We decided to start our travels with a visit to Shanghai. Nicole’s dad, Phil, is currently working in Shanghai and we were lucky enough to start our trip in style, staying at swanky apartment in Pudong overlooking the Huangpu river. After recovering from a dose of jet lag and numerous Air India curries we started exploring.
We began by walking through Pudong and if you like skyscrapers then this is the place to be. The Shanghai Tower, Shanghai World Financial Centre, Pearl Tower and Jin Mao Tower are all located in close proximity of each other. You can check our my thoughts on the Shanghai Tower here – The Shanghai Tower; the world’s second tallest building!.
The following day, we took the ferry over to the other side of the river and walked to Yuyuan Gardens. The garden architecture is rather special and it is also worth a walk through Yuyuan Bazaar. Make sure you get a photo next to the world’s tallest man!
We then headed over to the Bund and the similarity with the Pier Head in Liverpool and its three graces is remarkable. On a visit to the Museum of Liverpool I had read a bit about the trade links between Liverpool and Shanghai but i hadn’t expected the waterfront to be near enough identical! The day ended with a stroll to East Nanjing road and a walk through People’s Square. Unfortunately, we didn’t witness any mum’s selling off their 30 year old son’s for marriage. Apparently, this weird ritual is only takes place of a weekend.
The next morning we went the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Museum. Despite the museum being included on Trip Advisor and numerous to-do websites it is all still very hush-hush. It doesn’t even have a proper entrance and is located in the rear of an apartment block which makes it very hard to find. The museum contains numerous posters from the Mao regime, all of which aim to present Chairman Mao and Communist China in the best light possible. There is also a fair amount of anti-American and anti-capitalist rhetoric which makes for interesting viewing!
We then walked through the cool French concession quarter which contains lots of nice coffee shops and bars. This brought us to Tianzifang which is an area of narrow quirky streets that is a really good place to grab a bite to eat!
We had decided to split Shanghai in two and took a trip to the splendid Huangshan National Park mid week – A two day trip to Huangshan National Park. On our return Nicole’s family had arrived and our Pudong apartment had suddenly gone from Brit to Swede dominated.
The following night was all about wining, dining and being electrocuted. A friend of Nicole’s dad, Lars, who had an even swankier apartment on the 40th floor, invited us all over for a meal with a few more Swedes who were also in Shanghai. Lars and his girlfriend Anna had hired a Chinese Chef who cooked all of us unbelievable Chinese dishes. Following dessert, a homeopathic electric treatment was brought to the table which apparently also serves as an after dinner party trick – ‘fun’!
The increase in females soon brought us to Shanghai copy market located underground at the science and technology market metro stop. The market is crazy and is the place to be if you need cheap branded goods. Nicole’s mum, Caroline, was our secret weapon and occupied the position of chief negotiator on the day.
Whilst in Shanghai, we also took in Fuxing Park which was really nice to walk around and full of singers, dancers, street entertainers and people simply enjoying themselves. That evening we had a really nice meal in Pudong and went to the Exchange bar. The bar was very cool and we had a room to ourselves which included a pool table, 80’s arcade games and an X box.
Our last day in Shanghai saw us visit the animal market near Fuxing road. Gigantic crickets, rabbits, turtles, birds and kittens can all be found here. Let’s just hope purchases are made for pet purposes and nothing else! After a great 10 days in Shanghai we departed the following morning via bullet train to Beijing. Below is a short Youtube video of our highlights of Shanghai.