Luckily for us we arrived In China around the right time to cash in on the National Holidays we got five days off. ( screaming inside thank you lord) So we had decided to make the most of these days as we don’t know when we would get a holiday again for a very long time. Since Shanghai is an hour away it only made sense for us to go and explore.
We took the bullet train from Hangzhou that took an hour and 10 minutes it was better than flying. The legroom was amazing, and the seats go far back that you feel like you can sleep comfortably. Minus a family who were up and down next to me the journey to Shanghai was a smooth one. A highly recommended experience.
Using the metro/subway system to get around is very simple we navigated our way to our hotel using nothing but trains, and our hotel was 5 minute walk from the station. We stayed at a place called the Ibis Hotel. It wasn’t anything too fancy, but it was cheap and perfect for us.
That evening we decided to get dressed up and go to Nanjing road this road is the popular road we were told about.
We didn’t realise how popular until we got there it felt like a street carnival so many people it was crazy. So many shops I could not count. We found a Market area that sold cool things and you can literally barter your goods for next to nothing. Spent way too much money way too quickly.
We walked the entire strip about 5 km of hundreds of people millions of shops and bright lights. It was intense but loved it. Eventually, our feet ached from walking, and the crowds got annoying and all we wanted was good food and drink in a vibey place. Not knowing where to go was tough because all the bars are scattered around the city. Eventually, it got very late, and we could not deal with it anymore walking so we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel.
Now being a tourist in a city like this I warn you to be smart because Taxi drivers will rob you with cab fare. One Taxi driver wanted to charge us 100RMB to take us about 3 km. After arguing and joking with him because, we knew it was a ludicrous amount he then told us he will take us for less and wanted to put us into a van that wasn’t his…. Laughing we walked quickly away. (we have all seen the movie taken right.)
The next day we went shopping at the market place again got some good deals and random items. Then met up with a friend of mine from Cape Town, who is also teaching in Shanghai. It was so awesome to see her and listen to how China has been treating her. The best thing about meeting other people is knowing that we are going through the same thing. We met her housemate Zee an Indian Muslim Scottish guy lol, needless to say; his accent didn’t match his look at all. He was cool we went to this hand pulled noodle bar with them for lunch it was so good and so cheap.
They live near a beautiful park called Zhongshan Park, and we wandered the park for a while meandering along the paths watching people having fun. So many people were out enjoying the sun flying kites, picnicking on the grass music going, people singing and dancing it was a feast for the eyes. I could imagine myself living in this city and running away from hustle and bustle in this park a little secret garden in the midst of the madness.
That evening we met up with two work colleagues who came to Shanghai. We met for dinner and wanted to do some night tour of the Pearl Tower and river cruise. When we arrived, it had closed, so we decided to do it the next day. We found the worst place for food ever some Chinese diner place near the Pearl. So with setback after another it looked like the night was off to a bumpy start followed by another scavenger hunt for a bar that took about two trains and it felt like an hour of walking. Eventually, we made it to the bar, and they had decent western food, and the prices were ok. (Light at the end of the tunnel.) In China, we have come to realise in order to remain sane we need celebrate small victories every time.
The next day we headed out again the beauty of the metro is it makes it so easy to travel around without spending an exorbitant amount on Taxi fare.Trying to explain to a taxi driver where we were going when we weren’t sure ourselves could have been an expensive setback.
We went to see Jing’an Temple a temple in the middle of the city. It was so strange to have this beautiful ancient temple in the middle of high skyscrapers and shops. It felt very odd I guess this what China means by new meets old lol. We then spent the afternoon at Century Park bigger than Zhongshan Park and in my opinion not has beautiful. It was once again buzzing with people. I have never seen so many people in a park cycling, picnicking, and just having fun. We even managed to catch a few weddings too. We walked around had Ice-cream enjoyed the sun while people watching.
Then we headed off to the Pearl Tower along with the rest of China. After being disappointed the night before, we got there earlier not knowing that the rest of China had the same idea. When we got to the front to buy tickets, we got hit with the sad news of a 3-4 hour wait because they were so busy. So we left feeling defeated by Shanghai what more could go wrong seriously.
We left on what felt like search 500 for a bar with a vibe awesome food and people. Everyone told us about this place called Paris and we were determined to find it since it was our last night in this city. We got off the metro and started walking, and we found a bar café that looked amazing Unas Pizza I think it was called it was a breath of fresh air. Since we concluded the Chinese food in Shanghai is bad, or atleast the places we had tried was bad. This place was awesome reminded me of a bar restaurant I would have gone to back home. The food was awesome the burger I had tasted real, and the price was right.
After dinner and feeling sleepy they quest to find Paris continued. We then took the last train before they closed at 11pm got off at a place that seemed like the dodgy part of town. Now not knowing which direction to walk we then got a taxi that dropped us off and to our surprise our wild goose chase for a place called Paris was actually called Perry’s. When we realised this, we all just burst out laughing, and we were determined to have a good night. Thank you Perry’s for not disappointing. I will recommend this place its cheap buzzing full of foreigners and locals. The music is good it is just a great party without being too fancy just what Stacey and I were looking for to end our trip on a good note. We met so many interesting people from all over the world.
So after setback after setback and not giving up on Shanghai you are a city that will never be forgotten. Even after spending way too much money, walking way too far and dealing with far too many people, it is not a place for the faint hearted.Shanghai is one beautiful city with an unmistakably unique skyline and a vibe I cannot put into words this city can suck you in. (Fyi if you plan to visit do not go over the national holiday there are just too many people to enjoy the touristy things.) Shanghai we will be back….
Peace love and Happiness