Hong Kong, April 2019: Next stop, mainland China and the city of Shenzhen. Having successfully obtained a 30 day tourist visa, I now need to make my way to the Hong Kong /China border at Lok Ma Chau. I shall have 2 full days to explore the delights of big city China before heading off into the interior for a month long scenic and cultural tour. Before all of that kicks off, I first need to find some Chinese cash, on the basis of not knowing if my British credit and bank cards will be accepted once across the border.
Getting Chinese Yuan in Hong Kong is nothing short of a racket, in my opinion! Nowhere can I use my cards to purchase Yuan – an emphatic no from the banks, including British HSBC, Standard Charter and as for currency exchange booths on the street, well, the operators there seem a little confused. First I must buy Hong Kong Dollars then change those to Chinese Yuan – double charges, bad exchange rates, what a scam in this modern dynamic highly technical city!
Shenzhen is pretty easy to get to by public transport. The MTR originates on the Kowloon Peninsular with a convenient stop at Mong Kok East, just a short 10 minute stomp from Mong Kok Central via a system of elevated walkways, well signed so I just can’t go wrong! £5.50 and about 50 minutes on the East line to the border crossing at Lok Ma Chau.
Pretty quiet here in the immigration hall at 4.30 PM on this Wednesday afternoon which makes checking out of Hong Kong quick and easy! Now to check-in to China. The two immigration halls are separated with a river and linked by a corridor – the corridor of no return as I pass the halfway mark and unofficially step into China.
A Very stern lady, dressed to kill it seems, is there to greet the new arrivals and clearly trained not to crack a smile! This is intimidating to say the least…
Next time.. Immigration and thousand rusty bikes in Shenzhen