10/10/2013 - 14/10/2013
Shanghai was a lot more clean and modern than Beijing. I preferred it as a city in general - it seemed like a much nicer place to live - but Beijing's more interesting in terms of historical buildings and a more traditional feel.
We stayed at Mingtown Etour, which is an HI hostel. We had a private room and it was a really nice place. The cafe area's in an open courtyard which is probably the biggest draw of the hostel. We had fun watching some of the turtles in the pond. The breakfast there was OK but more expensive than the ones in Beijing.
I'm getting quite behind on my blog posts so here's a summary of some of the places we visited in Shanghai:
- The Bund - the area by the river where you can look out over to the most iconic buildings of Shanghai's skyline. We walked along there a few times - it's great during the day but even better at night with all the lights. We also took one of the cheap public ferries across the river which was really nice. It was also on The Bund that we got stopped by a Chinese family who wanted their photo taken with us. It happened to other Western travellers quite a lot (especially the blonde ones) but we only had it that once.
- Urban Planning Exhibition Centre - Not a very exciting sounding name but it was a really good museum. The highlight has to be the scale model of the whole of downtown Shanghai.
- Yu Yuan Garden - This is a nice enough area to walk around but not so impressive once you've been to Beijing and seen the Forbidden City etc. It also wasn't as impressive as...
- The Jade Buddha Temple - This was well worth visiting. The most memorable part being the koi carp. You can pay to feed them, which we didn't, but we were greatly entertained by the people who did. They'd put some food on the palms of their hands, lower them in the water and the fish would go crazy. I've never seen such animated fish before - they'd suck the food in quite aggressively and they'd even wriggle up on top of the other fish in order to try and get to the food. It was crazy.
I've not really mentioned what we did for food most of the time in China. We'd been a little worried beforehand that we just wouldn't know what anything was and that Jamie would find it particularly hard as a vegetarian. We needn't have worried though - in Beijing and Shanghai at least it seemed pretty standard to have English translations on the menus. We also found a few vegetarian restaurants. The best of which was definitely Vegetarian Lifestyle in Shanghai - we went there twice.
When we left Shanghai we took the Maglev to the airport. The Maglev's a high speed train that uses magnets to levitate above the tracks. Futuristic eh? I hadn't known such a thing existed. I think the only other one's in Japan, though they're also building one in South Korea, which was where we were off to next.