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Shenzen Bao‘an Int. Airport – Spotting Guide
With almost 53 Min passengers, Shenzen is the fifth busiest airport in China. It is one of the three largest airport hubs serving the Pearl River Delta, alongside Hong Kong and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. The airport is a hub for China Southern Airlines, Shenzen Airlines and a focus city for Hainan Airlines. SF Airlines uses SZX as their hub too. International carriers prefer the airport of Hong Kong instead of Shenzen but anyway you can catch some flights to and from the nearby countries.
General tips for China
Some websites and app don’t work in China (like Whattsap or Facebook/Messanger ecc.) so you might need a list of useful apps:
- WeChat: every Chinese person has this app, it also has a good translation function that helps really a lot because the language is the main barrier. You can translate from Chinese writings and they can translate your English into Chinese characters. This is a must have.
- Didi: the Chinese “Uber”
- Baidu Maps: This is the “Google Maps” that works, instead of the Google one
We recommend to buy a prepaid card at the airport during transit as the chance to talk to an english speaking seller is much bigger there.
Last Update: April 2023 (Spot 3 added)
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| (3 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
|15/33||3.400 m (11.155ft)|
|16/34||3.800 m (12.467ft)|
|Terminals||Actually there is one terminal with three concourses and an additional sattelite with four concourses.|
|Ladder||No need of it.|
|Car/Public Transport||You can easily use the public transport to and from the locations.|
|Drinks/Food||Only available at spot 2. Spot 1 is far from civilization.|
|Hotels||The Hyatt Regency Hotel is the perfect place to stay (see spot 2).|
|Season||Summer is hot and humid. As it is also the rainy season thunderstorms or typhoons have to be expected. Autumn and winter is cooler and more dry, but it can get very hazy.|
|General Info||Usually runway 16/34 is used for arrivals and 15/33 for departures.|
Due to national security concerns, the use of geographic information in China is restricted and the layers in google maps don´t fit. The satellite images are correct but the street layers are displaced!
Please click on the link at each location (WHERE) to get to the chinese website baidu where you find an exact map with satellite and street view images. If you use a smartphone please download the Baidu App.
|Spot #1 – Construction Site – 15 movements|
|WHERE||This spot is reachable at its best by subway line 11(dark purple colour). Alight at “Airport North” station. If you come from the city centre it is one station after the Airport Terminal Station. There is still some airport extension work going on around this area. But the subway station is already in service. Get out of the station and walk eastwards. The roads change everyday as the construction goes on, so no one knows exactly what road to take, but the basic idea is to go east all the way to the end of runway 15 and whichever route you take, it is unavoidable to walk on mud or water, so be prepared before you go, especially at night.|
|WHAT||From here you can see all movements on runway 15: Line ups, arrivals and touch downs with the general aviation terminal and cargo apron in the background. In the far distance you can even see the city. Heat haze can be problematic for the touch down shooting.|
|TIME||Best time is from high noon till sunset all year round.|
|MISC.||There is nothing nearby. The closest facility and shops are in the airport terminal one subway stop away. So get prepared and bring what you need for the duration of your stay including sun protection. There are just a few trees on the hill spending some but not too much shade. And make sure not to astonish any snake in the high grass surrounding the trees. No one should bother you. The nearby construction crews just doing their work and don´t care about you. This spot is also famous amongst local spotters.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||70-300mm is perfect for this spot.|
|Spot #2 – Hyatt Regency Hotel – 34 movements|
|WHERE||The spotting location is at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is just next to the airports terminal. The spot itself is on the terrace of the hotel, so you have to book a hotel room to get access. Once outside you have a perfect sight of the 34 arrivals.|
|WHAT||A wonderful place for all 34 arrivals as well as 34 line-ups in the distance.|
|TIME||From sunset until 10:00|
|MISC.||This is a quiet place where you can easily take your photos without being disturbed.|
|Spot #3 – Konggansang Road – 34 arrivals|
|WHERE||You can easily reach this point from the airport terminal access road. It is located along the Konggansang Rd. This is more or less an abandoned road which locals use to park there car and wait to pick up the passengers so it is very safe there and quiet. The spot is also in walking distance to and from the terminal and sidewalks provide a secure walk.|
|WHAT||All arrivals on runway 34 can be seen.|
|TIME||Usually all day long as. Except around noon when the sun is over the runway axis.
Sunrise-1100 and 1400-Sunset
|MISC.||There is a convenient store next about 5 mins by walking|
|FOCAL LENGTH||70-200mm is perfect for this spot.|