Trip Start Aug 14, 2011
14Trip End Aug 27, 2011
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Where I stayed
Pudi Boutique Hotel Shanghai
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Read my review - 4/5 stars
We took the metro (very busy) from our station to the very busy (though well signed, even on the floor with colour coded numbers) central station at Nanking Rd West. The metro system is the largest in the world and apparently holds the record for the most number of trips in a day. We were very tempted to use the Maglev (431 km/h) but were told it didn't go anyway useful, so used taxis instead. We had wondered all around China at why so many cars had no number plates until we found out that in China you buy a car sans plates which you then have to bid for at a monthly auction of around a few thousand per city at an average cost of £4500 (wow!).
Nanking Road is a really busy shopping street (the most popular in Shanghai, maybe China) and is 3 ½ miles long with over 500 shops (inc Mont Blanc- Steve take note!). It owes it success to its location next to the foreign concessions and their ready supply of goods
We walked down the roads, being bothered by loads of leaflet droppers barging into us, until we reached The Bund at the north end. It was very misty and drizzly so we decided to cross to Pudong and explore the retail and skyscrapers there. We could see the Oriental Pearl Tower rising majestically out of the mist.
We tried the Shanghai tourist board (hopeless, as were the other two we looked at- none had any non-Chinese maps or info. You would have thought that at least 1 would have kept some stock for all the non-Chinese visitors), then went down to the Tourist Tunnel. What a waste of money- NO WAY is this a tourist attraction- it’s just a set of gondolas going under the river with some appallingly bad special effects including a blow-up man. I guess we would have been impressed when we were 4 years old!
A history of Shanghai
The town certainly existed by 1074 AD (Song Dynasty) when it was elevated from a village to a town. From this it developed, with a dyke, then a sea wall (1172). A city wall in 1554 helped protect it from pirates (from Japan) and then it was given the important Temple of the City God in 1602 (an honour normally reserved for cities). It remained a town until 1927 when it officially became a city (previously was under the administration of Songliang). During the Qing Dynasty if became much more important as Emperor Kangxi 1684 removed the 1525 Ming Dynasty ban on ocean-going vessels and then Emperor Yongzheng in 1732 gave Shanghai the right to collect customs duties on foreign trade for the whole area
rade centre, then financial centre, many companies built their headquarters or branches along the riverside of the Huangpu, an area which became the Bund. The companies came from Britain, France and USA, and later from Russia, Japan, Germany, Italy, Netherlands. A building frenzy in the early 20thC led to dozens of interesting building along The Bund (see later). The city was known as Paris or Athens of the east. Lots of people came to live in Shanghai and settle there (Shanghailanders) including British, White Russians (mostly nobles fleeing the Revolution), Russian and German jews. Shanghai was made a city in 1927 by the Republic of China (1911-49) with a Mayor and Council (not covering the Concessions). During WWII Japan attacked and took Shanghai (except Concessions) until 1945. Shanghai was a hotbed of radicalism in the 50’s with Jiang Qing and her Gang of Four. After the communist (People’s Liberation Army) takeover 1949, Shanghai declined in importance (during the Cultural Revolution it was seen as a cash cow with no money put back into the city itself), even under the reforms of Deng Xiaoping in the late 70s/ early 80s
Nowadays Shanghai is governed in a dual system of Communist party (the Communist Party of China Shanghai Municipal Committee Secretary) and Mayor (lesser rank). It is widely accepted that political power in Shanghai is an essential stepping stone to high office and almost all Shanghai party chiefs have gone on to join the Politburo inc Xi Jinping (the likely successor to Hu Jintao).
At arrival we walked down towards the Oriental Pearl Tower, over the road on the circular pedestrian overpass to (joy) the massive Apple Store. Then onto the SWFC to shop. We stopped for a sandwich and tea, then used our return ticket to go back to Puxi side of the river.
Or officially Pudong New Area is on the east bank of the Huangpu river, opposite Puxi. From The Bund we could see all its skyscrapers. Many are in the Lujiazui Financial and Trade Zone, but are expanding out now. Because the whole area is alluvial sand, the skyscrapers have to have massive piles to prevent them sinking!
Oriental Pearl Tower [Dongfang Mingzhuta]- the most visible as it looks like a pearl in the air with two globes at the bottom
Jin Mao Tower [Jin Mao Dasha] means Golden Prosperity. It was about 6 mins walk from the Pearl Tower and 88 stories tall making it the tallest in China (and 5th in world) when it was built in 2004.half You can stay in the Grand Hyatt Hotel half way up! I thought it quite an attractive building with its cross-shaped cross section and pinnacle.
Shanghai World Financial Centre Tower (usually called SWFC) is right next to Jin Mao and took over as the tallest building when it was completed in 2007. I thought it looked like a long handbag, but Steve said it was more like a giant bottle opener! It is 492m high with floors including the Park Hyatt Hotel on floors 79-93). We went shopping in the ground floor shopping areas, although they were very hot and humid. The observation deck at 474m is the highest in the world.
Shanghai Tower- next to the SWFC- is now the tallest building having overtaken the SWFC with (ultimately) 128 stories! It is due for completion in 2014.
We walked along, a brief foray into Huangpu Park (the site of the infamous sign "No dogs or Chinese" though this wasn’t real), then all the way north to south along The Bund admiring the buildings as the rain was easing up
Having arrived again we decided it was DEFINITELY NOT the hotel for us and moved to the French Concession to a hotel so luxurious Steve decided he just had to video it!!!! (Well it was huge with brill views, a massive jacuzzi, wide screen TV, internet, more cupboards than an average UK bedroom….
We luxuriated in the hotel for a couple of hours, then set out for dinner (dinner finishes early in China- you are unlikely to be admitted to start a meal after 9pm and are expected to finish by 10 at the latest). Quite close to the hotel we found a “Steak House”- much nicer than it sounds where we went upstairs for a slap-up meal with cocktails (Shanghai Sling of course). We were even serenaded by the band with “Everything I Do”!
- Discovered metro & took to near Bund; walked along but weather getting worse
- Tourist tunnel to Pudong (awful & expensive); around Pudong to see tall buildings & huge Apple store
· Back to Bund & along to gardens (flooded roads!); markets YuYuan; Starbucks for coffee/ lunch
· Back to hotel & change hotel
· New hotel Pudi Boutique in French Concession area (S really liked)
· Stroll down road to Montys Steakhouse for cocktails & dinner & serenade