China - Shunde

· Travel

I've been to Shunde many times since around 2009. Bus from Diamond Hill, Hong Kong to the Shenzhen Bay crossing, through HK and China immigration, get back on the bus to Shunde. Takes three hours. On the China side, the highway is super quick. The slight drawback is if you go during Golden Week (an extended public holiday lasting...guess what?...a week), the road tolls are all free. This means coming across pockets of heavy traffic.

The first time I visited Shunde, the highway was being built and it was secondary roads all the way. I remember that journey. Took hours and hours, lots of traffic and I experienced my first bus minor bus crash. The road went from two lanes to one lane due to roadworks and no one was giving way (as is the norm). A car tried to squeeze by and clipped our bus, cracking his wing mirror. The car driver went mad. The bus driver called the police but was told it was tea time and they were playing mahjong. After an hour of deadlock, we got a taxi. Six months later, the highway was finished and it made a huge difference to travel.

Shunde doesn't have a high-speed rail connection yet but they are building a mass transit system with a connection to Guangzhou (a Tier 1 city).

What's Shunde famous for? Bruce Lee's grandfather and father were born in Shunde and there's a Bruce Lee Paradise park that's quite impressive. Don't think Disney; think an open space with a giant Bruce Lee statue, a lake and trees. Shunde is also a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. In fact, on my last trip, there was a gastronomy outdoor fair with many delicious snacks, drinks and foods. There's a sizable jeans assembly industry in Shunde.

There are plenty of hotels but the New World Hotel is the one I've stayed in most. The bus drops off and picks up people there so it's easy. Only costs HK$180 for a return ticket. The hotel is connected to a shopping centre and there are loads of places to explore within a kilometre walk.

Dumplings. Chinese dumplings and sweet and sour fish are my two favourites but there's so much more to eat. We went to a Metro supermarket once (German-owned, have to sign up as a member, bulk buys). Went to the fridge at the back and came across imported cheese including wheels of Dutch and French cheeses. We dug about a bit and found a 10kg bar of cheddar cheese from Ireland for not much money at all and lugged that back across the border. If you didn't know, the cost of cheese in Hong Kong is criminal so we won that day.

Things to Know

  • Free WiFi is everywhere. Often the network name and password is printed on menus or stuck to the wall of a restaurant. 
  • Make sure you load up a translator app if you don't speak Chinese. Very few people speak English. Remember, all things Google are blocked in China.
  • Carrefour and Jusco supermarkets are megastores. Good for a lookie lookie.
  • You might need a visa to visit. I have an APEC card allowing me to get in and out of China without needing multiple visas.
  • There are western fast food brands everywhere. I've only ever been into Starbucks.
  • Most Hollywood movies have English subtitles. Saw Expendables in Shunde. The experience was great but the film blew monkey chunks.
  • The weather is usually steaming hot. In fact, I don't recall ever going when it was rainy. Went once at CNY and it was freezing.
New World Hotel, Shunde
Meat skewers, Shunde Gastronomy Fair
Road leading to street of shoe, clothes and other shops. Opposite New World Hotel
Bruce Lee Paradise
broken image
Sweet and sour fish
Dried fruits everywhere
Wonton dumplings
Carrot carving as a centrepiece and deep fried wonton