As I write these lines we have already left the domains of the Shanghai municipality on the night train that takes us to the province of Hebai, specifically to Shijiazhuang, an area very unknown to foreign tourists.
Landing at Shanghai Pudong International Airport
For nothing in the world I thought I would miss this breakfast at 10,000 meters high. It's 5:30 in the morning when they turn on the lights of this Finnair flight to Shanghai in which, for the first time, I slept like a baby (better than my little Olivia).
We have also taken the opportunity to fill in the customs paper that has been provided to us before, exactly at 7:00, 8 hours and 40 minutes after taking off from Helsinki, ourAirbus A350-900 will land at Shanghai Pudong International Airport
This huge airport is approximately 30 km from the city and is currently an important hub of Asia, replacing the Hongqiao International Airport, the main one until 1999. exit procedures we were also surprisedwe haven't taken more than 20 minutes In passing the passport and visa control, we picked up the suitcase and placed ourselves in Terminal 2 where they were already waiting for us.WHAT IS THE BEST ENTRY FOR A TRIP TO TIBET?
In our opinion, neither Shanghai nor Beijing nor Lhasa itself. If you have chosen China (and not Nepal) we recommend you read the section onhow to get to Tibet of the first article and, knowing that it is a hard trip in terms of altitude (4,900 m on average), make the route that we propose from Xining with the Transtibetan that in addition to serving as a previous acclimatization will suppose an excellent prolegomenon to Tibetan culture (there is one of the main monasteries outside the autonomous region). But to Xining you can only fly or arrive by train stepping on another Chinese city before? Indeed, that is why our recommendation is to use Xi'an as the start of a trip to Tibet (better impossible because it flies direct Finnair, Thai or United Airlines or if you land in Shanghai or Beijing move to it) and then move to Xining by fast train
Another important thing is that they strongly insist that you keep a paper called "Departure Card" in your passport. The reality is that if you lose it, nothing will happen since you can fill it out again in the customs area.
Shanghai in 1 day or one stop (essential visits)ALTITUDE 0 m * This information you will have throughout this newspaper for its importance in the acclimatization phase. On the way to 1 hour that separates the airport from the center, one is able to realize why Shanghai is today the reference city of the Asian giant and one of the most populous and active on the planet, having recently displaced Hong Kong and Singapore as the world's largest international trade. Many even insist on comparing it with the 4 great cosmopolitans (New York, Paris, London and Tokyo) although there is still a lot to achieve that deep-rooted identity of each one of them. However, Shanghai always surprises and has achieved it with us in just a few hours (Sele knew her) since We have been able to know its main attractions to see in 1 day. Do you want to know what you shouldn't miss?
1 The Longhua Temple and Pagoda
The first of our essential visits may surprise you since he flees from the famous Jade Buddha Temple to which almost all tours go. Longhua is far from the most tourist routes (and possibly the most essential ones to see) but it is worth arriving because here is the oldest and most authentic of the temples representative of traditional Buddhist architecture and thanks to Youlan Tours We have been able to discover.
It is a temple very frequented by locals (0 foreign tourists) and that today, day of the dead in China, brims with life and ceremonies.
Like almost everyone, it has been rebuilt many times but the evidence shows that the origins date back around the 3rd century BC during the time of the Three Kingdoms. Without a doubt, it is the most authentic and oldest in the city of Shanghai.
In addition to the impressive 7-story pagoda, unique and the tallest building in Shanghai until today, the temple leaves many rooms such as Martreya, the Emperor of Heaven Hall, the Great Hall of the Great Sage, the Three Wise Men, that of the Abbot or a side with 500 Golden statues
The Bell and the Drum Tower and today, numerous venues full of ceremonies, spirituality and life, complete a visit that has been an excellent starting point for everything that will come in later days
We return to take the car of the agency that will take us to the next point (it is important to have everything well organized if you only have one day as is our case)
2 The French Concession
Thus we arrive at the shanghaines neighborhoods of Linong and Shikumen typologies or the French Concession known as Eastern Paris where we got off
We are in a Shanghai that has nothing to do with the previous one, one-century heritage (1849-1946) of what was the French colony, with good western restaurants or coffee shops with terraces that invite you to relax for a while
Also here are points of interest such as Fuixing park (Anyone interested in seeing people practicing Tai Chi has its place here) or the building where the Communist Party of China was born.
Between streets with a very European air, we decided that it is time to return to Shanghai that will surprise us the most, which we have been looking for
3 Nanjing Road
Nanjing Road is to Shanghai what the Gran Vía is to Madrid, the shopping street par excellence, a lively pedestrian promenade between the People's Square and the Bund, full of neons and shops that house the iconic image of Shanghai. However, as we will not do night, we will have to settle to see it by day where here if we have to recognize that it loses a lot
Large skyscrapers, the most luxurious hotels, bars, discos, elegant restaurants, and the stores of the best brands. What are you looking for?
4 Bund or Malecon
Behind we leave the People's Square and Nanjing Road to enter a completely different but equally lively area. He Contrast occurs when old colonial buildings and modern skyscrapers in the financial area across the Huangpu River They face as if it were a challenge.
It is one of the most emblematic neighborhoods, the famous Skyline full of skyscrapers and where at night there is a spectacle of light and colors such as we already saw in Hong Kong at the time. This is another of those reasons why Shanghai will be our gateway to a more traditional China in the future (with Olivia?)
What are the buildings on the other side? Two stand out especially, the unmistakable Oriental Pearl Tower with its 468 meters high (the fifth tallest tower behind Guangzhou, Moscow, Toronto and the one with the record and we visited in Tokyo, the Sky Tower) which has viewpoints at various levels, and one of the tallest buildings in China with 492 m, the Shanghai World Financial CenterRESTAURANTS IN CHINA | SHANGHÁI: Buffet Intercontinental Hotel, one of the best buffet of all kinds of food in Shanghai and a good option, without risking, for a first lunch (considering that today we will sleep on the train)
Those who need western food, here you will find options. However, despite the prejudices you may have of Chinese food ... forget it! It has nothing to do with the dishes we eat in Spain
We have also taken the opportunity to talk with the family (here they are 6 hours apart - throughout China-) using the VyprVPN as we mentioned yesterday.
5 Old Town and Yuyuan Garden
We have left for the afternoon one of the most famous gardens in all of China and the old part of Shanghai, where the smell of incense or stand food takes you to more traditional China that we all look for when we arrive in this country. We are in a neighborhood of many restaurants, shops and typical buildings.
Here one begins to realize also what has changed Chinese society. Gone are the times to work and work and now a flourishing middle class with more than 300 million people value their free time and tourist assault their own country.
Generally Shanghai has limited circulation to cars with district registration but on holidays that restriction is not met ... and today it is and it shows! Dozens of stands make their particular "August" (which would be here in February during the Chinese New Year - does anyone imagine those dates? Apuf)
It is essential to enter Yuyuan Garden, designed during the Ming dynasty between 1559 and 1577 and that leaves you absolutely speechless (besides being somewhat less crowded)
Yu It means health and tranquility although with the bankruptcy of the Yunduan family it fell into oblivion until 1760 and was converted into a bazaar already in full S.XX with an important restoration of the adjacent neighborhood in 1953
It's around 4:30 pm when we leave this area, one of the essential ones to see in Shanghai in 1 day, without a doubtI CAN'T BE… Shanghai in sidecar, 2 hours discovering the most remote areas
When we started this trip to Tibet custom designed with Youlan Tours We already told you that almost every day we would keep a surprise. Away from corseted packages and regular tourist visits, every destination in the world hides places and treasures that have often been forgotten. Shanghai too and there is a perfect way to reach them ... IN SIDECAR! a type of vehicle that disappeared a few years ago when China was modernized but its popular transport has been recovered touristly by locals who have long lived in Shanghai, authorized and certified, are able to show you those parts of the city more hidden and nothing touristy. Nevertheless, the rain has started to fall strong and we had to discard the experience, snif. Will be for future occasions
What if we had longer than 1 day? Shanghai is to walk and walk quietly, enjoy the illuminated night, taste some dumplings in a street stall, walk through the largest park in the city called Century Park, visit some more temple (Jade Buddha Temple, Jing'An Temple, ...), climb to the Shanghai World Financial Center or Oriental Pearl Tower, attend the impressive ERA aerobatic show or visit the Shanghai Museum
Night train from Shanghai to Shijiazhuang
Reading the worrying news that "one third of the population of Shanghai goes over 60 years" (we see that this problem is not only in Spain) we put towards the train station of the city where we have tickets for the Z196 train that leaves at 18:51 to Shijiazhuang
"Shijiazhuang? What is that?" "And I know ..."I was going to say that this imaginary conversation was a joke but the reality is that I had not heard of such a city until Irene, our hostess ofYoulan Tours, he proposed to deviate us from the path. Didn't we say that Xi'an was the ideal entrance door? Well, let's say this trip full of surprises has only just begun and, although what we were going to do the next 2 days was more like an excursion from Beijing, Knowing the most authentic and unknown China for Spanish tourism is something that promised a lot, right? Loaded with water and some food (128 CNY) it was time to get into that train of dozens of wagons in which there was no end (understanding the tickets is simple since where you put the destination appears a 06 and another 006 that are wagon and seat or compartment)
11 hours and 23 minutes in a soft bed of a compartment for us They are waiting for us (we will explain how the trains and the types of wagons work). Meanwhile, today we have realized that we have to change the "chip". Chinese society is a town that has learned to live and travel en masse stepping on or taking selfies with that senseless stick of the surrounding environment where the mobile is an extension of its arms to levels that Spain has not yet reached. Still we hope that as we go inside that disappears, right?
After visitingShanghai in 1 day or a stopover and enjoy some of its essentials (A pity the sidecar), what unforgettable experience will we have incorporated into tomorrow's plan for Tibet? Surprise ... of the good!
Isaac (with Sele), from Shanghai (China)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 128 CNY (approx. 17.07 EUR)