A Travellerspoint blog

Shanghai

overcast 24 °C

We arrived into Shanghai late afternoon on Thursday 11th and checked into a really nice hostel called The Phoenix. The city is undergoing one of the fastest economic expansions in the world right now and it’s obvious as soon as you arrive. A lavish airport greeted us, followed by a high speed bullet train that brought us into the city centre. The underground metro is even better than Beijing and we’ve been using it non-stop over the past few days. We bought a 3 day card for roughly €5 each which offers unlimited journeys throughout Shanghai’s extensive rail network.

Just a quick side note, be careful of scams if you’re visiting China. We’ve had a few different groups of girls approach us (in Beijing and Shanghai) asking to have their picture taken. They have then tried to engage in conversation before suggesting a drink somewhere close by. Two other girls told us they were university students and asked us to spend an hour with them over a drink so they could practice their English. We politely declined. Our guide book advised that they’ll soon disappear off and you’ll be left with a couple of heavies and an expensive bill you’ll have to foot. Like any other city, be cautious and sensible.

Culturally the city offers a stark contrast to Beijing. There are people still randomly asleep in public places and a little bit of spitting going on but other than that you may as well be in any other major western city. Tall skyscrapers, neon lights, endless brand promotion etc. are everywhere. Disappointingly, it’s difficult not to spot a KFC, Starbucks, McDonalds or Pizza Hut on most high streets. The Shanghainese almost appear Western (their clothing, behaviour, phone obsession etc.). The city is a little bit of a cross between Tokyo and Vancouver, and a really good example of East meets West. There’s not a single stand out attraction, it’s more a case of the city itself which is the attraction. Everything is a little bit more expensive but not as much as you might think. You can still find a good meal for two for €10.

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Shanghai is without a doubt an advanced and futuristic city. Even the telephone booths have wifi. However Alberto wasn’t able to get it working. Silly foreigner.

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After Xi’an we decided to take a break from the organised tours. Shanghai is relatively compact so it was easy to visit all the main attractions by metro. On Friday we took a trip to the Temple of Jade. It’s a small but beautiful temple boasting a number of ancient statues. We took part in a small ritual ceremony where you light a number of incense sticks, say a prayer or make a wish and then discard them into a burning pit.

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We then headed out to the World Financial Centre which has over 100 floors and an observatory deck at the top. The most famous building in Shanghai, known as the Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower is relatively close by but it’s not as tall. However it’s hard not to be impressed by a building that looks like a spaceship. We went to the top of the financial centre but unfortunately due to rain and cloud the view was really poor. It’s not a cheap attraction so a quick word with the manager resulted in free tickets to return the next day. Don’t ask don’t get!

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On Saturday we visited the general museum which was disappointing. There was a really interesting section on ancient Chinese currency and another on masks but aside from that it was mostly just pottery, furniture and clothing. However it was free of charge, so I shouldn’t complain too much. Afterwards we headed to the science and technology museum. It was a lot better, if a little dated. Later we returned to the financial centre, this time during daylight and with much better views on offer. Finally we took the metro across/underneath the Huangpu river to the Bund, an area where you can view the old colonial architecture. It also boasts the best ground view of Shanghai. It’s worth visiting just before dusk. Stay around for the lights to come on as it’s a really nice contrast.

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[Say cheese...]

We spent our last full day with a trip to Yu Yuan, a charming 16th century Chinese garden featuring pools, walkways, bridges and rockeries. It’s just a pity it’s so crowded.

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Our final attraction was the ancient town of Qiboa. The town is over one thousand years old and you can enjoy some shopping, food or a very cheap boat ride.

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That evening we met up with Jeanette and Raquel, two of the girls we met in Xi’an. They took us to K-TV, a karaoke experience I would highly recommend (of course).

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Shanghai has been great, the city has a lot to offer and we will definitely return. Today we continue south to Guilin, and we’re looking forward to visiting a smaller town in the hope of experiencing more of the traditional China.

Lost in Translation:

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Posted by mattld 08:33 Archived in China

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Comments

LOL @ the translations

:D

by Alexander

I know lovesh right?? I think someone is taking the piss with the husband and wife lung slice :)

by mattld

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