Shutterstock / HelloRF Zcool

Shenzhen

The gleaming manifestation of China's economic miracle, Shēnzhèn (深圳) has risen from the marshy Pearl River Delta into one of the world's most mega megacities in less time than it took London's St Paul's Cathedral to be built. Millions of migrants have been drawn to its golden gates from the Chinese countryside since the 1980s; now, Shēnzhèn attracts high-flying tech graduates and global corporations.

But it's not all work, work, work. This free-spirited, forward-looking metropolis has thriving arts, nightlife and music scenes, multicultural dining and oodles of shopping. And when you step away from the skyscrapers and malls you'll discover fascinating 'urban villages', poor but vibrant migrant worker communities that were once clan villages before the city swallowed them up.