During golden week we traveled through China!! Our trip was only 9 days but since we saw so many amazing things I will split our trip up in 4 (!) posts. First, I’ll start with our 3 days in Shanghai! It’s going to be a loooot of photos, so just scroll and enjoy ;-) Only 2 hours from Osaka, this amazing and vibrant city was our first introduction to China: high, bright and colorful skyscrapers!
Shanghai is colorful and lively, and has a great variety of skyscraper designs! Some of them remind of the 70’s vision of the future, like in the animation The Jetsons haha.
The most famous part of Shanghai is the area near the river, “the Bund”, and we spent almost every evening there admiring the jaw-dropping skyline. I really love the main symbol of Shanghai, the “Oriental Pearl Tower” . It’s so cute with it’s round forms! How can you not love this building?!
At night the whole skyline would light up with projections, advertisements, light shows… I love that kind of stuff.We arrived by taking the ultrafast MagLev train from the airport. It can reach speeds of over 400 km/h and makes the trip downtown as short as 8 minutes (instead of an hour by taxi!). The center of the city was very crowded (it was golden week after all), and we immediately noticed the hundreds of soldiers posted everywhere, keeping an eye out. When the trafficlights turned green, they would march in perfect order to form a line for the crossing people, and close that line again when the lights went red. Impressive and a liiiittle creepy at the same time :p
We spent a lot of time around The Bund, but ofcourse also explored other fascinating sights of Shanghai! We went to the Shanghai Museum with a fantastic selection of ancient Chinese artifacts: And visited the beautiful Old Quarters of Shanghai where hundred-year-old teahouses marked the neighbourhood. The contrast with the huuuuuge skyscrapers of the Bund in the back was pretty amazing!
In this area we also visited the Yuan Gardens, which is a crazy 16th century garden in the middle of Shanghai, filled with hidden paths, corners, statues, ponds, gazebo’s and surprises. Quite the opposite from the Japanese zen garden, but very adventurous!
We also visited all kinds of markets in Shanghai. One particularly interesting one was the “insect market” where you could buy… yeah… insects! We later found out when visiting the awesome Shanghai history museum that they use these crickets for cricket fights! That, and the sound they make brings good luck. People were really picky about choosing the best crickets. It was fun to see! Afterwards we strolled around the city and also saw some food markets and enjoyed a nice Dim Sum lunch!
Now to the Shanghai history museum, which is located on the bottom of my favorite Pearl Tower. This museum has practically rebuilt the history of Shanghai in wax figures and in miniatures. It feels like you’re wandering through old China. Very cool! Here is a scene with cricket fights: We also visited a beautiful temple, tucked away between the concrete buildings. The Jade Buddha temple was very busy with locals praying and burning incense. A beautiful place!
On our last day in Shanghai we went to ” M50″ which is a very cool gallery space for new and upcoming artists, located in an old factory.
We strolled around the city at night and marveled at the neon lights.
On our last night in Shanghai we crossed the river and visited the area around the Pearl Tower. There was actually some nature left at the water edges, a reminder of the swamplands it used to be before this area was completely overbuilt with enormous skyscrapers. ENORMOUS skyscrapers :-0 I have the feeling that in China everything is big-bigger-biggest-even bigger!
Returning to our side of the Bund, we took the really ridiculous yet awesome ” sightseeing tunnel” that goes right underneath the river. It’s basically a trainride through a very psychedelic tunnel with a voiceover saying stuff like ” Heaven … and Hell” and ” Deep in the Sea” . I’m not kidding, it’s ridiculous but extremely fun. Well, that was about it, our three days in Shanghai ;-) A colorful, vibrant and somewhat ridiculous city with old and new all mixed up in one big chaos of lights :-D Goodbye Shanghai, see you again someday!
Next up is China Trip pt2: Hiking the Great Wall!