Tag Archives: Shanghai

Day Trips from Shanghai: Sheshan Park and Surroundings

Day Trips from Shanghai

Well folks, we are continuing on exploring and adding (somewhat) new destinations to our Shanghai living experiences – working out various day trips from Shanghai.

In this posting we will cover the trip to Sheshan (佘山) Hill.  

How to get there?  Take the number 9 metro line headed to the south part of the city – in the direction of Songjiang (松江).  Once you reach the Sheshan stop – disembark and look for a taxi just outside of the metro station.  Ask the driver to take you to any of the Sheshan Hill entrance gates.  We had a ride to the North gate as it was easier to get to according to our driver — the others apparently were more congested.  Admittedly, we visited during the Chinese New Year (the day after) hence the crowds were large …

China, Shanghai, Sheshan, Sheshan Hill
This is the North entrance to the Sheshan Hill park

Once you get to the gate – proceed to enter — there are no tickets.   Here is a gallery of some photos from walking through the park.   There are a lot more of these – I will publish them in an Amazon eBook shortly and will add a link on this blog.   It was very interesting to do some people watching while at Sheshan Hill – the day after Chinese New Year was sunny and relatively warm, which helped.

China, Shanghai, Sheshan, Sheshan Hill
Resting before the next leg of the Sheshan Hill climb
China, Shanghai, Sheshan, Sheshan Hill
The roofs of Sheshan Hill
China, Shanghai, Sheshan, Sheshan Hill
Time for a picnic
China, Shanghai, Sheshan
The crowds on the day after Chinese New Year were large…
China, Shanghai, Sheshan, Sheshan Hill
The Basilica at Sheshan Hill
China, Shanghai, Sheshan, Sheshan Hill
The newborn enjoying the Chinese New Year outing
China, Shanghai, Sheshan, Sheshan Hill
Happy girl celebrating Chinese New Year with an outdoor fun chasing soap bubbles

There were tons of kids chasing soap bubbles and overall having fun

China, Shanghai, Sheshan hill, Bamboo
Sheshan hill has also a sizable bamboo grove…

Have a great trip!

                                                       

 

 

Chinese New Year in Shanghai

Chinese New Year

China, Chinese New Year, LanternShanghai is one of the best places in the world to experience Chinese New Year… Why you may ask?  Because here, in this city, you have the opportunity to see both the old and the new traditions associated with this holiday.  

As I mentioned in my earlier posting, Shanghai becomes relatively empty during the New Year holiday.  As a result you have to “fight” with significantly fewer people when going out to check out the various happenings.

Here is one of the good options for experiencing the celebration in a traditional local way – pay a visit to the Longhua Temple in Southwest Shanghai.   The temple is located at Long Hua Road – in Chinese characters it is 龙华路853 

How do you get there?  Obviously, taking a cab to the address listed above is one – easier- way, but I would suggest to get on the number 9 line and just head to the Long Hua Road metro stop.

Going to this temple will allow you to see the Shanghai people in action – payers are in full swing, tons of special prayer envelopes and banners are being handled and of course you get to see and hear the sounds of the festival.

The temple bell is also omnipresent – striking it is a symbol of the new year, and also a method for chasing away the evil spirits.   As a result we heard the bell multiple times while at the temple on the 16th of February – New Year’s Day – in 2018;

Here are some of the photos we took from visiting the temple on the first day of the New Year of the Dog

China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
The Pagoda…It has seen a lot over the ages…

China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year

China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
I believe my wife and I took a photo at this pagoda back in 1990…
China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
Praying for good fortunes throughout 2018

 

China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
The temple gates
China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
Of course, the burning of prayer envelopes is well supervised by real firefighters….
China, Shanghai, Longhua Temple, Chinese New Year
More of the Temple Gates

                                                   

China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Longhua Temple
The red lanterns were pretty much everywhere
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Longhua temple
Do you think there are enough lanterns here…?
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Longhua temple
The mystic temple entrance gates…Spooky…!

Well, in the future, if you are planning to be in Shanghai for Chinese New Year, and have some time on your hands, you should plan to explore the Longhua Temple…!

Day Trips From Shanghai: Next One – Shaoxing Trip

Day Trips from Shanghai

I started earlier in 2017 to capture some ideas for visitors and residents for day trips from Shanghai.   Since then, I posted on Fengjing, Nanjing, Nanxiang,   

Next, let’s go to Shaoxing.  The city is located about 230 km mostly south (and somewhat west) of Shanghai.  It is on the high-speed train   path to multiple cities in the region, thus relatively easily accessible –  even during Chinese New Year – which is when we visited.

Included below are some photos from the trip to Luxun’s native place.   Upon arrival at the train station – Shaoxing North Station – look for the signs for taxi and take one – the bus takes over 1 hour and 10-15 minutes so the taxi is a better choice if you are on a limited time schedule.  The fare to Luxun’s place with the cab should be 55-60RMB.

The entrance to the Luxun compound is from the ZhongXing Zhong Lu.  In the first photo below you can see how that entrance is decked out for Chinese New Year — all in red lanterns… pretty cute.

China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Lu Xun China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun

China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
Luxun’s native place…as the sign says…
China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
Canals in Shaoxing, Waiting to take you on a tour
China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
Local boat tour guide in Shaoxing
China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
Shaoxing Canals, calm and reflective
China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
Luxun’s parental house
China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
More of Luxun’s parental home
China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
A courtyard in Luxun’s parental home
China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
The roofs of the complex are interesting….
China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
Then, there was the art of hand painting fans for the visitors…. Looks like old folk art
China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
Yum-yum…dry cured duck and fish…

                                                         

China, Shanghai, Shaoxing, Love you! Xun, Luxun
A passageway in Luxun’s parental home complex

Hopefully the images above gave you some idea on the place and what you could see in Shaoxing.  The place is often referred to as the “museum without walls” – there is a reason for that – a lot to see…

Happening in Shanghai – Couple of Days to Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 

Well, I think most of you who read about Shanghai or live here and are familiar with the Chinese New Year, know that it represents the largest migration in the world.   As a result it the major cities in the country essentially empty out.

If you want to see what I mean and you are not in Shanghai these days, then take a look at the photos below.  I took them when I left the office earlier this afternoon.

China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei
Bike, anyone…?

China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei

China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei
Another Lunar New Year effect – the bikes are idle…
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei
OFO biles lined up for use…but all people have gone back to the provinces

Then there was the metro station — Hanzhong Lu is usually busy as it gets – with multiple lines changing there….Well, not today – the place looked rather like a ghost town.  Take a look yourself:

China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei, Hangzhong Lu Station
Hanzhong Rd Metro Station Empty near Chinese New Year
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei, Hangzhong Lu Station
Have you seen the metro so empty? The Lunar New Year effect
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei, Hangzhong Lu Station
Hanzhong Rd Metro Station Empty near Chinese New Year
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei, Hangzhong Lu Station
Line 13 at Hanzhong Lu station – so empty
China, Shanghai, Chinese New Year, Zhabei, Hangzhong Lu Station
Hanzhong Rd Metro Station Empty near Chinese New Year

                                                     

There you have it – millions of Shanghai residents have moved out – as Chinese New Year is the biggest family holiday in the country,  people have gone home to see their families, parents, grandparents — so the city is kind of empty – which is also nice.  Time to explore…!

More photos soon…..

 

Shanghai – More Snow, More Cold

More Snow, More Cold

Shanghai has more snow, more cold coming….It is getting less exciting and more difficult.   Why?  I do not associate Shanghai with cold and snow.  

Also the taxi drivers are not exactly cooperative when the weather is bad – they develop this great fear of driving or even taking passengers.. 

Oh, well … So, today, the snowfall continued.   Not great for going out…but at least interesting to see

China, Shanghai, Snowfall
Xujiahui Road – from high…Snow keeps falling

 

China, Shanghai, Snowfall
Huangpu district in the snow
China, Shanghai, Snowfall
Xujiahui road
China, Shanghai, Snowfall
No, this is not a blurry image….The snow flakes are big
China, Shanghai, Snowfall
More snow flakes
China, Shanghai, Snowfall
Old Shanghai in the Snow
China, Shanghai, Snowfall
More of old Shanghai in the snowfall

China, Shanghai, Snowfall

China, Shanghai, Snowfall
Yesterday the sky cleared enough for some good photos
China, Shanghai, Snowfall
Mobike in the snow in Shanghai
The Pearl Tower in the Snowfall
China, Shanghai, Snowfall
The Robot is yelling…”…Whaaat? Snow?…”
There is no snow day without a snowman…a Shanghai street
China, Shanghai, Snowfall
Snow falling over Liujizui in Shanghai

Shanghai Sunny Day Equals Good Views

Shanghai Sunny Day

Having a Shanghai sunny day is not a frequent affair in the winter season here….so when it happens it is a great opportunity to take good photos and enjoy the views.  

Here are some photos I have taken from the Wanda Reign on the Bund – a hotel with a terrace bar on the 21st floor, which offers good vantage points into both Pudong and Puxi directions.

China, Shanghai, the Bund, Waitan, Wanda Reign hotel
Pudong Liujiazui View from the terrace of Wanda Reign at the Bund
China, Shanghai, the Bund, Waitan, Wanda Reign hotel
Beautiful View from the terrace of Wanda Reign at the Bund

China, Shanghai, the Bund, Waitan, Wanda Reign hotel

China, Shanghai, the Bund, Waitan, Wanda Reign hotel
Sunset over Pudong

China, Shanghai, the Bund, Waitan, Wanda Reign hotel

China, Shanghai, Waitan, the Bund
See Pudong from the terrace of Wanda Reign at the Bund
China, Shanghai, the Bund
Beautiful View from the terrace of Wanda Reign at the Bund
China, Shanghai
View towards Puxi from Wanda Reign
China, Shanghai, Waitan, the Bund
View of the Bund from the Peace Hotel, Nanjing East Road

The last photo is actually taken from a different place – the 7th floor of the Peace Hotel on East Nanjing Road in the city.  

For more on Shanghai, living here, and trips to surrounding places, you can also check out the Amazon eBooks here

Enjoy!

Shanghai Air Quality – Another Challenging Day

Shanghai Air Quality 

Today is another challenging day for the Shanghai air quality index….and our lungs.   While Sunday was OK and almost at the edge of not being dangerous, today the situation changed quite a bit.   Not the first time (or the 5th ..)this is happening, but still each time causes a thought…

Pictures say a thousand words, right… So here it is:

China, Shanghai, Air Quality Index
Photo from Zhabei district, and AQI Summary from an App

 

Happy New Year from Shanghai – with Bad Air Quality Situation!

Bad Air Quality

Well, we are at the end of 2017 – and unfortunately the year end came with a very bad air quality day in Shanghai.   See below for yourself…. 

My family and I walked around Xintiandi this evening and were pretty affected by the pollution.  The picture as usually speaks a thousand words – hence what you see here

China, Shanghai, XIntiandi, Air Quality

And then here are two more views — at 10pm and at 11:45pm on December 31st:

China, Shanghai, XIntiandi, Air Quality

China, Shanghai, XIntiandi, Air Quality
Camera capturing Pudong from the Bund… The haze is VERY heavy

Luckily most days in the city are nowhere near like this!

Starbucks Loyalty Program – a Strange Situation

Starbucks Loyalty Program 

The Starbucks Loyalty Program has been under a lot of criticism (in my understanding) from customers for many reasons.   Articles in several media outlets talk to the issues there.   What I discovered just this week is something very nonsensical and strange in this day and age.

China, Shanghai, Starbucks
Starbucks Shanghai new mega store – from Starbucks.com

I have been living in Shanghai (again) for a while now.  This week I ended up buying a large number of Starbucks coffees on multiple occasions due to some project work.   So, I decided “Oh, let me use my loyalty card and gets some points in my account…”  

I pulled up the Starbucks APP on my phone and proudly offered it to the counter employee….only to be told with a very nice smile – Oh, this is not a Chinese Starbucks card – we cannot use it here in China….The US cards are not used here – you need to have a Chinese loyalty card….

I found that very surprising so I looked on the bottom of my receipt and saw the statement “contact customercareCN@starbucks.cn with any questions..”

Well, I certainly had a question 🙂  So three emails later – I still do not understand why I have to have 2 different accounts in order to get loyalty points in the US and in China….

The very cheerful statements from Starbucks customer care was “…We also hope to create a culture of warmth and belonging…”  – Yes, true – just do not cross borders….(My interpretation…)

Then this evening I listened to an interview with the CEO of the company – Kevin Johnson – who made the statements “…Starbucks innovates on digital mobile connections with our customers…”  and given my email exchanges with the company’s customer care department I decided it is time to write about my experiences and the fact that eventhough 

  • Starbucks is focused on innovation in digital…
  • and the customer care organization is focused on creating culture of warmth and belonging

I had to have two different IDs to collect a few loyalty points….

Then I decided “Eh…not worth it….” I will just drink some other coffee…!  If a company that is focused on digital innovation and warmth is having difficulty with linking their OWN IT systems in two  huge consumer markets — may be their coffee machines are also NOT that great….Technology is hard … for some….

Hong Kong – What is the Latest Impression Compared to Shanghai

Hong Kong and Shanghai – trading places

Hong Kong is expensive !  How do I give you an idea about what that means?   Well, think of it in relative terms:  Last weekend my wife and I took a trip to this city.  We wanted to spend some time there and see how the city has changed and grown.   What we determined was actually rather surprising.  There were quote a few aspects that made us think of how this part of the world — Hong Kong and Shanghai — is changing.

The price of the flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong and back was US$500 for two people…. The price of a descent hotel room in the intercontinental in Kowloon was $480 per night….Hm….!    This is pretty wild.   Makes me thing about the economic competitiveness of the city.  If it is relatively cheap to get to Hong Kong (we bought the tickets with a 3-day advanced purchase) but the cost of getting hotel accommodations is so high, how can Hong Kong be competitive and attract talent and be a good (cost wise) place to do business…?

We came here with the experience from more than 10 years ago and the inputs from friends of ours – who believed Hong Kong is well organized, efficient, offering great food – but expensive.

Our assessment:

  • The city has become VERY overcrowded.  You do not want to be on the MTR in rush hour;   Queen’s Road Central and Wellington Road in Central are a ZOO – on a Friday night we had hard time walking together….two of us…

China, Hong Kong, MTR

  • We decided to eat in one of the local small restaurants – on Wellington road – Mak’s Noodle (Mak Un Kee) 77 Wellington Street, Central;   While the food was not bad – it was not great either.  We spent about HK$180 for a couple small of noodle dishes and a bowl of shuijiao (soup dumplings)….I.e. the proverbial Hong Kong fast food.   Not low cost and not a complete meal either….
  • Signage was pretty bad – relatively non-existent.    Not sure why?  For a city that prides itself on having tons of tourists come and visit, the degree to which various landmarks were easy to find was very bad!
  • We were shocked at the line of people waiting to get to Victoria peak.   12 years ago my family and I had visited so this time we decided to recreate the trip… Well, not so fast!   We saw the line waiting for The Peak Tram – asked about the wait time – and when we were told ~1.5-2 hours we lost the desire to go.   Afterwards I thought, may be we came at a busy time…?  Turns out the wait was normal…. So, another question then – why if you are so tourist friendly, would you create the infrastructure to have a massive crowd of people waiting for 1.5 hours to get on a tram and spend another hour getting to the Peak?  Beats me….

This brings me to the overall assessment – is Hong Kong losing its competitive edge and attractiveness as a regional mega hub?   

I think it is…!  Don’t get me wrong – Hong Kong still looks and feels very cosmopolitan, with great architecture, and its skyline is still interesting and making a solid impression on tourists 

China, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Island at Night

 

China, Hong Kong, Skyline
View of Hong Kong Island

We live in Shanghai, and this Chinese city is doing all possible to be residents and tourists friendly.   The subways are bright and relatively uncrowded, the streets are well signed and clean…the list can continue longer and longer…