Picking up my Shanghai Blog from last year – you can read the last one here
After a great night in Suzhou, we were due to check out of the hotel to move on back to Shanghai. We went for breakfast in the hotel restaurant – we found this to be much more traditional – and didn’t have the selection we were afforded at the hotel in Shanghai. There were pastries and there was what looked like an omelette station – but much of the selection was very Asian based – we fueled up ready for our day.
Today we went to the Lingering Garden in Suzhou another beautiful Garden – not as big as the Humble Administrators Garden but equally impressive – Like the aforementioned garden, it is a World Heritage site and one of the 4 most famous Gardens in China. I did find this Garden very scenic and almost around every corner, you felt there was a great Camera shot waiting. The Gardens felt very peaceful place even though busy. I loved the way it was divided into 4 areas each with its own character.
Lunch today again was at a large restaurant where we sampled some Hibiscus Tea and another selection of fantastic food all eaten using our new found (albeit Clumsy) Chopstick Technique. After our late lunch, we then travelled by car back to Shanghai to check back into the Sunrise on the Bund. Kirsty helped us check in and again I had to leave a refundable deposit. We were to stay for 3 nights at this hotel now. The room we were given this time was on the 16th Floor and was at the front of the hotel – from the room, we could see over the buildings and to the River. The room was slightly smaller than the last room we had but still large – again we had a sofa and coffee table – plus a table and 2 chairs. There was a walk in shower with a bath in the same area – we still had a TV in the bathroom too (I think this may become a standard requirement of mine.
This evening we ventured down to the more touristy area on the front and had a wander around soaking up the atmosphere – we were conscious that the restaurants around this area would be very pricey so decided to walk back to the hotel. In doing so we actually found a food court type place that the locals were using – there were several areas with family-owned businesses serving excellent value food – we ordered from one which did have an English style menu and the food was delicious.
on to the next day – as usual, we Started the day with a good fill with breakfast – excellent selection at the Sunrise as we had come to expect. Kirsty met us at 9.30am in reception with the car ready and waiting. I was starting to get used to this Chauffer lifestyle.
First stop was the main bund area and a look inside the famous Fairmont Peace hotel which is spectacular. This is at the bottom of the famous Nanjing Road shopping street. We then moved on to the French Quarter – shanghai has always been a very cosmopolitan city and has many different nationalities which at one time all had their own areas. The French quarter does look very colonial and feels quite sophisticated. There are many restaurants here too serving French / western food. We then moved on to Yu Gardens – this is in Old Town or China Town. To get to the Gardens you must walk through a busy area with market stall type areas and takeaway eateries – its bustling and fun but hold on to your belongings!! You must cross a Zig Zag Bridge to enter Yu Gardens. Kirsty told us this is to keep evil out of the Gardens.
Yu Gardens is smaller than the two in Suzhou but still stunning – there are some great examples of Dragon architecture along the walls here. From here we were taken to a famous Dumpling chain restaurant – Duntaifeng. This was located within a shopping mall just off Nanjing road. The layout reminded me of a fast food restaurant – essentially it is. But a fast food restaurant serving some of the best dumplings I have ever had. All washed down with Chinese Black Tea.
After Lunch, we headed to the Shanghai Museum. This museum is very central in Shanghai and has many artefacts from the Ming, Han & Qing dynasties plus more. There are great examples of furniture (we had seen many of these at the Gardens we had viewed) . Lots of pottery and traditional clothing from the many regions of China which was very interesting. There is a large section dedicated to coins/money – there have been so many variations in China. Lots of the collections have been donated to the museum by wealthy families who want to preserve the history. We left the museum to get ready for our evening cruise along the Huangpu River.
As usual, Kirsty and our driver were waiting for us on time and cheerful as ever. We headed to the port for the river cruise which was around a 10-minute journey. We queued to board the boat and Kirsty told us that at busy times it can get quite hectic in there. We boarded the vessel and headed up to the top deck (there are 3 decks on most of these boats with the top deck being open. The decks below have ample seating and large windows for viewing. It can get a bit cooler out on the river in the evening, so a coat/jacket is advisable. Also, it gets a bit busy on the top deck at first and people push a bit to get a good view at the side for photo opportunities – so hang on to your camera!! You find halfway through it gets a bit quieter as people head to the decks below. The cruise is 1.5 hours long and cruises down the river – turns around and heads back. It gives you spectacular views of the Shanghai Skyline – the buildings are well lit up with one building displaying fireworks – it truly is incredible. The TV Tower (Oriental Pearl Tower) – Shanghai’s most Iconic building (the one that looks like a futuristic alien building) looks amazing lit up at night…. Breath-taking. Kirsty Told us that even though she has done this voyage lots of times she still really enjoys it and is a highlight for her.
After the cruise, we were picked up and taken to the restaurant for our farewell meal. The restaurant seemed to be part of a hotel – it was very bright and airy – and busy with staff – It did, to me, however, feel like we were in a function room and wasn’t my favourite restaurant we had visited. Food was as usual great, and we also tried a new cold starter – but I wasn’t convinced and swiftly moved on to the main courses. After dinner, we said our goodbyes (although They would be picking us up to take us to the airport 2 days later) and we were dropped off back at the hotel.