Day 7: Shanghai
We walk from the Shanghai Railway Mansion to a nearby Starbucks and order a ham and cheese croissant with a side of fruit and two iced coffees before returning to the hotel lobby. With a smaller group than usual, we follow Paul, our G Adventures CEO, to Pudong, New Shanghai. We walk to the metro station taking line one to People’s Square, transferring to line two to East Nanjing Road, then walking the remaining distance to the Bund.
Paul purchases tickets to take the ferry across the Huangpu River to Lujiazui Financial Zone. As we board, a crowd of passengers rush past us to the upper deck. Waiting to board, we see a motorcycle drive onto the ferry. Laughing, we push our way up the stairs to the top of the ship. From the water we have an amazing view of the Bund.
Exiting the ferry, we walk to the Shanghai Tower, the tallest building in China and second tallest in the world. We wait outside the tower as Paul purchases our tickets before entering through security. We take the world’s fastest elevator and reach the one hundred and eighteenth floor observatory in about thirty seconds. Entering the Exhibition Hall, we read about the world’s other tallest skyscrapers and the history and development of the Shanghai Tower. Construction began in November two thousand and eight. Nine years later in January of two thousand and seventeen, the building was ready to be occupied by tenants.
From the exhibition hall, we enter the observatory for a three hundred and sixty degree view of the city below. We look down on a building shaped like a bottle opener, the Shanghai World Finance Center, the third tallest building in the world. We see the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, the sixth tallest building in the world and the second tallest television and radio tower in China. Walking along the windows of the observatory, we find the wishing tree where visitors can mail post cards from the world’s highest post office on top of Shanghai or place a wish on the tree. Taking the elevator back to the lobby, we browse the gift shop before separating from the group. Today we are free to explore Shanghai.
Excited to visit some of the famous Shanghai landmarks suggested in our DK Eye Witness Travel Guide, we follow the signs back to the ferry. After waiting in line to buy tickets, it’s finally our turn. We ask for two one way tickets across the river. As Mitch hands over his Yuan, a man squeezes into the small space between him and the window to purchase a ticket. After paying, he leaves to board the ferry and the attendant proceeds with our interrupted transaction. In disbelief, we follow the crowd to board the ferry and plan our next stop.
We walk across the street to the historic Peace Hotel, also known as the Number One Mansion in the Far East. The hotel reflects both eastern and western architecture with a shiny copper roof, white Italian marble floors, and French glass art. In nineteen ninety-two the Peace Hotel was recognized by the World Hotel Association and currently is the only awarded hotel in China. We pass through the grand lobby with gleaming marble floors and open the door to the dimly lit Jazz Bar, providing entertainment to guests since the nineteen thirties. Being earlier in the day the dark wooden bar is empty, but this evening the sound of jazz from around the world will fill the room. We walk by the bustling Jasmine Lounge serving high tea and freshly baked French pastries on our way to the exit.
Since the rooftop bars we had planned to visit aren’t open until later this evening, we walk back to the Bund following signs for Z Dragon Restaurant. We pass Huangpu Park and the entrance to the Bund Tourist Tunnel before reaching the end. Returning to one of the open shops, we purchase two overpriced Tsing Tao and sit down on the stairs overlooking the Huangpu River toasting to an amazing tour in China.
As we are enjoying our view, a bridal party arrives to have their photos taken. The bridesmaids wear full length red dresses, representing good luck to the new bride and groom. Surprisingly, the bride wears a Western style wedding gown. After finishing our drinks, we make one final stop on the Bund at the Bank of China to exchange American cash for Yuan.
We continue to walk down East Nanjing Road to the metro station and take line two to People’s square, once the Number One Racecourse in the Far East before being destroyed. The street is thriving with pedestrians emerging from restaurants, shops, theaters, and museums. Intrigued by the name, we walk to Yolo Café and Bar and have a seat outside. We are greeted by a waiter with great English. Taking advantage of happy hour, we order a Tiger draft while we scope out our nearby surroundings. Finishing our drinks, we continue to explore. Irish pubs being a favorite, we have a seat outside at Irish Pub No. 9 and order a margarita pizza and a couple Guinness.
We truly enjoy the overpriced, frothy beverage and American style flatbread. Looking at the time, we take the metro back to the hotel to pack our suitcases before our farewell dinner. Meeting our group in the lobby, we walk to a nearby Chinese restaurant for our last dinner together. We reflect on our experiences and many laughs together over the last six days as we enjoy the Chinese cuisine.
After dinner, we walk back to the metro taking line one to People’s Square and transferring to line two, then walking the remaining way to the Bund. Lights from stores, signs, and lamp posts splash onto the busy streets of visitors wanting to view the Bund at night. The once empty sidewalks have become crowded one way lanes of pedestrians with crossing guards directing masses of people to and from the bund. We manage to squeeze our way to the railing for a perfect view of the lights reflecting off the river as glowing sightseeing boats pass by. Leaving for the airport early tomorrow morning, we hug our new friends goodbye and take the metro back to the hotel. Arriving at our room around 10:30pm we quickly pack up our remaining belongings and try to get some sleep before our 4:00am alarm.
*For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures China Express.
Day 1: Fly into Beijing
Day 2: Beijing: Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square
Day 3: Great Wall Mutianyu and travel to Xi’an
Day 4: Xian: Terracotta Warriors Guided Tour and travel to Suzhou
Day 5: Suzhou: Master of the Nets Garden Tour and overnight train to Shanghai
Day 6: Shanghai: Orientation Walk of the Bund
Day 7: Shanghai: Carte Blanche
Day 8: Fly out of Shanghai