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China Guides Travel

How to go to China for a short holiday WITHOUT getting a visa in advance*!

DISCLAIMER
PLEASE NOTE: Visas are legal documents. These methods are limited to certain cities in China and citizens of eligible countries. I could not find a reliable source of information on the internet about visa free transits and visa on arrivals in China for tourism, so I am trying to create a definitive guide by collating as much information from the various authoritative ports as possible. The information in this article was collated from various phone calls and personally visiting at least one of the ports mentioned in this article so I believe the information is true and reliable. I am still in the process of obtaining more information from the remaining ports. Thus THIS ARTICLE WILL BE UPDATED AS I RECEIVE MORE INFORMATION. Please subscribe to get notified of updates. You are encouraged to make your own checks and enquiries in case there are any uncertainties or changes in government regulations which are beyond my control. A list of sources and contact details is provided at the end of this article but I cannot guarantee they can speak English. I discovered differing information even on Chinese government and consulate websites, so where there are such discrepancies, I have decided to go with the most recent, up to date version.

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In February, during my flight to Haerbin, I flew with Xiamen airlines, and saw an ad for a 5 day tea fair in Xiamen in May. I love tea and made a note of it in my phone and wanted to go. Then I forgot about it until 1 week before it was due to start. A normal tourist visa takes 4 business days and I had exactly 5 business days left. I could have gotten a rush visa but somehow couldn’t justify the $200+ AUD visa for 5 days. Then I discovered that Xiamen has a visa on arrival policy. I bought my ticket less than 24 hours before departure without even having packed my bags, and definitely without pre-applying for a visa. Zero planning, zero preparation, 100% excitement and best spontaneous trip ever!

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In this post I am going to go over the ways of going to China as a tourist without pre-applying for a tourist visa. If you need to go to China for something else, like long(er) term work, business etc, then don’t use this method because the tourist visa’s stay duration is shorter than other visas.

Why use these methods?
I like hacks. If there is a hack for something, I would probably rather do it the hacked way than the normal way even if there are a few wrinkles to iron out first. So, if for some reason you are like me and don’t want to pre-apply for the Chinese tourist visa, then you could use this method. There are tons of reasons why I don’t like having to pre-apply for the Chinese tourist visa. Let’s not talk about how it takes 4 business days which is essentially one whole week, and you need to take at least half a day to submit the visa, and another half day to pick it up, and if there are Chinese or local public holidays then it takes even longer. Also let’s not mention how you need to submit details of your hotel bookings, hotel contact methods, plus a bunch of other stuff as well as flight confirmations then pay $109.50 AUD for a mere 30 days stay! Also, normally you book flights and hotels AFTER you get the visa but okay… With the methods I’m about to show you, you can get it done for a fraction of the price and leave at a moment’s notice. In fact, I was so excited when I found out about this, I ask my friend if she wanted to go to China together… tomorrow.


ENTERING CHINA WITHOUT PRE-APPLYING FOR A TOURIST VISA

There are several ways of entering China without pre-applying for a visa. One of the ways is visa-free, meaning you do not need a visa to enter and holiday China, and this is different to the visa required, visa on arrival method. I will talk about both.

FIRST, THE VISA-FREE WAYS:

Method 1. 30 DAY STAY VISA-FREE ENTRY IN HAINAN1a and b
The Chinese tropical island province of Hainan has a visa free policy that lets visitors from certain countries arrive and stay in Hainan without a tourist visa. This method of entry lets you stay in Hainan only, for a maximum of 30 days. The Chinese government is very tight on surveillance (which ironically isn’t that useful in practice) and therefore the downside to this method is that you must register with a local Hainan tour agency; independent travellers cannot enter Hainan using this method.

Overview:
Type: Landing, approved on arrival without a visa subject to conditions below
Name: Hainan Visa-free entry
Chinese name: 海南旅游免签政策 hǎi nán lǚ yóu miǎn qiān zhèng cè
Third country or region required: No, but other requirements apply
Duration of Stay: 30 days (I am yet to confirm when the calculation of the 30 days starts, preliminary answers to my enquiries with Hainan authorities suggest day 1 is the day of your arrival)
Geographical Restriction: Can only stay within Hainan
Cost: None besides travel agency fees
Eligible Ports of Entry: Haikou Meilan International Airport, others are yet to be confirmed.

Sample itinerary:
Australia to Hainan to Germany: Allowed 
Australia to Hainan back to Australia: Allowed 

59 Eligible countries:
People holding passports from the following countries, in alphabetical order, are eligible:

Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Czech Republic, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, The United States, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates.

Requirements/Important notes:
To take advantage of this 30-day visa free stay in Hainan, you must to fly directly to Hainan from outside mainland China. This means you cannot stop over anywhere else in mainland China. You CAN however fly to Hainan from Hong Kong. (I am in the process of checking whether the traveller can fly in from Taiwan and Macau).

Conditions:
-Must register with local travel agency
-Cannot stop over in any other mainland Chinese city before arriving in Hainan

How to apply:
Steps:
1. Register with a local travel agency at least 48 hours ahead of your arrival, so that you have a travel itinerary (I am not sure if you actually need to do tours with them, or if you just need to register with the travel agency. Contact the contact details in the reference provided if you have questions). This is because for the visa free entry, the local travel agency in Hainan must submit travellers’ information to the local Exit-Entry Administration Bureau of Hainan 24 hours before your arrival.

2. Book your flights and hotels, taking into consideration your allowed 30 days of stay.

3. On arrival in Hainan Haikou International Airport, submit your passport, return flight tickets, hotel bookings, and Hainan travel itinerary at the customs application area, which is open 24 hours. Get approved and enjoy your stay! (I am in the process of finding out whether the international cruise terminals and Sanya Phoenix International Airport accept this entry method).

Method 2. 72 and 144 HOURS VISA FREE TRANSIT ENTRY IN OTHER CITIES IN CHINA
These methods allow the eligible traveller to stay in a specific participating city for a set number of hours, without a visa, if you are doing a layover in that city/port on your way to a third country or region. The stay duration varies according to the city in China.

Overview:
Type: Transit (approved on arrival without a visa subject to conditions below)
Name: Visa-free transit
Chinese name: 过境免签政策
Third country or region required: YES
Duration of Stay: Depends on city of arrival/layover, calculation of start of allowed time is yet to be confirmed, subscribe to get updates
Geographical restrictions: Depends on port of entry/layover port
Cost: None

Sample itinerary:
Australia to Hainan to Germany: Allowed 
Australia to Hainan back to Australia: NOT allowed 

Please note, there are various out of date and incorrect information on the internet on various websites, including Chinese government websites and other travel websites. The 144 hours list has been confirmed and comes from the most up to date references I can find (2019 or late 2018). From the 72 hour list, only Guangzhou is confirmed, the other cities’ stay duration are not confirmed (ie, whether it is 72 or 144 hours. To be safe, stick to 72 hours, or confirm yourself.) Until further notice, assume geographical restrictions are the city of application only. Guangzhou government website specifically states in Chinese, that while other cities have implemented the 144 hour transit, they have remained with the 72 hour policy. I may check up on this and update the article as necessary.

How to apply:
I have not used this method of entering China/leaving the airport before. I have read there are English signs specifically pointing out the 72/144 hour transit counter/area. Follow signs and present the required information to complete the application process.

Important:
Travellers wanting to use the visa free transit method must have a valid passport and confirmed flights/cruise etc out of China within the 144 hours. This means the scheduled departure out of China of your vessel must be within the 144 hours.

72 hour layover/transit cities/airports:
Guangzhou Baiyun Airport2
Changsha Huanghua (Yellow Flower) International Airport
Chongqing Jiangbei international airport
Guilin Liang Jiang International Airport
Haerbin Taiping International Airport

144 hours layover/transit cities/ports:6
3 ports in Xiamen city, Fujian Province:3

Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, Wutong Wharf and Xiamen International Cruise Center.

There is some excellent information in English on this topic on Xiamen University’s website which is from which I took the information from. This is more up to date than any other source including government source I found on the internet and is both informative and matches that of another up to date Chinese sources.

– Chengdu Shuangliu Airport4, Sichuan Province
Geographical restriction: Can stay in Chengdu only

– 7 ports in Shanghai city, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province:6
Shanghai Pudong Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, Shanghai Train Station, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, Nanjing Lukou International Airport, Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport,

Geographical restriction: Can stay within all of Shanghai city, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province for 144 hours before departing to a third country or region.

– 6 ports in and around Beijing city, Tianjin city and Hebei Province: 7
Beijing International Airport, Beijing West Railway, Tianjin Binhai International Airport, Tianjin International Cruise Home Port, and Hebei Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport, or the port of Haigang in the city of Qinhuangdao in Hebei province.

Geographical restriction: Can stay in the cities of Beijing and Tianjin as wells as Hebei Province for 144 hours before departing to a third country or region.

– 2 ports in Liaoning Province:8
Shenyang Taoxian International airport, Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport

Geographical restriction: Can stay in Liaoning Province for 144 hours before departing to a third country or region.

53 Eligible countries:7 (Chinese government website) and 3 (Xiamen University website
People holding passports from the following countries, in alphabetical order, are eligible:

Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lativa, Lithuania, Luxembourg, , Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The United Arab Emirates, The United States, Ukraine.

VISA REQUIRED METHODS

These methods are given on arrival in China and are perfect for travellers who don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a visa in advance and want some more flexibility than the visa free transit methods.

To apply for a Chinese visa, each applicant needs at least 1 passport style photo. I should not need to point out that the photo should be in COLOUR. Size on the official Chinese visa application information website says 48mm x 33mm, mine was 40 x 50mm and they happily accepted it at Hainan Haikou Airport). Some sources say 1 photo is enough, others say 2. I used two.

Method 1. SEZ VISA9
There is a little known visa called the Special Economic Zone visa, or the SEZ visa. These visas are, as the names suggest, is in certain zones only, namely Xiamen, Zhuhai and Shenzhen. The SEZ visa is applied for and given to you on arrival at the applicable ports and takes about 10-20 minutes per person. It is a type of visa on arrival/landing visa. For this visa, you do not need to go to a third country or region.

Overview:~9
Type: Landing
English Name: SEZ Visa
Chinese name: 经济特区旅游签证
Trip to third country or region required: No
Duration of Stay for Xiamen and Shenzhen: 5 days from following 12:00am, yet to check about Zhuhai
Cost: ¥90 for Xiamen10, ¥168 for Shenzhen
Geographical Restriction: Can only stay within the governing area of city of application

Sample itinerary:
Australia to Hainan to Germany: Allowed 
Australia to Hainan back to Australia: Allowed 

Eligible countries: US, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and Spain11

~The website source talks about Shenzhen and Zhuhai only. Information for Shenzhen was confirmed by calling, and thus I assume the details, such as stay duration and cost, would be the same as Shenzhen. The source for Xiamen’s information was obtained by calling Xiamen airport directly.

How to apply:
You need:
– Ordinary valid passport (ie not a diplomatic passport) with at least 2 empty pages and 6 months validity
– At least 1 passport style photo of each applicant
– Confirmation of hotel bookings
– Visa fee in cash

Steps:

  1. On arrival at the applicable airport customs, tell them you want the Special Economic Zone visa on arrival. You will be required to show them the requested evidence listed above*
  2. Fill out the required form. Information needed includes hotel names and contact details. Hand over your photo, visa fee and have your photo taken
  3. Your visa will be issued on the spot and stuck… in a random page in your passport. Now you can leave the airport, yippee!

*Please see below for a very important piece of information!*

I strongly recommend you download all the booking information(s) before you leave your country of origin. This is because while there is WiFi in the airport in China, they are often unreliable because you may need a local mobile phone number to get an SMS verification code, or that you may not be able to stay connected. I use booking.com to book hotels and download the confirmation to their app, which can then display the hotel name and contact details, including phone number, in the local language, ie Chinese for China.

Method 2: ENTER VIA HAINAN AIRPORT1a
Overview:
Type: Landing
Name: Hainan visa on arrival
Third country required: No
Chinese name: 海南落地签政策
Total Duration of Stay: 15 days from day of arrival
Cost: ¥168 (Disclaimer: Official website says could be up to ¥1000. Not sure why. I paid ¥168.)
Geographical restriction: None! Can travel throughout whole of China!

Sample itinerary:
Australia to Hainan to Germany: Allowed 
Australia to Hainan back to Australia: Allowed 

This is another type of visa on arrival/landing visa. I like this visa a lot because not only can you apply for it on arrival, you are also allowed to go to and leave from, other cities in China, and don’t need to go to a third country! This is essentially the same as your usual tourist L visa, only the stay duration is half the time at 15 days instead of 30. The price is also a lot cheaper than the normal tourist visa. You can apply to extend the visa later in which ever city you happen to be in at the local Exit and Entry Administration Office for an extra ¥168.

To apply, you need:

– Ordinary valid passport (ie not a diplomatic passport) with at least 2 empty pages and 6 months validity

– At least 1 passport style photo of each applicant

– Confirmation of return international flights (flights out of China)

– Confirmation of hotel bookings

– ¥168 in cash, although the website says it could be up to ¥1,000

Steps:

  1. On arrival at customs at Haikou Meilan International Airport (Meilan is the name of the airport), tell them you want the visa on arrival visa. You’ll be taken aside to do this and return to the customs line after you get the visa done (Or go straight to the desk. I didn’t see the desk sign).

Please note: I was told for you to get the SEZ visa, you need to fly straight to your final destination, and cannot do layovers in other mainland China cities. In other words, these visa on arrival visas can only be given to you if the city where apply for it, is your first city of landing. They DID say can do transfers in certain airports, quote “like Guangzhou or Shanghai”, but since Haikou Airport customs is a separate small building, detached from the main airport, I had to pass through customs first for my transfer to Xiamen and thus was technically be entering China, before I actually get to the airport for the transfer.

Now whose (design) fault is that?

If you can’t find information online about this, you’d be correct. I mentioned this to the customs officers and end up getting the Hainan visa on arrival, rather than the Xiamen SEZ visa. Either way it worked out fine for me.

The officers I had at Haikou airport spoke English very well actually. I can’t guarantee you’d get the same ones.

  1. You will be required to fill out a form including the usual, your name, passport details, as well as your accommodation details including the address and contact details.

Paper or digital? At Haikou, they wanted all the details to be printed, but if I did, I’d have to have brought a tonne of papers, so I showed them the digital versions instead on my phone and they worked with that by taking a photo of the displays on my phone. Proceed as you see fit.

  1. Sign the form, hand over your passport, passport style photo, ¥168 and also, you may get your photo taken. Then proceed as usual with your new visa! Yippee!!

IMPORTANT TIPS THOU SHALT NOT IGNORE:

1. Get the address and phone number of the hotel in the local language ie, Chinese Hanzi, or if not that, at least the phone number BEFORE you leave for China. I cannot stress this enough. China takes surveillance on everyone far too seriously and you will not get this visa, or your pre-applied visa approved without the contact details of the hotels you are staying at. The officers at the airport were not willing to lend me their phones for me to search up the details, luckily, I found it on my phone. I once booked a tour in China while in Sydney, then used that to apply for my visa before leaving. Thankfully I asked the tour company for the name of the hotel I’d be staying at, because when I went to apply for the visa, the itinerary and flights were not enough, they wanted the phone number and the address of the hotel, without it, I was not allowed to apply, and I was applying on the last possible day for me to get my flight. You can get the address in Chinese in a few ways. One is to book through booking.com, they have an option to display the address in the local language. They also have an app that makes it handy, just download the info before you arrive in China, because Chinese wifi is hard to access sometimes most of the time. The other less reliable way is to search for it on the internet, but this is highly unreliable unless the hotel is a very large and well known name.

2. Normally it would make sense for you to book flights and hotels AFTER you successfully get the visa for your intended country of holiday, but China operates differently, just because. Normally to go there, you need to be invited by an invitation letter; by friends or family if you are visiting friends or family, by the company or university if you are going for business etc. As a tourist, no one is going to invite you, so instead you are required to show you have round trip flights into and out of China, and hotel reservations for your entire stay (if you intend to stay in the countryside or with friends, family etc, you are required to report to the local police station, so they can track your every move.) as part of your visa application.

THUS make sure you have:
– allotted enough time for your flights to allow you to get the visa processed (for pre-applying) which is 4 business days in Sydney, Australia

and

– booked your return flight so you do not exceed the allowed stay time in China (unless you intend to extend your stay (for visa on arrivals and visa-free transits). This second part is somewhat of a gamble as booking a flight past your initial allowed stay might mean, however unlikely, that your request for extending your stay will be declined and you will be required to get a new flight. Booking a flight that departs China within the allowed stay time might mean if your request for extending your stay DOES get approved, you will have to book a new flight anyway. If you have experience getting your visa extended while in China for any reason, leave a comment below and let us know!

Also…

I always carry extra passport photos just in case I ever need it, like if I lose my passport and need to get a new one done, at least I have the photo ready. I suggest you do the same. It is easy to get them done at home and cheaply. Simply use a free online “create your own passport photos” service from your own photos taken at home, and save it as one 10×15 cm or 6×4 inch jpg file consisting of multiple small photos. Then print it at a printing shop and cut them out yourself. Officeworks and Kmart in Australia charges around 10 cents per 10×15 cm or 6×4 inch. Just make sure you are printing a 10×15 cm or 6×4 inch sheet, not ‘passport photos’, which will jack up the price. You can find your country’s passport photo requirements online.

DISCLAIMER: I was told multiple times on separate occasions for different ports of entry, that not everyone is guaranteed the visa/entry using this method. A visa is after all a legal document that allows the holder permission to enter a country. What this means is technically the customs officer has the right to deny you entry and you will not get the visa on arrival if they feel suspicious about your intentions, or you are bringing in illegal things, or have a criminal record or anything else. If that’s the case with you, don’t forget to dump out all the illegal stuff before you arrive in China so you won’t be caught with anything at customs.

Just kidding! (Or am I?) Okay, really, for ordinary tourists, you shouldn’t have any difficulties getting approved. I wouldn’t be so worried because if you were going to be denied a visa, you can also get denied when you PRE-apply (that’s why it’s called the visa ‘APPLICATION’ process and not the visa ‘BUYING’ process), and, even if you DO get a visa approved, you can still be denied entry after arriving in your destination. Just watch any episode of Border Security.

You’re welcome.

Booking.com

A word on Romanisation of Chinese names/words:
Chinese words have 1 syllable each, and a name for anything can have more than one word. To make it easy to read and pronounce, the words are romanised and spelt with English letters. To simplify the English version, names are often written as one word, when in actual fact it is more than one word. For example, ‘Beijing’ and ‘Shanghai’ are really ‘Bei Jing’ and ‘Shang Hai’. To complicate matters, there is no uniform way to write these romanised names, and so some parts of some names that can be translated, are sometimes translated, so there could be a variety of variations of spellings. For example, in the name ‘Changsha Huanghua International Airport’, ‘Huang Hua’ means ‘Yellow Flower’, so some places might write ‘Changsha Huanghua International Airport’, others might write ‘Changsha Yellow Flower International Airport ‘. You may find ‘Nanputuo Temple‘ written in English as both ‘Nanputuo Temple’ and ‘South Putuo Temple’, because ‘nan’ means ‘south’, while ‘Pu Tuo’ is a just name.


References:

1.a http://en.explorehainan.com/en/plan/visas.shtm
You can change the language on the website in the top right hand corner.

b. The specific information on 30 visa free stay in other languages:
English: http://en.explorehainan.com/en/index/wjb.shtml
Russian: http://ru.explorehainan.com/ru/index/wjb.shtm
Japanese: http://jp.explorehainan.com/jp/index/wjb.shtml
Korean: http://kr.explorehainan.com/ko/index/wjb.shtml
Arabic: http://ar.explorehainan.com/ar/index/wjb.shtml

2. http://www.gzbjzz.gov.cn/cn/info_14876.aspx?itemid=36908

3. http://ice.xmu.edu.cn/showdown.aspx?news_id=4046

4. http://www.chengdu.gov.cn/chengdu/home/2018-12/29/content_7c081d845e9c4f7daa14c560d9e34d38.shtml

5. https://www.scio.gov.cn/xwfbh/gssxwfbh/xwfbh/liaoning/Document/1616804/1616804.htm

6. http://www.gzbjzz.gov.cn/cn/news/info_10030.aspx?itemid=40995

7. http://english.scio.gov.cn/chinavoices/2017-12/29/content_50175930.htm

8. http://english.scio.gov.cn/chinavoices/2017-12/29/content_50175930.htm

9. http://www.gdzwfw.gov.cn/portal/guide/11440000006940140C22006063001

10. Personally called, last time was May the 6th 2019

11. https://www.travelchinaguide.com/embassy/visa/service.htm

Categories
China Travel

Oriental Pearl Tower Shanghai, China

The Oriental Pearl Tower OPT in Shanghai, China, is a television broadcast tower that is also a public tourist attraction.DSC07555

DSC07659

In July 2016, I went with a group of people on a university trip, to visit the OPT. We got there around 3:30pm. It was the middle of summer and super hot. We spend around almost an hour waiting outside, the line went all the way around the OPT. Some people ended up leaving. When the actual entry to the OPT was in sight, we were relieved. Our group got our picture taken as they do in many tourist attractions, and then to my disappointment although understandable, that the line continued inside. The line was compacted into zig zag barricades.IMG_3496.JPG

In the end we waited from day to night, almost 3 hours (2 hours and 50 something minutes). Originally we were going to meet back down on the ground outside at around 6:30pm (we didn’t get in till then). It didn’t bother me much because I wanted to see the night scenery. From such high up, there really isn’t much to see except city scenery.

A few reasons why the wait was so long:
-July is school holiday time in China
-There were security bag checks inside and only 2 of them for the hundreds and hundreds of tourists
-There are heaps of people in China. HEAPS. Just search up “Golden Week China” online and be warned not to visit China as a tourist during Golden Week (around October 1)out.

So when we finally got up there, I had the opportunity to see the daylight scenery as well as night scenery. I stayed there till about 9 or 9:30pm.

Once we passed the security check, there was another line to one of several lifts. Being a circular layout, the lifts were in the center of the building and everyone lined up around the circumference of the circle, which is also lined with shops. Click here and here for a short video of the interior (filmed without a tripod while waiting so it’s shaky… just telling you in advance).DSC07566

After finally getting to the top, the view wasn’t so clear. This is what you will pretty much see unless it is a super clear day (preferably not in summer where the humidity is high. See how humidity affected night shots in my other post on the Bund or Waitan)DSC07588

DSC07587

In this picture you can see the circular pedestrian walkway beneath the OPT which is raised above the road below. There were a lot of people strolling on this bridge and taking photos at night.DSC07586

For night photos, see below.

What you do here:
We went up to 263m, it had 360 degree views, minus the metal structures blocking some views. At the top, there are extensive 360 degree views of the city and the Huang Pu River, so people mainly come here to the top for the views and if you are into photography, photography of the city. Click here for a video of the observation level, here for views out during the day from the observation level, here for a (very shaky, gimbal-less and noisy so with incomplete narration) video tour of the inside of the top floor, where I show you the views, walk around the entire deck, and show you the souvenirs sold there.

There was a glass bottomed observation deck (259m) that only allowed people to enter when others leave, ie another line. I was lucky enough to get in without much waiting, probably because of the time. Click here for a video taken from the glass bottomed observation deck.

Apart from the views, there are also restaurants and shops on the lower entry floors as mentioned above, and a gaming level.

A note for photographers:
The tickets are sold depending on what you want access to. You can see the city around the OPT from the top sphere (the more spheres you want access to, the higher the ticket price). I would say this is a good vantage point for photography except that the structures outside the glass blocks the windows a bit, the glare of the glass might be a problem, and fog/smog/pollution might affect the clarity. So for photographers who are keen to come to the top, here is what I recommend:

-Plan your visit on  a clear day. Go soon after a big rainfall (the entire almost 20 days I was there, there was only 1 big rainfall. Actually there was only 1 time it rained.) What you see at ground level, prepare for an even more obscured view at the top if it is a summer and humid day.

-Prepare your equipment before you go so it is ready to go in case you want to leave at a moment’s notice. Bring appropriate equipment (lens, flexible lens hood, tripod …)

Here are some pictures (not post processed) that I took without a tripod, with an ordinary point and shoot:

What a difference night fall and bright city lights make.DSC07598

DSC07592

This is the same Huang Pu river that you could almost not see through the haze during the day above:DSC07626

DSC07627

DSC07623

This photo was taken from the glass bottomed observation deck below:DSC07621

There are different lifts for going up and down. The lift going back down takes you to the gaming level (98m) where you need to change to a new lift to continue going down.

DSC07660When I finally left the OPT, I ended up on the circular walkway. This picture taken from the circular overhead walkway around the tower. Click here for a short video taken from the walkway. The walkway is flat and easily navigated with wheelchairs and prams. However to get to street level you need to take the escalator, I don’t recall if there are lifts. Anyone that knows, please leave a comment.

Facilities:
The top sphere/level I first went to had toilets, a gift kiosk, a small information pictorial showing the the construction of the OPT over time, a free phone recharge place (no lockers, the cables are exposed so you need to stay there), pay to use binoculars and a small seating area.

The gift kiosk sold metal models of the OPT, post cards and crystal/glass models as wells as Chinese fans and other typical tourist souvenirs. There is a postal service so you can buy the postcard and send it from there, which is the ‘highest postal service in China’. However living overseas to China, the stamp fee was more than the postcard and ordinary post stamp itself, so I just brought the post card home with me in my luggage.

Note: This high up, the cell phone reception is not good, I had 1 voice call and it was not good. I did manage to receive and send 1 text when the voice call didn’t work.

Wheel friendliness:
There were signs that showed wheelchair friendly lifts and access. However the actual practical accessibility might not be so easy (but not impossible) overall. I have seen wheelchairs in the first level I went to, the path is circular and flat.

When we changed for lifts at the gaming level, we had to go down 1 flight of stairs however I am pretty sure there is a special restricted access lift for wheeled vehicles, like prams and wheelchairs. (Anyone that knows, leave a comment)

Also the observation deck had steps, you step down onto the circular wrap around observation deck from the inside. There are staff on the observation deck trying to sell photos and lots of people.

Recommended stay:
You might be able to get a few good pictures if you have good photography equipment and are lucky it is on a really clear day, if so, as long as you need. Because of the number of people there especially on the observation deck and the long wait, I decided to stay 3 hours. However there might be less people in months other  than July and October’s Golden Week. Also we went on a weekday (12th of July 2016) and there were still that many people. Just sayin’.

Personally I feel there is not much to do at this attraction other than to see the scenery from high up and take photos. If you have seen elevated scenery before (at other towers, or just anywhere) or are not interested in photography, you might not find this to be that special.

Ticket price:
The prices vary according to the level you want to go to, or the number of spheres you want to access. Click here for their official website. As a general guide, access to both spheres plus the space capsule and the exhibition hall cost around ¥220 per person, both spheres and the exhibition hall is ¥160, and ¥35 for the exhibition hall only without access to the tower. (Current as time of posting) The exhibition hall is on the ground floor and I feel, if you bothered to come all this way and line up, why go to the exhibition hall only? Can’t comment on the exhibition hall as I didn’t go.

Also the prices on their website is in Chinese Hanyu only, and it says ticket prices at ticket window prevails, so it could be updated at any time.

Something to note:
If you are a solo traveler like I was (I got completely separated from my group which I did not mind, since everywhere I go, I travel solo anyway and already decided to stay till 9pm), in my experience, people weren’t so willing to take photos for me. The people that did help were the tourists so I’d suggest you go for them, because in China, there are cases of purposely making someone liable for real/fake damage, so I suspect this is the case, as they are afraid they will break my camera and I (speaking Chinese) would blame them for it and make them pay. I actually had people say they don’t know how to use my camera or that they’ll break it. Maybe if you don’t speak Chinese, you’ll get a different response. Let us know if you had a different experience asking people to take photos for you in China, in the comments.

Getting here:
The closest metro stop is Liujizui, but we came by coach. Click here for a locality map that shows where’s what, and here for my guide to the metro in Shanghai. If you have already been here and have extra tips for us, I’d appreciate it if you could leave some in the comments for future travellers!

Click here for more things to do and see in Shanghai, or if you are ready to come visit Shanghai, try these affiliate links (what are affiliate links?)

Flights to Shanghai:
Jetradar.com

Accommodation options:
Hotels Combined
Booking.com

Car rental
Jetradar cars


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©All rights reserved for all content and photographs, usage on 3rd party sites are forbidden without permission. Photos are taken by author unless otherwise stated.

Categories
Accommodation China China Accommodation Travel

Home Inn -A review

When I was in Shanghai, I stayed at 2 different hotels, Jin Jiang Inn in Jia Ding District and Home Inn closer to Shanghai CBD, both are chain hotels.

This is is a review of the rooms at Home Inn in Shanghai City, China.

In this post I will review Home Inn hotel at Guang Zhong Road in Shanghai City, located across the road from Shanghai University Yan Chang Campus North Gate in the city. Click here (double room) and here (single room) for the video review, and read the text below for a breakdown of the hotel.

Overall: 6/10
Based on my stay at the 2 hotels, I would not recommend Home Inn. Home Inn is more expensive than Jin Jiang Inn, has poorer facilities and poorer range of food for breakfast. There are other Jin Jiang Inns nearby (within few Kms).

Location
The Home Inn I am reviewing is located in Jin An district near the city CBD, however you can find them all over China.

Address:
English: 809, Guang Zhong Rd, Jing’an District, Shanghai
Chinese: 上海市静安区广中路809号

Locality
The hotel is located along a large street lined with few other businesses, among them, a bank, some small restaurants (Chinese food as well as one cafe with western food), a Family Mart convenience store and a China Mobile store. This street is larger than the street Jin Jiang was on but there are less businesses around the area so if you are staying here for more than a few days like I did, you may quickly get sick of the food around here.

Directly across the road is Shanghai University’s Yan Chang City Campus South Gate and a bus stop.

There is a metro stop 400m away, Circus World exit 2.

There is a large shopping plaza Daning International Commercial Plaza or 大宁国际广场, 1km away towards the east (or on your right when standing in front of the hotel facing the main road/university). There are a variety of restaurants (Chinese and Western) and bars.

The hotelIMG_3441

This particular hotel is located in the “Shanghai University apartment area” and is specifically for visitors to the university. While I was there I met a visiting lecturer. Given this, I expected that they would have at least the same facilities as Jin Jiang Inn, but did not.

You can only access your own floor with your card, by tapping in on the elevator, however there is nothing stopping you from using the fire escape stairs to access other floors.

You get free breakfast vouchers for the duration of your stay. The breakfast room is in the large lobby. There is a small space for a few cars outside.

The lobby is large with bathroom. There is a small couch and coffee table, complimentary computer.

Hotel Facilities
Non-24 hour reception, non-English speaking.
Free wifi in all areas (lobby, room and dining room) although the wifi was very bad on the 8th and 10th floor, pretty much non-existent.

There is no laundry facility, self service or otherwise.
Not sure if there is luggage storage.
Plenty of taxis are available outside the hotel that pass by, you need to hail one or you can ask the desk to call you one.

Breakfast consists of Shanghai style stirfries, steamed buns (meat, vegetarian and custard), congee, soy milk, and seasonal fruit. The selection is quite poor, especially compared to Jin Jiang Inn. You can get breakfast vouchers as part of your booking, might be extra.

The hall ways are large inside the hotel, carpeted but very dark feeling and the area near the elevator smell of cigarette smoke because people often smoke there, despite it being banned.

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The room
I shared a room with a room mate, as well ask stayed in a single room. I will review both.

The rooms don’t seem to be consistent.
The twin room I stayed in first was basic, the furniture was very basic compared to Jin Jiang Inn with basic timber tables, and a single chair. Dark linoleum flooring, has openable windows. The twin bed room that I stayed in had a small enclosed balcony. The single room I had to myself later, had better furniture but no bed side lamp at all.

Facilities:
-Writing desk with pull out tray, and a tea table connected to it
-Desk lamp
-Television with all the local Chinese channels
-Single (shared, for double room) bedside table with one reading light above it
-Enclosed balcony (in twin bed room) and openable windows
-cheap disposable slippers that is replaced everyday if you open them (slip off the paper ribbon that binds them together). I feel this is a waste and so try to keep the ribbon and put the slippers back in them so house keeping doesn’t replace it every day.
-Clothing rack in the bathroom and in the room to hang your wet clothing
-Free boiling water facilities and cup (boil the water before drinking, tap water in China is not directly drinkable), no tea
-Waste baskets
-Wifi internet (included in cost of room but very bad ie non existent apart from the lobby) and ethernet cable internet
-Power plugs located along top of table, easily accessible
-Free bottled water daily (ask for more from room service)
-Air conditioning
-Phone
-Wall mounted Hair dryer

Bathroom
Standing shower. As I mentioned previously, the room styles aren’t consistent, one single room I saw had an actual door and wall shower, with separate toilet. Mine had only a curtain.

Basic toiletries supplied including toothbrush, toothpaste, comb and soap. The toothbrush wasn’t so good, the bristles actually came apart and fell off in my mouth.

Price
The price per night here was ¥271 and breakfast was an extra ¥18 per person per day.

Note:
One thing I encountered at this hotel and Jin Jiang inn was that strangers were distributing unwanted escort ads under the doors of all the guests’ rooms. The front reception staff at Jin Jiang inn told me there is nothing they can do as even if they ban the person, the ad company just sends another person, who books a room and uses the card to access the hotel lift to distribute the cards. You can just bin the cards.

Verdict:
I give this place 6/10 for it’s convenience but lack of better facilities while being more expensive. It is located close to the metro stop and there are some restaurants and cafes, a bank and a convenience store outside next to the hotel. It is located across the road from Shanghai University and the only bus stop nearby is across the road in front of the university (it goes only 1 way). The staff were okay, I deactivated my hotel card by putting it with my phone, and was later fixed however, I mistakenly thought it was still malfunctioning when it won’t take me to my level. Turns out I was pressing the button for the wrong level. Never had a chance to appologise to the staff. Breakfast had a poor variety. Wifi was not good, basically not usable in the rooms and only accessible in the lobby despite that they are supposed to be accessible in the rooms. Lobby had 1 small couch and coffee table, which was quite few for such a large lobby. More could be done about the unwanted ads being distributed.

Now click here for more things to do and see in China!


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©All rights reserved for all content and photographs, usage on 3rd party sites are forbidden without permission. Photos are taken by author unless otherwise stated.

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Accommodation China Travel

Jin Jiang Inn -A review

During my 2 week visit to Shanghai, I stayed at 2 different hotels, Jin Jiang Inn in Jia Ding and Home Inn closer to Shanghai CBD, both are chain hotels.

In this post I will review the Jin Jiang Inn in Jia Ding District, Shanghai opposite Shanghai University. Jin Jiang Inn was cheaper than Home Inn; Jia Ding is a suburb, I am not sure if this affected the prices. Click here for the video review, and read the text below for a breakdown of the hotel.

Overall: 9/10
Based on my stay at the 2 branches of the 2 hotel chains, I would recommend the Jin Jiang Inn chain over Home Inn because it is cheaper with more/better facilities and better breakfast food. The customer service was very nice and friendly, and there was no smoking inside the hotel. The lobby was small but bright, clean and modern. The rooms were also very clean and well kept, and the more I think about it, the more I am pleased at this budget hotel.

Location
The Jin Jiang Inn I am reviewing is located in Jia Ding on ChengZhong Road across the road from Shanghai university Jia Ding campus, however you can find them all over Shanghai.

Address:

English: 197, Cheng Zhong Rd, Jiading District, Shanghai
Chinese: 上海市嘉定区城中路35号

Jia Ding is a suburb in Shanghai, this one is located directly across the road from Shanghai University’s west gate.

The hotel door front is located along a street lined with other shops. The hotel is the one with the red logo just visible, above the man in the scooter in the picture below.IMG_3409.jpg

Locality
Cheng Zhong Road is a long main road. Towards the south there is a bridge, and towards the north, is the busier ‘city center’ with lots of shopping centers, restaurants and buses. The closest bus stop is abut 230m up the road towards the north on the same side as the hotel and will take you there, the buses stop at every stop, be ready to get off, you will see the large shopping centres.
About 650m south past the bridge is Tesco, a large shopping centre and grocery chain. You can either walk to the shops or walk to the bus stop and catch a bus, but the bus stops across the road diagonally from the shopping mall.

There are 2 metro stops nearby, Jiading West located due west, and Jiading North, located north west. Click here for a guide to Shanghai’s metro system. Jiading North is about 2.3 km away and easier to find as it is straight along the main road Cheng Zhong Road. You can also catch a bus up the road and get off at the metro stop.

You can also catch a taxi from the metro stop to the hotel and vice versa.

The hotel
This is the hotel card
IMG_3043.jpg

You can only access your own floor with your card, by tapping in on the elevator, however there is nothing stopping you from using the fire escape stairs to access other floors.

You also need the card to get breakfast, which comes free with your room. The breakfast room is in a separate area to the main building but can be easily accessed by a side door from the lobby, or outside via the carpark, neither of which I have a photo of.
The lobby is small however the hotel is larger than it looks from the outside, with about 8 floors and the lower floor is quite large.

Hotel Facilities
24 hour reception, non-english speaking.
Free wifi in all areas (lobby, room and dining room)
Small lobby has a small couch and coffee table and toilet facilities and free drinking water to fill a cup or bottle with.
Luggage storage
There is a self service laundry facility.
Carpark
Plenty of taxis are available outside the hotel that pass by, you need to hail one or you can ask the desk to call you one.
Breakfast consists of Shanghai style light vegetable stirfries, steamed buns (meat, vegetarian and custard), congee, individual tubs of yogurt, milk, soymilk, coffee and seasonal fruit. Take away is possible, they provide disposable plastic bags.

Photos of their lobby can be found here: http://www.jinjianginns.com/4387.html

The room
I shared a room with a room mate so this review is for a double room.IMG_3038

The rooms are actually quite nice for a budget hotel, they are clean and quite homey with timber patterned flooring that is not uncomfortable to walk around on, and easy for suitcase wheels to roll around on.

At this particular hotel, rooms above ground like mine have openable windows. The photo above was taken at night, but during the day there is good day lighting in the room. A friend of mine stayed in an underground room with no windows, but everything else was just as good.

Magazine on the table is provided by the room.

Other room facilities:
-cheap disposable slippers that is replaced everyday if you open them (slip off the paper ribbon that binds them together). I feel this is a waste and so try to keep the ribbon and put the slippers back in them so house keeping doesn’t replace it every day.
-Clothing rack with cloth hangers and a small storage cabinet
-There is a television with all the local Chinese channels
-Writing desk with pull out tray, and a tea table connected to it
-Desk lamp on table (can be unplugged and moved to bed side table)
-One chair
-Free tea and boiling water facilities (boil the water before drinking, tap water in China is not directly drinkable)
-2 Waste baskets (one in bathroom)
-Cable and Wifi internet (included in cost of room)
-Power plugs located along top of table, easily accessible
-Free bottled water daily
-Air conditioning
-Each bed has their own reading light
-Phone
-Wall mounted Hair dryer
IMG_3041

Bathroom
Standing shower with hand rail on wall.
IMG_3040

Toiletries supplied including toothbrush, toothpaste, comb and soap (not pictured). Wall mounted refillable shampoo and body wash.
IMG_3039

Price
Unfortunately I do not recall the price per night, but I do remember that it was cheaper than Home Inn near the city. However, I went as part of a set program, so the host of the program probably did a deal with the hotel.

Note:
One thing I encountered at this hotel and Home inn was that strangers were distributing unwanted escort ads under the doors of all the guests’ rooms. The front reception told me there is nothing they can do as even if they ban the person, the ad company just sends another person, who books a room and uses the card to access the hotel lift to distribute the cards. You can just bin the cards.

Verdict:
I give this place 9/10 for it’s cleanliness and how well maintained it was. Service was good and the staff were friendly. Breakfast had a good variety. Wifi was good. Bit far from the closest metro station although the taxis are cheap. More could be done about the unwanted ads being distributed.

Now click here for more things to do and see in China!


Whether it is a flight or a hotel, international or domestic, if you travel a lot, or like my blog, or both, please bookmark this page and support my blog by using my affiliate links to make your next booking!

©All rights reserved for all content and photographs, usage on 3rd party sites are forbidden without permission. Photos are taken by author unless otherwise stated.

Categories
China Food Travel

Nanjng East Road and People’s square, Shanghai, China

When I was in Shanghai, I went out strolling/exploring by myself a few times. This is a short post on my experiences in Nanjing East Pedestrian Road and People’s Square/Park, places that I visited.

Nanjing East Pedestrian Road 南京西路步行街
This is a large vehicle-free (except on the pavement tram/train type rides) square lined with shops, restaurants and department stores. The nearest metro stop is East Nanjing Road. This area is full of people day and night. Outdoor seats are available.

Shops here sell clothes, silk products, and Shanghai specialty packaged foods. There is a shopping center that exclusively sells food.

Just an idea of what night time here looks like.DSC07803.jpg

This is the ideal stop for walking to the Bund.DSC07802There are a variety of high end department stores here. The above pictures show 2.

People’s square 人民广场
There are just so many people in China.DSC07794And you wonder why the cars don’t stop for the people. This is an ordinary day near People’s square exit 1. With the introduction of the second child policy, there will be even more people, even less jobs than currently and even more unemployed young people.

Anyway. People’s square (the actual square) is another pedestrian street that is lined with shops, department stores and restaurants. The closest metro stop is People’s square, I do not remember the exact exit number, but one exit goes straight to the street level here, in fact this photo was taken from the stairs of the metro exit.

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There are cheap food outlets as well as more expensive places. Click here for a short clip of the local area there.

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肉夹馍 Rou Jia Mo, a meat filled piece of bread, is a traditional Xi An street food, there are a few stalls here that sell it too. The bread can vary from soft white bun to a harder, flaky pancake as in this case. The meat is usually pork.DSC07789

DSC07788

Yummy

IMG_3589During my evening stroll on a hot July night, I stumbled upon a small, green cylindrical kiosk selling Harbin ice cream, they had a small speaker on all night (and day I presume) advertising their ice cream in Mandarin, with  flavours including original, mocha, tea, and liqueur. Curious and hot, I decided to get an original one. Wow! For an ordinary looking ice block and coming from someone who doesn’t like dairy based ice cream, this was so good!! The original ‘cream flavoured’ ice cream was not too sweet which was perfect for me, and you can just taste the cream. I absolutely loved it, too bad I couldn’t go back for another one. If you see it be sure to try one. Unfortunately I didn’t quite take notice of where the kiosk was located, but try your luck asking a local where to find “东北老哈大板冰激凌” (okay, that’s quite a mouthful… just show them the text or the picture above), or just wander up and down the straight street until you see or hear it.

People’s Park人民公园
DSC07796

People’s Park (人民公园) is more of a green parkland for locals, not really a sightseeing place for visitors and tourists. The elderly come here to do Tai Ji (yes, it’s Tai Ji not Tai Chi or Tai Qi… Also, it’s Gong Fu, not Kung Fu… and Dou Fu not Tofu) and others come to jog or stroll. It is quite a large park. This photo above was taken from exit 10 of People’s Square metro stop.

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But there is one (strange) spectacle to be seen here. On weekends, many local elderly parents of single adult children come here to attend “Dating Markets” (相亲会) to advertise their children’s profiles or to advertise a ‘spouse wanted’ ad on pieces or paper, cardboard, umbrellas, trolley bags etc, and to exchange information in the hope of looking for a mate for their (unwilling) children… without their children’s permission. These adults children are often annoyed at or embarrassed by such actions so never come here.

The ads contain basic profile information about their children such as age, name, date of birth, occupation and university they studied at, and requirements of the potential spouse. Reading them, one would think it is some sort of competition, some requirements are quite outrageous, like “[The daughter in law] must be pretty and kind”, “must have a car/house”, “be from a certain industry” and “must never have co-habituated with other people [of the opposite gender]”. Click here to read my rant, and check out the video here.

You can poke a little one-of-a kind fun here by also making your own ad or even attempt to introduce yourself to one of the parents there… it’s cheaper than online dating!

Food
Opposite the park is a food court where I visited with some friends. The name on the plaque in English is “Shima”. There is a really good variety of food here, far more and far better than any food court I have been in in Australia (I dare say this place has better and more interesting food than the entire Chinatown in Sydney). There are Xi An food, Shan Xi food, create your own stirfries, Korean food, Shanghai food, stirfries, spicy food, fruit juices, ice tea, soup, congee, noodles …

Unfortunately I don’t have too many photos but you can see a video of the food court and the location here.

The serving size and prices here are good and reasonable. It’s not a touristy place (no fast food here) but this also means no English menus (but there are pictures).  The food court is cashless so you need to get a top up card at the counter near the entry, load it with money and use that, you get back what you don’t use.

This is 凉糕 ‘liang gao’ or ‘cold cake’, a Sichuan dessert. I’ve had this dessert before in Guilin in Guang Xi Province. It is a cold dessert made from glutinous rice and served with sweet syrup and condiments like crushed nuts, as was in this one. I liked it so when I saw it here I had to get one! (By the way, that is a table spoon, not a teaspoon so it was quite big).

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Salt and pepper squid.DSC07799

You can also get Rou Jia Mo here, as well as other Xi An foods like Lamb Soup with Mo or Yang Tang Pao Mo (Mo is a type of bread). I am not a fan of lamb but this is a fun way to eat lamb soup, you tear the pieces of Mo and soak it in  your lamb soup (some places, it comes already in your soup).

The address of the food court is 258 南京西路 上海 or 258 Nanjing East Road, Shanghai. The closest metro stop is People’s square exit 10 or 11, across the road. The Chinese name is 食尚美食广场.

Click here for more things to do and see in Shanghai, or if you are ready to come visit Shanghai, try these affiliate links (what are affiliate links?)

Flights to Shanghai:
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Accommodation options:
Hotels Combined
Booking.com

Car rental
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©All rights reserved for all content and photographs, usage on 3rd party sites are forbidden without permission. Photos are taken by author unless otherwise stated.

Categories
China Travel

Guide to Shanghai Metro

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Shanghai’s subway system, called Metro in English, is a highly efficient and fast form of public transport.

Most of the metro is underground, however in some parts it is above ground.

In China, the suburban trains/subway systems are called 地铁 dì tiě, while ‘trains’ or 火车 huǒ chē refers to above ground, intercity/province long distance railway trains.

Like many cities now, the metro system uses a reloadable plastic card as a ticket. Short term visitors can purchase a single use one way ticket. These tickets can be bought at any of the numerous ticket machines inside the metro station with cash or card, but if you are planning on use the metro for more than a few trips you can consider getting a reloadable card. The card is used to tap in and out at each station.

There are a few types of reloadable transport cards. First, there is a 3 day one for short term tourists, the card can be kept as a souvenir at the end of your 72 hours, starting from first use. Then there is a special card that they release for commemorative events like special festivals and events with a special image printed on it, but functionality wise it is no different.

I will talk about the long term transport card, which locals use and anyone can buy for a deposit of ¥20. But first I’m going to describe the metro stations.

The metro stations
You can visit http://www.sptcc.com (official transportation card website) and service.shmetro.com (official metro service website) for more information.

This is the metro logo:

81024px-shanghai_metro_logo-svg

On maps and when on the streets, look out for this logo when looking for metro stations.

The entries to the metro stations are mostly at street level and lead downstairs to underground. Each metro station has multiple entries/exits, these are all numbered so it is easy to specify where to meet up and most have escalators at least going up (out of the station to street level). The actual barriers/entry to the platform is at least a few tens of metres away from the entry. Before reaching the barriers, there is a security check where all bags bigger than A4 is to be scanned, similar to security at the airport, but much much faster (in and out in less than a minute). There are illustrated large posters educating people about what to do in case of emergencies such as chemical, fire or bombings on the wall to educate even young children, and there are also bomb proof containers. Major attractions like the Oriental Pearl tower and the Shanghai Museum also has security check, although they are much, much slower. For a city that has a population greater than the entire nation of Australia, I think this is fantastic, although sometimes annoying at major attractions.

Entry/Exit number 1 at People’s Square. Numbers 1, 2 and 8 indicate that this station has subways from lines 1, 2 and 8.IMG_3471.JPG

As you can see, most road signs are also in both Chinese Hanyu and English.IMG_3475You’ll see policemen in the black uniform near many metro stations and public places.

Getting around inside the metro stations
Some of the metro stations are huge, like an entire underground mini city. The larger ones all have their own mini shopping centre inside, with dine-in restaurants, convenience stores and are directly connected to large shopping centers with their own entry. One of the largest ones, People’s Square station, has 18 entries/exits and takes a good 10-20 minutes to walk from the platform to one of the further exits, but at least it is underground and weather proof.

The metro stations are organised very well. In all stations, sufficient signs in both Chinese Hanyu and English direct you to where you want to go, including exits and what attraction they are best for, if applicable. There are signs on the wall, attached to the ceiling as well as underfoot.

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DSC07515For a video of inside a metro station, click here

Lines and changing lines
Each metro station is on a particular line which is colour coded and numbered, and usually has only one platform with 2 sides that has subways leading away from the station on one side or coming into the station on another. Exceptions are in some stations that have ‘interchanges’, which is a platform where you can change to a train/subway on a different line.

Each platform has multiple entries going down or up allowing people to move out quickly when they arrive (in peak hours, there can be a lot of people lining up for the escalators). All entries have 2 escalators, one going down to the platform, another goes up from the platform with stairs (a bit steep) in between. There are also accessible lifts for wheelchairs and strollers and people with luggage.DSC07509I love how even the air conditioning vent is in a Chinese geometric design.

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The subway platforms are enclosed and only open when the subway arrives.DSC07513

There are seats on the platform while you wait for the next service.

Using the card
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Front of the card. The logos on the bottom left hand corner indicate the card can be used on buses, ferries, subways and taxis. The number on the top right hand corner is the card number. Put this number into the text box on the left hand side on http://www.sptcc.com/ to see the amount of credit left on your card.

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The logos are businesses and companies that the metro card can be used at, although I have not used it there.

Recharge
The transport card can be used on all public transport including buses and ferries, as well as taxis, and a variety of stores (www.sctcd.com is a website for the group of companies that work in partnership with the shanghai metro station card). To recharge the card, self service recharging machines only accept bank cards, or you can use cash at a customer service desk where you get it topped up in person, just hand over your card and the amount you want to recharge it with, in multiples of ¥10.

After walking through the security check, at the barriers to each station, you tap in as you enter the turnstiles, and tap out when you arrive. There are designated entry and exit barriers at each station. When you tap on it will show the balance of your card very briefly on the screen where you tapped your card, and it will show how much was deducted and how much is left when you tap out.

DSC07511Entry, tap in

DSC07510Exit (No entry), tap out

Unlike Sydney’s Opal card system, there is no reverse tap on; you will be charged as long as as you tap in. For example, if you got off at the wrong station and want to go back in, or even tapped into the wrong station and want to go back out, as long as you tapped in, you will be charged the minimum of ¥3. I once did just that, I tapped on and realised I should’ve gone to a different station, when I tapped out, ¥3 was deducted from my card. (Might not be a big deal but with only 1-2 days left of my trip, there was no need to recharge another ¥10 and that ¥3 could’ve gone towards a meaningful trip).

Cost/Fares
As of June 2016, there are no separate cards for children and the elderly, everyone uses the same card type and pay the same fare, however the fares are quite reasonable.

The reloadable card can be bought at many stations at a customer service desk. It costs a deposit of ¥20, and this is refundable along with any amount unused after you return the card (if you choose to do so) before you leave; you can return the card at many stations. You can recharge any amount of money on the card in multiples of ¥10, the fares are charged based on distance travelled, so the further you travel, the more the fare is, but the cap is ¥9 for one trip, and each trip starts around ¥3. If the trip costs a few more yuan than what is left on your card, it will still let you through but that amount is deducted when you recharge next. If the trip costs a lot more than what you have left, you will not be allowed through the barrier.

A transfer within 30 minutes is free. In some stations, the transfer station is outside the first station, so you must leave (tap out) and tap back in, but if you do so within 30 minutes, it is considered a transfer. This was such the case when I caught the metro back from Tian Zi Fang at Dapuqiao station back to my place of stay at Shanghai Zoo station.

You also get discounted fares for the rest of the month if you make a certain number of trips in a certain amount of time each month.

Travelling on the subway
Given the population of Shanghai, the subways are designed for efficiency. They come at regular short intervals of about 5 minutes and decrease in frequency in later hours, down to about once every 10 minutes (even after 10-11pm).
The subway stops at all the stations on that line, exceptions include when there is a fork in a line and trains alternate between which fork it will go on.

The subway is usually full of people in peak hour and at popular places like People’s square. If you are travelling without large items (luggage, strollers etc) then there is really no point in waiting for the next service as that one will be just as crowded. Be prepared to leave before you arrive at the next stop if you have a lot of luggage, as the doors aren’t open for a long time.

Inside the carriages, some people often distribute flyers and advertisements, people just ignore it.

Understanding the signages
At the top of the doors on the platform and on the signs facing you as you come down the stairs to the platform, there are names and arrows telling you the next station that the subway on that platform will go to and the direction it will head, so you can go in the right direction.DSC07780.jpgThe subway  on the left side goes towards Fujin Road (but is not the next stop), and the one on the right goes towards Xinzhuang (this is not the next stop).

If you end up in the wrong station, simply get out at the next station and change to the opposite side. The service is fast and frequent and stops at all stations on that line. The largest text in the middle of the signs above the door tells you the current station, so if you miss the announcement you can always look out the window and see what station you just arrived at.

DSC07518A train/subway arrived at a station, before the door opens.

This sign on the platform says, from left to right: “Next Stop People’s Square”. The middle large text indicates the current stop is East Nanjing Road, then the small text on the right says “last stop was Lujiazui”, while the arrow tells you which physical direction the subway is headed, and cut out of the picture is text that indicates the direction the subway is headed, towards which terminal station. Oftentimes directions for a subway will be given in the form of which terminal station you should go in, for example in the app MetroMan, which I will talk about below.

There are recorded audio announcements on the platforms as well as inside the train, announcements on the platform are in Mandarin, while announcements inside the train are in both Mandarin and English.

On the platforms the signs above the doors look more like this:DSC07469The coloured stations have already passed, the red station is the current stop, and the grey stations are where the subway on that platform will stop next. The colour depends on the line.

DSC08532In this example, the current station is Longxi Road, and the train can head towards either Shanghai Zoo or Longbai Xincun. There are audio announcements as the subway arrives, as well as lights and indications on the monitor and the front of the subway as it arrives, however they pass by really fast.

DSC08533Electronic signs on the platform indicates the direction the current train service heads towards (top row) and the direction the next service will head towards, and the following one (bottom row). This way you know which one to get on, if it is at a forked station. From memory, these signs are in Chinese only.

There are monitors that display service information to include the next subway, the 2nd and 3rd on following and the last one of the day, and the time they will arrive. On these monitors hung from the ceiling, only the right hand side has the useful information. This section changes every few seconds to fit all the information in. The main part is advertisement.DSC08624.jpgIn this photo, the top section shows the time until the current/immediate next service will arrive (here it is 00 minutes and 00 seconds because it has already arrived). The bottom one tells you when the next one after will arrive, which is 5 minutes 16 seconds. At the very bottom in blue is the current station, and in between is a simplified map of the next few stops. This section will change to show when the 3rd and 4th train after the current one will arrive, as well as the first and last service of the day.

Click here to see a video on how to read a changing monitor (new window).

The subway service does not run 24 hours a day, even in the city. Instead they close for the day around 10-11pm, depending on which station it is, bigger ones close later.

The metro station, while large, isn’t one open space, the paths are divided with metal barricades so as long as you follow them and the signs, you can’t get lost.DSC07783For convenience, the larger stations also have designated “meeting places” (large brightly coloured posters on large columns), or you can meet at a numbered entry/exit.

The Subway
The interior of the train are all on one level. The carriages are connected and are lined with hard plastic seats that face the opposite side, leaving maximum space in the center of the carriage to allow for more people standing. The carriages are all air conditioned.
Ride duration between each stop is about 3 minutes.DSC07781This photo was taken at a relatively off peak time at lunch time (1:15pm). Usually there would be a wall of people and you would not be able to see through to the next carriage.

Just before each stop, an announcement is played once in both Mandarin and English (it is a pre-recorded message and in perfect American accent so you will be able to understand) will tell passengers the name of the next stop and which side of the train the door will open. Inside the carriages above the doors are electronic line maps with the stops already passed indicated with a red light, future stops off and next stop flashing.

There are no gaps between the carriage and the platform so it is good if you have luggage or heavy/large items, but it may be hard to get them in, depending on where you are getting on.

One word of warning, the doors close really fast and are automatic, it is unusual to find any station staff on the platform. While there are zones for lining up to enter the train and zones for leaving the train drawn onto the platform, unfortunately no one really abides by those rules (If you don’t want to get run over by passengers leaving the train, I suggest you should wait on either side as indicated). Click here to see a video of people getting on/off the subway and here to see what a platform looks like (new window).

Be prepared to stand, but not for very long, as the ride is fast, as there are limited seats. Another word of warning, the inertia is pretty strong.

A useful smartphone App
MetroMan is a very useful app that lets you search timetables, line maps and trip routes by entering the departure and arrival station, and gives exact instructions on how many stops there are, trip fare, trip duration and number of transfers if any.IMG_3690

You can choose English as your language and all information is including the stop names are displayed in English. You can even choose which city you want the information for.IMG_3794

You can view a map, or search for a stationIMG_3793

Select your ‘from’ and ‘to’ station or click on the arrows for a reverse trip.IMG_3788

Sometimes there are multiple optionsIMG_3790

Select one to see the details. Note Maglev is not part of the Metro service, it is a separate service that is both faster and more expensive.IMG_3791

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Some tips
The metro system has escalators and lifts, and services the city well including Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai HongQiao Domestic Airport, or Shanghai train stations (there are multiple train stations). If you are arriving in Shanghai by plane (domestic or international) or train, depending on the time, consider catching the metro to your arrival destination instead of catching a taxi, as a taxi is more expensive and is subjected to traffic, however it may be a lot slower. A taxi from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to JiaDing suburb costs ¥300-400 (day and night respectively) for 90 minutes (personal experience by friends) but metro costs around ¥50 but a little over 2 hours.

And now that you know how to use the metro system, click here for more things to do and see in Shanghai!

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Categories
China Food

The Dining Room

DSC08512The Dining Room is a cosy restaurant serving modern Shanghai cuisine across the road from Tian Zi Fang.

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I was quite lucky to have been invited here by my mother’s friend who lives in Shanghai. She also spent several hours with me in the heat of July at Tian Zi Fang.

For even a picky eater like me, the restaurant serves delicious Shanghai food, albeit salty. This place along with a restaurant next door, is quite popular and one may need to wait in line for a while, but the food was very enjoyable.

Of course, you can order Xiao Long Bao 小笼包, tiny steamed buns (Bao 包) with pork meat filling, with unleavened dough wrapper. The Xiao Long Bao one gets outside of China are usually a hit and miss, anything with a fluffy wrapper and larger than a bit size, are not true Xiao Long Bao, because the ‘Xiao’ means ‘little'(Long or 笼 means steamer basket).DSC08510A tip when eating these is to very carefully, using chopsticks or a spoon, to slowly turn the bao over by pushing the base of the bao away from the wrapper so it is no longer stuck to it, then using chopstick if you can, gently lift up the bao from the tip where the wrapper is the thickest, then catching it underneath with a spoon, then eat it from the spoon. If you tried to lift it all up at once without peeling it away first, you might break the wrapper and all the juicy fillings will leak out. Eating it from the spoon will prevent this also.

DSC08509Shanghai Noodles. Serves one. The noodles were deliciously chewy, unlike the boring packet noodles you get at the supermarket.

DSC08507Spinach and egg

DSC08506One of my favourite was this tasting platter. You can choose from the menu what you would like. This platter had (clockwise from top left but not exact menu names) Cold marinated chicken, second one I unfortunately forgot, 3rd is cold black fungus salad with vinegar, and chicken wings.

Of course, as in any Chinese restaurant, there was also tea.

Location:
This restaurant has many other branches, but this particular one is inside the shopping center across the road from Tian Zi Fang in Shanghai, closest metro stop is Dapuqiao, closest entry/exit located within same shopping center.

Address:
In Chinese: 上海市徐家汇路18

In English: 618 Xujiahui Road, Shanghai

Click here for the official website.

Reservations recommended:
Not needed.

For more things to do in Shanghai, check out my other posts here, or if you are ready to come visit Shanghai, try these affiliate links (what are affiliate links?)

Flights to Shanghai:
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Accommodation options:
Hotels Combined
Booking.com

Car rental
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Categories
China Travel

Tian Zi Fang, Shanghai

DSC08527Some people aren’t fans of old architecture/laneways re-purposed into commercial spaces, but re-purposing them prevents them from being torn down and built into something that will be used the same way anyway.

These places are different to historic attractions like Wuzhen, these areas are essentially shops. If you enjoy shopping and old laneways, and are in Shanghai then have I got the place for you. Forget about the fake markets and big shopping centers, Tian Zi Fang is a cute little place that has more atmosphere than any westernised, air-conditioned shopping center (which Shanghai has LOTS of, and are large).DSC08517

In any case, let there be no mistake that this is a commercial shopping place, and not a historical attraction, so do not come here looking for history and then being disappointed. (see my tripadvisor review here).

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Tian Zi Fang 田子坊 is part of Old Shanghai (life when old Chinese buildings and bicycles were the norm, but not old enough to be ancient China).

It was first converted to shops in 1998 and consists of lane after lane of old buildings. Rather than tearing them down to make way for yet another shopping centre, this area has been converted into an arts and crafts market. If you want some unique souvenirs, it is worth coming here for a look.

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At a glance:

  • Around 200m from Dapuqiao metro stop
  • Entry: free
  • Great for a day of souvenir shopping
  • Lots of restaurants that sells Shanghai specialties
  • Public toilets available
  • Next to no public seating areas, one bench was seen outside the toilets

The laneways are lined with shops selling things like preserved leaf vein bookmarks, clay and glass bottles of perfume, sketches, handbags, wallets, silks, clothing, tea and tea sets, to more mass produced things like magnets and postcards. You won’t find any luxury brands or their imitations here, these products are artistic designs. Also available are a variety of snack foods, ice cream, drinks…

The postcards are more representative of its destination for example, sunrise over Old Shanghai, rather than just a pretty skyline slapped onto a glossy card. Some stores sell them in a pack, others, you can pick and choose a pack for a set price, and choose from photos of modern Shanghai or old shanghai, colour, sepia or black and white pictures.

Most of the stores do not allow photos, so here is a limited selection:DSC09485.jpg

These are bookmarks made from leaves, with Chinese art printed (I suspect it is printed). On the reverse side you can see the veins of the leaf.DSC09480

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The glass bottles are small bottles of perfume, and each colour has a different fragrance. The coloured bottle on the right is a glass bottle covered in clay. The clay bottles were seen in YuYuan as well. I am yet to figure out how these are made, as the designs are made from clay.DSC09473.jpg

Chinese blue ceramic design handbag. My mother’s friend, who lives in Shanghai, bought this and another bag for myself and my sister.IMG_3692

She also bought me this, which is a handcrafted ceramic decorative plaque. The design is of a Chinese opera female makeup.IMG_3724.jpg

Okay so this might not be a good souvenir, but this store stocked other slightly creepy things, like this tarantula and ceiling lamp made from (I was told and sure hope so) fake deer antlers.IMG_3712

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The store was small and dark with an assortment of things stored on the staircase, with other preserved insects, and live pet turtles. I gave the store keeper quite a fright as neither of us knew the other was there.

IMG_3710This might not make a great souvenir either, but stores like these sold portrait sketches, of celebrities or you can get one done for yourself.

Postcard specialty storeDSC08504

Food and Drink
DSC08502I was told that these were a fad and seen in Suzhou as well. Vendors here sold squeezed fruit juice in fake IV drip bags, and one shop even displayed them on a fake IV pole. I tried this one, cold freshly squeezed mango puree, and was delicious.

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I would look out for the place that sold actual squeezed fruit juice because the place I got the mango puree from, theirs seemed to be 100% actual fruit juice/puree, whereas the other ones like the one on the IV pole, seemed to be diluted with water if not also artificial (what flavour is the blue one? No idea). Other flavours/juices include watermelon and lemon.

IMG_3699There are many bars and restaurants in this area, serving international cuisine including Indian, American and Italian.

Across the street there are Chinese restaurants, serving Shanghai style food. My mother’s friend took me to eat there and I really enjoyed it. We went to The Dining Room where we had a platter of Shanghai specialties.

Tip:
A non-touristy souvenir (such as magnets, t-shirts and baseball caps) you could buy is probably the postcards depicting Old Shanghai, or the Old Shanghai facial cream that comes in small jars with Old Shanghai designs on it.

Facilities
There are free public toilets here, but next to no public seating areas. There was one bench was seen outside the toilets which I am not sure if they are squat toilets or not.

Due to the narrow lane ways, wheelchairs and strollers may have trouble fitting through, although the paved areas are all flat.

Recommended time here:
3-4 hours. If this is your first time going here, then 2 hours might be a bit tight since you have to find your way around. You can even make it a half day trip and have lunch at one of the many restaurants around here.

Getting here:
Address:
Chinese: 上海市泰康路210弄
English: 210 Taikang Road, Shanghai

The closest metro stop is Dapuqiao, about 200m away, across the road (Taikang Road). When facing the shopping center, the metro station is forwards (walking southernly). Entry is on Taikang Road (泰康路). Click here for a map.

There are multiple entries to Tian Zi Fang and each is numbered. Inside, the alley ways are arranged in perpendicular lanes. There are signs on the walls at each intersection to tell you the ‘street’ number and each shop has their shop number on the wall. If you get lost just remember the shop number.DSC08529

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Outside one of the entries is this Exchange ATM, instead of withdrawing money, you can exchange your currency. Not sure about the currencies available or the rate though.

Click here and here to see some short video clips of Tian Zi Fang.

For more things to do in Shanghai, check out my other posts here, or if you are ready to come visit Shanghai, try these affiliate links (what are affiliate links?)

Flights to Shanghai:
Jetradar.com

Accommodation options:
Hotels Combined
Booking.com

Car rental
Jetradar cars


Whether it is a flight or a hotel, international or domestic, if you travel a lot, or like my blog, or both, please bookmark this page and support my blog by using my affiliate links to make your next booking!

©All rights reserved for all content and photographs, usage on 3rd party sites are forbidden without permission. Photos are taken by author unless otherwise stated.

Categories
China Photography Travel

Night time at The Bund, Shanghai, China

You can now buy prints of my photos! More coming, stay tuned! Click here to view and buy my prints! Free postage within Australia!

The Bund, or Wai Tan 外滩 literally meaning “Outside beach”, is the entire promenade along the Huang Pu River opposite the iconic Shanghai skyline that consists of the Oriental Pearl Tower and adjacent buildings. The location is highly popular among locals and tourists alike, and extremely popular as a photography point. The vast majority of people come here for the sights and photo opportunities of the city lights.  The locals come for the evening breeze in the summer.

If you want to come for the photo opportunities, here is something you should know:

1. The lights go out at about 10:30pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends and Fridays (give or take half an hour). The lights of the oriental Pearl Tower, the building next to it and the lights along the actual promenade turn off at that time on weekdays and Fridays and weekends respectively. The first time I went I decided to go late, because I knew there would be a lot of people there. So I got there about 11pm. There were still plenty of people walking along Nanjing Road (the road that leads to The Bund, see ‘Getting here’, below) but there was significantly less people on the actual promenade. There were also less lights to see, and within a few minutes the lights of the Oriental  Pearl Tower and the lights along the promenade turned off. My first photo was taken when the lights were still on but the second one taken at 11:16pm when the lights started turning off.

Compare the pictures taken on the 15th and 16th:

The following were taken on the 15h of July, 2016:
DSC0775511:16pm. Oriental Pearl Tower is off. Might as well leave now.

DSC0775911:22pm. View along the promenade.

DSC0776111:27pm. View along the promenade.

DSC0777111:27pm. View along the Bund. Lights are well and truly off.

2. At popular times, it is be very crowded. This was taken on the 16th, at 8:13pm. HEAPS of people, like NYE in Sydney, everyone facing each other’s back and you have to squeeze your way to the front. Thankfully the public there were generally pretty well mannered and took turns and gave way when needed, but the amount of people there was still a lot, so I wouldn’t put a lot of hope into bringing a large tripod. These photos were taken with a mini 15cm tripod that I rested on the concrete walls and balustrades. Click here (opens new tab) for a short video clip to see what it’s like there and here to see the actual view of the skyline across the river.

This was taken in July in the middle of the summer so the humidity is obvious in the night sky.DSC07805
3. In Mandarin, the Bund is called 外滩 (wài tān) and from experience, the locals may not know what “the Bund” is, even though the signs in the metro stations says this in English.

Getting here:
Catch the metro to Nanjing Road East station (南京东路) which is on lines 2 and 10, and get out from the exit to Nanjing Road Pedestrian shopping street (南京东路步行街). The best exits are 2, 5, or 7, but the signs inside the metro are very clear and well organised, written in Chinese Hanyu as well as English. Click here for a guide on Shanghai’s Metro.

Follow the signs outside to 外滩.(Second sign on left hand side from up to down):DSC07802

But if you need directions, ask:

外滩怎么走? wài tān zěn me zǒu? (How do I get to the Bund?)

Or simply 外滩? wài tān?

It shouldn’t be hard once you get onto the right street (it’s pretty much walking straight until you get out of the right metro exit). The signs outside the metro are in Chinese but there are masses of people all heading in the same direction and the path there goes along one straight street. The distance is not long, about 400-500m but because of how many people there are, it will take around 15-20 minutes. A tip is to forget about going in a group bigger than about 3 or 4 people, because of how many people going there. its better to just follow the crowd and meet when you get there, if you all take the same route, you will end up at the same place. Also you may not hear your phone ring so if it is vital you do not get separated from your group, it is better to just stay in one place and not wander around while you wait for the other party.

You can take 1 of 2 streets from Nanjing Road East metro station:

either Tianjin Road (天津路) which turns into Dianchi Road (滇池路)

or

Nanjing Road East which is connected to Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street. Click here for Google Maps and here for Baidu Maps.

If you walk towards the east (right, when facing the Oriental Pearl Tower) towards the ferry wharf, the amount of people decreases significantly but the view of the OPT and the typical shanghai skyline seen in postcards and night time photography, differs significantly too.

Travelling with a wheelchair or stroller?
The entire promenade is concreted/paved and flat, however there are some steps going down to it from the street. There are also steps going to the wharf. I have seen wheelchairs here so it is possible.

Recommended stay time
This area is really for night scenery, people come here to take photos. Depending on how many people are here and whether you are here for holiday snaps or night photography, 1-1.5 hours is plenty once you are here (more if you are a serious photographer).

Crossing the Huang Pu River
The ferry costs about 2 yuan, and takes passengers across the HuangPu River to the opposite sides. Word of warning, there are A LOT of people and while you can buy a ticket in the form of a red plastic token at the window there, it is better to have a pre-loaded transportation card (insert link) because people push in and shove their money in the single window there. The attendant will grab the money and put a red token in the tray under the window, which means they won’t really see who they took the money from, which means if they take your money but you aren’t quick in grabbing your toke, someone else might grab your token.Thankfully this did not happen to me. The plastic token is given to the turnstiles when going to the ferry.

The vast number of people ready to rush out of the wharf and into the ferry the moment the gates open:DSC07833

On the other side of the Huang Pu river on the Oriental Pearl Tower side:DSC07842

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The subway closes around 10-11pm, depending on the station, bigger ones will close later.

A word on catching a taxi back
On the Oriental Pearl tower side of the river, if you need to take a taxi back across the river, be ware of sky rocketing taxi prices. After 11, the taxi prices go up, and at such a popular tourist destination, there can be taxi drivers trying to rip you off. I once got in a cab with 2 friends and only after we got in and left, the driver said it will be ¥300 flat rate to get us across the river back to our hotel (about 30 minute ride away). He refused to turn on his meter and explained all taxis increase their prices after 11, especially since this was a Friday (also applicable on weekends), and stopped in the middle of the highway without a word, and expected us to get out since we didn’t like the price. We stayed as it was quite impossible to get out in the middle of a highway and pick up another taxi. Apart from that, the car was quite new and clean inside with fully functional seat belts for all passengers (there are many cab companies and most of them have old interiors with seat belts for only the front passenger) and the cab driver was nice enough.

For more photos visit my gallery here!

You can now buy prints of my photos here! More coming, stay tuned!

For more things to do in Shanghai, check out my other posts here.

Click here for more things to do and see in Shanghai, or if you are ready to come visit Shanghai, try these affiliate links (what are affiliate links?)

Flights to Shanghai:
Jetradar.com

Accommodation options:
Hotels Combined
Booking.com

Car rental
Jetradar cars


Whether it is a flight or a hotel, international or domestic, if you travel a lot, or like my blog, or both, please bookmark this page and support my blog by using my affiliate links to make your next booking!

©All rights reserved for all content and photographs, usage on 3rd party sites are forbidden without permission. Photos are taken by author unless otherwise stated.

Categories
China Travel

Old Street and KongZi Temple in JiaDing, Shanghai, China

If you are in the local area of Jia Ding suburb, or want to see more of the old Shanghai rather than the metropolitan area, you may be interested in seeing the Old Street and KongZi temple, both are free to enter.

Old Street

Zhou Qiao Old Street or Zhou Qiao Lao Jie (州桥老街) is a small, old pedestrian street lined with old shops located along ChengZhong Street (see map below).

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There is also a pagoda here called Fa Hua Pagoda Fa Hua Ta (法华塔) that has been hertiage protected by the local government since only 2002.

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DSC07401Protected since April 27th 2002, entry to the pagoda.

The old street is restricted to vehicles, which can only go as far as the entry gate to the old street.

DSC07415

Kong Zi Temple

Within walking distance is the grounds of the Kong Zi (Confucious) temple. The tree-lined grounds have a lake, a temple and pergolas and is a cool and tranquil place for a stroll in the hot summer.

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The temple has a variety of Chinese musical instruments on display, as well as pictures depicting Kong Zi and his disciple’s life.

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Getting here:

Click for a larger image

Fahua pagoda and KongZi temple JiaDing.jpg

Legend:

1- Cheng Zhong Road

2 -Ta Cheng Road

3- Bo Le Road

4- Jia Ding South Street

5- Cheng Zhong Street

Fahuata and Confucius Temple are all located within walking distance to each other (around 400m) along Jiading South Street (4). This area is about a 3.5 km taxi ride (click for google maps directions) from Jia Ding West Metro Station on Line 11. You can also catch buses (red circles) Jia Ding 嘉定 numbers 2, 3, 9, 13 and get off at the corner of Cheng Zhong Rd and Zhang Ma Rd (城中路张马路), or buses 5 and 11 and get off near the corner of Ta Cheng Rd and Cheng Zhong Rd (塔城路城中路).

The old street ‘Zhou Qiao Lao Jie’ is perpendicular to Jiading South Street, which itself is parallel to, and in between the two main streets Chengzhong Rd (1) and Bo le Rd (3) and intersects Tacheng Rd (2) . If you are arriving by taxi, ask the driver to send you to either:

Old street: ‘Zhou Qiao Lao Jie‘ or

Fahua Pagoda: ‘Fa Hua Ta‘. The driver will know to send you to the gate of the old street with these two names, you will be able to see the pagoda upon arrival. Your driver may go along ChengZhong Street (5)

or to Confucius Temple south gate: ‘Kong Miao Nan Men‘.

For more things to do in Shanghai, check out my other posts here.

Click here for more things to do and see in Shanghai, or if you are ready to come visit Shanghai, try these affiliate links (what are affiliate links?)

Flights to Shanghai:
Jetradar.com

Accommodation options:
Hotels Combined
Booking.com

Car rental
Jetradar cars


Whether it is a flight or a hotel, international or domestic, if you travel a lot, or like my blog, or both, please bookmark this page and support my blog by using my affiliate links to make your next booking!

©All rights reserved for all content and photographs, usage on 3rd party sites are forbidden without permission. Photos are taken by author unless otherwise stated.