Enjoyed a delightful weekend in Shanghai catching up with a very good mate W and his lovely and extremely pregnant wife T, and doing a little sight seeing.
One thing you have to know about Shanghai is it is big and I mean BIG!!! A quick online search shows the population of Shanghai municipality is over 23 million. That is more than the entire population of Australia in one city. The staggering size of Shanghai’s population is evident in the astronomical property prices. You could sell your Beverly Hills multi hectare mansion with swimming pool, tennis court and helipad and be able to afford a nice penthouse in one of Shanghai’s nicer areas.
I’ve been to Shanghai several times before and it does not do much for me travel wise. Some people rave about travel in Shanghai, it does have a lot to offer and I did enjoy the travel scene that weekend.
Arriving in Shanghai Friday night
My slow train from Chang Chun (29 hours) pulled in to Shanghai Station at around 6:00pm right on time. In Beijing, Changchun and many other Chinese cities, you just say to your mates you’ll meet them at the front of the station at the main entrance or at a subway entrance. Shanghai being Shanghai meeting is more complicated with at least 2-3 different main entrances and multiple subway entrances.
No problem. A few phone calls and wrong turns later every one is united, hugs exchanged and all is good.
What do you eat on a first night in Shanghai? Typical Shanghai food! W and T took me to a top Shanghai restaurant at Metro City in down town Shanghai. Skipped the entrees in the menu and when straight to the mains. The large meat ball classic hot dish with a 3 line description in Chinese looked good. I’ll have one of those.
Looking forward to a feast, I was very surprised when my meal arrived. You can see why in the pic below.
With out exaggeration my “main meal” was only three mouthfuls with room to spare. Large portion sizes are not the go in Shanghai where there is more emphasis on gourmet dishes. The food was great and the bright side is you don’t leave the restaurant feeling bloated and lethargic.
W and T had a two hour class for expecting parents at an inner city western hospital Saturday morning so they dropped me of at the front entrance of the hospital with strict instructions not to get lost. That part of Shanghai had parks, interesting streets, some older architecture and I enjoyed a couple of hours walking around the area.
There were a lot of real estate agents in the area advertising units for sale with more zeros in their prices than you see in the US military budget. I Played with some numbers while browsing the windows to see how many square meters I could afford to buy. Just enough space for a bed. A single bed! The chair seller in the pic below has found a way around expensive Shanghai real estate.
T had some business to take care of so W and I were left to catch up on guys stuff over lunch in a Xinjiang restaurant. Lunch was delicious and filling. Xinjiang people know how to eat and their lamb dishes are excellent.
Shanghai Site seeing Bus
Shanghai has two city site seeing bus lines that take you through the more popular tourist areas of the city. Line one goes through areas such as East Nanjing Road and the Bund while line two focus more on east of the Huangpu River and goes through areas such as the Jin Mao Tower and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.
The busses are double decked with the rear of the upper deck open and the best place on the bus to enjoy the sites from. The cost of tickets is 30RMB which is very good value and I recommend a ride on at least one of these buses for anyone seeing Shanghai for the first time.
W and I jumped on the bus at the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, grabbed our seats on the back of the second deck and thoroughly enjoyed our selves cruising through the more famous travel areas of Shanghai.
Dinner at the Cheng Huang Temple Area
Don’t let the name fool you. This area in the center of old Shanghai is more of a commerce district than a temple and contains over 100 shops in buildings that are mostly over 100 years old. Most people who go there (myself included) never see the temple that is conveniently tucked away in some obscure corner out of the way corner.
The area contains numerous food courts and restaurants, two McDonalds and two Starbucks. In a group of around eight people we celebrated T’s birthday, ate a lot of good food and at least two different restaurants and drank way too much beer. A great night.
A day of relaxation with only one travel based activity. A stroll through the old town in the Qi Bao (Seven Treasures) area. The old town dates back to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and part of the old town has been restored for tourism. Walking down the main street with stores on either side and classic architecture gives you a feel for how Shanghai may have been in the past. Less crowds of tourist and piles of mod cons on sale.
Dinner was simple and I had a train to Hangzhou to catch the next morning so the night finished early.