By | 16th January 2018

Is it worth hiring a car in Shenzen?

Do you need a car in Shenzhen > Should you rent a car in Shenzhen China > Shenzhen ( SZX )

Senior citizens in Hong Kong might comment at how they literally used to look down on Shenzen as being little more than a fishing village, whereas now it is a city of more than 10 million people, and it is one of China’s emerging global cities. It’s easy enough for the visitor to Hong Kong to come across at one of the two border crossings (Lo Wu and Futian) that Shenzen shares with the Special Administrative Region, where subway systems are available on both sides.

Do you need a car in Shenzhen? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

You can travel around Shenzen in a day using local public transport, and you can also travel elsewhere in the Pearl River Delta region, including to the city of Guangzhou, using express rail services from Shenzen’s main railway station, which is four stops from the border. A dedicated high speed link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou is under construction, with the first section through Shenzen already being open.


Why should you rent a car in Shenzhen?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Shenzhen?

Shenzhen Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]



Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]




Free parking score

Total 639 - of which 339 have free parking. [full notes - parking]




However, Shenzen might still be somewhere where it makes sense to hire a car, if you are able to get hold of the appropriate licence to do so. The key reason for this is that if you have been staying in Hong Kong or even in Macau, then you will have noted that there are very tight restrictions on driving in both locations, and with Hong Kong and Macau driving on the left (that being the more trivial observation) and with local authorities simply not wanting huge volumes of cars driving across from the Pearl River Delta (that being the more practical and political observation), you would simply never find yourself flying into either Hong Kong or Macau and then picking up a hire car to do a road trip into southern China – that’s just not going to happen, even with the right licences.

So even though there is little reason to hire a car in Shenzen just to drive locally, you might want to look into getting one the driving elsewhere, especially if your plan is to head well beyond the cities of this region.


Why not? Visiting Shenzhen without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Shenzhen public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score



Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Shenzhen. 


  • Simply because if you are just here on a day trip excursion from Hong Kong, there’s no need to do so.
  • Hiring a car in China is always problematic (see text, above), but in the Pearl River Delta, traffic is a particularly bad problem.
  • There is an extensive metro system in Shenzen. This links in with high speed rail services for travelling between Hong Kong and Guangzhou (partially open).

Is it worth hiring a car in Shenzen? Verdict – if you are considering hiring a car in Shenzen as a potential continuation from Hong Kong, and if you have the correct paperwork. If you are simply visiting Shenzen or anywhere else in the Pearl River Delta as part of a day trip from Hong Kong, then there is no point in even looking at car hire options.


Car rental in - Shenzhen Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Shenzhen?

  • Based on comparison with transit and walking/cycling?

Is it worth hiring a car in Shenzhen?

  • Based on value for money?

Should you rent a car in Shenzhen?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Shenzhen if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

What about for families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Shenzhen if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

What if we are staying in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Shenzhen if I prefer not to drive?

What if we are easy either way?

What if I prefer to drive?



What is our final score for Shenzhen on the Carornocar scale?


Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Would you hire a car in Shenzhen?

Have you driven in Shenzhen? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Shenzhen?
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