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It's an increasingly popular view among residents of Hong Kong that Shenzhen is a cheap place to shop. Compared to Hong Kong, it is cheap, of course, at least for domestic items, but many proclaiming this view have never been anywhere else in China (and many Hong Kong people have never been to the mainland at all). Those who do go to shop often get no farther than the overrated Luo Hu Shangye Cheng (Luo Hu Commercial City), five stories of shopping (8:30am-11pm) above the bus station to the right as you leave the border, where you find luggage, shoes, bags, CDs, clothes, toys, Chinese medicine, tea, tailoring services, portrait photography, bed linens, quilts, electrical goods, leather goods, pearls, jewelry, wigs, massages, pedicures, and even a Cantonese opera house. Of course, as elsewhere in the mainland, nearly everything is a fake. "Where else can you get a cotton tailored shirt for around $9?" enthuses one shopping guide. To which the answer might be, "Name a mainland city where you can't -- and usually cheaper." This mall's very proximity to rich Hong Kong, almost inside the border post, ought to warn you off in the first place.

Expert Shopping -- Nobody should spend any time in Shenzhen without consulting Ellen McNally's excellent insider's guide, Shop in Shenzhen. Widely available in Hong Kong yet strangely absent on the mainland, this handy little guide goes much further than detailed floor plans for Lo Wu, right out to Humen garment wholesale city. Check the Web at www.shopinshenzhen.com.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.