Welcome to Shanghai, the largest City of China. You will probably come to Shanghai via Pudong airport and observe that the Chinese have a special ability to deal with limitations. The airport was opened 1st of October 1999, which is the 50th founding day of the People’s Republic of China. The second terminal and its runway opened in 2005 looks like a mirror-inverted copy of the first terminal. Have you every seen such a pragmatic approach in Europe or the United States? However, before you are leaving the airport you getting surprised again. At the immigration, you have the opportunity to rate the friendliness of the immigration officer by pressing different buttons. Would you expect such an approach in a Country that is governed by a communist party? Probably not when you have once crossed the border between Eastern and Western Germany before the wall felt. Well, China is different. In general, and apart from pickpocketing, Shanghai is a safe place to be. However, due to its air-pollution, asthmatic problems are not unusual in Shanghai – check your medicine before starting the trip.
What to do
- Make a trip by ferry from Pudong to the old town of Shanghai, which takes approximately about 15 minutes. Before entering the ferry, check your current self-confidence. Why should one need self -confidence on a ferry that is used every day by thousands of people? Well, there is a high probability that you will be the only person that is not Chinese and you might feel like having 500 eyes lying on you during the trip.
- Having left the ferry, you have arrived the his historic centre of shanghai, which is characterised by many narrowed streets with the basar and Yu-garden in its center. Yu-garden is one of the most famous gardens of China and was build between the 16th and 17th century by officials of the Ming-Dynasty. It was opened to the public audience in 1961 and contains more than 25 halls and pavilions and lets one find some rest in the chaotic city of Shanghai.
- Make a walk along the waterbund (shortly “bund”), which was initially constructed as a dam by the Dutch colonialists to protect the city from the flood of the huangpu-river. Today’s water-side promenade with a marvellous view to Pudong is still a lovely example of European architecture of the 19th century, including a 33 meters high tower which was for a long time the highest building of China.
- Visit the Shanghai Museum, which displays an impressive collection art Chinese arts and antiques, such as chinaware and jade. There is a tearoom on the 1st floor
- In the case of homesickness, visit the French Concession, which is close to Huaihai Lu road. Entering the Concession area will blow all your bad feelings away as the architecture and the flair will make you feel like being in Europe . Get some rest from the hectic city , enjoy a Bordeaux or a Weizenbier and go back to China within two minutes.
- Visit the place the Communist party was founded, it is pretty close the the French Concession.
- Visit the Oriental Pearl radio & TV Tower in Pudong by night. You will enjoy a marvellous view over the city from the viewing platform.
- Do not miss visiting the world exhibition, shortly Expo 2010, in Shanghai. You might be lucky and see important innovations that are firstly shown there. Do not forget that “La Tour Eiffel” in Paris was build for the world exhibition 1889 in Paris and become one of the most popular landmarks in France. Check whether the Expo in Shanghai has similar candidates.
Where to stay
- If there is plenty of budget available, Oriental Riverside Hotel in Pudong is a good place to stay.
- The Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel is close to People’s Square and fair deals possible when booking early.
- For getting from Pudong airport to the city centre, invest 5 € for a trip with the Maglev-train and you may be lucky and enjoy a trip with more than 400 Kilometres/ hour. Well, it will only last a few minutes but you have used German-Hightec, which never had a chance at home.
- Take a taxi. Compared to the European price level, taxis are cheap (and safe) and drivers are many cases familiar with English (in contrast to Suzhou for example). However, you need to ensure that the taximeter is running or you need to agree on a fixed price before starting the trip.
Where to eat and drink
- Enjoy Shanghainese delicacies at Club Jin Mao Restaurant on the 86th floor of Jin Mao Building. Bring some money with you.
- After the meal sneak into “Cloud 9″ bar on the 87th floor of Jin Mao Tower. Well, you are nearly there;-).
- Along Zhapu Lu Rd., there are a lot of fish restaurants. However, check that your that your hepatitis immunization is up-to-date before starting exotic experiments.
What to bring home
- All kinds of souvenirs (and more) can be found in the Super Brand Mall in Pudong, currently the largest shopping center in Asia.