Hopefully you all have read my blog about our recent trip to Shanghai Disney by now, but we also spent some time in the city of Shanghai. My assumptions going into Shanghai were that it was going to be uncomfortably crowded and impossible to get around. Those assumptions were kind of true, but manageable. The weekend was really, really crowded in major tourist areas, but during the day during the week there was no one walking about. The taxis were easy to get, but the drivers didn’t speak English so that was a little difficult. Luckily the hotel gave us some cards that said where we were staying and the address in Mandarin that we were able to give the taxi drivers. It helped enormously. I would recommend that, for sure.
I normally buy travel guidebooks for cities we go to that I am super unfamiliar with. I know it sounds a little old fashioned, but they are easy to use and very helpful. I bought the Lonely Planet’s guide to Shanghai, pocket version. It had suggested walking routes and really good restaurant suggestions. I was also able to use it to show to both the bellman at the hotel and the taxi drivers where I wanted to go. A friend of mine recommended a restaurant called “Mr. and Mrs. Bund” which was lovely. It was a French restaurant and very nice and had a great view of the city. It had a view overlooking the river called “The Bund”. Shanghai has interesting architecture. On one side of the river are colonial style buildings from the 1800’s when the English began settling the area for trading. Then on the other side of the river is the city metropolis view with all the iconic Shanghai buildings.
This building is called the Oriental Pearl Radio and TV building. It is mainly a tourist attraction now and there is the Shanghai History Museum in the bottom. There is a viewing area in the top of the building, as well. I attempted to go up to the top viewing area, but the queue just to get in was a couple hours long, so I bailed. But I did go to the Shanghai History Museum. It was a maze of exactly what it says, the history of Shanghai. It had wax statues representing different times in Shanghai culture. It was a nice walk through and something to do inside as it was incredibly hot outside.
I walked around the North Bund one morning, a suggested route from my book. It took me through a neighborhood of old buildings and churches and through a couple of parks. It was really nice except I could only do it for a little while because of the heat.
I also went to the Yu Gardens one morning. This was a set of gardens and old buildings built in the 15th century by a family. The city has it well preserved and is a big tourist attraction now. It is set among a huge shopping complex with traditional Chinese design.
I was pleasantly surprised by Shanghai. Yes, there were times it was crowded. Yes, it was hot. But we really enjoyed ourselves! If you go, check out my tips here. I highly recommend getting the address cards for your taxis and I highly recommend planning out your days while you are there.