Fondest memory from my visit in 2001 was when I got my haircut. It hot and humid so I had it cut short and around the ears, the barber finished by using a straight razor. I've never had one used on me before. Anyways, it was a great haircut and it only cost 60-cents USD! I normally pay at least $8 to $10 not mention a tip. This barber refused a tip.
Ex Highest Hotel Bar in the World
Cloud 9 in the Grand Hyatt was the highest hotel bar in the world (until the SWFC was built next door), with correspondingly dizzy views of the city (providing clouds don't obscure your view). It's certainly not cheap and there is a minimum charge, but drinks and nibbles are good, and service is excellent. The main attraction is definitely the view but you'll have to ask to be seated by the windows to take advantage of this (the staff have been obliging both times I've been here). Smart.
Ice Cream on Nanjing Road East
Mr Gelato is a small ice cream parlour and sandwich shop on Nanjing Road East. It is located towards the westernmost end of Nanjing Road East, just a few minutes walk from People’s Square. I stopped by for ice cream one afternoon during my visit to Shanghai in May 2008.
Mr Gelato sells a small selection of sandwiches (I noticed chicken, bacon and salad) and a reasonable choice of cakes and gateaux. However, the main reason to visit Mr Gelato is for ice cream!
Choose from dozens of flavours (chocolate, mango, kiwi, strawberry, tiramisu, bubble gum, hazelnut, pistachio, coffee, lemon, black cherry…) and decide whether you want it in a dish or a cone.
I paid 30 Yuan / 2.50 GBP for 3 scoops of ice cream in a dish:
Black Sesame flavour - I’d never even heard of black sesame flavoured ice cream before, let alone tasted it, so I opted for this unusual looking grey/black ice cream. It was a bit gritty (that would be the ground black sesame seeds), but it tasted ok;
Green Tea flavour – like the black sesame flavour, this was a new one for me but, being a local flavour, I decided I should give it a try. The taste of the ice cream was much stronger than any green tea that I drank in China;
Lemon Sorbet – having chosen the above two flavours, I decided I should go for a “safe option” and with it being a hot and sunny day, this refreshing lemon sorbet was the perfect choice.
The ice cream was pretty expensive by Shanghai standards – 30 Yuan for 3 standard sized scoops isn’t particularly cheap – but it was very good quality.
There are a few stools and a small table by the window if, like me, you opt to dine in.
An excellent choice of ice cream flavours on Nanjing Road East!
The Longhua Pagoda is a 40 metres high building standing in front of the temple of the same name. Each storey is smaller than the storey below, and all the levels are encircled by balconies and banisters. It was built in the style of the Song Dynasty.
"What I thought"
As a city, I wouldn't really rate Shanghai. It's untidy and rundown. It seems that most of the money has gone to Beijing and more recently Hong Kong, however this is changing and Shanghai in 5 years will be a vast improvement on the Shanghai of today.
Please checkout my tips and rate them if you found them useful.
"What I did"
I spent the first day shopping for souvenirs in Yu Yuan Bazaar. It appears to be an old Chinese village located in Old City Shanghai, but I have a feeling it's a more recent addition to attract tourists. There is a beautiful garden within the confines of the Bazaar called The Yu Yuan Gardens. These were a welcome relief after battling against so many people for the day.
We wandered along 'The Bund', the famous Shanghai riverfront. Best done during the day and at night to get the full experience.
We also wandered through the back streets of Old Shanghai. It isn't hard to find areas where the 'real' Chinese live and work. They are the tiny little streets crammed with pedestrians and bikes, where people work out of their tiny houses and have their washing flapping in the breeze above their doorway or even in the street. You cannot walk on the footpath, as this is where business in conducted. Walking in the street is also perilous.
Nanjing Lu is the main shopping street where you can find the department stores as well as western food and Starbucks.
If you have some spare time, visit the Shanghai Museum.
A trip to the Shanghai Acrobats was well worth it. Not as good as Cirque De Soleil (sp), but for a fraction of the price it was worth the visit.
There is a local food called sticky rice. It is wrapped in banana leaves. Do not mistake this for a Chinese type of Sushi and attempt to eat the leaves. They are not tasty... apparently.
Do not walk in any puddles on the street. Children in China do not wear nappies. Instead they have a slit in their pants through which they can do their business. When nature calls, anywhere is a potential toilet.
As a westerner, expect prices for goods to be quoted as up to 10 times the 'real' price. Bear this in mind when haggling for goods. This also applies to meals, so view the price on a menu before you order anything. Otherwise you could be stung with a hefty bill.
Get your hotel to call a taxi for you if you have a deadline. Don't assume that you will get a taxi when you really need one, despite the fact that you saw 100's of empty ones all day.