Watch out for "English students" on Nanjing Rd.
While walking down the pedestrian street, Nanjing Rd., a young Chinese woman began walking next to me and explained that she was a student, wanted to practice her english, and could she walk along with me. After a few hundred meters, she suggested having "coffee" and she knew about a great coffee shop on the 7th floor overlooking the stage, near the Howard Johnson Hotel, on Nanjing Rd.. Well, once up in the restaurant, a couple of "coffees" ended up with a bill of over 800RMB! When I protested, a couple of large Chinese blocked the elevator until I signed a credit card slip and added another 10% for using a "foreign" credit card. I'm American, but there was an Aussie in the restaurant having the same experience.
I really felt there was no alternative but to sign the charge slip and get out. I'll protest the charge with the credit card company, but I don't know if that will be successful.
I should have insisted on going to Starbucks!
Unique Suggestions: Just don't go. The place was named S.U.N.D.A.Y., and is located above a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.
Fun Alternatives: If someone suggests going up to S.U.N.D.A.Y., suggest instead talking to the police.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
- Arts and Culture
Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar area
Yuyuan Garden area
This is not 100% a tourist trap. But it is a must see!
Chinese style bazaar area! Within the area is located the Yuyuan Garden itself.
Unique atmosphere! Like a different world from the rest of Shanghai. Full of tiny shops and few bigger department store (or only one with many entrance?). The area represents classical Chinese architecture with its tea house and other beautiful buildings.
Possible to find Chinese items, like wooden acupressure sandals, silk bathrobes, shirts, Chinese paintings etc. But also western style women/men clothes, jackets, shoes... you name it.
Good place for shopping but remember to bargain!
Address: 132 Anren Street
Open time: 9:00-17:00
Means of Communication: Public buses 64, 24, 11, and 926
A MUST-GO-place when in Shanghai!
- Historical Travel
This is a hugely popular market with the tourists.
Granted, it's a sprawling place with plenty of stalls, but the merchandise start to look the same after a while.
It can also be quite difficult to navigate, as the market is built like a maze, with streets crossing each other. If you find something unique you like, suggest you try to get it at the shop where you first spotted it, because you may not be able to get back to the same shop after you move on.
Also, beware that most of the "branded" items here are imitation goods, even those sold in the little alley "warehouses" that the touts lure you to.
Unique Suggestions: Bargain like there's no tomorrow. Stalls here charge tourist rates that can be brought down 20-40%, depending on your negotiation skills.
If you like Chinoiserie homeware, you can pick up some pretty tissue-box covers, chopsticks etc, at lower prices than you would normally get back at home.
Lastly, bathrooms are not readily available, so try not to develop an urge while you're there. If you must go, there is a little bistro on the border of the market, and you can always grab a drink and rest your legs after exploring this sprawling place.
- Business Travel
Xintiandi at night
The bars and restaurants of Xintiandi are where rich, expat business people hang out at night. Don't join them, unless you have money to burn. A beer will set you back $10.
But, if you want to drink your money to the accompaniment of a blonde-haired, Chinese girl, rock band, this is the place for you!
Unique Suggestions: The only reasonably-priced place, I could find in Xintiandi was a little Japanese fastfood restaurant: soft drinks only.
- Study Abroad
- Budget Travel
Nothing to see at Sightseeing Tunnel at The Bund
I paid 45RMB for a so-called 'special' package which included a cable car ride in the Sightseeing Tunnel, a visit to 'Marine Wonderland' and to experience a 'Virtual world of Sounds'. The 'Marine Wonderland' was all but a few aquariums with some very limited species of marine creatures. The 'Virtual world of Sounds' was even more pathetic...basically, you go into a room where you sit down, put on earphones and the lights will be switched off so that you experience complete darkness. Then you listen to some pre-recorded sound effects (people walking, tea being poured etc) which are supposed to stir up your imaginations so that you feel that these things are actually happening just around you. But it's a miserable attempt...and i felt so cheated (as well as other locals who were with me)! The cable car was just as bad...it just traveled through this tunnel which had been decorated with pretty cheesy lightings which were supposed to simulate effects such as traveling through space, volcanic eruptions..but failed miserably!
Unique Suggestions: Avoid at all costs!!!
Fun Alternatives: I took the Sightseeing Tunnel just to get across the Huangpu river. If you are like me just wanting to cross the river, you should just take the Yan An Road Tunnel which is free of charge too!
- Theme Park Trips
Taxis from the airport
When you arrive in Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the taxi stands are on the floor above the arrival hall. Go straight to the upper level and get into a *metered* cab. Expect to pay around 130-150RMB to get to the city center in Puxi.
Do not accept the help of the touts there who may whip out a cell phone and call their driver friend. These would be unlicensed cabs with no meters in them. They will try to cook up a story about changes in rules, etc., and try to charge you more (up to 400RMB).
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Pretty Ladies In Shanghai
You may be approached by "pretty ladies" asking you for the time... "Excuse me sir, what is time?".... in the streets of Shanghai. They will introduce themselves and invite you for a drink or a meal somewhere. Dont be fooled thinking that its your attractive good looks that made these women suddenly interested in you (unless you look like Brad Pitt) .... it more like your wallet!! They would probably bring you a shady bar nearby charging atrocious prices. These girls get a nice tip/comission from the owners of these dodgy places. You'd probably end up paying 40 US Dollars or more for a cup of coffee or a glass of beer.
Unique Suggestions: Be wary of local ladies approaching you in Shanghai appearing very friendly, eagerly trying to make conversation. They're probably working girls or trying to do some con job on you. Just smile and say no thanks... unless you have some serious $cash$ to waste. Believe me, some of these ladies are really attractive. One of my Japanese buddies got "trapped" by such ladies, called me via his mobile phone for help. My other buddies and I had to fish him out of a shady bar trying to charge him something like 200 US Dollars for a round of beer (5 glasses)... that's like 40 dollars for a glass of beer!!. 4 of us spent 1 hour to looking for the bar somewhere along Nanjing Rd and finally found it. Knowing that it was a scam we told the owner of the bar that we are not paying for the drinks and the 5 of us just walked out and hopped on the first cab we saw back to the hotel.
Fun Alternatives: Remember it was superiority in numbers (5 grown men) and some aggresive attitude that saved my buddy from this scam. We took a risk by just walkig out. So i suggest that you exercise some common sense when approcahed by nice looking ladies in Shanghai.
The Tourist Tunnel goes between The Bund and Pudong. You get a light show along the way. You can take the metro instead.
Unique Suggestions: .
The Tourist Tunnel is so bad and such a big tourist trip that you may want to take it to experience how bad it is. :)
It was RMB for one way and 45 RMB for round trip when I took it. The price may have gone up a little. But if you want to experience it so you and tell all your friends and family how bad it is, take it for the fun of it.
Fun Alternatives: .
You can take the Metro under the river for about 1/10 the price. But the Tourist Tunnel is a little more convenient from the Bund, The metro is a few blocks away at the end of the pedestrian area of Nanjing Road while the Tourist Tunnel is on the Bund.
I plan to post a video on youtube but I found this one. Once you link to this video, you will several links to other videos of the tunnel.
Please rate this and my other tips whey you find them useful.
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel
Don't pay full price!
Never pay full price for anything when shopping. Start off offering half what they are asking and negotiate from there. Don't worry about speaking the language, all vendors have a calculator that they kindly pull out and punch away on. Happy shopping.
Don't say a word, smile, or laugh...
IT seems to me, these people are hanging around the well known tourist areas, trying to sell anything they can. IF you want to purchase something, always remember to bargain. IF you are not interested in what these people are selling, DON'T say a word, don't smile, don't laugh, or make eye contact....anything that will attract their attention. They can be quite aggressive, and are very persistent. They will stand in your way and pull at your clothes, if they think you have the slightest interest in what they are selling. Personally, didn't have it happen to me, but have observed other people in situations. Just keep on walking....eventually they will stop hounding you and move on to their next victim.
english speaking student scam
Two well mannered and well groomed Chinese students approached me in a park, and struck up a conversation with me in English. They were very friendly and told me they were from out of town and on a tour of Shanghai with their school.
They invited me to attend a tea ceremony at a local tea house. It turned out to be a scam and I was presented with a bill for over $120.
Here's the clue, when the students ask you your name and you tell them, and then they say that that is their own name, you know you are about to be scammed.
Attached is a picture of the two students that scammed me. They told me their names were Andy and Fifi. This occured in May, 2006.
Unique Suggestions: Beware of anyone striking up a conversation with you. Attached is a picture of the two that scammed me. After this happened to me in Shanghai, I traveled to Beijing. In Beijing, at the Forbidden City, I was approached again by two students using the same technique.
- Family Travel
- Business Travel
3 yaun or 3 mao : Watch out
I've went to public toilet in xiayang market. There is only chinese language sign, I saw 3 something and assumed that 3 yaun/person/time. I go with my mom and give them 10 yuan bank note. At first, they not give me the change untill I've try to get the change. Then they give me back 4 yuan. Once I've met my friends I just found out that the sign said 3 mao (10 mao = 1 yuan). I was cheated... that's really bad.. so don't do the same as mine.
Unique Suggestions: Try to get the information from your friends or someone nearby about the real cost.
Fun Alternatives: Or you could try to find the free toilet in big department store or other public toilet that give you enough info.
- Budget Travel
If you want your pocket picked by a smiling face..
The Shanghai "Bar Girls" can be found at certain bars that are frequented by expatriates.
The premise is this: THEY WANT YOUR MONEY. They will sit down next to you, ask you if you will buy them a drink, and will offer to get you a drink at the same time. When they return, they won't have a drink and you won't have change.
They are there to MAKE MONEY for the bar and for themselves. After one drink, Mao politely excused himself and went to a bar without "Bar Girls".
What a joke.
Unique Suggestions: If you want to look at the merchandise without buying a drink, simply politely decline to buy any of the "Bar Girls" drinks. After several "no's" word within the "Bar Girl's on duty" will travel fast and they will leave you alone.
Fun Alternatives: There are sooooooooooooo many great bars and dance clubs in Shanghai where you can meet real, normal women, why in the hell would anyone want to go to one of these places? I just don't get it.
- Business Travel
Highway robbery on Nanjing Lu!
I was invited to a CAESARS CLUB on Nanjing Lu (a bar close to Sofitel on the 7th floor. (The 5th floor of the building has a foot massage parlour and the 6th floor has a restaurant). I had ordered 2 drinks there. Next thing I knew my table was full of food that I had never ordered. On trying to explain that I had not ordered any food and would not be paying for it, they feigned ignorance to English. Next when I returned from the bathroom there were 20 more empty glasses of ‘whiskey’ added to my table. Then 3 goons came with an exorbitant bill for the food & 22+ drinks WHICH I NEVER HAD. They physically abused and threatened me to pay up the demanded ransom while they tried to chock me. Ironically these goons (true businessmen that they were) brought in a calculator with them to try and bargain the right amount of extortion from me ! We went back and forth with the 'right price'. There was no way out for me but to pay and leave.
On returning to my hotel, I reported this to the manager. He in turn called the cops and sent his staff members with me to identify the bar. After much negotiation between the police and the crooked owner, I atleast got a 'partial' refund of my loot. He still insisted that he had to deduct his 'expenses' from the loot! When I tried to file a report with the police, conveniently they did not speak any English. Through an interpreter I was informed that if I did not have any photographic evidence they were unable to take any action against these thugs. Obviously this was not the first such incident and the cops know about such palces and their dealings.
Travelling around Shanghai on the subway is the cheapest mode of transport other than you own a bicycle;p
Many could afford a car but choose not to drive because of the hassle of driving on the road. You will pratically live in fear and stress when you drive. I must say that they are the most aggressive drivers i ever met.
You either employ a chauffer or take a taxi.
But if you are a tourist or they can smell that you are not a local, they will bring you for a round the expressway ride. you can see what happened on Amazing Race.
If you think that the taxi driver is bringing you on a joy ride, you may take down their licence numer and simply give the company a call to report the driver and he would not get a cent.
My "American Friend" lives in Pudong. Usually he will be mistaken as a tourist or on business trip. He knows the taxi fare very well. If the driver gives him a joy ride, he will not hesitate to call the company or pay the driver the fare he thinks the trip will cost. My friend even showed me a list of bad cabby;p
If you agree with me, then make sure you give this tip a good ranking. Thank you!
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