Busy downtown Shenzhen, China, a fishing village just a few decades ago, is now a city of 15 million. It is a mere 45-minute ride from Kowloon via Hong Kong's rapid transit system, making even day trips from Hong Kong feasible. Designated as China's first Special Economic Zone in 1979 and growing ever since, Shenzhen offers shopping, dining and sightseeing. All that's required for the trip from Hong Kong is round-trip rail fare and a Chinese tourist visa.

After boarding the East Rail line of the Kowloon-Canton Railway system at East Tsim Tsa Shui station in Kowloon, Shenzhen-bound travelers pass through Hong Kong's hilly and verdant New Territories before arriving at the Lo Wu (or, in Mandarin Chinese, Luo Hu) border station.

There, travelers must clear China's internal immigration and customs posts. Contrary to some guidebook horror stories, it is a relatively quick and painless process.

Shenzhen, like Hong Kong, is a modern city packed with glittering skyscrapers. One tower, Shun Hing Square, is among the world's tallest, climbing to 1,260 ft/390 m.

Visitors will note that fewer people in Shenzhen are proficient in English than those in Hong Kong. However, much street and subway signage appears in both Chinese characters and English.

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