Contributed by: Gavi Lewy-Neuman | Last Date of Travel: October 2008
Essentially, the only kosher food available in Shenzhen is at the Chabad house. They provide both Friday night and Shabbat day meals free of charge (donations are welcomed). You may also order meals from them to take away. Because of its close proximity to Hong Kong (Shenzhen is the border city with Hong Kong) you can easily travel back and forth there to replenish food stocks (but you will need a multiple entry visa to get back into Shenzhen, whereas the Hong Kong Visa is given on arrival).
Not the most interesting place, but you can find what to keep you busy with. There are 2 subway lines to get around, and they cost anywhere from 2-5 Yuan per ride, depending on from/where you are going. Windows of the World is a popular “theme park” which is similar in idea to Israel’s Mini Israel, only on a much larger scale here. It does not have a cheap entrance fee. This is located basically down the block from where the Chabad center currently is – and across the street from WOTW is a big shopping mall of high end stores and other American and European stores.
Shenzhen is the world’s capital for knock-off designer bags. The LoWu shopping center, located at the beginning of the main subway line, is the first thing you encounter once you have crossed the border form Hong Kong. There you will find 5 heavily saturated floors with people forcing themselves on you to buy something (they sometimes get physical and grab your arm – so BEWARE! But no one will hurt you – I’d still recommended the place for the experience). There you can also get massages and manicures at very discounted prices. Make sure to bargain for everything! Don’t pay more than 65% of the original asked price, but you can absolutely go lower than 35% even. About 15 minutes walking from the Chabad Center is a nice lake that is quiet and serene at night, while lit up with lights, and is a good place to go and relax with a beer.
Again, Chabad is the only Jewish thing you will find in Shenzhen, and they do have minyanim (almost always) on Shabbat, but not always during the week. No Mikvah here… must travel to the mikvah in Hong Kong. To get to the Chabad, go to www.chabadshenzhen.org and print out their address to show to a taxi driver in Chinese. Most people here won’t speak any English. The building, while I was there, didn’t have any signage that it held Chabad inside, so my advice would be to contact the Chabad beforehand and ask for help.
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