You have several options when traveling in Shenzhen. Taxi’s are ridiculously cheap, starting on 10/12 RMB, and increasing with 2 RMB per kilometer. Always use taxi’s with a running taximeter. However, you may want to keep off the streets both early in the morning(before 9:30am) and in the afternoon from about 5pm to 7pm, seeing traffic-jams. In these cases, the subway will be a great alternative. It is cheap, fast, and easy to understand if you get yourself the hold of a subway-map. Currently has 2 lines, 19 stations, and 21.8 km of total trackage in operation. Both existing lines are undergoing expansion and three new lines are under construction, should be completed the next year as Shenzhen 26th Summer Universiade will be hold in 2011.
From what we experienced, it its always wise top keep your ticket. When using both trains, subways, or even when visiting a museum or shopping mall; If you get a ticket, you keep it until you’re done with that certain attraction. You never know when someone wants to check it, and in some cases you have to show it several times.
When you first get your new address in China, you can let your family and close friends know that, may tag your living/working/favorite place in google earth etc.
When you are leaving your hotel, be sure to have its address written down in both English and Chinese. This way you can always get back to the hotel if you get lost, not less Chinese youth know English, most of them are freindly, taxi drivers howevever can read your address in english and take you back.
Few Chinese people know how to speak English, the youth in large cities is an exception, we Chinese learn English mostly from schools, most colledge graduates can speak some English. If you’re going somewhere; bring a map. People are more likely to understand what you mean if you look lost and show them a map. Use your acting skills if you’re trying to explain in words without any luck, make some sounds or movements etc. Communication by drawing is highly underestimated, and will cause both a more accurate and amusing way of communicating.
Giving tip in restaurants is not common. You can tip the taxi driver/barber/massagist if you want to, but it is not expected. Offering people tips can sometimes be more rude than polite, consult your Chinese friend on site before giving tips, you will know how the next time, it is hard to give a clear guideline for all variable cases.
Most restaurants are expecting their customers to eat with chop sticks, you may practise some in advance.It takes some time to learn it, it is better not to try to learn it at a Chinese restaurant. Try to ask restaurant staff for spoon, if they do not have knives and fork.
If you are traveling as a couple, you can think of being slightly more discreet when it comes to kissing, hugging etc. in public spaces. In urban areas, clubs and bars it is no big deal, but when visiting traditional places or meeting old people; try to keep it clean. Gay people should be extra careful.
Generally you should avoid physical contact with Chinese ladies even handshaking except handshake from ladies.
It is essential to bargain/haggle when shopping in many places. The sellers most probably will start the price way over what the goods are worth, so be cynical and walk away if you think the price is too high. They will most certainly go down much, and they may put on an act telling you how low this price is, and what a special price you are getting. Get used to people calling “Hey pretty girl”, “Hey madam”, “Hi Liang nv” when you walk by, not always mean rude/polite, do not need to care about it.
Always carry toilet paper; it is very rare that public toilets have toilet paper. If you are buying condoms/sex toys, be aware of the fact that they tend to be slightly smaller that western ones.