Shanghai – City of Past and Future

My trip to Shanghai via Manila last November is my second trip to this city, yet so many interesting places I had not been able to explore this interesting city. Shanghai itself in the past time, had been known as one of the largest and most prosperous in East Asia with its international community through several nations concession area, ie : French, UK, Italy, Germany, etc which now form the downtown of Shanghai with its wonderful architecture. It’s now as well become the Financial center of Mainland China.

How To Go There ?
Shanghai had 2 airport which located far each opposite ends of the city for both airports. The first airport is mostly handle international flight from Shanghai, but there are also some domestic flights flying from Pudong international airport. Pudong international airport can be reached through city via its wonderful maglev which only takes 10 minutes to reach the city or through slower metro. There are also busses going to or from the city to this airport. The second airport is Hongqiao, which mostly serve the domestic routes, with some international flight as well. For you who travel to Shanghai from overseas then continue the journey through domestic route, it’s suggested to use the same airport to prevent missing flight and the hassle to move between the airport, as it will take you one hour by taxi and up to 2 hours transfer via metro lines or buses. Both airports have good connectivity to the city,  however mostly only operated up to 9 – 10 PM. Plan ahead to avoid you miss the last bus/ metro/ maglev else you had to take taxi which will cost you more.

Other alternative is using Hangzhou international airport, which I took for my trip last week. This option is suitable especially if you plan to visit Hangzhou which is famous for its west lake. The journey from Hangzhou to Shanghai  through fastest express train takes only 45 minutes.

My trip to Shanghai this time is via Pudong International airport. As no bus nor metro operating at this time, I have no choice instead of taking taxi to my hotel in Bund area.  For taking the taxi, please use only the official taxi outside the terminal on the ground floor. You might be approached by unofficial taxi which will charge you more than it should. All taxi in the official line will use meter for the fare and at that end of the journey, don’t forget to take the receipt.  Most of the taxi driver do not speak English, hence you must ensure they know where to go first, or you can ask for assistance from the officer at queueing line to communicate with the driver before leaving the airport. If you have hotel card, or hotel name with complete address in chinese, it will help a lot. Taxi fare for me at that time cost me 196 RMB from airport to go North bund area, nearby Dalian road. One of the reason is midnight surcharge.

Pudong International Airport

The weather in November is very cold, especially at night due to the wind, even there is no snow like in Beijing, but some part of Huangpu river is freezing. When I arrived in the hotel finally, I found food vendor on the street in front of the hotel selling BBQ sticks, suitable for hungry man arrive in the city in the middle of night.

The hotel  I stay, Topsun on the Bund is located in Hongkou district, north of the bund area, quite near to the Metro station, but of course will need to walk about 10 minutes to the nearest metro. This hotel is marked as 4 stars hotel in Agoda, but surprisingly I had low rate price during my booking time. The size of the room is very spacious even for the bath room itself.

Top Sun on The bund hotel

Top Sun on Bund Hotel

Topsun On the Bund Hotel
Address : No.36 Huimin Road, Hongkou District, Shanghai

After resting for couple of hours, it’s time to roam around the city. Before that, have breakfast nearby the hotel. In China, for local food, you can find it so cheap, but for international franchise, like KFC, Starbucks, etc, it’s expensive in China, even some is more expensive compared to the price in Hong Kong and Singapore. Breakfast for starting the day is fried noodle with fried dough, which only cost me 5 RMB.

The first destination for the day is Shanghai South Bund Material Market, which located at Lujiabang road with nearest metro is Nanpu bridge. This became my first destination in Shanghai as I plan to have some custom made shirt and also suit in this area.  This center is famous for having custom made clothes and suit, or  even coat, etc with good quality. A lot of local people as well tourist flock to this market during the day. As I had only limited time, only 2 days, and will fly back on the next night, I am not sure whether they can fulfill my order at first. I knew this market from a nice colleague in the office, a Shanghainese lady. For my surprise, two stores, one for my shirt and other for my suit can fulfill my order for only one day, with affordable price and satisfying quality. Highly recommend this area, especially if you plan to have custom made clothing. Just ensure, you have survey the approximate price which also depends on the material. If you have already some design on your mind, you can show them during your visit there. Be specific on type of design you want for your clothing. It would be better if you have 2 or 3 days, just in case, you need to have some alteration to be made on your clothing.

Shanghai South Bund Material Market
399 Lujiabang Road (陆家浜路)
Operating hour : 10.00 AM – 18.00 PM
Bus : 802 or 64 from Shanghai road station and stop at final station, Nanpu Bridge terminal
Metro : Nanpu Bridge, exit 1, take left from the exit, cross the street, you will find traffic light, go to left side, and walk around 5 -10 minutes straight.

Shanghai has extensive metro lines, with affordable price which make travelling around the city is so easy, however you have to know which exit you need to go out at the destination metro. You can buy one way ticket from machine which have option to choose in English.

The next destination is Xintiandi. Xintiandi is a hang out place, designed having classic architecture with full of cafes, and restaurants with shopping places.

In this area, many cafes, like starbucks and other have free wifi, however the problem is  normally for free wifi, it’s require local number in China for sending the passcode.

When you are in Xintiandi, don’t forget to stop by cafe or restaurant to enjoy the surrounding and people seeing around. It’s also nice to rest after walking around Shanghai. For resting, I choose my favourite cafe, Starbucks to enjoy hot drink during this winter time.

After Xintiandi, the next destination is Oriental Pearl tower with its financial district. Actually at that night, I plan to have the river cruise along the Huangpu river, but unfortunately, I did not find the place at that time. The nearest metro to the Oriental Pearl to here is at Lujiazui metro exit 6.

It’s best to go there at night, to see the financial district surrounding the area including Jin Mao Tower, with some lights on the top of the tower. This area is mostly used as center of all Financial institution having office in Shanghai including Standard Chartered, BNP Paribas, Ping An insurance, etc.

When you visit there, don’t forget as well to look through IFC mall from the bridge, which have apple store inside the mall.

From the area, you can then walk to the river side to see Puxi area from the river side. Many people normally go to this area, include tourist to enjoy the scenery as well taking photographs of the area.

On my last visit last year, I been in the other side on Puxi area, facing Pudong area, which also a nice view, on the river side walking area as well. Try to do sight seeing from both area if you go to Shanghai.

If you have time in Shanghai, you can also visit Yuyuan garden, but don’t shop in that place as the price is extremely expensive compared to other places in Shanghai. For shopping, Shanghai science & Technology museum metro stop is the best place to shop. Just go to Yuyuan garden to enjoy the garden and the scenery of the area. Other choice for shopping is also Nanjing road, as one of the main shopping area in Shanghai.

Not much places I went for my Shanghai trip this year, as I spent my second day mostly in Zhou Zhuang on the next day then back to Pudong international airport using Maglev. If you go to Shanghai, don’t forget to try the Maglev. It only depart from Loyang station in the city area, and only takes about 10 minutes to go to the airport at 300 km/hour speed. If you have ticket on your hand, you will get discount for your maglev ride, 40 RMB only from normal price 50 RMB for one way ticket.

Only few people in the platform at that night hence many of the seat are left emptied, but it’s nice experience to try at least once this magnificent train.

My journey in Shanghai finally ended by arriving in Pudong international airport to fly back home.

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