How to dress for visiting Great Wall in winter

August 30th, 2014
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Planning your Great Wall Tour  in winter? You may have been told that winter is not the right season for visiting Great Wall, but for whatever the reasons, you happen to hike the Great Wall of China during the cold season, so you are now a bit on the fence about visiting the Great Wall.

Well, everything has its two sides. The so-called best seasons often see the Great Wall mobbed by the numerous tourist group and you may waste much of your valuable time on the way from your hotel to the Wall (traffic jam). On the Wall, you have to take group photos since there are a great number of people on the Wall.

Walking from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall on Nov. 26.

Jiankou to Mutuanyu

Jiankou to Mutianyu Winter Hike

Great Wall winter hike has its advantages – the tourist crowds are gone so you can walk along the Great Wall hassle free. The prices are lower for Great Wall transportation and admission. Of course, hiking the Great Wall is a bit daunting if you are unlucky to visit the Wall on a cold and blusterous day. If well dressed for the winter Wall hikes, visiting the Great Wall in winter is still not a bad idea. We’re going to share with you some ideas on how to dress for Great Wall winter hikes. Dressing for the season and having the right clothing items for colder temperature on the Wall.

1. Check historical climate data and weather forecast
Before leaving for Beijing,  you’d better check Beijing’s historical climate data ( day by day temperature ) to get a general assessment of the weather condition on your actual hiking date. Beijing’s winter normally starts from mid-November through mid-March. Check out the following Beijing’s historical climate data on the winter months in Beijing:

How to Visit Beijing in November                       How to Visit Beijing in December
How to Visit Beijing in January                            How to Visit Beijing in February
How to Visit Beijing in March

In winter Beijing has short days, dark 5 pm. The ticket selling for major attractions is closed after 4.30pm. The sights stay open all year round. When you arrive, don’t forget to check the current weather broadcast in Beijing and choose your better day for visiting Great Wall in the cold month. You may also check out the following realtime weather photos to get a general idea of how the current weather looks like and how local people are dressed:

Beijing November Realtime Weather Photos   Beijing December Realtime Weather Photos
Beijing January Realtime Weather Photos        Beijing February Realtime Weather Photos
Beijing March Realtime Weather Photos

2. Dressing in Layers
A heavy coat gives you little opportunity to act or adjust in weather conditions. For the better hiking  and comfort, you need to dress in layers.

Base Layer
The purpose of wearing the first body layer is to make  your skin dry by removing moisture possibly produced by perspiring. Kindly remind you not to wear cotton base layer for it keeps the moisture,  leaving you disagreeably moist, sticky if you are sweating.  You’d better choose the shirts made from light merino wool or synthetic fibers.

Middle Layer
This middle layer is the insulation layer,  important for keeping your body warm.  For the same reason trying to avoid the cotton which dries slowly and select  sweaters, vests and jackets which are made of polyester fleece, warm and quick to dry.

Jacket Outer Layer
You need to have a waterproof or water-resistant outer layover to keep you from snow, rain, and wind. Try to have a warm jacket lightweight with good breathability. A warm jacket with zippers and vents is important for you to regulate your body temperature.

3. Feet Protection
Footwear
Basically it is unnecessary to wear a pair of heavy hiking boots since most of the time you will walk on the stone steps on the wall. Avoid leather shoes which can freeze.  Looking for the shoes made from a mix of plastic and rubber. Basically sport shoes are ok for Great Wall hiking in winter. If you are going to hike the unrestored wild sections of the Wall, a pair of gaiters can add a measure of protection against the shrubs and bushes on the way.

Socks
Your feet also need layering too. It is essential to put on a pair of thin and tight-fitting socks that keep your feet dry and warm. Your outer layer socks should be also made from merino wool or synthetic material. Your outer layer socks should not be too thick otherwise they will reduce the circulation in your shoes.

4. Hands Protection
To keep your hands from become cracked, rough, or sore, you definitely need to have a pair of gloves to reduce  the risk of frostbite and chapping to your hands. Basically people prefer gloves than mittens, not having to expose your hands.

5. Head and Face Protection
It is a common knowledge that we lose our body heat through our heads, so we need to have a warm hat. It is essential to wear a hat with ear flaps, an ushanka, a Russian fur cap with ear flaps that can be tied up to the crown of the cap, keeping your ears from the cold. In addition, ready for a scarf to protect your face.

5. Where to buy the winter clothes?
For those who live in a warm climate, winter clothes are a bit hard to get from their home country. No worry about that. Hats, gloves, winter jackets and the list could be much longer, can be easily bought in Beijing. Going to Silk Market is a good choice to arm yourself for the winter tour in Beijing.

Add-on
Tips for Visiting Great Wall around Beijing
How to Visit Beijing in Winter
Visiting Great Wall by Train
Go to Badaling Great Wall by Bus
Great Wall Tour
Top 10 Markets in Beijing

Any questions, just drop a line.

Top Things to Do in Winter in Harbin

August 29th, 2014
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Plan your Harbin tour in winter? As the coldest city in the most northern China, Harbin’s coldest months fall on late December through early March. Late November through the whole January is the snowing season and January is the coldest month with the average temperature at -25 ℃.  Harbin’s winter is dry, cold and long coupled with a longer period of snow covering.

Winter is the best season to visit Harbin with the main draws seeing and touching the snow, and January and February are ice and snow festivals in Harbin.  More reasons to visit Harbin, skiing, exploring the Northern China Tigers,  getting close to penguins, local cuisine tasting and more.

If you are going to visit Harbin in winter, we are going to reveal you the top things to do in winter in Harbin.

1. Eat Popsicles on Zhongyang Street 
Zhongyang Street is a unique European-style pedestrian street, 1450m long with lines of edifices, masses of entertainment areas, and colorful cultural life. All of these buildings are in various styles including renaissance style, baroque style, eclectic style, as well as modern style, the profound history of architecture, a real “Architecture Art Gallery” in China.

A leisure stroll along the street is a must on your winter trip to Harbin. One thing you must do on the street is to taste the time-honored Madieer popsicles (马迭尔冰棍), a kind of milk popsicles first made in 1906. So eating popsicles is not the right for summer. having a bite of Madieer popsicles at the temperature of -25℃ is an interesting experience, wearing down jacket and seeing our own breath, a beautiful “Cold” scene.  You may ask where the Madieer Beverage House is located, no worrying about that since you will easily see people line up and eat popsicles on the street. Check out Zhongyang Street.

Eat popsicles on Zhongyang Street

Eat popsicles on Zhongyang Street

2. Winter Swimming on Harbin Songhua River
Songhua River passing through Harbin does bring lots of fun to the city. Local people have a long tradition of cutting and digging a large square hole or pool used as a swimming pool for winter swimming.

Visiting a riverside winter swimming pool cutting in Songhua River is not missed. You may even join them and take part in the winter swimming. Winter swimming in Harbin is quite popular, a game for a brave man, even women! Most of the winter swimmers are high ages,in their 50s or even 60s and 70s! They swim, dive, even do boxing on the ice platform.

Winter Swimming on Harbin Songhua River

Winter Swimming on Harbin Songhua River

3. Winter Activities on Songhua River by Stalin Park
Built in 1953,  the Stalin park is located on the southern bank of the Songhua River, extending 1,750 meters from the Songhua River railway bridge to the east and Jiuzhao Park to the west, it is a belt-shaped open park along the bank. As its name suggests, the park is the evidence of the friendship between Russia and China at that time.

Songhua River freezes solid with a depth of about a meter, naturally creating a wonderful winter sports playground.   Playing on the Songhua River running by Stalin Park is one of the best things to do  for kids  in Harbin, slides, tubes, mats, toboggans,  sledge, skating and more.

Winter activities on Songhua River by Stalin Park

Winter activities on Songhua River by Stalin Park

4.  Bargaining at Hongbo Square  Underground Shopping Mall
Hongbo Square Commercial centre (红博广场) is only minutes’ walk from the railway station. Around the square are located many high buildings and shopping centers like “Qiulin” corporate – Harbin No.1 shopping center” corporate. Under the square is the largest underground shopping mall in Harbin. It is a air-shelter turned underground shopping mall.

The underground Hongbo shopping mall is like a maze! It actually provides everything from bags, shoes, clothes, silk, tea, table cloth, toys, souvenirs, to pears and jewellery as well all kinds of local products in Harbin.  Check out Hongbo Square for more information.

 Bargaining at Hongbo Square  Underground Shopping Mall

Bargaining at Hongbo Square Underground Shopping Mall


5.  Tasting Harbin Food
Harbin is oft-lauded as the Eastern Paris, as it is the communication spot between Russian culture and Chinese culture. Naturally in its dining field, there is the mixture of Russian style and Chinese style. Taking the authentic Russian meal is a must in your Harbin tour.

In Harbin the Zhongyang Street and the Huanghe Road are the two centralized dining places. Taste flying dragon, take smoked salmon, eat catsup bone…Dining has been one part of the ice city tour, and the taste is more delicious in the freezing weather.

“Shazhucai”, a kind of local flavor, literally meaning “kill a pig cuisine”. It is a stew dish with the ingredients of pork, Chinese vegetable, inners of a pig.

From the funny name “Sha Zhu Cai”, you can understand a bit about the personality of the people in the northeast China. Traditionally local farmers will raise pigs for about 8 months. When the spring festival is in sight, thet will kill the pig to make various kinds of dishes to improve diet and entertain guests. They will make full use of the pig from head to tail, from skin to blood and bone.  Not interested in “Sha Zhu Cai”. Well, have a bite of baked potatoes!   Check out Harbin Eating.

Baked Potatoes

Baked Potatoes

6.  Getting close to  Penguins  at Adventure Island attached to Harbin Polarland 
In Habrin, you are able to experience the real life of the polar region. Harbin Polarland is the first theme park of polar land scenes in China. Inside the sea-blue elegant building of Pole Aquarium, you will find pure penguin family of South Polar, the most active polar bear brothers in China. There are also the wild arctic wolves introduced for the first time in Asia and the arctic fox brothers who can run on the running machine. The most thrill is the exciting polar land animal show – the performance presented by sea lions.

In addition, in winter season the polarland will build a “Polar Adventure Island” just outside the main building of Pole Aquarium. The Polar Adventure Island is an ice and snow experience project, allowing people to have more interaction with polar animals, getting close to penguins and snow foxes.  Check out Harbin Polarland. 

Getting close to  Penguins  Adventure Island attached to Harbin Polarland

Getting close to Penguins Adventure Island attached to Harbin Polarland

7.  Exploring Siberian Tiger Park
The Siberian Tiger Park is located north of Songhua River, about 37 km from downtown Harbin. There are white tigers, lions, lynx, leopards, and black pumas as well as Bengali tigers. The whole park is divided into ten areas including the domesticating area, mature tiger area, young tiger area,  Africa tiger area, the king tiger area, a walking area and a platform for viewing the tigers.

The park also provides a tour bus  ( a safari-like tour ) to meet the need of tourist pursuing stimulate. The bus is protected by reinforcing steel net.  Check out Siberian Tiger Park .

Exploring Siberian Tiger Park

Exploring Siberian Tiger Park

8.  Ice and Snow World Festival
Situated in the opposite of the Sun Island Landscape, is the largest, the most brilliant and the most complete park, which is also named “the Ice Disneyland”. Blocks of ice are carved into sculptures and buildings and lit from within to provide glittering lights of ice. The structures include tall towers, Buddha Statues and even restaurants made of ice.

In the Ice and Snow World you will bring you a unique experience such as Ice Bar, Ice Hotel, Maze, Climbing Ice Rock, Golf on the ice ground, Football on the ice ground, etc. which will make your ice dream come true. The ice and Snow World basically starts on Jan 5 and lasts about one month each year.

Ice and Snow World Festival

Ice and Snow World Festival

9. Snow  Carving at Sun Island
The Sun Island lies at the north bank of Songhua River, opposite to the Stalin Park. For its attractive landscape all over the year, the Sun Island is a famous scenic spot and a good reputation place in Chinese north regions. Once a village for Russians, it is now a water-locked sunny natural bathing place with shady trees and belt beaches.

The renowned Snow Carving Festival will be held on Sun Island.

Snow Carving at Sun Island

Snow Carving at Sun Island

10.  Skiing at Jinhua Ski Resort
Jinhua Ski Resort  is located  50 km to the southeast of Harbin’s city center. Jiihua Ski Resort has become China and Asia’s top ski resorts. The resort features 15 different ski slopes, which cover a distance of 30 km in total. It  is designed to cater for beginner, medium and advanced-level skiers.

The resort has a ski school, which provides over 100 professional ski masters. The resort area gets heavy snowfall, with about 150 days of snow every year. It can accommodate 5,000 people at the same time.  All the snow activities and skiing are paid on your own.  After skiing, you will be transferred back to the city of Harbin.

  Skiing at Jinhua Ski Resort

Skiing at Jinhua Ski Resort

Add on
Top 10 Attractions in Harbin
Best Time to Visit Harbin
Where to Stay in Harbin

Top Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai

August 28th, 2014
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Plan your Shanghai tour in winter? Shanghai’s coldest months fall on December (average lowest: 3℃ and highest: 11℃), January (average lowest: 1℃ and highest: 8℃) and February (average lowest: 2℃ and highest: 9℃).  Periodically the northern gale will sweep across Shanghai accompanied by a sudden and short drop of temperature ( -5℃ lowest). With the consistent cold air from the north and the wet and warm currents from the southwest, Shanghai tends to be in the period of low temperature and lack of sunshine, featuring cold and damp.

Though winter is not the best season to visit Shanghai in terms of weather, it doesn’t make much difference to visit Shanghai in winter from other seasons due to its static city landscapes. Shanghai winter tour has its own advantage – less crowded, big discounts for admission fees, hotels and flights.

Festival activities during Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) add much colors to the cold and wet Shanghai. If you are going to visit Shanghai in winter, we’d like to reveal you the top attractions to visit in winter in Shanghai.

1.  Exploring Shanghai by Hop On/Hop Off Bus
Hop on and hop off bus our is a quick and easy way to get around Shanghai. The open top deck city sightseeing bus tours are designed to give you a glimpse of Shanghai’s culture and city landscape. The loop trips take you around the major attractions in Shanghai. If you are a newcomer to Shanghai, it is advisable to take a loop Shanghai Bus Tour.

Currently there are two companies that offer the bus service – Spring Tour Bus ( locally bus tour company ) and Big Bus ( from London). Personally I choose Spring tour bus  with the cheaper option with a ticket costing just RMB 30 ( in comparison with Big Bus Tours at RMB 300 including entry to two attractions).

The Spring Tour city sightseeing bus follows two routes: the Red Line, which goes through Puxi, and the shorter Green Line route in Pudong. Both bus lines begins their routes in front of the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre in People’s Square. The red line passes the Shanghai Museum and turns toward West Nanjing Road with several stops along the Bund, Yuyuan GardenXintiandi, then back to Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre, a loop ride.

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.  If you prefer door-to-door Shanghai bus tour with an English speaking tour guide on board, please check out Shanghai bus tour for more travel information.

Shanghai Hop On Hop Off Bus

Shanghai Hop On Hop Off Bus

2. Ascending Jin Mao Tower
No Shanghai Tour is complete without ascending the 88-floor building and having a panoramic view of Huangpu River, the Bund and the city of Shanghai. The Jin Mao Tower is located next to Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center in the Lujiazui area of the Pudong district in Shanghai. It is composed of offices and the Shanghai Grand Hyatt Hotel. It is one of the centerpieces of the Pudong skyline.

The 88th floor is home to the Skywalk, a 1,520 m2 indoor observation deck with a capacity of over 1,000 people. It offers the panoramic views of Shanghai as well as a topside view below of the atrium of Shanghai Grand Hyatt Hotel inside Jin Mao Tower( occupying the floors from 53 to 87).

The 88-storey observation deck is open from 8:30am to 10:00pm. It’s better to have the tower tour on a bright clear day or one a fine evening. You will enjoy different views visiting Jin Mao Tower in the daytime or in the evening.  Check out How to visit Jin Mao Tower for more travel information.

Viewed from Jin Mao Tower in the evening

Viewed from Jin Mao Tower in the evening

3. Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar Shanghai
If you are not a history buff, these two connected places till remain interesting. This area is the old core city from which the metropolitan has been developed.  Yuyuan Garden was first built as a private garden created by Pan Yunduan in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). He used almost 20 years and all of his savings to construct a garden in an attempt to please his parents in their high ages.

Next to the gardens is Shanghai’s bazaar, the former old downtown area, now with a great number of small streets and lanes where vendors sell their products and food stuffs to the tourists and local people. This is a typically  “Chinese” area you can’t afford to miss. Check out Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar Shanghai for more information.

Lantern Festival at Shanghai Bazaar

Lantern Festival at Shanghai Bazaar

4. Cruise Huangpu River
Sail along the Huangpu River, view the skyline of Pudong (modern high rises ), take the awesome sight of the Bund (colonial buidlings)… These are just a few things you will do on your cruise.  Check out Huangpu River Cruise for more information.

There are several ways to tour the Huangpu River. If you have time, a 3-hour (60km) voyage along the Huangpu to the mouth of the Yangzi River and back allows for the most leisurely and complete appreciation of the river.

There are also shorter river cruises (1 hour) that tours the main waterfront area between the two suspension bridges, Yangpu Qiao in the north and Nanpu Qiao in the south.  At present, 19 cruise boats of different sizes are available cruising on Huangpu River. The largest cruise ship (Huangpu River Cruise No.01) holds as many as one thousand passengers witht he smallest boat carrying 80 people.

The cruise pier is located on Shiliupu Wharf, just south of the Bund,  No.171, Zhongshan Nan Lu, Shanghai. The embarking dock is Gate 3, Shiliupu Wharf Tourism Center. There are two embarking areas along the long Shiliupu Wharf. Either areas are all right as long as you come the right dock for your boating.
Take the subway line 2 and get off at Nanjing Dongl Lu (Nanjing East Road), then walk along the Bund to the Shiliupu Wharf.  If you have a hop on and hop off ticket, you can easily get to the wharf since the double deck bus route has a stop at Shiliupu Wharf.

Huangpu River cruise in the evening

Huangpu River cruise in the evening

5.  Shop and dine at Tianzifang Street 
Tianzifang shoulb be included on your Shanghai winter travel plan.  Tianzifang is an art, craft  and Shikumen (stone-door-frame houses) enclave developed from an old residential area of the former French concession,  a shikumen residential  built in 1930s in Shanghai. In 1980s artists, designers and vendors began to set up their studios, art galleries, craft stores, design house, cafes, bars, and restaurants  a kind of creative industry precinct in an old residential area of Shanghai.

It is a great place to shop and dine though a bit overpriced. But you do find some original gifts and souvenirs you cannot find elsewhere in Shanghai.  If you are not a big fan for shopping and eating, just concentrate on its architecture.

The most convenient way of getting to Tianzifang is taking subway line 9 and get off at the station of Dapuqiao (打浦桥) and using Exit 1  and the Taikang Road ( where the three lanes are located) is just opposite the Exit 1.  You may start your exploration of Tianzifang by entering the Taikang Road Lane 210, then duck into the Lane 248 and 274. Check out How to Visit Tianzifang for more information.

Tianzifang

Tianzifang

6. Visit Shanghai Museum
Shanghai Museum is amazing! What can be better than visiting a free museum filled with Chines relics and tangible cultures? Occupying a construction site of over 28,000 square meters, the museum has four exhibition halls holding bronze ware, calligraphy, paintings, pottery, porcelain, jade ware, stone carvings, Jiaguwen imperial seals and more.

Many exhibitions from the Shanghai Museum have been put on show to Hong Kong, Japan and America and other countries. These shows include the Bronzeware Exhibition of the Shanghai Museum, Exhibition of Chinese Art in Six Thousand Years, Porcelain Exhibition of the Shanghai Museum, Exhibition of Calligraphy of the Ming and Qing Dynasty, Exhibition of Works by the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, Exhibition of Studies of Scholars in the late Ming Dynasty and etc.

Take subway line 2 or 8 and get get off at People’s Square and the walk to Shanghai Museum.

Shanghai Museum

Shanghai Museum

7. Stroll from West Nanjing Road to the Bund
It is a great walk from West Nanjing Road to the Bund, the sharp contrast of the modern days and the colonial era, tracing back from the present Shanghai to the old day. You may walk from Shanghai Museum (People’s Square ) to West Nanjing Road,extending to the Bund.

Nanjing Road is a walking street that is always packed with people watching other people. It is regarded as the first commercial road in Shanghai. Nanjing Road is the most bustling and prosperous street in Shanghai.

The Bund (Waitan) is one of the most noted architectural symbols of Shanghai. The word “Bund” derives from an Anglo-Indian word for an embankment along a muddy waterfront. The Bund in Shanghai was first used when the first British company opened a office there in 1846. The Bund, or the waterfront,is now surrounded by about 50 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance.

The Bund

The Bund

8. Taste the Local Shanghai Cuisines
Shanghai enjoys a good reputation in Chinese gourmet circles, boasts one of China’s most characteristic and distinctive cuisines.

During your Shanghai tour, you can appreciate the beautiful scenery and enjoy the local food culture as well. We’ve rounded up the top 10 best restaurants in Shanghai, so  get ready to have a bite! Check out the Top 10 Best Restaurants in Shanghai for more information.

Shanghai Food

Shanghai Food

9. See Acrobatic Show in Shanghai!
The Acrobatics at Shanghai are not to be missed. They are held each night and last for about 2 hours. The Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe, established in 1951 is one of the best in China. It frequently tours internationally and perform routinely at Shanghai and other cities in China. An acrobatic show has become one of the most popular evening entertainments for tourists in Shanghai. You can enjoy gravity-defying contortion,  juggling, cycling, chair-stacking, and plate-spinning acts at the following stages.

Shanghai Circus World and Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe both become the members of Shanghai Culture, Broadcast, Film and TV Group. Joining hands with media and other cultural undertakings, acrobatics has made unparalleled development. Keeping the trend in the development of acrobatics and circus both at home and abroad, Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe is striving for new and higher goals of first-class city and first-class culture. Check out Shanghai Acrobatic Show for more information.

Acrobabtic Theater in Shanghai:
Shanghai Center Theatre:
Address: No. 1376 Nanjing Road (W), Shanghai 021-62798600
Shanghai Circus World – Middle Theatre:
Add: Gonghe Xinlu 2266, Baoshan District, Shanghai 021-56656622‎

Shanghai Acrobatics

Shanghai Acrobatics

10. Leisure Excursion to Qibao Water Town
If you want to feel and have a glimpse of a traditional China old town after seeing too much glinz of the metropolitan Shanghai,  Qibao Ancient Town (七宝古镇), a tiny water town would be a nice alternative if you cannot make it to other water towns like Zhujiajiao Water Town, Zhouzhuang Water Town and Tongli Water Town.

Qibao Ancient Town is a tiny water town which is also the closest ancient town in the southwest of Shanghai. It is located south of Qingnian Road in Min-Hang District, about 15km southwest of Shanghai. Qibao literally means ” Seven Treasures” named after the same name temple -  Qibao Temple in Qibao ancient town. The old town is mainly composed of three stone arch bridges, two canals and 4 major streets and several side lanes.

Qibao Water Town is a “city within the city of Shanghai”.  You just take Shanghai subway line 9 and get off at the station of Qibao (七宝)and use the exit 2. For a short stroll,  you will get to Qibao old town. Check out How to Visit Qibao Ancient Town for more information.

Qibao Ancient Town

Qibao Ancient Town

Add-on

1. Top 10 Things to Do at Night in Shanghai 2. Top Things to Do for Kids in Shanghai
3. Top 10 Most Romantic Places in Shanghai 4. Top 10 Shanghai Museums
5. Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai 6. Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
7. Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai 8. Top 10 Shanghai Classic Vegetarian Restaurants
9. Top 10 Best Restaurants in Shanghai 10. Top 10 Shanghai Budget Hotels
11. Top 10 Shanghai Boutique Hotels 12. Top 10 Shanghai Luxury Hotels
13. Best Places to See Autumn Leaves in Shanghai