Last week was my last chance to travel before heading back to the US on the 23rd. I decided to take the opportunity to visit Shanghai. I didn’t really know much about the city before traveling there, other than that it was huge and expensive; so I didn’t have any real idea of what to expect or do once I arrived. Shanghai absolutely blew my mind in the best possible way. It was an incredible trip to an absolutely amazing city.
The first thing I did the morning after I arrived was take a walk around the Bund. Zhongshan Road is amazingly beautiful with the old, European style buildings on one side of the street and the view of the Shanghai skyline across Huang Pu River on the other. It was great to see during the daytime, but I was most looking forward to seeing it at night. The view did not disappoint. Throughout my trip, I always ended up going back to the Bund. I even decided to get a view of the skyline the following night by taking a river cruise with a couple girls from my hostel.
Next, I found myself stumbling upon the YuYuan Garden, which is famous for the Huxinting Teahouse where many politicians, diplomats, dignitaries, and the like go for tea when they visit Shanghai. I must say that I am an awful tourist, as I didn’t even realize I was at this massive tourist destination until I overheard a tour guide talking about it to his group. Ultimately, I decided not to go into the garden, since I was content walking around the perimeter, viewing the architecture, taking photos, and sampling the different street food.
Later that night, I went out with some people I met at my hostel. We decided to try out a club, Myst. While this club was better than the one my roommate and I had gone to in Beijing, I think I can definitively say I’m not much of a club person. However, the next night we decided to go to the rooftop bar at the Hyatt. Despite the steep cover charge of 100 CNY, which at least covered the cost of one drink, I would go there again. It was totally worth it for the view alone.
Over the next two days, I checked out the French Concession and Tian Zi Fang. Both are very popular with the locals and see a high number of expats and foreigners. The French Concession is a neighborhood near the Shanghai Library that still retains its old European feel from the 1800-1900’s. Now, with the addition of great shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants, it is easy to see why it is such a local favorite.
Tian Zi Fang is a definite must see and probably my favorite place in Shanghai. It is a huge market with local artisan shops, art galleries, restaurants, and coffee shops. The alleyways in Tian Zi Fang reminded me of the Hutongs in Beijing, though much trendier. It proved to be a huge, never-ending maze and I’m sure I probably didn’t even see a fraction of it in the time I spent there.
I definitely enjoyed my time in Shanghai and felt that this was an amazing way to wrap up my semester and say zai jian to China. But something tells me I may be saying ni hao again in the very near future. I guess we will just have to wait and see…