Check out Part 1 if you haven’t!
Over weekends in Shanghai, we had a full schedule of tourist activities organised by CIUB. Every Saturday and Sunday we had to be in the hotel lobby by 9pm. We’d all pile into the hired bus with our tour guide and CIUB chaperon and off we’d go. Over the 2 weekends we were in Shanghai we went to the Yuyuan garden, Oriental Pearl tower, ERA circus, had a cruise on the Hangpu river and visited the Shanghai museum. We also spent one day visiting the Community Center, food market and a Chinese family which I blogged about here and here. In this post I will recap our visits to the Yu garden and Oriental pearl tower.
The Yuyuan Garden
The Yu garden was very exciting for us because it was our first weekend out and it was also our first chance to get souvenirs. All I remember, apart from the multitude of shops, is how freezing it was! If I had had enough money I would have bought an extra jacket there and then. It was ridiculously cold. We were given an hour to get “lost” in the garden, take pictures and buy stuff though we were advised to not get carried away.
We had to bargain in some of the stores which was tough to do in our broken Mandarin but we managed. However the store attendants do have a calculator close by in case you don’t know a word of Mandarin. I loved bargaining sometimes, it’s like a little dance you do where you attempt to convince the other person to follow your lead. They quote a price, you counter with your own and on it goes until you reach a price that satisfies the both of you. You have to be sure to throw in the disappointed facial expressions when you’re feigning displeasure while they throw in assurances that the item is more expensive than you think. You can also walk off pretending to lose interest which will force them to follow you offering a lower price till you say yes. They really hate losing a sale.
The Oriental Pearl Tower
After lunch we piled back into the bus and headed to our next destination, the oriental pearl tower. It is currently the tallest building in Shanghai and it is right next to the Hang Pu river which makes for stunning views.
In the elevator which only goes to one floor, the top floor, we were given a quick history of the tower and a few facts about it’s height by the hostess. She said everything from memory which was pretty impressive, one wonders why that information wasn’t just recorded and played back when needed.
We then moved down one floor to the sight seeing floor where we could see directly under us. It was scary for some people and others flat out refused to try stepping onto the thick glass. The tower also has a rotating restaurant which we didn’t go to because it was on the top floor and once you go down, you can’t go up again unless you pay for another ticket.
When we returned to the ground floor, we still had time to kill before our next destination so we decided to check out the Shanghai Historical Museum. Initially I thought it was only 2 floors and would take 10 minutes to cover, however, just under an hour later we found ourselves emerging from what seemed like the basement. It just kept on going.
We eventually got tired of taking pictures of everything. It basically showed the evolution of the city of Shanghai with wax models and various artifacts. Shanghai city was established in 1291 so you can imagine how many times it has evolved over the years.
Afterwards we braved the 2 degree weather and hopped on the bus and headed to the Hang Pu river for an evening cruise. I will detail that experience and a few more in my next post.