Shangha-I Love You

We were invited once again to watch the NBA pre season game in Shanghai China and since the Warriors were playing, my husband just couldn’t say no.

We were first in Shanghai last October 2015 and as we were planning our trip, i could not seem to remember much of that trip which was just 2 years ago! So it was like going to Shanghai for the first time, fortunately for you and for those who are asking and are planning to visit Shanghai, I documented most of the things we did this time, where we went, what we ate, how we got around and loads of useful travel tips!

First off the list- if you’re a Philippine Passport holder, you need a Chinese Visa. It’s quite easy, you can opt to have a travel agency help you with your application or you can do it yourself and save some money (this is what we did).

Visa Chinese Embassy Link Click this link, to find out what requirements you need and how and where to submit it.

Tip: China Eastern airlines offered the best deal during the time we booked plus the flight times are the best as we were able to maximize our days in Shanghai. As for accomodations, you can book at booking.com and choose accomodations that you can cancel 24 hours before you arrive incase you change your mind.

Now that’s ticked off the list. Here are other things you need to do before your trip to China:

  • Download the following applications in your iphone or smart phone that will be very useful for your trip:
  1. Betternet– You need this app inorder to browse through Facebook & Instagram, as these social media apps are blocked in China.
  2. Metro Shanghai – a map of Shanghai’s subway
  3. Google Translate– For your Chinese translation needs! (Don’t forget to download the ‘Simple Chinese’ so you can use it even when your off the internet. It’s important to know a few basic Chinese Phrases.
  4. Ofo (Bicycle) -you’ll need this app if you plan to use one of the bikes scattered around Shanghai.
  5. We chat– The locals use this as their facebook/ viber/ wallet/ for everything! So it might be useful to have it just incase.
  • Have your hotel address ready and printed to show to your taxi driver if you have not pre-arranged transportation from the airport to your hotel

Day 1 We arrived at 8am and just took a taxi (there are a lot of english signs at the airport) going to our hotel (Riverview Hotel on the Bund, booked at booking.com) which is located in the Bund area, (taxi meter: 200 Yuan or P1500) we were able to check in at 1030am which is unusual for most hotels and we were quite grateful as we were able to rest and refresh before we started our day.

We then walked around the Bund area. The Bund is a waterfront area in central Shanghai. The Bund usually refers to the buildings and wharves on this section of the road, as well as some adjacent areas. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai.

Our friends who are English teacher’s in Shanghai then took us to Tian Zi Fang and we loved it! It was a good a place to have a ‘food trip’ and do a little bit of shopping. You can find all kinds of weird and new things to eat such as the ‘stinky tofu’ and the ‘smoky cookie’ Check my IG for videos you can also find a lot of talented artists who can carve your face into a stone, make a sculpture of anyone you want and more, just be ready to squeeze in as there are always a lot of people here and the alleys are quite small.

Tip: Remember not to exhaust yourself too much, decide on where you want to go and what you want to see but don’t pressure yourself to tick off your ‘To See, or To Go List’. Enjoy your vacation, take lots of photos and relax!

Day 2 And that was exactly what we did, we had plans but we were not bound to it. On our second day, we started after lunch, took the subway to meet our friend who took us to an outlet where we didn’t really getto buy anything.

Tip: Don’t shop in China for anything branded as it is more expensive than anywhere else, but if you do, you can have a tax refund at the airport. Make sure to bring your passport and go to Customer Services in outlets to get your form which you will use to redeem at the airport.

After walking around the shops, we decided to go to Thames Town. It is named after the River Thames in London, United Kingdom. The architecture is themed according to classic British market town styles. There are cobbled streets, Victorian terraces and corner shops. It felt like we were in another country.

We then took a taxi to have dinner at Sichuan Citizen restaurant in the former French Concession area where everything is sooo hot! Including marco! Hahaha. But really, the main ingredient here I think is chilli! Food was really great though!

Day 3 On our 3rd day, we explored Shanghai on our own. We took the subway! Our friends very generously lended us their subway card. Download ‘Shanghai METRO’ app and you’ll quickly learn and realize it’s really quite easy. From our hotel, we walked to Line 9 which took us about 9 minutes. We decided to go the ‘Fake Market’ (AP Plaza as it’s known) is just located in station ‘Shanghai Science & Technology Museum’ in Line 2.

Aaaahhhh, it was soooo much fun! We were there quite early and the vendors were still very energetic and friendly.. be ready to haggle because it’s so much fun! If they say 1000 Yuan, say ‘How about, 100?’ Always start very low and never go over 50% of the price they gave and don’t feel bad for them, it’s all acting and they will never sell their merchandise without a profit! And they also enjoy bargaining with you so go ahead and get those haggling skills out.

We took the subway again (we felt like locals at this point) to go to the NBA Fans Appreciation Day in Oriental Sports Center

Got back to the hotel with just an hour to prepare for the NBA Shanghai Game Welcome Dinner at Roosevelt House. (The Roosevelt House and Sky Bar offers one of the best views of Shanghai’s Skyline, located in 72nd the Bund) We had a great Date Night here!

Day 4 We wished we discovered how these Bicycles worked on day one! It would have saved us a lot of time walking! Anyways when you go to Shanghai, you will notice a lot (and I mean a lot!) of Bicycles parked everywhere! And they are all for rent. You can get them anywhere and leave them anywhere too! There are a lot of brands, but Ofo is the only one that accepts mastercard for payment and deposit. So deposit is 199Yuan, which you can get back right away and 1 hour use is only 1 Yuan! Which is P7! And there were times we only used it for half an hour and we were n’t charged at all!

We rode around the area of our hotel and later in the afternoon, went to another fake market (which I will not tell you where as I don’t recommend going there!) we tried the Ramen Burger at ‘Oh My Burger’ in Jianguo Xi Lu and went to this cute little cafe called ‘Cafe Fay’ that prints any picture you want on your drink!

Our last day did not end there! The reason we came to Shanghai was to watch the Warriors play! And it truly was a memorable experience! Ang gwapo ni Curry! Kilig na kilig si Marco!

Tip: Don’t forget to switch off Cellular Data in your phone if you don’t want unwanted Roaming charges by your Network .You may also want to buy a local sim card with data at the airport in Shanghai once you arrive so you can have reliable internet connection throughout your trip as our local network’s roaming plan often failed us.

By the way here are other photos of places we visited in Shanghai 2 years ago. Check it out on our facebook page

www.facebook.com/TheAlcaraz

Hope this write up helps you plan your trip, if you have other tips or travel advise or want to share your travel stories, please do share them in the comments section or send me an email.

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