Warning: This is part one of a very long and subjective blog, full of comments about our trip to Shanghai last October 24 to 29, 2011.
Photos are from Fil and George
October 24: Temperature around 16°C
Fil, George and I arrived in Shanghai airport via Cebu Pacific without delay, and quickly rode the midnight line (守航线) bus to downtown area. In the bus stop, a lot of private drivers were soliciting customers, and that’s where I practiced my first mandarin conversation in China: The driver asked for 220rmb to get us from airport to hostel, saying that the cost of bus and taxi to hostel would be more expensive. We refused the offer and decided to take the bus as originally planned. Result: Bus was less than 30rmb per person, and taxi from bus stop to hostel was only 18rmb!
Lesson # 1: When you arrive in Shanghai by midnight, taking the bus is the cheapest alternative.
We checked in Shanghai International Youth Hostel for 199rmb per room per night. This establishment is located in South Sūzhōu Road (苏州南路), accessible from MRT line 1’s Xīn zhá lù Station (新闸路站). The building had a lot of character, and was surrounded by artsy stuff. Rooms were not that clean, bed was not so comfortable, but their “double bed” was akin to a king sized one. It’s location was prime, for it was walking distance to Huánghé Road (黄河路) — where there were foot spas available, and several dining establishments, right next to People Square Station (人民广场站).
October 25: Old and New
We left our hotel around 830am, saw a line in one of the establishments nearby, and bought 菜包(vegetable bun) and soy milk for breakfast. We got to the MRT station and made sure we have the Shanghai Public Transportation Card. Then with the help of my iPod touch’s Shanghai Metro App, we navigated our way to Yùyuán Station (豫园站).
Bazaars around the garden were nice! Tourist trap for sure, but it was so alluring, and the buildings were so in character — certainly a mixture of old and new.
We spent the entire morning touring the Yu garden and the bazaars around it. We even had lunch there, in their “food court” area, but the food was terrible.
We traveled to the Pǔdōng(浦东) side that afternoon via Lùjiāzuǐ Station (陆家嘴站), and strolled around the big circular pedestrian overpass. We went to their Apple store, Super Brand Mall, and had quick dinner inside Lotus Supermarket. Then we proceeded to their number one landmark: The Orient Pearl Tower (东方明珠). We paid 150rmb per person to gain access to all the areas. I had fun in their glass walkway, and mini roller-coaster ride. The museum in the basement was worth going to as well. But, going up to the highest tower is not worth it at all: glass was dirty and foggy, observation area was well-lit so you can see your own reflection if you take pictures of the view outside, and there was really not much to see.
Lesson # 2: When visiting Orient Pearl Tower, access to the two spheres is enough. (only 135rmb per person)
On our way back to our hostel, we saw an open restaurant and had a late meal there. Food was so-so.
Read the continuation here.