Thousands return home to Hong Kong after enjoying good deals in ‘no-brainer’ Shenzhen over National Day long break

Housewife Elaine Tsang So-kwan, 52, spent three nights in Shenzhen with her husband on a short break and forked out about HK$6,000 (US$769) on accommodation, food and massages.

A seafood restaurant at the Shuiwei night market in Futian district. Photo: Oscar Liu

“We thought about going to Taiwan but it seemed a bit rushed just going there for four days. Shenzhen is a no-brainer for a short break where you don’t need to plan a thing to just relax and lie flat,” Tsang said.

The couple stayed at the Jinmao Shenzhen JW Marriott Hotel for 1,048 yuan (US$144) a night, a deal Tsang found on Meituan, a Chinese app that allows users to hunt for bargains on hotels, spa treatments and restaurants on top of on-demand food delivery.

“We chose to stay at a better hotel because spa treatments and food in Shenzhen are way cheaper than in Hong Kong,” she said.

“We had Chaoshan-style hotpots and Sichuan-style pickled fish. We also spent a night at a local night market at Yantian.”

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Also spending three nights in Shenzhen with his family was father-of-two Lucas Mak Yung-keung. Mak, a safety officer on construction sites, took the chance to bring his five-year-old son and four-year-old daughter to Happy Valley, an amusement park at Oversea Chinese Town, as well as the Shenzhen Safari Park, both located in Nanshan.

“We spent about HK$4,000 just for tickets as well as food and drinks. We saved quite a bit of money because we stayed at my cousin’s home. We want to take our kids to see something different from time to time,” the 38-year-old said.

“But my wife and I have been indulging ourselves with massages and facials when the kids sleep.”

Immigration figures showed 1.38 million people left the city from Friday to Sunday, including 989,071 residents. Among the city dwellers, 863,198 travelled via land checkpoints.

The statistics also showed 1.19 million people entered the city from Friday to Sunday, resulting in a net outflow of 482,652.

A packed massage parlour in Shenzhen’s Futian. Photo: Oscar Liu

Meanwhile, restaurant and massage parlour operators over the border were delighted with a significant business surge from Hongkongers over the long weekend.

Liao Yusheng, 26, the manager of a massage parlour near the Shuiwei night market in Futian, said the company enjoyed at least a 40 per cent increase in the number of customers because of the influx of Hong Kong tourists.

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“We are just a small massage parlour operating 24 hours with more than 40 masseuses. All of them have worked overtime since Friday with a shift extended to 15 hours just to handle the demand,” Liao said.

“But we don’t have enough massage beds and chairs so people need to wait outside.”

He said there was fierce competition among small massage parlours and many of them had started waiving tips from customers, making them more appealing to Hong Kong tourists.

Zhang Huiyan, 42, a food stall owner selling Tianjin delicacies, said business over the Mid-Autumn Festival and National holiday weekend had jumped about 15 per cent.

Stall owner Zhang Huiyan says she barely got a break during her shifts. Photo: Oscar Liu

Making northeastern cold grill noodles and Tianjin-style jianbing, or deep-fried dough stick rolls, on demand, Zhang said she barely had a break during her shifts from 5pm to 1am over the weekend.

“It’s busier than a normal weekend for sure. A lot of Hong Kong people asked what I’m selling as the food is new to them. Most of them buy at least two portions,” Zhang said.

However, she said she had expected to see bigger sales growth but thought her weekday customers in Shenzhen took the opportunity to travel elsewhere.

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Huang Qiangke, 28, a driver with mainland ride-hailing platform DiDi, said he got more calls over the long weekend and his income had almost doubled compared with the previous weekend.

“Hong Kong people enjoy taking DiDi as they don’t need to queue up for luggage checks before entering metro stations. I had 68 rides on Saturday and Sunday. I normally have about 50 over weekends on a 10-hour shift,” Huang said.


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