For a concentrated taste of...
For a concentrated taste of Shanghai, start with the touristy Old Shanghai. It's much like 'Old Town' in any large city in the world but don't be put off. It offers sights, sounds and even some of the smells close living in china. You can sample all manner of local foods without worry or try Starbuck's coffee if you crave something more conventional. It's also a place for trinket shopping. Whetever you're looking for is probably within ten minutes walk. The way for young chinese to go out in times when money is scarce is to 'Pave the Streets'. Singles and couples take their water bottles in plastic shopping bags and walk the streets. They escape to a bit of freedom in the anonymous crowds that costs nothing. After you've finished shopping on Nanjing Street, join the crowd for a stroll on the Bund. Don't forget your water bottle.
Contemporary Traditional Designs
Annabel Lee Shanghai is a group of young international artists that mix the traditional, elegant Chinese crafts with modern design. They specialise in embroidery, a skill that has been rediscovered just recently by the younger designer generation.
The group has a smallish store in the Xintiandi plaza that stocks their products, such as scarfs, bags and tablecloths. As the shops sells mostly crafts, the prices are steep, but some items are worth every penny.
Eating on the street - of course, I tried to be reasonably careful, but it's so much fun to taste all those snacks :-) Dumplings - because they usually taste like one would expect them to, but may surprise sometimes
Take a Cruise on the Huangpu River
Okay let me warn you before you do, that geographically there is nothing spectacular about the Huangpu River. It is only about 45 miles long attaching an inland lake to the Yangtze River. What makes a river cruise so special is that it has served such an economic importance for both Shanghai and all of China. The banks along the river have acted as the chief port of Shanghai. They are lined with countless warves where during you cruise, you will see ships all kinds. These include ancient rickety junks to modern merchant tankers. The two hour voyage up the river will never fail to fascinate with so much economic life to see.
Most trips are arranged through the Shanghai Huangpu River Cruise Company. They arrange for a cruise up the river for either Y70 or Y120, depending on which deck you sit on. I accidently decided upon the cheaper price. The trip starts out at 2pm and takes about 2 hours to the point where the Huangpu flows into the Yangtze, which looks more like a sea, than a river. The boat turns around at this point and takes another 90 minutes on the voyage back. The views of Shanghai along the way are superb and highly educational if you valve this glimpse into the economic life of modern China. There is a bit of history too for you will see many old junks that seem to be held together by spit and sweat.
The Oriental Pearl
In this century, The country that has very high economic growth rate, low labor cost and many foreign companies would like to invest is China. The most comprehensive industrial and commercial city is Shanghai, the place that I visited in Apr 2001.
I went to Shanghai, China with my MBA classmates for the field trip during Songkarn holidays. That was splendid experience for me. I departed Bangkok at 3 AM, Apr 12. It took 4 hrs to Shanghai. In my opinion, Pudong airport, Shanghai international airport, was one of the best airports in Asia. It was modern style architecture with the stage of the art. There was digital telephone that you could see the picture of the person you talked to…so hi-tech.
The highway that linked Pudong airport to Shanghai downtown was very nice. There were a lot of trees along the side way that you would refresh from all night travel.
Shanghai was very big city, ranking No.1 in population and population density in China. More than 18 million people lived there. It’s almost two times of Bangkok but it’s not so crowd as Bangkok. The road in Shanghai was very well architectural. There was 4-layer road with the roundabout at the top layer. It indicated the advance in Civil Engineering. Driving in Shanghai was very noisy. The driver usually pressed car horn in any situation. It seemed that Chinese driver could not drive without pressing car horn.
In Shanghai, I visited many attractions. Jade Buddha Temple, the most famous Buddhist temple in Shanghai, housed a 1.9-metre-tall white jade statue of Buddha. The Bund, it’s known as a miniature museum of international architecture with dozens of high buildings standing along the shore. Oriental Pearl TV Tower was one of the highest towers in the world, located on the other side of Huangpu River. Nanjing Lu was "China's Number One Street" in shopping. At that time, I had a little time for shopping. So, I could not buy all interesting things that I would like to buy.
The toilet in China was still traditional. In urban area, it’s ok but in suburb, it was open-air toilet that you could see the view outside toilet when you were dropping. In the other hands, anyone could see you also.
Another city that I visited was Hangzhou, one of famous tourism cities in China regards as “Paradise on the Earth”. It’s the capital of Zhejiang province and far from Shanghai about 180 kms, 3 hrs by bus. Lying on the west edge of Hangzhou city, West Lake, also known as Xizi lake, was the symbol of Hangzhou. Its scenery was very beautiful.
One of the great experiences in Hangzhou was the bargaining at the open-aired market, Hu San Lu. 50% bargaining from the called price was not enough. My friend and I bought the same bags at different shops. It was Chinese bag at pocket book size. The called price for this bag was 35 yuan. She bought 2 bags for 25 yuan (12.5 yuan/bag) but I got one bag for 7 yuan only. After she had known how much I pay for the bag, she screamed loudly and lost her confidence in price negotiation. Then, she followed me anywhere when she would like to buy anything.