Chinese etiquette or manners, but I will try.
Chinese people LOVE to go out eating. So if you have a business meeting, you will probably eat. Traditionally Chinese (especially the men) like to drink and smoke (cigarettes). Smoking is really still very common here and even some women nowadays smoke. If you don't smoke, just refuse it with a big smile and shake your hands like "no-no". Not drinking is a bit more difficult, but you can always try to drink only a little bit, or drink red wine instead of strong liquor. The most famous Chinese liquor is called Moutai and it is expensive. So just try a little bit, should be ok :)
All this drinking and eating is part of getting to know you and building Guangxi .
Make sure you bring business/name-cards. Everyone seems to have those and you give them with two hands and you also receive them with two hands. Furthermore just common sense: don't leave it and don't play with it. Read it and put it away.
It helps a lot to speak some Chinese. If you speak English, make sure you don't speak too fast and use simple vocabulary. My speech has become a bit staccato because of this habbit, but people generally find it quite easy to understand me, even though I don't have a British or American accent. Also don't be offended when someone speaks very direct English to you like "give it to me". It's probably just the English translation of their Chinese sentence (in which they don't say "please").
You best avoid the subject of politics. Don't try to convince others of the disadvantages of the Chinese communist party. People either already know, or not, but it doesn't matter. Most people will defend the "Chinese way" to outsiders, even if they privately would disagree. So trust me, unless you have lived here for several years, don't make your partner uncomfortable. It's just like saying "Bush is an idiot to an American". Even though they will probably agree, it still feels like an outsider is criticizing you.
Chinese are very good at working as a team and respect the boss/leader. School classes are very organized and you see it in the office as well. It's not so easy to get a lively discussion, unless people know you.
Internet and Electricity
All major social/user-generated websites (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) are blocked. You can download some free VPN software to get around it (Google for fg711p.exe). Google itself (and Gmail) sometimes also get blocked, especially if you search sensitive keywords. So first send your mail, after that try to get yourself blocked :) I often use translate.google.com (Chinese -> English) to translate websites or other texts. On the iPhone there is also a Google Translate application which can be very useful (if you have internet).
Shenzhen uses 220V/50Hz electricity. There are a couple of different kind of power plugs. Some are unique to China, but in most sockets you can also use the 2-round-plugs that we use in the Netherlands. An example of what works in most power sockets (but not all):
This kind of 2-pole plug works in most sockets (not all). 220V/50Hz
For more information about electrity by country, see this excellent wikipedia overview .
Tip: Free WIFI : during the Universiade several parts of the city enjoy free WIFI from China Telecom. I believe the access point is called CMC, but I didn't try it yet. [more info]
Tip: there is a Universiade mobile application for Android / iPhone and iPad (link )
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 August 2011 )|
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