Friday, September 25, 2015

Shanghai Cityscapes

View of the skyline from the Bund near Nanjing East Road. All photos by K.

Shanghai was one of my favorite destinations from my trip. The weather was quite rainy during most of our stay, which did prevent us from seeing quite as many tourist sites as we might have wanted. We stayed at the Grand Central Hotel Shanghai near Nanjing East Road's Pedestrian Street area, and we received a slight discount because I was able to book it during an Orbitz promotion. I highly recommend staying in that general area because it's close to two subway stations and a direct ride to several major tourist attractions, and I would also  highly recommend the Grand Central Hotel in particular. It was a rather fancy place to stay, and I thought the service was very good. They even gave us a cake on the night of K's birthday. 

The nighttime walk along the Bund to view the lit-up skyline was one of our favorite experiences in Shanghai. There are big crowds on the section of the promenade right near the intersection with Nanjing East Road, but the crowds thin out very quickly once one walks a bit further away from the intersection. One thing that surprised us was that the lights across the water and on Nanjing East Road start turning off by 11:00 at night. Because Times Square is a 24 hour kind of place, we were expecting Shanghai to be somewhat similar. 

A rainy nighttime walk on Nanjing East Road's Pedestrian Street. 

Shanghai is a very different city from Beijing, which almost goes without saying. Shanghai feels more similar to Hong Kong than it does to Beijing. Among other things, it doesn't have quite as many true historical sites. Some of the areas that market themselves as historical are anything but. We were at one "old street" area, but found that it was a rather commercialized tourist trap. The crowds of tourists, both international and Chinese, can also be quite daunting at most of Shanghai's major attractions. We quickly nixed the idea of going up the Pearl Tower because it would have been at least a three hour wait. We were able to go up to the observation decks at the Shanghai World Financial Center, and that wasn't half as crowded because it was a foggy evening. 

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