It's no tourist city unless you are into shopping. It is a new town that did not exist twenty-five years ago. For most people it's a place to stay en route for Hong Kong. Chinese tourists visit the Windows on the World theme park which has miniatures or such world icons as the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Sydney Opera House, and has an associated commercial bar street attached to it.
Shenzhen is where China started the process of become a manufacturing giant. The government first allowed extreme foreign investment in this "special economic zone." The city continues to boom and is very much the workshop to the world. The city now has an ever growing metro (subway) easing transportation, although you will still see many people getting around by bike here. Visit Shenzhen for an impression of what "Made in China" means, and to experience the rapid urbanization of this country first hand. See how the young people who have flocked here from all over China live. Shenzhen serves as the gateway between Hong Kong and the mainland, it's an easy trip between the two via suburban rail on the Hong Kong side, crossing the indoor border stations on foot and coming out at the Shenzhen train station with connections to the Shenzhen Metro.
The Shenzhen hostel scene isn't huge and is mostly filled with Chinese backpackers and travelers. Many are headed to Hong Kong, where many are only allowed a very short stay. This means getting a bed here can be tough on weekends, especially during the summer holidays. So do book as far ahead as possible. As far as the hostels themselves go, all the hostels in town are big and rather institutional, although still are of good quality and cleanliness. On the upside choosing a hostel Shenzhen based on location is easy, all are well connected by multiple public transportation lines. Just keep in mind that it takes time to get around this gigantic, grid-locked city.
Hi, I'm Carl,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Shenzhen hostels. Welcome.