SHANGHAI – A field report 

Written by Mr. CHENG May 10, 2012 10:19
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We are Malaysians. This field report is to express our 1 week travel experience for any first time visitor to prepare themselves. In our opinion, this report is valid for perhaps not more than 6months from May 2012 in view of Shanghai fast moving pace. All prices quoted is in Renminbi (¥) or locally known as Yuan. As of this report;
US$1 - ¥6.80, SG$1 - ¥5.00 & Ringgit Malaysia RM1 - ¥2.00.

Important: 2 things you needed to enjoy your stay in Shanghai, Ability to speak some Mandarin & willingness to walk a lot (this pose a big problem to Malaysian) armed with a map courtesy of the airport.

We landed in Pudong Intl. Airport early morning. Take note that most International Airline traveler exits from Terminal 2. However, if you travel by any Chinese Airline, you will exit from Terminal 1. Don’t worry as T1 & T2 are link by covered walkway. We felt a bit hungry and decided to grab a bite only to experience our first regret paying 120 for a miserable breakfast. Between T1 & T2 (near subway station) you can find a place called something like Kung Fu lane where you need to pay around 30% of our bill.

The first nice thing we found was their subway system, 13 lines all in. Connecting airport and downtown is Line 2. ¥7 only per person & we exit at East Nanjing Station, near The Bund where our hotel is located.

Caution though, the train stop at Guanglan Rd station about 6-7 stop from the airport where you need to alight & walk over to the opposite train to continue your journey downtown. We fell asleep & when the train reversed back to the airport, we alighted at the next stop, return to Guanglan & catch the opposite train downtown. That’s why we highlighted earlier the importance of speaking a few Mandarin words. (You can try Magrev – bullet train for 50/person one way to Longyang station then connect to Line 2 for downtown. It will go pass Guanglan & we did so for the sake of trying a 300km/hour ride)
Road in Shanghai can stretch for kilometers & so it is often separated into something like Nanjing East Rd, Nanjing middle Rd & Nanjing West Rd. Sometime it will be X North Rd or X South Rd. Be specific when you ask for direction otherwise you will need to keep walking. After we alighted from Nanjing East Rd. station, we catch a cab to take us to our hotel costing 16, only to find out later it was merely 10minutes walk from the station. (taxi can be expensive, petrol cost 8.40 – 9.40/litre)

When to go; Early April when flowers are at the high of its blooming. We missed it.

Tipping; no tips is required if you carry your own bag, however if the bell boy carry your bag to your room, it is a flat ¥5. When you check out & you use the bell boy service, remember to give them another ¥5. Restaurant will add 15% tipping charge to your bill, so it is not necessary to give anymore tips unless you want to be extra generous.
History lesson; Shanghai city is divided into Puxi (West) the original/old city & Pudong (East) which came into existence less than 2 decades ago. Today it is the financial district of Shanghai City. Shanghai with neighboring Hangzhou, Wuxi & Suzhou are located in Jiangnan (South of the Yangtze river)

Moving around; Shanghai is a unique city with a mixture of high rise & colonial style architectural buildings especially in Puxi and around the famous Bund. Travelers take lots of photos here. Along The Bund we capture lots of photo with Pudong Financial (Shanghai 101, Oriental Pearl TV Tower etc) as the background. You may want to cross over to Pudong to take photos with The Bund as the background.

There are 2 methods to cross the river (try both). Subway at Nanjing East station to Lujiajui station(1 stop) ¥3/person. You will emerge from International Financial Centre (IFC) and found yourself in front of the oval shape pedestrian crossing on top of a big round about, quite an experience. Take a 7minutes ferry ride costing only ¥2/person to. return to The Bund (Shanghai public transport is really cheap & efficient compare to where we come from)

Places to visit in Shanghai; The Bund made famous by Hong Kong singer Francis Yip (enjoy the scenario & great architectural works), Shanghai 101 (ticket to level 94 observation tower ¥150, meal on upper deck available but we were not interested, souvenir photos from ¥50 – 200), Oriental Pearl TV tower, YuYuan Garden & Shanghai Zoo, ¥40 entrance, ¥1 zoo map, ¥15(1 payment only) point to point train ride (Line 10 sent you to the Zoo entrance. We visit it because we have not seen a live Panda before, if you have visited Sichuan, forget this place). We planned to visit the wildlife safari, but it website instruction was not helpful. The local was as clueless too about getting there by public transport. Kaleido acrobatic show was value for money, we were flabbergasted by the anti-gravity balancing, tricked us if they have used cable because we can’t spot it (120/person)

Places to visit outside Shanghai; if you have more than a couple of day to spare, we recommend you to join day trips to Hangzhou, Wuxi & Suzhou. Information & pricing available from all hotel & tourist hotspots.

Hangzhou attraction – West lake, Wutong Academy (made famous by the Chinese Romeo & Juliet story), Chinese Tea (Longjin) plantation & factory.

Between Hangzhou & Wuxi – Old Canal town (fee ¥150, pls check if package include)

Wuxi – Taihu (Tai lake) & it boat ride, Freshwater Pearl factory & Purple clay pot factory.

Suzhou – 9centuries old mansion (world heritage), Silk factory

Caution; Day trip Price include transport from either your hotel or nearby convenient location. Normally Chinese style set lunch is inclusive. (ask their tipping practice) If you are wondering how they manage to survive, here is the story. Factories or should we say Enterprises, mostly state own or JV took a business risk to sponsor these trips. Tourist will be guided into rooms where great presentation make you part with your money. Most are done in a subtler way so we won’t complain.
The only exception is Shanghai day trip when we visited an alternative/Chinese medicine hall which supposedly was founded more than 3 centuries ago serving the imperial family (in an industrial park using a factory). We were guided into a room where they prepare a pail of hot water for us to soak our tired feet (how nice). A practitioner enters to introduce self & started to elaborate the benefit of alternative medicine as a supplement to western medicine (sounded logical). Lastly a practitioner personally attend to us to check our pulse & explain some hidden ailment (translator available) unknown to us while someone give us some foot reflexology. Smoothly the personal practitioner will write a prescription costing from few hundred to ¥20,000(someone in our group) and ask for our credit card. When we refuse to buy he reprimanded us for asking him to attend to us. If you happen to land yourself in one of these factories, 2 things we recommend you do; take a back seat & refuse the personal practitioner offer to check your pulse. In the meantime enjoy watching others paying through their nose (they never read this or other similar report).

We wish to make known that we support alternative/Chinese medical practice. A friend with long term sensitive nose enjoyed much relief from a combination of acupuncture treatment & Chinese herbs when western medical practitioner says he have to live with it for the rest of his life. Good for him, he refused to listen to western doctor only. There are many Chinese medical halls practicing alongside legitimate hospitals all over the world nowadays and we recommend you give it a try. The cost will never come close to what we wrote on top with the exception of a few rare cases.

What to eat; Xiao Long Pao, Shanghainess likes anything duck too, we observe. In Hangzhou try the TongPo meat (pork).
where to eat; Try any small restaurant around Nanjing East Rd, Sichuan Rd or People Square (usually at the side lane). Xiao Long Pao cost as low as ¥12 for 8pcs. We paid ¥30 for 8pcs at YuYuan Garden. We won’t recommend the street food for hygiene reason. As Malaysian we supported Shook (Malaysian owned) one evening to savor the good food & captivating view of Financial District. Surprisingly the price was comparable to Malaysia where experience shows most prices in Shanghai are 30% more. The place is located at the Swatch Art Hotel easily found because it is directly opposite the famous Peace Hotel on Nanjing East Rd & The Bund. We wish to thank Cathy (reception manager) for helping to secure a nice table & Kevin (captain) for travel tips. If budget & time permits we recommend you to dine across the at Pudong looking over to The Bund.

where to shop; when you exit the main entrance of Swatch Art, 2 shops to the left you will find an underground shopping arcade. We bought some I ♥ Shanghai T shirt at affordable price. (list price ¥199, we bought 4 for ¥150 so it is like 20% of list. Later at the airport they quota us ¥80/pc) YuYuan (not YuYuan Garden, it is for tourist unless you don’t have a choice). Exit YuYuan station @ FuYou Rd and this merchandise mall should be behind the station entrance. You will be spoilt with choices. We bought some small souvenirs for ¥5 which cost ¥15 at YuYuan Garden (remember our Xiao Long Pao). People Square station houses many shops with attractive price too & two highly recommended buy for ladies – Shoes & Tian Tang (Heaven) Umbrella.

alternative: you can book tour package which covers Hangzhou, Wuxi, Suzhou & Shanghai on line. Normally they will pick you up from the airport & proceed in sequence stated above. Package normally include rooms & food (sponsored by enterprises – refer to day trip report above) Caution: check properly which airport you are suppose to wait. If they say Pudong Intl. we will not recommend you to buy AirAsia which land at Hangzhou (but claiming Shanghai). It is close to 180kilometres away. If you want to extend your stay after your last stop back in Shanghai, we recommend you to check out
In general; when crossing roads always use zebra crossing or follow traffic junction signal. Even when crossing light turn green, look left & right a few times, we are talking about notorious Chinese drivers here. But the vehicle we hated most is the battery operated motorcycle at night. They never turn on the headlight (to save battery) and it is so quiet (we always look over our shoulder like a thief). The biggest lesson we learn from the trip was ‘Marketing’. They kept selling us ‘Health’, the local tour guide will prime you the moment the bus start moving.

We hope this report helps you gain more value for money & wish you a happy journey.
Best Regards from Malaysia.

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