4 Amazing Short Trip Ideas from Shanghai

April 23rd, 2015
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Shanghai is known through the world for its impressive modernity and beautiful city landscape. From the amazing skyline to the old bustling bazaar area, there is always something to discover in this beautiful metropolitan city. Shanghai is undoubtedly a tourist transportation hub enticing millions of visitors a year, but if you want to have a pleasant getaway from the high-rises and  boulevards, then you may try these short break ideas of taking a side trip to its charming neighbors like Zhouzhuang Water Town, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Huangshan.

Zhouzhuang Water Town

Located around 80 km west of Shanghai, Zhouzhuang is known as the No.01 water town in China. This over-900 year old water town has become a trove of oriental culture with its simple and pristine custom, unique folklore, ancient stone bridges, canals, well preserved ancient residential houses and mesmerizing water town views.

Zhouzhuang Water Town

Zhouzhuang Water Town

“Zhouzhuang” literally means “Zhou’s village”, a village named after Zhou Digong. Zhou Digong was a pious buddhist. In 1088 during the Northern Song Dynasty, Zhou Digong donated his 13 hectares of land to the local Fuquan Temple as its temple property. Later the local villagers called the land  “Zhouzhuang” (Zhou Village ) in appreciation for Zhou Digong’ generosity. Have a day trip to Zhouzhuang Water Town and back to Shanghai on the same day.

Take the long-distance bus from Shanghai Northern Long-distance bus station.
Entrance Fee: RMB 100  ( Click How to Visit Zhouzhuang for more information)
Enquiry: 4008282900
Complaint: 0512-57211654
Medical Care: 0512-57216107 (Day)
Medical care: 0512-57219990 (Night)

Classical Gardens of Suzhou

Nicknamed “The Venice of the Orient”, Suzhou is located about 95 km northwest of Shanghai. The eight of the finest gardens in Suzhou along with one in the nearby ancient town of Tongli were listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for the art of Suzhou-style classical gardens. Suzhou tour is easily arranged from Shanghai by high speed trains.

Classical Gardens in Suzhou

Classical Gardens in Suzhou

The city is renowned for its stone bridges, rivers, lakes, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens which have contributed to its status as a great tourist attraction. Suzhou enjoys great fame internationally for its elegant gardens. It is said that the gardens to the south of Yangtze River are the best in the world, and Suzhou gardens are the best among them. Suzhou attracts numerous visitors both home and abroad every day.

For most visitors, getting to Suzhou by train is most comfortable and convenient. You may take high speed trains directly from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station or Shanghai Railway Station to Suzhou Railway Station ( about 30 hour’s train ride).  Suzhou Railway Station is one of the largest stations in Eastern China after Shanghai and Hangzhou and Nanjing. It is located north of the city moat of Suzhou city. (Add: 27, Suzhan Road and Tel: 0512-95105105).

The Beautiful Landscape of Hangzhou

Located around 200 km to the southwest of Shanghai, Hangzhou is famous for its picturesque West Lake and June 2011, the West Lake Cultural Landscape was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its fame goes back to over 800 years ago when even Marco Polo called it “beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world”. |

Sunset over West Lake

Sunset over West Lake

In addition to its picturesque West Lake, Hangzhou also boasts the ancient canals, lakeside temples and historic buildings. It has lots of local products, like silk, Xihu silk umbrellas, color-glazed porcelain, Longjing tea, and white white chrysanthemum,etc.

Many Shanghai leisure and business travelers would choose to make a day trip to Hangzhou when they plan a Shanghai tour. The best time to travel to Hangzhou is the period from April to October, when the trees and flowers of this garden city are green and in full bloom. A one-hour high speed train from Shanghai Plus 15-minute subway ride in Hangzhou takes you to the core of the scenic Hangzhou – the West Lake Landscape.

Daily over 50 high speed trains darting from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Hangzhou East Railway Station (new station ) and Hangzhou Railway Station (old station). It is easy for you to arrange your Hangzhou tour from Shanghai.

The Charming Yellow Mountain (Huangshan)

Located around 400 km to the southwest of Shanghai, Huangshan is a world famous city for its marvelous mountain known as Yellow Mountain, or Huangshan in Chinese. You may get to Huangshan from Shanghai by overnight trains or flights for a 2 day return Huangshan tour.

The Beauty of Huangshan

The Beauty of Huangshan

Mt.Huangshan was listed as a Natural and Cultural Heritage site 1990. The nearby villages of Hongcun and Xidi were also named part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. In 2002, Yellow Mountain was named the “sister mountain” of Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps.

Today it holds the same fascination for visitors, poets, painters and photographers who come on pilgrimage to the site, which is renowned for its four magnificent views – granite peaks, rocks emerging out of a sea of clouds, featuring pine trees and unwinding hot springs. It is said that you won’t want to visit any other mountains after seeing Wu Yue ( the collective name given to China’s most important mountains), but you won’t wish to see even Wu Yue after returning from Huangshan Mountain.

Related Travel Blogs
How to Visit Zhouzhuang Water Town
Suzhou Travel Blog
Shanghai Hangzhou Day Trip by High Speed Train
Huangshan Travel Blogs

Any questions, just drop a line.

5 of the best art museums in Beijing

April 22nd, 2015
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Beijing is rich in art and home to some world-class art museums which you should add on your Beijing tour itinerary if you are an art aficionado. Check out our pick of the top 5 art museums in the capital. There’s something for everyone at one of Beijing’s top art museums.

1. National Art Museum of China 中国美术馆
This centrally located art museum has 17 exhibition halls with an exhibition area of 8,300 square meters. The main building is itself a traditional architecture with ancient Chinese attics and roofed with yellow glazed tiles and surrounded by corridors and pavilions.

National Art Museum of China

National Art Museum of China

There are over 100,000 pieces of various collections on display. It houses the works of different periods and great artworks of Chinese art masters from the end of the 19th century till today. The artworks on dispaly also include some ancient paintings and calligraphy works, foreign artistic works as well as plentiful folk art works.

The have an amazing capacity for turn-around of different exhibitions. New ones almost every week, so the chances of finding something of your interest are quite high.

Free admission
Add: 1 Wusi St, Dongcheng, Beijing, China
Tel: 010-64001476
Museum hours: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.(No Entry after 4:00 p.m.)
Opening all year round (not closed on Monday)
Official web: www.namoc.org/en/

How to get a ticket for a free visit
1) A maximum of 4000 free tickets will be issued each day at the museum.
2) Each visitor can once collect one free ticket of the day with valid ID (Passport).
3) Tickets will not be issued when all 4000 tickets have been issued out
4) Cafe: cafe is located at the east side of the first floor, offering fresh coffee, black tea, soft drinks and cakes.
5) Restaurant: Buffet at noon. Open: 11:00~14:00 Tel: (86)10-64009123
Official web: http://www.namoc.org/en/

How to get there by subway:
Subway  Line 5: around 300 meters west of the exit of Dongsi Station
Subway Line 6: around 300 meters west of the exit of Dongsi Station

2. Poly Art Museum 保利艺术博物馆
Poly Museum is designed to develop and display traditional national culture and art, and to rescue and protect Chinese cultural relics lost abroad. The museum mainly consists of  two parts of the exhibition: bronze and stone carvings.

Most of the exhibits have been retrieved from abroad, and a considerable part has especially high historical and artistic value as they are quintessence or the only existing versions.

Poly Art Museum

Poly Art Museum

The “Bronze Art Exhibition” houses over 100 pieces (groups) of excellent bronzes that present the development and charm of China ‘s ancient bronze civilization. The “Stone Carvings Exhibition” displays over 40 exquisite stone carvings from the fifth to eighth century, a peak period of China ‘s Buddhist art.

Now the Poly Art Museum is regarded in China and abroad as one of the best known art museums in the Chinese mainland.

It is a well hidden gem in Beijing. Just do not expect any large museum shop or souvenirs, this small muzeum is really about the collection itself.

Add: 9th floor New Poly Plaza, 1 Chaoyangmen Bei Dajie Dongcheng District
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 9: 30-16: 30;close on state holidays
Tel: 6500 8117
Admission: 20RMB
How to get there:
Bus:42, 115, 118, 701, 823 and or subway line 2 and get off at Dongsishitiao (东四十条桥)

3. Museum of CAFA 中央美术学院美术馆
Originally built in 1953, the new Art Museum of China Central Academy of Fine Arts (formerly CAFA Gallery) is now located in the campus of CAFA (No.8, Huajiadi Nan Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing).

Museum of CAFA

Museum of CAFA

The museum covers an area of 14,777 m2 with the total exhibition and display are of over 6,000 m2 .  F2 is designed for permanent gallery, displaying permanent exhibits, including selected collections and works by some great artist, etc.;   F3 and 4 are the thematic exhibition gallery with open space and daylight curtain, providing sufficient space for contemporary art exhibition and large art & culture show.

Opening Time: 09:30-16:30 (Tuesday-Sunday)
Admission: 15 yuan
Tel :86-10-64771575
Web: http://museum.cafa.com.cn/en/

4. Han Meilin Art Museum 韩美林艺术馆
Beijing Han Meilin Art Museum is the largest personal art museums in China and  exclusively dedicated to Han, whose works range from painting, calligraphy, sculpture and installation. Han Meilin, a famous Chinese artist most recognized today for his creation of the Fuwa dolls for the 2008 Beijing olympics.

Han Meilin Art Mueum

Han Meilin Art Mueum

Throughout his career, he has published painting albums as Meilin’s Paintings, Art Works of Han Meilin, Mountain Flowers in Full Bloom, Still on the Earth, 100-chicken Paintings, Painting Collection of Han Meilin and Selection of Arts and Crafts Works of Han Meilin and more.Han Meilin Art Museum (Beijing, China). The art of master artist Han Meilin is wonderfully varied and reflects the range of monumental changes in China over the past 50 years.

He has also launched an art scholarship fund to help talented students who are not able to continue their studies. The first stage of the fund, 2 million yuan ($32,000), will be given to students in Tsinghua University.

Admission: Free
Address: No. 68 Jiukeshu East Road, Liyuan Town, Tongzhou District, Beijing
Opening Hours: Peak Season: 9:00-17:00(Tuesday-Sunday, Closed on Mondays)
Off-season: 9:00-17:00(Tuesday-Sunday, Closed on Mondays)
Booking Hotline: 0086-010-59751888
Fax: 0086-010-59755288
How to get there
Subway: Take Batong Subway Line and get off at the station of Linheli (临河里), the walk to the west for 50 meters.地铁八通轻轨”临河里”站下车向西50米。
Web: http://www.hanmeilin.com/museum.php

5. 中国国家博物馆 中国国家博物馆
The National Museum of China (NMC) is located at the east side of Tiananmen Square, opposite the Great Hall of the People. It was renovated and reopened in February 2003,  based on the merging of two previous museums, namely the National Museum of Chinese History and the National Museum of Chinese Revolution.

National Museum of China

National Museum of China

NMC is a comprehensive and integrated national museum under the administration of the Ministry of Culture of China. It mainly focuses on a wide range of themes both on history and art. It is dedicated to its collections, exhibitions, research, archeology, public education and cultural communication.

The museum admission is free but you need to show your passport, otherwise they will not let you in.
This place is simply huge, so be prepared to walk a lot. There you will find a lot of aspects of Chinese culture.

Open: 8:30 – 16:30 (Last Entry at 15:00) for March 1 – June 30
8:00 – 18:00 (Last Entry at 17:00) for July 1 – August 31
8:30 – 16:30 (Last Entry at 15:00) for September 1 – October 31
9:00 – 16:00 (Last Entry at 15:00) for November 1 – February 29
Add: 16, East Chang’an Street, Dongcheng district, Beijing 100006, China
Tel: 0086-10-6511 6400
E-mail: info@chnmuseum.cn
Website: http://en.chnmuseum.cn/

Add on
Top 10 Museums in Beijing
A complete list of Beijing museums
Beijing Museum Tour

Top family-friendly spots to visit in Shanghai

April 19th, 2015
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Plan Shanghai tour for your family? Contrary to its seeming  hustle and bustle, Shanghai is still an easy city to visit with kids. You may do the internet search for Shanghai  travel information on family vacation, or your may rely on your hotel or local travel agencies to tailor-make your family trip to Shanghai.

Of course, strolling around a metropolitan city like Shanghai tend to be less exciting than hiking the Great Wall of China, or cruising on the mighty Yangtze River. That’s why we bring you some ideas and recommendations about where to go and visit to make sure your family has a fun and safe experience in Shanghai.

Before we bring you to the focus of our recommendations, we’d like to remind you of the kids or family safety in Shanghai.  Shanghai is easy to navigate with convenient network of subway lines and the ubiquitous traffic signs in English. You won’t find language is an issue. Hotel staff, taxi drivers or tour guides are helpful and courteous.

Like Beijing, or any other cities in China,  Shanghai has a low crime rate, a fairly safe city, especially for foreign travelers. The biggest problem will be it seems to be crowded everywhere and traffic condition is far less than developed countries.  You should hold the hands of your children and keep an eye on them.

Local toilet culture may be quite different from that of your country. Squat toilets are still widely used in Shanghai.  Shanghai’s public toilets, especially the tourist toilets are generally well maintained . Most of the toilets are equipped with remote-sensor flushing, automatic hand drier and more. But  most toilets do not provide toilet paper. Being sure to carry tissues at all times.

Follow us to visit the best activities for families and children in Shanghai.

Choose an amusement park to entertain your family
There are two large amusement parks in Shanghai – Happy Valley Amusement Park, Shanghai (上海欢乐谷)and Jiang Amusement Park (锦江乐园). The much-expected Shanghai Disneyland Resort (上海迪斯尼) will open in near future.

Happy Valley Amusement Park, Shanghai

Happy Valley Amusement Park, Shanghai

Happy Valley Amusement Park, Shanghai (上海欢乐谷)
Shanghai Happy Valley is currently the largest, the most beautiful and the highest technology theme park in Shanghai, even in China. Covering an area of 90 Hectares and with an investment of more than 4 billion yuan, Shanghai Happy Valley is located in the core region of Sheshan National Tourism Resort in Songjiang District.

Address: No.888, Linhu Road, Songjiang District, Shanghai
Entrance Fee: CNY 200; CNY100 (for kids1.2-1.4m tall); Free for kids under 1.2m.
Opening Hours: 9:00-18:00
Telephone: (021) 33552222
Bus Routes: take Subway Line 9 from Xujiahui Station to Sheshan Station. Cross the overpass and find the free shuttle bus in orange color to the park directly

Jiang Amusement Park (锦江乐园)
Jinjiang Action Park provides visitors with the international advanced and domestic first-class entertainment experience. Accompanied by the consummate ancillary facilities such as shopping, dining and car service, Jinjiang Action Park is indeed a paradise for everyone.
Address: 201 Hongmei Road, Shanghai
Entrance Fee: CNY30 for 2 projects and CNY 60 for 6 projects
Opening Hours: 08:45-17:00
Telephone: 021-54204956
Bus Routes: Metro No.1 line, Buses No.50, 131, 704

Shanghai Disneyland Resort (上海迪斯尼)
The Shanghai Disney Resort is an upcoming theme park resort by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and will become the first Disneyland in the mainland China. The resort is scheduled to open in 2016.

Address: Chuansha Town, Pudong New Area, Shanghai
Entrance Fee: undetermined
Opening Hours: undetermined
Bus Routes: Special Line to Shanghai Disneyland Resort is under construction

Have your kids learn about flora and fauna
Shanghai is a haven for those who love animals and take an interest in plants both local and international.

The Shanghai Botanical Garden (上海植物园)
Shanghai Botanical Garden is located in Xuhui District,  about 12 km southwest of Shanghai city center. The garden covers an area of over 80 hectares. The garden is well known for its bonsai with wide collections of magnolias, roses, azaleas, peonies, conifers, maples, osmanthus and bamboo.

The garden has 3500 species of local regional flora from the Middle and Lower Yangtze River. It is the largest municipal botanic garden in China with prizes won in the Netherlands and Canada for plant displays.

Shanghai Zoo (上海动物园)
Shanghai Zoo is the main zoological garden in the Chinese city of Shanghai. The zoo houses and exhibits over 6,000 species of animals, among which are 600 Chinese animals that include the giant panda, golden snub-nosed monkey, South China Tiger, hoopoe, black bulbul, great hornbills and bractian camels.

The zoo is constantly developing and improving the animal enclosures in order to provide better environments for the animals and a pleasurable experience for visitors.

Address: 2381 Hongqiao Road, Shanghai
Entrance Fee: 86-21-62687775
Opening Hours: 07:00-17:00 (Nov. to the next Feb.);
07:00-17:30 (March and April)
Telephone: 021-62687775
Bus Routes: take Buses No. 709, 945, 748, 911, 519…

Shanghai Ocean Aquarium (上海海洋水族馆)
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium (SOA) is the biggest aquarium in Shanghai and one of the most beautiful ones in the world. The aquarium has a total built in area of 20,500 square meters. It is divided into 9 different thematic zones. The main highlights from these various zones include the Chinese sturgeon, Giant Salamander, Electric Eels, Spotted seals, Weedy Seadragons, Jellyfish, Sand Tiger Sharks… and many more!

Address: No. 1388 Lujiazui Ring Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai
Entrance Fee: CNY 135
Opening Hours: 9:00 – 18:00
Telephone: 86 21 58779988
Bus Routes: Buses No.81, 82, 85, 583, 774, 795, 798, 799, 870, 961, 971, 985, 992, 993, 996…

Shanghai Wild Animal Zoo

Shanghai Wild Animal Zoo

Shanghai Wild Animal Zoo (上海野生动物园)
Shanghai Wild Animal Zoo is located in XuanQiao Town of Nanhui District in Pudong New Area. In the walking area, you can enjoy the world rare animals such as white lion, white tiger, white kangaroo, giant panda, Chinese alligator and so on. In the small animal garden, you can hug the small animal,feed lovely monkey, and have the experience of keeper to see personally the miraculously generating.

Address: Highway 178, South Six, Xuanqiao Town, Nanhui District, Pudong New Area, Shanghai

Entrance Fee: CNY 100
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00 (March to November); 08;30-16:30 (December to February)
Telephone: 86 21 61180000
Bus Routes: Nanxin Special Line, Huisong Line, Tourism Bus at Shanghai Stadium…

Immerse yourself in the local museums
Shanghai has numerous museums with different themes.  Choose the theme you are interested in and spend your cozy morning or afternoon roaming in the sea of knowledge.

Shanghai Children’s Museum (上海儿童博物馆)
Shanghai Kids Museum is an interactive children’s play land which mainly consists of Astronaut Hall, Ocean Navigation Hall, Toy Hall, Exhibition Hall, Global Cinema Hall and Multi-function Hall.

The exhibits are mostly in Chinese, with a good blend of fun and education. But still you can find the museum has enough to see and non-Chinese-speaking kids can have fun, too.

Entrance Fee: free
Opening Hours: 8:30 – 17:00
Add: 61 Songyuan Road, near Hongqiao Road
Tel: 020 – 6278-3130

Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (上海科技馆)
Shanghai Science and Technology Museum covers an area of 68,000 square meters with an exhibition space of 65,500 square meters.

The museum has 13 main permanent exhibition halls and 4 science theaters. The theaters are oft-lauded as  the largest science education cinemas in Asia with 10,000 annual films shown.

Entrance fees: 60 yuan ( adult ) and 30 yuan (children)
Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:15 ( Closed on Monday )
Add: 2000, Century Avenue, Pudong, Shanghai 世纪大道2000号

Shanghai Railway Museum (上海铁路博物馆)
Shanghai Railway Museum is housed a traditional building of British style. It was established in the former Shanghai station, now close to the current subway stations – Baoshan Road Station on Lines 3 and 4.

The museum has 1,300 square meters of outside exhibition space, and 3000 square meters in the four floors of the main buildings. Related articles, books and artifacts are on display, telling people the development of Shanghai’ railway. The museum is a place for education and science.

Entrance Fee: 10 yuan; 5 yuan (children)
Opening hours: 9:00 – 16:30 (closed in Monday and Sunday)
Add: 200, Tianmu East Road, Zhabei District 闸北区天目东路200号

Have your kids get to role-play
Widen your kids’ experience and knowledge by learning something about each occupation under the guidance of adult helpers at Eday Town.

Eday Town

Eday Town

Eday Town (星期8小镇)
Eday Town is a place for entertainment and play around real occupations. Kidtown features a variety of facilities such as:  beauty parlor,  fire station, hospital,  police station,  school,  supermarket and theater; it also features the following free classes: Arts/Crafts, Cooking,  Kids Yoga, Music/Movement and Story Time.

Entrance: 130 yuan
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 14:00 ( daily )
Add: 5/F, Zhongsheng World Mall, 5001 Dushi Lu, Shanghai 都市路5001号仲盛世界商城5楼.

Double-decker bus sightseeing

Double-decker bus sightseeing

Double-decker bus sightseeing for family fun
The open top decker city sightseeing tours allow you have a glimpse of Shanghai’s culture and city landscape in a relax and affordable way. The whole loop trip takes you around two and half hours.

The city sightseeing bus follows two routes: Line 1 through Pudong, and Line 2 through Puxi, with a total of 14 stops along the way. The bus links famous city attractions such as People’s Square, the Bund, Town God’s Temple, Huaihai Road and the Lujiazui Financial District. The city sightseeing bus operates 365 days a year with a system that allows passengers to embark and disembark as they please, at any number of shopping, entertainment or sightseeing locations.

The 24 hour ticket is valid for one person (with the option of an accompanying child under 1.4 metres in height), and includes one pair of earphones. The GPS-triggered audio tour comes with 8 language options: Chinese, English, Korean, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese.

Any questions, just drop a line.