The metro in Shenzhen is a wonderful thing, cheap, easy to navigate, and the best thing of all, air-conditioning! It makes the London Underground look ancient, and you actually still have an internet connection while on the train, it’s great!
As you can see, there are 7 lines, which they are still adding to, but it is quite easy to navigate. Luckily the station names are in both Chinese and English, so after a while you will get used to traveling around Shenzhen. The train even announces what station is coming up next in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, so it’s hard to miss as stop. For the metro you can buy tickets, however, it is a lot simpler just to buy a metro card, which costs 100RMB. This gets you the metro card and will give you a balance of 50rmb.The metro is pretty cheap as well, a journey from Bao‘an centre to Window of the world (usually a 30 minute journey) would cost roughly 4.90RMB (55p), which is nothing!
As well as the metro, you can also take the bus, which is even cheaper, only 2RMB (22p). The bus tends to be more of a challenge though, as the signs are only in Chinese, but it’s worth it for the price and what you may experience. The buses are everywhere, so it’s very easy to find a bus stop. Most buses may have ticket officers who will ask you where you are going and charge you a fee. However, it is much simpler just to use your metro card when getting on the bus. I would recommend that you have a local friend to help you when you first try to take a bus, unless you already know Chinese.
You also have taxi’s everywhere in Shenzhen, you can just waive them down. They have a base rate of 10RMB, and then the price goes up 2.4RMB for every kilometre. Meaning that you would have to travel pretty far to ever spend more than 100RMB, and even then, if you decide to go to the beach with a few friends, you can split the costs between you, so the price still tends to be cheap. Very few taxi drivers speak English, so it’ll be a smart idea to have the address of where you are going written down in Chinese.
There is also the taxi service, similar to uber, called DiDi. This service tends to be cheaper than the already cheap taxi service and allows you to order the service from your phone, picking you up from your location. Luckily the app is in English, so it very easy to use as a foreigner. Uber is also available in Shenzhen, if you would prefer to use that.
There other modes of transport to get to and from Shenzhen, for example you can get a high-speed rail to other parts of China, such as Guangzhou. Shenzhen is also very close to Hong Kong, there are a variety of ways you can get from one place to the other. You can take the metro to Futian checkpoint, or Louhu and walk through the border into Hong Kong. In addition, you can take a ferry to Hong Kong, which are a more scenic route. You can also take ferries to other destinations, like you can go to Macau.
As you can see, there are many cheaper options for travel in Shenzhen, especially compared to public transport in London, and compared to Hong Kong. I hope this gives you a little insight into travel in and around Shenzhen.