If you tire of shopping in Hong Kong and crave the days of yore, a quick MTR ride to Shenzhen will satisfy your cravings for the old Hong Kong. The items no longer available for purchase in Hong Kong are still available in China – DVDs of tv shows and movies, golf clubs and other sports equipment with brands like Callaway and Honma, brand name items you find in Lane Crawford and Nordstroms, Rolex Watches and Louis Vuitton handbags. Once you step off the subway in LoWu and cross the border into China, there’s a giant 5 story mall devoted to all things with name brands.  All counterfeit products of questionable origin.  LV bags in particular have different grades.  The shops will show you low grade horribly terrible counterfeits but if you are willing to pony up more money, they can provide high grades that are indistinguishable from the real thing.  You can even take it into the branded store for repairs as it can fool the most trained eyes.

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Lok Ma Chau – Hong Kong China border, Shenzhen. Please line up for customs clearance. China side to go into Hong Kong.

Hong Kong shares two access points via the MTR East Rail line. LoWu and Lok Ma Chau. LoWu is the most popular border entry with the ability to hit the ground running in the shortest amount of time. It’s also the border for most trade functions so you are fighting against all the people plying a living by smuggling Hong Kong goods into Shenzhen. Smuggling everyday products into China represents big business.  As the China consumer is loathe to trust even branded products, the one fail safe for them is to purchase the products originating from Hong Kong.  Lok Ma Chau is a direct link into SZ’s business district of Futian. It’s a better option for those that are not in a rush and value order over chaos.  Both stations will require you physically walking across the border into China.  Lok Ma Chau’s China station is built right on top of Shenzhen’s MTR line so it is convenient to get to and from the station.  LoWu is the exact opposite where the facility was not built to handle the traffic and everything is a mess.  The discrepancy is dramatic.  At LoWu, you feel as if you have stepped back in time; you know you’re in China and off the reservation.

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Lok Ma Chau – the facilities are new.

There is nothing to do in LoWu except cheap massages.  Massages in HK will cost $100 for 45 mins while SZ will be $50 for 60 mins.  You will need to get a 3 hour massage to make it worth your while.  At the two hour mark you break even and at the 3 hour mark (you now reap the savings of buying a massage in HK and the MTR ride) you are now in the money, so to speak.  The massage venues in LoWu station do a brisk business serving solely Hong Kong clients and travelers.  The masseuses will expect a large tip.  Have cash handy to pay only a tip.  You do not pay for the massage in the room, you pay at the end after changing back into your clothes in the main lobby.  Do not make the mistake of handing over all your cash to the masseuse.  You are in China and off the reservation.  Most massage venues will allow their guests to stay over night after 10pm where the cost of a massage drops significantly.

LoWu and Lok Ma Chau both have MTR stations which allow quick entrance points into Shenzhen’s labyrithn of MTR stations.

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Shenzhen, cheap cafeteria dining.

English speaking area in Shenzhen if you feel out of place.  It is all expat bars and restaurants.

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hello expat friendly Shenzhen

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Suiwan MTR station in Shenzhen, site of expat friendly joints.

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