My first trip to China should be a few days stay in China’s largest city: Shanghai. All the other destinations in Asia I have been to were hot and humid, but looking at the temperature of Shanghai, it was hardly above freezing point – I had no idea what to expect. So I packed my suitcase, jumped on the plane and got myself prepared for a big surprise.
Let me share some of the most outstanding impressions with you…
Traveling into another country, or even another continent with another tradition will always bring changes.
Most of the restaurants showcast their menu outside the dining area so potential clients – you – can take a look and figure out what they serve, if you think you’ll like it and if not move on to another one.
All over Shanghai are big malls with giant food courts. One day we took a tour around Shanghai in a group of 3, and as we got hungry we literally spent 3 hours (no jokes) in a mall trying to find some food everyone would be okay with. So when I say a lot of restaurants, it really is a lot 🙂
I also heard (unfortunately I only heard of it and haven’t been there myself) of a place called “Cool Docks” where they serve all kinds of international food. The person who was telling me about this place, really loved it there and recommended it from her heart!
Time of the year – climate
As I mentioned above it was really cold during the time I went to Shanghai.
I made my way to the big city at the beginning of February. Luckily it didn’t rain or snow throughout the time I was there, but I did spot some old snow here and there. So if you happen to travel there meanwhile it is wintertime – come prepared 🙂
It is hard to believe that in winter Shanghai is that cold (around freezing point), and temperatures in summer will climb up to 35 to 40°C – in one and the same city..
There are shops of all kinds – from street food, street sellers, malls, boutiques, artistic districts, fake markets, regular supermarkets, dollar stores to luxerious and expensive stores! You name it, it is there..
I always like to just walk around and explore. But if this is not too much of your style or you are looking for something very specific, just research it in your area – and I’m sure you’ll find it in Shanghai.
It always requires a bit of getting used to a new currency when traveling in a new country. In China they use Renminbi (CNY). Right now CNY 7.8 equals 1€.
The most significant thing I would say is the masses; in Shanghai you’ll never be alone 🙂 The crowds are huge no matter where you are or go. Such things as personal space in an elevator or when riding the metro just don’t exist hehe.
Sometimes I felt like an alien or a famous person – people were turning heads when I passed them, they stared at me and started conversations. At first I was a little nervous, but soon I got used to it and even enjoyed to confuse them by smiling in their even more confused faces 🙂
Overall they are a friendly population – once I was stuck in between people in the metro unable to make myself stable, and so one lady just put her arm around my back so I wouldn’t fall!
The cheapest, easiest and fastest way is to ride the metro. For as little as CNY 3-4 (which is about 50 cents), you are able to ride from one end of the city to another. I recommend to get a metro map at the hotel check-in. You should know that the metro is a very very crowded place, but a super convenient – I would even say the best – and cheapest way to get around.
Taxi?! Well, I haven’t tried it myself but I do have heard that first of all it might take you a while to finally arive as traffic is crazy, and second of all some tourists have been tricked to pay much more than required… or even worse. However this might happen everywhere + if you are careful and smart you should be safe.
Hop on, hop off buses are also a great alternative. They take you around the city way faster and more comfortable than walking while you see a lot (compared to the metro where you only see black haha). There are 3 main toures:
- red: downtown, heritage & culture: sights: bund, people square, museum, port, Yu garden
- blue: Pudong, skyscraper: sights: bund. SWFC, Jinmao, Oriental Pearl Tower, port, Nanpu bridge
- green: temple tour: sights: Nanjing, museum, temples
Yet I prefered to take the metro and walk, as the prices have been up to CNY 300 (about 40€) for an 1 hour tour.
Another fantastic way to get around is by foot. I always enjoy to just start walking and explore along. My tip: Think of comfortable shoes. This is not only for Shanghai, but if you have blisters at the end of the day, nothing is fun anymore..