Shikumen translates literally as "Stone Frame Door". Built in south-facing rows with common bathing facilities this style of accomodation was once the solution to housing Shanghai's booming population. But there is no holding back progress and these lanes are gradually being demolished to make way for more modern housing.
It is still possible to find examples of Shikumen Lanes in Shanghai, a good location being Maoming Bei Lu. Take the opportunity to see history in action, as these houses will surely not be around much longer.
There is also a Shikumen Museum, in Taicang Lu, devoted to the hundreds of homes in that area that were demolished to make way for the shopping and dining complex of Xintiandi.
Train between Shanghai and Suzhou
It is very easy to catch a train between Shanghai and Suzhou. High-speed trains depart and arrive at Shanghai's enormous main train station. You can purchase tickets from a dedicated ticket counter for English speakers. A single First Class ticket costs only RMB31 (GBP2 or USD4). The journey train varies between 35-50 minutes. The main square outside the train station is usually crowded with travellers, many from rural China - this can seem a little chaotic, but there is a visible police presence.
This garden, located in the old town, is quite nice, even if it's not the most beautiful one (for me, the bests are in Suzhou).
Around the garden, you will find a lot of shops, selling silk (the cheapest dresses and ties are in Suzhou also), pottery, jewelry, tea pot and so one...
Also, there is a great place to go if you want to buy some 'old' chinese stuff.
There is an antique market, situated in Fangbang Lu, on the left side, just after the door.
It's a 4 or 5 levels buildind.
Whatever you will find there, discuss the price. The sailor will pretend it is old, when it is not...
Go to Pudong - drive through the underwater tunnel.
Over at Pudong is totally different from the other side of the Huangpu River. You will see hundreds of skyscrapers, with the beautiful Oriental Pearl Tower in pink colour. Wonder why it is pink!!!
Also you will see China current tallest building the Jin Mao Tower and next to it is the construction of the Shanghai World Financial Centre to compete with our Malaysia Petronas Towers (KLCC Twin Towers) which is currently the tallest twin tower in the world.
I have included a picture of Jin Mao Tower which also houses the Grand Hyatt Hotel. This picture is taken from the Shangrila Pudong Hotel (if you get there - have some good Cantonese Dim Sum). The Hyatt hotel here is the tallest hotel in the world occupies some 35 floors of the Jin Mao Tower. There is a transculent elevator which hotel guests ride up a no time to the top with any dizzy spell!!!. It has a art deco decoration and has a wonderful lounge real high up with wonderful view of the Bund on the other side of Huangpu.
Suzhou the city with many channels (similar to Venice, but not so well known!) It is the partner town of Venice. Suzhou is also a city with a lot of temples.
It was funny to hear that they call their mainstation "Garden of eternal waiting", even our train from Peking was only 1 hour late!
Go and visit these beautiful gardens:
This picture was taken from the 7th floor of the Pagoda. A very peaceful place.
Take a boat trip on the busy big channel, so called "emperor's channel". We did this from Suzhou to Ping Wang (about 3 hours)
A lot of traffic on this channel
People unloading their ships. Really hard work!!
splendid houses and roofs
the upper part of another nice building
a very nice Pagoda
The old town, along one of the channels
One of these nice bridges
We had the opportunity to see how they open the shells. We were lucky, the man gave us all the pearls which were inside the shell as a souvenir (about 40 pearls!)
A must is a visit to Tiger Hill with it's Bonsais. One of them has an age of about 400 years! Unfortunately it was raining, so the pictures are not that good
Visit the big Pagoda. After 192 steps you will enjoy a good view of the city (if it's not raining...)