With Ben’s family visiting us, we decided to take a weekend trip to Shanghai.  We opted to take the bullet train, which put us in Shanghai in about 5 1/2 hours.

Shanghai

A Rainy Arrival

Unfortunately, when arrived in Shanghai that evening, it was a bit chilly and rainy.  However, I wouldn’t let that weather deter us!  We took the subway from the train station to our hotel.  Our hotel was awesome–it was the Radisson Blu in New World and had the best location just across the street from the subway.

After checking into our hotel rooms, we headed out into the city.  I’m glad I brought my umbrella along although I do wish I had other shoes with me as mine lacked traction.

First Stop-Shopping!

We took the subway a couple stops down to walk to the Blue Nankeen Exhibition Center.  We found it within the French Quarter that was very pretty.  Sadly, by the time we made it there, the store was closed.  But luckily for us, the owners were still in the store and opened it for us.

They have really cool items in there–all blue and white as they use a special technique to make the dye.  I wish I had more time to shop around but the rest of the group aren’t shoppers like me.  I did find a cute little bag though.

Next Stop-Food!

After we went shopping, it was time to find something to eat.  DSC02790We decided to go to Boxing Cat Brewery which was a little walk from where we were.  It was a pretty walk through the quiet streets (despite the rain) to find where we would eat.  I thought the burger was ok but I actually have had a better burger while in Beijing.

Final Stop-The Bund!

We went back to the hotel to dry off and drop off everyone who wanted to rest before Ben and I headed to see the Bund.  I didn’t want to let the weather stop us from seeing Shanghai at night, so I’m glad we went out.

It was interesting walking there.  Again, our hotel was in a great location as it was a straight shot down the pedestrian street to get to the Bund.

We learned that in Shanghai, they have everyone get to one side of the street to cross (so a ton of people cross to the Bund on the right side while everyone on the left side cross back to the pedestrian street).

While the rain may have picked up once we arrived, we still managed to see the pretty lights of the Bund that evening.

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Suzhou

The next morning we took the subway to the bullet train to head to Suzhou…a short 25 minute train ride away.  Suzhou is known for having the most famous gardens in China.  We ended up going to two of the gardens while there.  We now have see three out of the four most famous gardens in China (Summer Palace, Lingering Gardens, the Humble Administrator’s Garden) with plans to see the fourth one (Chengde) at some point since it’s only a few hours drive from Beijing!

Lingering Gardens

Our first stop was to the Lingering Gardens.  To save time, we took a taxi from the train station there.  It’s interesting going to different cities in China as they all have different feels to them.

We paid and entered into the garden.  After walking around for about 20 minutes, we found the exit.  We thought that surely it couldn’t be that small…and it wasn’t.  We somehow missed a huge section, so we went back to explore some more.

Shan Tang Street

After the Lingering Gardens, we decided to walk towards our next stop.  We decided to check out Shan Tang Street as it’s supposed to be pretty by the water (probably how Suzhou got its nickname of “Venice of China”).

It was cute walking along the streets that lined the canals.  There were some cute restaurants and shops.  As we continued on though, there was a strong smell of stinky tofu, so we opted to keep walking to find lunch elsewhere.

We actually ended up eating at a McDonald’s, so Ben’s family could say they had McDonald’s while in China. 😉

Humble Administrator’s Garden

After lunch, we took a taxi over to the Humble Administrator’s Garden.  This is the largest garden.  What I found interesting about going to this garden and seeing the Bonsai section (which the Lingering Gardens also had).  The gardens were both very pretty.

After visiting the gardens of Suzhou and doing a little shopping, we took our short train ride back to enjoy another evening in Shanghai (with perfect weather!).  It may have not been the best weather when we first arrived in Shanghai, but it sure did improve.

Tianzifang & The Bund & The Pedestrian Street

After getting back to the hotel for a little rest, we then headed out by taxi to the Tianzifang area where we had dinner at New York Steak & Burger.  I think the Tianzifang area was one of my favorite.  I could definitely go back there and explore some more.  Tianzifang is basically a ton of different alleyways with different shops and restaurants all along it.  You surely could get lost in there, so it helps if you know where you are headed.  It just had a fun feel to it (although some parts of it were quite a bit crowded).

After a pretty nice steak dinner, we then took a taxi to head to the Bund.  This time, I ended up down further from where we were the previous night.  And it was so much better since there were way less people down where the taxi dropped us off.  I think most people walk up from the pedestrian street and just crowd there.

Anyways, the Bund was so pretty, especially with the gorgeous evening we had.  Side note:  it was also a fun drive over to the Bund.  I had fun conversing in Chinese with the taxi driver and then seeing all the pretty light of Shanghai along the drive.

After the Bund, we walked back to the hotel by way of the pedestrian street.  Pedestrian Streets are always funs since you don’t have to worry about traffic.

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Shanghai in the Morning

Exploring the City Once More
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We decided to spend our last day by walking around the city.  We walked over for lunch at Baker & Spice.  Then we continued on our walk over to the Bund to see it during the day.  It is pretty during the day, but at night it is spectacular.

Before heading back to check out of the hotel, we walked by Tock’s Montreal Deli to get some sandwiches to eat on the way back (it was a good roast beef sandwich I had-mmm!).

Beijing vs. Shanghai

It was interesting visiting Shanghai after living in Beijing for many months now.  Shanghai definitely is a bit cleaner and more orderly.  There are actually traffic cops out monitoring intersections and people/cars/scooters listen (for the most part)!

I must say though that Beijing does have a better subway system.  Not that Shanghai’s was bad, but Beijing’s is even more user friendly with English written for the stops (not just said aloud like in Shanghai) and the map on the train cars is better.

Beijing is great for history, shopping, and certain foods.  Shanghai is great for a little more cleanliness and order along with food and shopping.  Overall, both are big cities in China.

TOTE:  Don’t let weather hold you back!  You may then be rewarded with a nice day!