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China September 2015 part IV: Shanghai
In China 2015: part III I wrote that we were a bit worried how to travel from the "hairy crab" village to Shanghai and how relieved Aric was when the manager promised to arrange a taxi. He kept his promise, the next morning a taxi was waiting for us. On our way to the train station we passed stalls beside the lake where the hairy crabs were for sale. We took the bullet train to Shanghai and I recorded the speed with my GPS. Top speed 297 km/hour.

Another taxi took us to the Elegance Hotel, on walking distance from the Bund, where we had to wait a bit for our rooms to be cleaned. Nice hotel. Then we went out for a first exploration of the largest city in the world (24 million people in 2014).

We walked to the Bund. What a spectacular waterfront! On one side an almost endless collection of colonial style buildings, most of them dating back to the first quarter of the 20th century. This was until 1941 the famous Shanghai International Settlement. And on the other side, across the Huangpu river, the modern skyscrapers of Pudong.

The manager kept his promise

Selling hairy crabs

Boarding the train

THe bullet train

Our maximum speed

Checking in

Elegant hotel

Nice rooms

The Bund with colonial architecture

View of Pudong, across the river

The rest of the day we basically spent on the Bund..:-) The bund (embankment) of the Huangpu river has been developed as an attractive pedestrian area, where you can enjoy the views, relax, sit down and take many pictures. We started at the Gutzlaff Signal Tower (1907), built in art deco style. Shanghai is often called the art deco capital of the East. We had only a few days in Shanghai, too short to explore much. When you click on the Bund map, you will see how much there is to see and enjoy.

Gutzlaff Signal Tower (1907)

Time to relax

Friendly conversation

Map of the Bund (click to see details

Walking along the Bund, I took some pictures of the often monumental buildings. Not very systematic. Many buildings have changed ownership and names since they were built. For example the Peace Hotel was originally the Sassoon House. In the captions I give the original name.

HSBC Bank (1923) and Shanghai Customs House (1927)

Entrance hall HSBC

Roof decoration

Russo-Chinese Bank (1901)


Sassoon House (1929) and Bank of China (1937)

Entrance Sassoon House

We walked until the People's Heroes monument, built in the 1990's. it commemorates revolutionary martyrs, as well as those who have lost their lives fighting natural disasters. Not specially attractive, but you can take a nice picture of the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower (194), through the opening in the monument. From the monument we walked slowly back, enjoying the lightshow in Pudong.
The Shanghai tower with its 623 m height, is at the moment the tallest structure in China.

After our dinner we took some more pictures of the Bund buildings. What a fascinating first impression of Shanghai

People's Heroes Monument

Lots of traffic on the river


The tall Shanghai Tower (2015)

Oriental Pearl tower (1994) to the left


Busy promenade

The sun is setting

Lights come on



Union Insurance Co, Nishin Navigation Co, Former China Merchants Bank, China Merchants Bank

China Merchants Bank (1907)

HSBC bank (1923)

Customs House (1927)

North China Daily News, Peace Hotel, Bank of China

In Wikipedia I found a 1935 street map of Shanghai, it is interesting to compare this map with Google Earth. The old Bund buildings are of course there, but Pudong is basically sill undeveloped. The other map shows the Chinese City (!). Don't forget that in 1935 it was still the Shanghai International Settlement! Until 1912 this old Shanghai was still surrounded by a defensive wall. Just south of the Bund and Pudong

The next day we split, Pat and Roger went shopping, we went to the Yuyuan garden and the City of God temple, in the northern part of this "Chinese City". They are located next to each other and are surrounded by shopping streets and restaurants. When you enlarge the map of the Yuyuan complex, you find in the center the famous Huxinting teahouse. The picture of the teahouse and the Shanghai tower gives an interesting contrast.

Map of the Bund in 1935

GE map same region

Map of Old Shanghai

GE map of the same region

Map of the Yuyuan complex

Contrast old and new

The Yuyuan complex is a very popular tourist destination. Here are some pictures.






Huxinting teahouse

The City God temple is similar to the one in Suzhou. I think I like the one in Suzhou better.
Also here numerous deities. Why one of them has hands in his eyes, no idea. People buy ribbons and hang them from the roof, hoping for good luck, health, love...:-) I noticed many young worshippers, interesting.

The City God temple

Young worshippers

Many deities

Deities, bizarre and normal

Inside the temple


For the Yuyuan Garden you have to pay an entrance fee. The garden is in Suzhou style, a variety of halls, rockeries, ponds, bridges. The designer really knew how to create beauty. I liked the diversity in gates and windows.








Aric as model


Harmonious perfection

We had lunch in the Nanxiang Dumpling shop. A must-visit for Aric..:-) Their soup-filled dumplings are famous, and to get them you have to queue (click on the left pic to enlarge). Unless you don't mind to pay more, then you go to the upper floor. We did..:-) Drinking soup through a straw, a new experience for me..:-)

On our way back to the hotel I took some "local" pictures, people playing Chinese chess, two nuns, a guy taking a rest on his cart. In a blog like this I concentrate on culture, but of course there is much more to see.

The famous Nanxiang dumplings

Soup thru a straw..:-)

Two Buddhist nuns (I think)

Playing games

Taking a rest

After some rest in our hotel, we went out together again (Pat and Roger had enjoyed their shopping).

We had decided to pay the expensive entrance fee for the Oriental Pearl Tower, even go to the top. Nice for the view, the Bund looks tiny from this height! One of the "globes" has a glass floor, but so scratched that it was not scary at all.

After visiting the tower we had a Western dinner (pizza and club sandwich, not that special!) before going back to our hotel.

Waiting for the metro

The Oriental Pearl Tower

At the top

With a view

The Shanghai tower

The Bund

Not scary..:-)

Taking a rest

Another view of the Bund

The Pudong skyscrapers

WE were at the top of this tower!

Dinner with a view

The next day was our last day already. Pat and Roger were flying back to Melbourne before we departed late at night for KL. We decided to keep one room for half a day.

So we split again, because we wanted to visit the Old Shanghai Street with many Shikumen buildings.
When we arrived there, we discovered that is is actually part of the Yunyuan complex, we could have easily included it in our trip the day before..:-)
We walked along the street, not that special.

Entrance of Old Shanghai street

Many shops

More shops

Traditional architecture

Shikumen houses

More shoplots

So what to do next? We decided to buy a ticket for a hop-on hop-off bus...:-). Relaxing. I took pictures of many modern skyscrapers until we hopped off at one of the modern shopping streets. After so many dumplings we were in the mood for... McDonald's! Hoping they would serve pork burgers. But no... just the usual stuff.

Shall we take a bike

No, the hop-on hop-off bus


Shopping street

Nice architecture

Another example

Lunch at McDonald's

Still time to spare, before meeting Pat and Roger and saying goodbye...:-) Why not buy a (cheap) ferry ticket to cross the river, enjoy the experience, and come back again?
That's what we did, quite fun, within 15 minutes we had visited the other side and crossed back again.
Back to the hotel, we said goodbye to Pat and Roger, took some rest, and then went out again to the Bund, for a last view...:-)

For me, on this trip, Shanghai was the unexpected surprise. I like to come back, for the atmosphere, the architecture, the people.

Crossing the Huangpo

And coming back again

Nice vertical gardens

The Bund by day

And by night

Farewell Shanghai

Iconic view of Pudong

The Bund by night

I kept taking pictures

So beautiful

Our flight took us through the night back to KL. Aric did a perfect job organising this trip. No wonder he was exhausted..:-)
And one thing: the Chinese food in Malaysia is better than in China! We really enjoyed our chicken rice after coming back home!

Supper at the airport

Ready to fly back


Back home

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