Get A Massage... A Little Piece Of Heaven
In most cities where a massage on your arms and legs costs you an arm and a leg, Shanghai proves to be a pleasant surprise. In fact, China is probably one of the last cosmopolitan cities on the planet where massages are so affordable.
Some people might be wary that they are stepping into the unknown, but Chinese massage (sometimes known as tui-na) is really one of the most effective massages I've ever tried, and it can be very soothing as well. It works away the tension knots in your body, and I find it especially good on the shoulders after a long day thumping away on my laptop.
Though many massage places are fronts for more dubious activity, by and large the ones I've come across in Shanghai are still legitimate ones offering actual massages minus accessorial services.
Dragonfly is a prime example, and it's impressed me so much that I have to share this with fellow travellers. I've only been to one outlet so far (the one in DongHu Road), and can't speak of the experience in any of its other outlets. But the Donghu Road one is really out of this world.
The atmosphere can match that of any high-class spa and is entirely soothing, with tasteful dark wood furnishings, and soft low lighting. Once you step into the massage area, you find yourself in little cubicles separated by curtains. I didn't have any regular masseuse, but the one assigned to me did a fantastic job. Let's put it this way... My head was feeling so disconnected from the rest of my body, after putting in an all-nighter for a rush project. But after the massage, the world looked right again. :-)
If you've got time to try only one massage place, go to Dragonfly. I would go there every day if I could.
Oh, did I mention the price? It cost about RMB 120 (USD 15) for a 90-mins massage. Though it's not the cheapest in Shanghai, it's a steal.
1.By air. There are two...
1.By air. There are two international airports in Shanghai. One is Pudong International Airport(it takes about 1.5 hours to go to downtown by bus): the other is Hongqiao International Airport(it takes about 30 minutes to go to downtown by bus).
1.By taxi. Choose the taxis whose color is blue, green, yellow and white. Because these taxis belongs to the normal taxi companies.
2.By underground. It is a very convenient way to get around, but do not take it at peak periods.
3.By bus. Because Shanghai is the largest city of China, the bus is very crowded especially at peak periods.
Temples: Longhua Si
Rough Guide: "One of Shanghai's main religious sites from 10th century. Also a 1700 yrs old pagoda, 40m high. In 977, a monk installed bronze wind chimes heard on the Huangpu River. Active Buddhist site, new monks being trained. At the temple gate is a bell tower, you can strike the bell for Y10 to bring you good luck. On Chinese New Year a monk bangs the bell 108 times, to ease the 108 mundane worries of Buddhist thought." I enjoy the peaceful temples!
The sad fact of visiting most of China is the number of beggars you see on the streets.
I tended to, rightly or wrongly, put these beggars into 4 groups…
1 – The needy – They need the money but they just lay on a piece of cardboard in the street with the hand outstretched hoping for some money.
2 – The children being abused – Children that have plastered themselves with dirt or mud and wear a simple pair of old shorts. These kids will perform acrobatic skills etc and chase you for money. Closely watched by their adult “minders.”
3 – The pathetic – Adults that would use young children as “props” or to use the child to ask you for money. This is prevalent around the Bund at night as this is where the tourists “hang out!” A child will rattle a foam coffee cup at you and say “Money?”
4 – The worker – Mostly elderly men and women with large bags. These people would go through the bins looking for plastic bottles to take to the recycling stations to cash in for money. They would also approach the tourists and ask for the bottle…even if it was still half full of water!
To be honest, as much as it tugged at my heartstrings, I only gave a piece of fruit, a bottle of water or a sandwich to a beggar, never money.
Yuyuan Gardens Bazaar
Fangbang Street (as its well known) is great for souvenir shopping, and can be found running along the edge of the Bazaar.
"Nine - bend bridge"
The nine-bend bridge marks the central point of interest in the bazaar, and is surrounded by a small lake that is brimming with orange carp and other fish.
The #9 is considered special because it is the highest single digit odd number, and odd numbers are thought to be heavenly. You can come across the #9 on many occasions in china, particularly with regards to Feng Shui.
It is strange, because it actually took me ages to locate the Bazaar in the clogged up streets of Shanghai, but once i was in i could not believe it took so long, - they are huge!!
One enchanting garden leads to another, and you can lose the tour groups in the many different paths and covered walkways.
The front gate is acknowledgement enough, that you've finally found the entrance to the Bazaar......
Or as i'd like to think of it as, Shanghai's answer to Disneyland.
"A full days entertainment!!!"
The Bazaar is the ideal place to go shopping for that odd souvenir, to go for an interesting meal or snack, or simply to wander in a curious haze of wonder at the sheer size and immensity of the humorously decorated buildings.
Allow time to wander the trails through the stirring gardens and small lakes.......
I loved the architects of these buildings, in a way, for their sense of humour, and for the crazily out-of-proportion buildings that tower above you throughout the Bazaar.
It really isn't like anything i've seen before, or are likely to see again!!
The Gardens are full of small dark walkways through rocky crevices, and under old temples and the like.
You can spend quite a while just curiously peeking around each corner, and through each gate, to make sure you don't miss any of these marvellous gardens.......