I’m at the turnstiles, off to the side from the steady stream of people going through to the other side.
I’m standing on the one side in Hong Kong (香港). The other side is the city of Shenzhen in China’s Guangdong (Kwangtung | 廣東 | 广东) province.
MTR trains come in from Hong Kong and stop here at the end of the line. People pour out of the trains, and head for Shenzhen. There are occasional lulls in between frequent arrivals and departures of the trains, reminding me I’m in the middle of the countryside and at the frontier section separating between what most people know as Hong Kong and China.
Over on the “other” side, Shenzhen is a strong economic force, helped along by its special designation as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), but there’s still a special allure for many to working inside Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region. MTR rail passengers depart Hong Kong and enter Shenzhen at either the Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau (Spur Line) crossings. The average cross-border passenger traffic numbers are 250,000 and 60,000 people per day, at Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau, respectively (Source 1, Source 2).
From an economic, urban planning, and logistics point of view, it’s no surprise there’s a push to amalgamate Shenzhen with Hong Kong to create a super-metropolis here at the mouth of the Pearl River. Hong Kong is over 7 million people, whereas the population of neighbouring Shenzhen exceeds 13 million. Many would like to see easier and faster movement of goods and people by land between the two cities, but others in Hong Kong fear an exacerbation of existing problems with overcrowding and overburdened resources.
But what of the people going back and forth? How many from China and/or Shenzhen enter Hong Kong for work or school, and reverse course at the end of every day? How many from Hong Kong go to work in Shenzhen?
I wonder what the daily routine is for someone going back and forth between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. I watch patiently, and I wonder what it’s like on the other side. I have no doubt there’s someone on the other side in Shenzhen who’s wondering the same thing.
To enter Shenzhen by rail from Hong Kong, the MTR East Rail line has two terminus stations in the New Territories: at Lo Wu and at Lok Ma Chau. Passing through the border from these stations puts you on the other side at the terminus stations for the Shenzhen Metro: Luohu (Luobao Line) and Futian Checkpoint (Longhua Line), respectively. The Shenzhen Main Train Station is also located at Luohu, and provides intercity and long-distance services to the rest of Guangdong province and China, respectively.
Before entering Shenzhen, check for visa requirements and updates (e.g., Wikitravel), if you’re visiting the Shenzhen SEZ only, or if you’re traveling throughout China. For example, passport holders from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and most European Union nations are eligible for the 5-day Shenzhen visa; the US is not eligible. UK passports may be eligible, and their visa fee may be significantly higher than those for other eligible nations.
I made the photos above on 12 June 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.