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mistybleu Shanghai - A travel report by Amanda
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Shanghai,  China - flag China -  Shanghai
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mistybleu's travel reports

Shanghai Surprise

  26 votes
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Shanghai was a shock to my systems; descending into the city, I was greeted with thick smog which changed a sunny day to a dirty-yellow haze day leaving me wondering where the sun went?

Shanghai travelogue picture
I suppose the shock to the system was brought on from being in New Zealand for three weeks. After getting accustommed to wide open spaces, no tall buildings, few people, little noise, Shanghai is like a slap in the face. But yet the excitement was almost unbearable for my first taste of China.

Shanghai was a fishing village but came into is own in the 1840s; after the Opium war the British opened a ‘concession’ where drug dealers and other traders could operate undisturbed. The Americans, Germans, French, Italians and Japanese also got in on the action. By the 1920/30s Shanghai was a boomtown, but when the communist came to power in the late 1940s they transformed the city and cleared out all the prostitution, crime and opium addiction.

Nowadays Shanghai is a bustling metropolis, with new developments going up frequently. It is said that the area the size of Manhattan is developed every four weeks, resulting in the skyline forever changing. A journalist recently described Shanghai as communist by nature, democratic by consumption, and this leads the way to China moving from a third world to first world country. All signs show within the next twenty or thirty years China could surpass the US.

Favourite spots:
White Jade Buddha
White Jade Buddha
The JADE BUDDHA TEMPLE was the first Chinese temple I had ever entered. Originally located in the southern end of the city when it built in1882, it was then moved Changshou Road in 1918. The Buddha is located on the 2nd floor; it is 1.9m high and is carved from a single piece of jade which was imported from Myanmar. [It is unfortunate that no pictures are allowed.] However there is another white Buddha on the ground floor where they have no problem you taking pictures; not surprisingly, this Buddha is the symbol for tolerance.

What's really great:
Zigzag Bridge
Zigzag Bridge
Going into Chinatown. This is a lovely colourful area, for us foreigners signifies China; the red buildings with their characteristic Chinese shaped roofs. There are lots of shops and stalls selling so many different things; teahouses and restaurants are also available. In terms of sights, there are many pools, pavilions, rock gardens and bridges, which are great to see, especially the Zigzag Bridge. It is said the reason why it was built that way, was to ward off evil sprits, as the Chinese believed spirits could only travel in a straight line. Also in the mid-lake pavilion is the Huxingting Teahouse, it gets very busy around here, so do arrive early.

What’s also great around this area, is meeting young eager teenagers with a thirst to speak to people who English is their first language. They tend to approach you with inviting you to see their art exhibition, but they can be very helpful in finding your way around.

Nanjing Dong Road
Nanjing Dong Road
NANJING DONG ROAD is a huge shopping street/area, much like London’s Bond Street. It is said it is the most expensive and stylish shopping area in China and runs from The Bund for 5 kms. At one of the major crossroads, is an elevated section which is designed to facilitate crossing the busy intersection, but now serves as an area for more shopping.

There is always a lot of people strolling along The Bund and is a little bit of Europe in the heart of Shanghai. It’s a pretty concrete walkway and leads on to Huangpu Park. The park was famed for once having a sign which read ‘no dogs or Chinese’. The road side of the walkway is lined with lovely 1920/30s buildings which are reminiscent if the days gone by when international financial companies ran Shanghai; on the other side is brown/gray waters of the Huangpu River. It is quite popular to do a boat cruise.

Shanghai travelogue picture
At the airports it seemed like the larger hotels had a counter, where you can speak to a representative, which was quite reassuring, as they pointed airport bus service into the city. I feel much saver in an airport bus than a taxi, not to mention that it is a lot cheaper.

My hotel was yet another great example of a Chinese hotel - REGAL EAST ASIA HOTEL. It was located at the side of National Stadium next to a huge ring road and was much more posh than I expected. Even though they had automatic doors they still had a doorman, who would also call the lift for you. The rooms were beautiful; the queen-sized bed was in the middle and had brilliant white sheets. The bed was low to the ground with a wide wooden border all the way around and when I sat on the bed duvet it just puffed up. I was in heaven, but alas it would only last for three nights. The ground floor was like a mini arcade, so many wonderful shops.

Outsidethe Jade Buddha Temple
Outsidethe Jade Buddha Temple
I probably missed out, but I ate in the hotel, it was such a great hotel, I just didn't want to leave.

What I found quite nice was, as the hotel is located in the National Stadium the bar over looks the field, I could only imagine if there was a sporting event taking place this would be a great vantage point.

Other recommendations:
Shanghai travelogue picture
The RENMIN PARK is suppose to be a little bit of peace in a noisy polluted city, however when I was there was music playing on a loud speaker. It’s very popular with the locals and you can seem them doing tai chi. Also there is a pond in the middle, with paddle boats available for rental.

Across the Huangpu River is a new financial area, which is dominated by the Pearl Oriental TV Tower and the Grand Hyatt. This Hyatt is highest hotel/bar in the world. The area is called Pudong and it radiates a felling of space-age technology.

The PEACE HOTEL, this is located on The Bund, and is a reminder of the ‘old days’. I read this is where Noel Coward wrote ‘Private Lives’.

The SHANGHIA MUSEMUM is located a modern, airy building, on Renmin Square. It has an extensive collection of historical artifacts and dioramas and is a must to visit.

Published on Monday March 7th, 2005

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Sat, Jul 19 2008 - 02:26 PM rating by krisek

Excellent one. I love the picture of the Nanjing Dong Road. It looks vintage. I am hoping to go to Shanghai next year in July. Thank you for your report!

Tue, Sep 26 2006 - 07:57 PM rating by mrscanada

Shanghia has changed a lot since I was there. Thanks for the up date.

Sat, Nov 05 2005 - 01:51 PM rating by vbx000

Another great report on China. I need to read all the rest because if they are anything like the china reports they are going to give me the travel bug to go there. You are a great writer.

Mon, Oct 24 2005 - 08:29 PM rating by eirekay

Misty, I don't know how I missed this the first time - what a GREAT report!

Mon, Oct 24 2005 - 03:17 PM rating by isaacmolina

Very nice report. You describe superbly that enigmatic city. Congratulations!

Sun, Oct 23 2005 - 07:52 PM rating by toribio


Thu, Jul 07 2005 - 12:31 AM rating by tokyomike

Hi Misty,
Thanks for the kudo to my report, and the same back to you! I Alllllmost went to Shanghai in March, but opted for Singapore due to the hassle of getting a visa. But after reading this report, I've made up my mind to visit. Loved the zig-zag bridge :)
Have a great day, and thanks for the heads up on Shanghai.

Sat, Apr 02 2005 - 05:00 PM rating by yellow_daisy

Very interesting.
Greal report!

Tue, Mar 08 2005 - 11:21 AM rating by davidx

One of the best I've read.

Tue, Mar 08 2005 - 01:59 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

excellent report

Mon, Mar 07 2005 - 08:34 PM rating by rangutan

What a contrast to New Zealand! With the chinese economy booming, this city is sure to become an important and major hub for a lot of us in future.

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