Daytripper is a regular column that aims to help people get the most out of their PRD experience by proposing fun excursions that can be made in a single day to explore the local culture and nature of the region.
Those looking for a break from the frenetic rhythm of city life will delight in a quiet visit to one of Shenzhen’s most significant historical areas: Dapeng Fortress. Though serviced by bus routes across Shenzhen, the fortress is located 50 kilometers from the center of the city, meaning you’ll want to bring a book for the two-or-so-hour ride.
The trip is well worth it. As you approach the fortress you are greeted by a panorama of blue sea and green mountains, before finally reaching the fortress’ main gate.
With a history of more than 600 years, one can imagine soldiers entering through the stone-arch entranceway – or famously keeping it shut during a 40-day onslaught by Japanese pirates in 1571.
Instead of garrisoned troops and supply stockpiles, we find a walled-in hamlet that has developed commercially, with alleyways of coffee shops, hostels and restaurants nestled beneath Ming and Qing dynasty era tiled roofs.
Before noon, the streets are preternaturally quiet. Hearing your own footsteps is a bizarre feeling for anyone who has adjusted to the constant din of the big city, and the near silence lasts until midday, when the first businesses lazily begin opening. A trip down a side street leads to an ancient fortress wall, where current residents hang homemade sausages in the sun.
The people who live in Dapeng Fortress today are relatively recent arrivals, with the descendants of longtime residents having moved to Hong Kong or overseas, according to local bar and hotel owner Zhang Beinian.
While the genetic heritage may be lost, culinary traditions remain, including tube-shaped rice dumplings known for their heavy packing of meat.
Popular restaurant Pengcheng also offers up local flavors, including a rice-noodle dish that will appeal to more adventurous diners by mixing seafood and peanuts.
Exiting the fortress, we come upon a movie crew blocking the road and are told to wait for a special bus. While waiting we reflect that Dapeng Fortress has again served its purpose by keeping out the clatter and clack of urban life – even if it does meet us at the front gate.
How to Get There:
Take bus E26 or H92 which leaves from Lianhe Square and will bring you to central Dapeng New Area. From there, bus B753 runs every 30-60 minutes to the Dapeng Fortress gate. The total trip should cost about RMB16.
Take a train or coach to Shenzhen and then catch either the E26 or H92 bus, both of which leave from Lianhe Square and will bring you to central Dapeng New Area. From there, bus B753 runs every 30-60 minutes to the Dapeng Fortress gate. The total trip should cost about RMB176 (if you take the train).
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