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Sunday 22.07.2012

We enjoyed a long, but good flight and arrived on time, 09.35 am, at Pudong International Airport. After having waited for a short while we were picked up by Mister Lee (no, not related to the famous Bruce Lee) who brought us to our hotel, the Astor House hotel ( This hotel appeared to be the oldest hotel in Shanghai and very famous for its famous visitors, like Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein. And now the hotel is proud to be able add our names to the same guestlist …..

The hotel “breathes” colonial grandeur. Our room was very large with a ceiling of, at least, 4 metres high, however it was also quite warm. Although there was some kind of airco (probably, alike the hotel, the oldest in the city) it did not really cool down the room. Well, just another thing to help us to get used to the Chinese climate. Our bed was “hard” (we are “planking” experts by now). Sleeping on it caused some back problems, but luckily enough, there are plenty of massage parlours throughout the city. The bathroom had a great shower, so in general, we were happy with our room.

More important to us was the hotel's location. Next to the Huangpu river and in walking distance from the main tourist attraction, the Bund, a 1 km long walk alongside the river with a fantastic view on both sides ( On the one side, Pudong, the amazing newly developed district with high (tech) buildings. Only 20 years ago this district was nothing but swamps and farmland ...... On the other side of the river (“our” side) the Bund with all historical “monumental” buildings.

The first evening we decided to have a nice walk on the Bund and enjoy the views and the people. China is still not used to big white people like us. Some people, most of the time secretly, took pictures of us. We also had to get used to the way they tried to communicate in English with us. It took us a while before we understood what “ Buy a lear Lolex? Thlee fol hundled Yuan”, meant.

Monday 23.07.2012

The next day we bought a ticket for the open top tour bus ( Very touristy, but at the same time, very efficient. This bus tour runs three lines around the city with several stops and we were able to hop on an off at every stop. We bought a package deal which included a visit to Shanghai's oldest temple (the Jade Buddha Temple), a boat cruise on Huangpu river and a visit to the Shanghai World Financial Centre (SWFC), that contains the world's highest observation tower.

First we visited the old temple. A beautiful place with a Jade Buddha statue, about 1.80 m tall, said to have been brought their by a monk all the way from Myanmar (Burma) and several, mostly happy, Buddha’s as well as a lot of various images and statues of gods and spirit. An interesting place to visit and a special place, near the hall of the thousand Buddha’s, to have a cup of “Zen- Coffee”.

Our second stop should have been the trip to the SWFC, the biggest tower in Shanghai, but instead of going there, we got out one stop earlier to enter “the Oriental Pearl”, the beautiful Shanghai TV tower. Of course we went all the way up to the Space Cabin, a 350 m high observatory platform, where we could oversee all of Shanghai.

After this visit we were too late for the last bus, so instead we had a good meal, walked a bit and then crossed the river by ferry (costs: only 2 Yuan, about € 0,26). From there we walked back to our hotel over the Bund, again crowded with people gazing at the lights of the buildings across the river. After a beer we went to bed.

Tuesday 24.07.2012

After quite a restless night (still getting used to our new time) we had a good breakfast in the Peacock Hall (that actually had been the location of the Shanghai Stock Exchange for some years). This morning we would visit the Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC). With the highest observatory in the world on 474 m, the 100th floor. To get to the top of ths building we had an elevator with a speed of 9 meters per second. So within a minute we already were on top of the building with a wonderful overview of Shanghai. Up in the observatory there were also glass tiles placed in the floor, so you could look down. The glass was thick enough to walk on and it was funny to see how some people were afraid to stand on it.

To reward ourselves for enduring the bad night and the pain in our backs we decided to enjoy a long and wonderful massage in a beautiful spa (

Next challenge was trying to find a restaurant called the Crystal Jade Dragon. After all, when you are in Shanghai you have to enjoy the famous Shanghainese Dim Sun and Dumplings (and according to the Lonely Planet, this is thé place to eat them). Before looking for this restaurant, we had a drink at a bar close to one of Shanghai's many shopping malls, and took some to time to locate the restaurant on the map. Lonely Planet (LP) “said” it was located in one of the malls at walking distance from where we were. The trick was finding it with the little information we had, surrounded by Chinese people who hardly speak any English. Anyway, to make a long story short, the map in LP got it all wrong. We walked for about an hour only to find out that we had been sitting next to that mall all the time …........ But indeed, the food was simply delicious. After dinner we took a taxi to the boat terminal to enjoy a night cruise on the river before we went to bed. By the way, taxis are really cheap on average we paid about 20 Yuan per trip (approx. 5 km), which is about € 2,60. Tomorrow, we will board the high speed train that will take us to Beijing in five and half hours.

Our impression of Shanghai: a modern city, developing at breakneck speed with futuristic buildings, a lot of hotels and restaurants, even more exhibition centres and shopping malls, but very little to be seen or experienced of the original, traditional Chinese culture. We expect to see more of that in Beijing!

The weather in Shanghai: sunny, sometimes a bit cloudy, during the day time around 35 degrees, in the night around 29 degrees.

Enjoy our photos