I have spent 4 years travelling in Australia and about 5 years living and travelling internationally. Having this much time on the road and having entered some 70+ countries, I feel when I say Shanghai is a cool city, you have to believe me, it’s cool and I have solid proofs why I say it.
I’ve told a lot of friends about this place and my good friend John Nayler came to visit. Only its not easy applying for a Chinese visa .when you are not always travelling John settled for a 72 hour Transit Visa and hence came the:72 Hour Shanghai Dash.
–00.30am 16 June 2013 John Nayler arrived at Shanghai Pudong Airport It’s China and visa’s are required in advance. However there is now a free 72 hour transit visa. Great, John can stop over on his way to Europe. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the 72 hour transit visa had to be transiting from one country to a different country. John came from Kuala Lumpur and was flying back to Kuala Lumpur to Europe. John got stung with the need to buy a ticket from Shanghai to a third country just to please the Air Asia Immigration staff. Luckily it was done on time and he managed to land in Shanghai with a new Columbian friend in town. (I think she was trying to pick upJohn by asking to share a taxi .)
– 01.30am 16 June 2013 Lujiabang Lu, near my apartment Complex in vicinity of Lujiabang Lu, Down Town Shanghai. The Columbian is still with us. Amazingly, she is trying Couch Surfing for the first time and her host is not answering his phone. Luckily, she just shared the taxi with one of Australia and Shanghai’s most experienced Couch Surfers. We immediately with a simple agreement, “Well your host isn’t answering, we live here, there is a couch, and here (pointing to the shop just outside the taxi window) they sell beer!”
– 01.30 – 4am 16 June 2013 30th Floor apartment, Shanghai Caught up with John and all the latest. Ms. Columbia or Julie continues to deny any existence of her Columbian heritage and pretends to be a student in Malaysia. It’s a kind ofunbelievable story ; however the world thinks Columbia is all about Cocaine and trafficking. We find it funny and harass her about it. Julie tells us she and most of her friends have never tried it and we let her off. Needless to say, it’s an interesting story. Not to mention the 3 of us all own properties and like to travel the world without working too much.
– 11.30am 16 June 2013 Breakfast in People Square Well, first breakfast should be Chinese right? Not today. Korean is on the plate and I take Ms. Columbia and John down for a massive Korean BBQ Brunch. Kimchi, vegetables, tofu, some BBQ meat and raw beef as well just to make it exotic. It’s a high class restaurant so I trust and enjoy the raw beef. After we finished off by BBQing (that’s a recognized Australian word I swear) BBQing bananas and ice cream. Complimentary ice cream, the staff remembered me well from a previous visit. The most expensive meal, 230RMB or about $35AUD. It was the most extravagant though. Just the other week I spent 240RMB here eating with a vegetarian girl friend. Our food bill was actually 60RMB, the other 180RMB was a bottle of wine and a bottle of Soju. No wonder the staff remembered me.
– 14.30pm 16 June 2013 Peoples Square to East Nanjing Station. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People’s_Square_(Shanghai) 360 Degree Iclyck photographs were taken along the famous People Square walking/shopping route. We were continually harassed to buy watches and roller skates; however that’s a nice change. Normally they harass me trying to sell sex or massage. We meet up with one of our premium Shanghai connections at East Nanjing Station, Mr Liang Sun. Liang works for a Chinese Yachting Company. A very good connection established between Liang and John.
– 16.00 16 June 2013 The Bund We proceed along the famous Bund, Shanghai’s river promenade. A gorgeous place that looks fantastic even through the rain. We head up to a roof top bar, Captains, for an afternoon beer and have a light discussion on the differences between Chinese and Australian Yacht industries while the rain settles. Ms. Julie from Columbia is still with us and interested in how much ‘luggage’ she can hide in the hulls of Yatches so she listens with intent like a deaf man trying to listen to a dog fart. Coffee is 40 RMB and beer is 60 RMB.
-18.00 16 June 2013 Pudong We head down from the Captains roof top and catch a 2 RMB worth ferry across the river to Pudong, the economic part of Shanghai City. We check out some of the amazing skyscrapers. One of which, the Shanghai World Finance Tower, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_World_Financial_Center is the 2nd highest hotel in the world. It was the 5th highest Building in the world according to WikiPedia;however there is a new building being constructed almost next to it, which has just passed the top of it with a height of over 492 Meters and going. China’s tallest
buildings next to each other. We head up to another roof top bar called Flair on the 58th floor of IFC2. http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/ShanghaiPudong/Dining/flair/Default.htm Flair is my favorite roof top bar in the city. However with the weather we find ourselves in the middle of a rain cloud unable to see more than 50 meters.
– 20.00 16 June 2013 Back to my Apartment We find our way back to the apartment to relax a little and meet my room mate Fred. Fred is an eccentric, totally ‘fabulous’ fashion designer living in Shanghai. Within moments of meeting the conversation has shifted from sex in Columbia, to sex in Australia and back to Fred’s virginity. It’s hard being gay in China. Anyway Fred is a superstar and very well known in Shanghai. A truly wonderful room mate. I’m blessed to have lived with him for so long. Hostels here cost between 40-80 RMB. Hotels from 200-800 RMB per night. My Apartment, 1 room in a shared apartment downtown with Electricity, Cleaner, Internet etc, 3000-5000 RMB per month. Thanks to Fred I pay under 3000 RMB and have the best views in town.
– 21.00 16 June 2013 Street food We have a local style dinner to show John what its really about. We eat at a small shop which is actually in the garage/entrance way to some apartment. Dinner consist of 3 bowls of Wantons, something that resembles beef, a few dishes of vegetables and 2 large Tsingtao beers. A total of 70 RMB.
– 23.00 16 June 2013 Fancy Italian Bar Departed the street food to get Ms Columbia to her real CS host. It’s been an event full 24hours. We meet her host Stuart in a fancy upmarket Italian Bar. Real imported Italian beer and about 70 RMB each. The Tsingtao is 4RMB in the shop so I know what I prefer. Still, it’s the atmosphere. The Atmosphere was viscous. Stuart’s friend was there trying to pick up a Russian girl whose with her other Russian girl friend liked to yell at me for some reason. Unfortunately my Russian joke is considered funny to Russians with a light sense of humour. It’s not so funny for Moscow women. They leave soon after and Stuart falling asleep at the table takes Ms. Columbia home leaving John and I’m clueless, and also tired.
– 00.01 17 June 2013 Apartment Calling it a night.
– 11.30 17 June 2013 Apartment We eventually woke up and started the day. Through We chat, a messaging application like Whatsup, and Fred who was at work, we managed to order breakfast. 30 minutes and 35 RMB later 3-4 dishes of Chinese take-out appear at our doorstep. We proceed on catching up r sight seeing plans are on hold as the weather continues to let us down. An hour later, we are about to leave the house despite the weather. Suddenly there is a knock on the door and a cheerful Frenchie called Remy is there. Remy is a Couch Surfing Guest of Fred’s who just arrive. We didn’t expect Remy however his enthusiasm is enough to clear the weather for us all to enjoy the city. (I have a feeling Fred have told me however I forgot thanks to the 4 RMB Tsingtao beers the night before.)
-13:30-15:30 17 June 2013 Shanghai sights We covers a couple of tourist sites and do quick video shots of the famous Tians Zi Fang where old school Shanghai meets Boutique bars and Restaurants. It is a place to be seen and to watch. No one’s selling watches and roller skates here. However, western prices for almost everything. After we proceed to TaoBao City, 580 West Nanjing Lu. If your going here, download the China Fake Market Application available on Iphone and Android. Yes there is an application for the fake markets. The Fake markets is a bit of a viscous place though, the Chinese here can be a bit ruthless on soft hearted souls. See this is where Chinese offer glasses at 80-120 RMB yet slowly come down to 20 RMB. However if you were to say to them straight away that you wan them for 10 RMB they maybe abusive to you and claim your being stupid or unfair. This is not such a pleasant place to buy. Perhaps its the Australian culture though, we are not used to it. Not finding what we want here we proceed to the IT buildings at Xizang South and HuaiHai Road. Here John quickly and pleasantly scoops up a good deal on a quality tripod. Go here for any IT required gear.
16:00 17 June 2013 Yuyuan Gardens This area is very popular for its heritage and architecture. Ming Style was built around 16th Century. A gorgeous place well worth ‘of a visit. It is a public holiday so it is crowded with tourist. However we managed to shoot a short video or two. A Chinese friend Elaine and Mr Liang Sun joined us. Additional note, today we used Taxi’s between each location with an average cost of 16 RMB. All taxi drivers spoke minimal English however our Google maps worked sufficiently.
19.00 17 June 2013 Peoples Park, Barbarossa Mr Liang Sun takes us to a bar called Barbarosa. Turns out this place is numerous lists as one of Shanghai’s top bars and its immediately clear why. Despite being smack bang in the middle of the city, Barbaosa is located next to a miniature lake in Peoples Park. It’s Moroccan style yet we look over the water, and above the tree line we see a clock that resembles the Big Ben and my personal favourite building, a skyscraper that looks like some evil structure from a Transformer SciFi film. And here we are under a ceiling which is hidden by a Moroccan nomadic tent style roof. We join Liangs friends, 3 beautiful women from France and Spain and quickly joined by another gorgeous Chinese girl who happens to be a doctor. There we are, 2 French, 2 Spanish, 2 Australians, 3 Chinese in a Moroccan Restaurants, over looking the Chinese Garden and Big Ben. Needles to say the half price happy hour cocktails, normally 50-80 RMB go down quiet well. Barbarosa immediately becomes our favourite location in town. http://www.smartshanghai.com/venue/860
20.30 17 June 2013 Near Peoples Park Restaurant hunting Since we are in Shanghai, and since happy hour is over, we decide to go for some local food and we find ourselves in nice little restaurant with plates and plates of food, and a collection of empty beer bottles. The bill: less than 50 RMB each.
22.00 17 June 2013 M1nt and M2 We go to one of China’s most popular clubs,M1nt. Only because of the holiday, its lounge area that is only open. Still the nice staff let us in for a quick video. Shortly after we duck out, jump into 3 taxis and head to M2. One of the biggest clubs in town. It is quiet fancy and totally full of party goers. Super loud music, flashing lights, even a performance by some overweight dark guys pretending to be celebrities. Here you really need tables and space to enjoy so we decide to bail out for salsa. Departing the building John lost his ability to speak. There was a line of Porches, Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s and a Rolls Royce or 2 to say the least all parked around the building. China’s elite, rich and party goers where certainly here not at M1nt tonight. For Shanghai’s best venues, it is often best to call ahead to book a table for entry or have special contacts. Regularly popular ExPats here get invites from promoters to join various clubs with the lure of free tables and drinks. Often its real too. They make money from the Elite, and the Elite want to see ExPats in their clubs so ExPats often get lured in with free drinks. http://www.smartshanghai.com/venue/4016/M1NT_shanghai http://www.smartshanghai.com/venue/5246/M2_Hong_Kong_Plaza
-01.00 18 June 2013 Mural, Hengshen Lu Normally people go from smaller club to bigger club;however we went from the biggest to smallest. Mural is a Salsa bar and we have some Salsa fans. Here we have a better time than the previous clubs as we have room to move, to dance and a little easier to talk with each other. A couple of drinks outside on the street followed by finishing the night here. Home to bed to sleep. http://www.smartshanghai.com/venue/7859/mural_ii
09.00 18 June 2013 Apartment Waking up in the morning, too early as usual although John’s time is almost up. With Remy, remember Freds guest, and the Doctor, ahhh she slept on the couch I swear. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough room for the lovely Spanish girls. Anyhow we all got in Sync with our Smart Phones, Emails, Photographs, Messaging Apps and much needed Coffee.
-11.00 18 June 2013 Cool Docks I have heard about this Cool Docks for sometime and never been. It’s close to the apartment and on way to the Airport so we head there for Brunch. Now in China Copy Write and Advertising is kind of unrestricted. It’s great to buy DVD’s 5-15 RMB each. However the Cool Docks is a prime bad example. I don’t know how or why anyone would call this place cool. It’s the most unimpressive thing I’ve seen in Shanghai. Even the 50m view of Rain from the Pudong Roof tops was better. So we quickly get back in a taxi and head to the Magalev station for a Brunch closer to the Airport. Top tip, eating at the Train Station or Airport is always better then eating at home and rushing to make it on time. 12.00 18 June Magalev We have Brunch of Chinese Fast Food under the Magalev. Brunch cost a total of around 70RMB for 4 of us. PS. John I still have your change. The Magalev is a fast train experience. 431Km/hr in Peak hour. Quiet a thrill. 300Km/hr in off-peak or bad weather. We say our good byes here as John races off at Peak Hour speed to Pudong Airport. That ends Johns 72hour dash. Or more like 60hours. Areas covered. My fabulous 30th Floor Apartment and surrounding shops/restaurants. Peoples Park, People Square, East Nanjing Lu, YuYuan Garden, Pudong, Tian Zi Fang, 1 x Fake Market, IT Building, and a few of Shanghai’s best bars and clubs. Biggest expenses, a beer or drink in upmarket establishments, 70 RMB per drink. If you were to buy in Convenience store, large Chinese beer is 4 RMB each. Bacardi, Breezer, Jack Daniels 15-24 RMB. Biggest expenses are meals in upmarket establishment, 80 – 120 RMB per head, less if one meal, more if a variety of shared meals or courses. If you were to eat on street- without minimal risk of Diarrhea 20-40, RMB, eith small to medium risk of Diarrhea 7-14 RMB .Taxi-we use taxi almost everywhere, 14 RMB base cost, most short journeys. Fare becomes 18 RMB after 10pm. Our longest trip was 30 RMB. To either of Shanghai’s Airport from Down town would cost 200-250 RMB. Subways, 3-4 RMB per trip. Some trips up to 7 RMB, all ours 3-4 RMB.
My recommendations: Do China on the cheap. Don’t risk to have diarrhea; however you can safely eat at many medium class establishments with meals for 20-30 RMB. If your really watching your health like I do, stop in at Family Marts frequently. Here they sell Salads and Sushi for 4-10 RMB. There is an abundance of fruit stalls as well. Eat healthy and frequent small meals. Do not drink tap water. Buy water from Family Mart, 2 RMB. If you’re going to fancy places, have a bottled water on hand because if you buy a water in a fancy place expect to pay 10 times more then at Family Mart. Also if you eat the Family Mart way, when you go to fancy establishment you can be comfortable eating much less. Water served to you by classy Restaurants is fine, water from faucet is not.
Be careful of thieves;however many people, including myself, feel Shanghai is safer then Paris and Barcelona.
Be careful of Tea Ceremonies, if strangers, particularly young students invite you to Tea, that is a common scam. If you find your self in that situation, take a good look at yourself, your being scammed.
I feel you can touch a Chinese city in 72 hours, although you can’t get a feel for China in such limited time. That concludes the 72 hour Shanghai Dash. China is fantastic and Shanghai is one of my favourite cities in the world. Hope to see you here.