Archive for the ‘Shanghai Travel’ Category

How to Visit Zhujiajiao Water Town

Monday, October 8th, 2018
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Zhujiajiao Water Town. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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Plan your Shanghai tour? While fascinated by Shanghai’s  futuristic buildings and fast developments, but if you are keenly looking for something old Shanghai, a kind of the old world charming, a half day trip can bring you to the old water town of Zhujiajiao. It is located on Yangtze River, about 30km in the west of Shanghai.

It belongs to Qingpu District under the Shanghai Municipality.The villages and towns on Yangtze River Delta have long used the water and canals for irrigation and transportation.

So there are many villages and towns constructed on canal systems.  Modern transportation and infrastructure have mostly taken place of old canals, but these villages and old towns have still kept using the water system for hundreds of years.  The most famous water towns around Shanghai include Zhouzhuang Water Town and Tongli Water Town.

If you don’t have enough time to visit Zhouzhuang Water Town and Tongli Water Town that are a bit far from Shanghai, Zhujiajiao Water Town is a good substitute to immerse yourself in an old town with a history of over 1700 years. Zhujiajiao Town was once a trading hub for the surrounding countryside.

Its buildings can date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties ( 1368-1911).  In the past, goods and people were carried by small boats on the narrow canals from house to house, passing under numerous ancient stone bridges. Some of the canals and stone bridges are still used by the local people and now tourists as well.

Zhujiajiao Water Town boasts many old historical buildings and sites of historic interest, such as banks, rice shops,  spice stores and even a Qing Dynasty Post Office, Fangsheng Bridge, Kezhi Garden and the Yuanjin Buddhist Temple. The alleys in Zhujiajiao are teemed with numerous vendors selling souvenirs, snacks, and locals cuisine.

Latest Update from Phil:
One major update on the directions on how to get to Zhujiajiao. Since December 30, 2017, there is a new metro line, 17 (an extension of line 2), that has a station at Zhujiajiao. It cost me 8 RMB for the metro from Puxi to Zhujiajiao and it took about 80 minutes; only a little longer than it would by taxi, but much cheaper.

Once you get to the Zhujiajiao station, go out the exit that is the bridge over the road and take the stairs down to your right. From here you can either walk (about 1 km – 15 minutes), take a bus, or take a taxi to get to the tourist areas of town (I walked). To walk turn left at the road in front of you (Zhuxi road), then take the first major right turn (Xiangningbang Road) and then take the second MAJOR left (Xinfeng Rd).

The tourist information office is a couple hundred meters down Xinfeng road on the right. On the return to the train station, we took one of the pedicabs from Xinfeng road which was 15RMB.

This place is definitely worth a visit. It is a mini Venice with an Asian flair. The boat ride is now 80RMB for up to 6 people for a 10 – 15 minute trip. Also, there are MANY bars, restaurants, and tea shops along the river. Don’t eat before you get here.

This place is good fun!

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If you only want to spend about 1-2 hours to stroll along the old streets, see the old houses and bridges, you don’t have to pay. If you are interested in the sites of interests and historical sites, you are kindly requested to buy a thorough tickets to cover the 8 inside sites in Zhujiaojiao Water Town.

The ticketing  office ( served as Tourist Information Center as well ) just north of the KFC. Ask for an English map of Zhujiajiao from the informtion center. Many people would visit Zhujiajiao free of charge by just walking around the old town.

At the northern tip of Xinfeng Road (新风路) is a T-junction where you will see a direction sign, confused? You just turn right and start your Zhujiaojiao exploration. You may come back on the same route or have a loop tour and return on the other side.

a T-junction where you will see a diretion sign, you just turn right.

You will first come across Fangsheng Bridge, the largest 5-arch stone bridge in the Yangte River Delta. It is one of the over-30 stone bridges in Zhujiajiao. Standing on the bridge, you have a beautiful view of the surrounding waterfront houses and rowing boats.

Fangsheng Bridge, the largest 5-arch stone bridge in the Yangte River Delta

Fangsheng Bridge, the largest 5-arch stone bridge in the Yangte River Delta

Standing on the bridge, you have a beautiful view of the surrounding waterfront houses and rowing boats.

Standing on the bridge

Standing on the bridge

Walking down the Fangsheng Bridge, you turn left side to explore one of the old alleys in Zhujiajiao.

Walking down the Fangsheng Bridge

Walking down the Fangsheng Bridge

The narrow lane is rife with snack stalls and souvenirs stores.

The narrow lane is rife with snack stalls and souvernir stores.

The narrow lane is rife with snack stalls and souvenirs stores.

At the end of the narrow alley, you will see a canal flanked by two waterfront streets named the same name of  Xijing Street (西井街). Three bridges span the canal with the first bridge named, Dragon Head Bridge, Dragon Body Bridge and Dragon Tail Bridge. You walk through the Dragon Head Bridge, then walk along the other side of the street, continue to come cross the third Dragon Bridge, return on the same Xijing Bridge.

Here is the typical water town views – boats, waterfront houses, and trees, constituting an impressive scroll of Chinese traditional painting. You may take a break drinking coffee or tea in the waterfront bars.  The narrow canal is connected to the bigger canal.

The first bridge – Dragon Head Bridge ( Yong’an Bridge ) on Xijing Street.

Walk across the first bridge and stroll on the other side of Xijing Street. You will see the old water town life – rowing boats, local residents chatting,water front house and wharfs.

You may pay RMB 65 to rent a 4-6 people boat to cruise on the canals in Zhujiajiao.

You may pay RMB 65 to rent a 4-6 people boat to cruise on the canals in Zhujiajiao.

You may pay RMB 65 to rent a 4-6 people boat to cruise on the canals in Zhujiajiao.

Zhujiajiao Water Town is still inhabited by the local residents doing routine life.

Zhujiajiao Water Town is still inhabitted by the local residents doing routine life.

Zhujiajiao Water Town is still inhabited by the local residents doing routine life.

The old stone paved streets and simple stone steps used for wharfs and washing clothes and vegetables.

The old stone paved streets and simple stone steps used for wharfs

The old stone paved streets and simple stone steps used for wharfs

The second bridge Dragon Body Bridge (Zhonglong Bridge) 中龙桥

 

Enjoy boating on the canal

Enjoy boating on the canal

 

The last bridge on the canal by Xijing Street – Dragon Tail Bridge

 

The last bridge on the canal by Xijing Street - Dragon Tail Bridge

The last bridge on the canal by Xijing Street – Dragon Tail Bridge

 

This is Ao Restaurant & Bar.

This is Ao Restaurant & Bar.

This is Ao Restaurant & Bar.

 

 

 Yuanjin Buddhist Temple

Yuanjin Buddhist Temple

 

 

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 1

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 1

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 1

 

 

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 2

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 2

 

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 4

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 4

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 5

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 4

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 5

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 6

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 6

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 6

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:

Shanghai Highlight Day Tour from US$ 60
Afternoon Ambling & Evening Brilliant Cruise Day Tour from US$ 55
Shanghai Ancient Water Town Day Tour from US$ 65
Shanghai Suzhou Zhouzhuang Day Tour from US$ 95

Shanghai 2 Day Tour Package from US$ 145
Shanghai 3 Day Tour Pacakge from US$ 199
Shanghai 4 Day Tour Package from US$ 265 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attraction in Shanghai
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do at night in Shanghai
Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai

Any questions, just drop line.

The Old World Charm in Shanghai

Sunday, October 7th, 2018
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When you arrive in Pudong Airport and move further into to the city center of the megacity of Shanghai, you will be bombarded with trendy and futuristic skyscrapers  as well as amazed by the old world charms of the colonial buildings and traditional Chinese alleys and elegant architectures.

Shanghai has many superlatives which you won’t miss on your first trip to Shanghai – the fastest maglev train in the world, the tallest observation deck, the highest hotel and the list could be longer.

If you are an old world charm enthusiast, you will be definitely excited by what the fish-village-turned metropolitan Shanghai can offer.  The surviving old town area, mainly inclusive of Yuyuan Garden, Yuyuan Bazaar and Town God Temple will catch your imagination of the old world charm in Shanghai.

Though a bit gone through some gentrification, the old town area still largely keeps its old Chinese buildings,  charming private gardens, Chinese temples, street-front shops; tea house, silk, Shanghai cuisines, snacks and local products.

For more information on How to get to the Old Town in Shanghai, please check out How to Visit Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar.

If you have enough time in traveling the old world in Shanghai,  sit down in a tea house which is located in the heart of the Nine-Bend Bridge and Pond. The Nine-Bend Bridge and the Pond is the core of the bustling area of the old town. The tea house is known as “Huxinting Tea House” , literally “Mid-Lake Pavilion Tea house”.

Huxinting Tea House  is an old wooden two-story house with up-turned eaves perched on the pond.  The two flags with the big character “茶” ( Tea ) are fluttering in the wind, an old way to attract visitors to come for a sip of Chinese tea and sit above a bit distant cacophony of noise and motion.

Huxinting Teahouse perched on the pond

I walk up the ladder to the second floor and order a cup of green tea and some snacks which costs me about 10 US dollars.

You have a quite variety of tea choices with some being very expensive. So be vigilant about your tea selection.

I walk up the ladder to the second floor and order a cup of green tip of Chinese tea

Two qipao-clad Chinese girls are playing pipa, a traditional Chinese string instrument.

Two qipao-clad Chinese girls are playing pipa

Sitting leisurely and sipping Chinese tea, talking, laughing and enjoying the quietness in the middle of noise and human motion below.

Sitting leisurely and sipping Chinese tea,

You can have a better view overlooking the old world charm below with people moving against the traditional Chinese buildings, zigzag bridges, alleys and people to people watch.

You can have a better view overlooking the old world charm below

On the first floor in the teahouse, you will have an opportunity to watch people how to manually make green tea, by frying the tea on a big wok.

Watch people how to manually make green tea

Walk around the hustling area,  have a peep show accompanied by singing commentary, an old recreational performance.

A peep show accompanied by singing commentary,

Waiting in line to buy watering steamed buns with pork or other delicious fillings.

Sipping the soup in the bun by using a plastic tube.

 

A chic Starbucks housed in a traditional architecture

Planning your Shanghai tour? No matter you like it or not, a side trip to the old town in Shanghai is worth your valuable time

Tip:  Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself bus route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:

Shanghai Highlight Day Tour from US$ 65
Afternoon Ambling & Evening Brilliant Cruise Day Tour from US$ 55
Historic Shanghai and Ancient Water Town Day Tour from US$ 59
Shanghai 2 Day Tour Package from US$ 145
Shanghai 3 Day Tour package from US$ 199

Further Readings


Top 10 Attraction in Shanghai
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do at night in Shanghai
Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Shanghai on a Budget

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018
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Plan your Shanghai tour on a budget?  Each year millions of travelers and businessmen visit Shanghai,  the largest metropolitan city in China. Shanghai boasts plentiful splurge hotels and posh restaurants, local and international.

But you don’t need to break the bank  to visit this most advanced and futuristic city showcasing the fast development in the contemporary China .  The 10 steps and tips will help  you arrange your Shanghai trip on a budget without forgoing your enjoyment.

Shanghai Skyline

Shanghai Skyline

 1. Travel out of season
First,  you should avoid visiting  Shanghai during  China public holidays:  May 1-3 and October 1 – 8 in particular.  If possible, visit Shanghai  in shoulder or even off season when everything is cheaper – discounted accommodations, entrance fees, flights and many more.

In addition, the hordes of domestic tourist crowds are gone so you can enjoy the city peacefully without  too may other tourists jumping into your pictures. High season: April, May, September and October; Shoulder season: March, June, July, August and November; Low season: December, January and February.

2. Shanghai airport or rail transfer by metro
Shanghai has the highest taxi fares in China. When you arrive at Shanghai by air or rail, basically you should forgo taking taxis except something emergent or you cannot roll your luggage.

The two Shanghai airports – Pudong Airport and Hongqiao Airport are both linked by the same metro line 2 which brings you to the center of Shanghai with the important metro stations of People’s Square and Nanjing Road.

Shanghai Pudong Airport also has the fastest train –Shanghai Maglev in the world. Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station is accessible by metro line 2; Shanghai Railway Station by metro line 1 and Shanghai South Railway Station by metro line 1.

3. Looking for cheap hotels
Though it is rife with luxury hotels,  Shanghai is also a purse-friendly city opening its arms for all with large choices of budget hotels and hostels.  You can easily find a cozy hotel  on your budget.

First you should decide where to stay in Shanghai and then search for an ideal hotel on your desired area without footing the costly bill.  Check Top 10 Shanghai Budget Hotels for more information.

4. Make a beeline for Shanghai’s abundant free sites and attractions.
Many of the must see attractions in Shanghai are free of charge including the Bund, Pudong New Area,  Nanjing Road,  People’s Square, Shanghai Museums, Tianzifang, Xintiandi, etc.  Just a note,  most of the museums in Shanghai are free  for entry as well as many city parks.

Check the Top 10 Shanghai Attractions and Top 10 Most Romantic Places in Shanghai.

5. Tour Shanghai by Metro
As you know, Shanghai has the highest taxi fares in China, plus the possible traffic congestion, in most occasions,  you should just avoid using them except that you cannot manage your large pieces of luggage on your way to your hotel or airport.

All almost all the important attractions in Shanghai can be accessed by metro lines.  Spend a few minutes studying the metro map of Shanghai for a clear direction of your destinations.  See Visit Zhujiajiao Water Town by metro; Visit Qibao Water Town by metro;  Visit Tianzifang by metro and Visit Xintiandi by metro.

6. Take part in the local group tours or Hop on hop off Buses
Apart from using the convenient metro system in Shanghai for city sightseeing,  joining in a Shanghai bus tour can also be money-saving and more sociable, a good way of traveling Shanghai: picked from and returned  your lodging hotel.

The hop on hop off double decker Buses in Shanghai are also a perfect choice for your sightseeing in Shanghai – Booked through your hotel for a joyful Shanghai day tour.

7. Eating out Cheap
Yes, as an international metropolitan city,  Shanghai provides many sorts of cuisines from all parts of  the world with countless posh restaurants. But this doesn’t put you off eating right and affordably at local restaurants. Breakfasts usually are covered by your hotel package.

Suggest you have a fast food lunch while dinner at a clean restaurant.  You may spoil yourself  occasionally by eating at an upscale or nice restaurant.  See Shanghai top 1o best restaurants and Shanghai top 10 vegetarian restaurants.

8. Bargain shopping
Shanghai is a shopping paradise, with countless bustling commercial streets and shopping centers beckoning the visitors. Shopping malls in Shanghai are most fashionable inside country as Shanghai is the window of modern China.

Most of the shopping malls are located in busy commercial centers. Window shopping is a fun even if you don’t  like to do shopping in these expensive shopping malls.  Going to a local market can be an interesting experience.  See Shanghai top 10 markets and Shanghai top 10 shopping malls.

9.  Splurge occasionally
Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean you should not splurge on food, an high-priced attraction or shopping occasionally and forgo everything expensive Shanghai has to  offer: at least one dinner at a posh restaurant; ascending the Jinmao Tower for a panoramic view of Shanghai and buying a Shanghai souvenir.

10. Tourist Scams
When you are traveling in Shanghai and planning your city trip on a budget,  you must be vigilant on possible tourist scams which may happen to you.

The tourist scams in Shanghai are more or less than the same as those in Beijing,  see ” Top 10 Beijing Tourist Scams” for your reference. If you are a victim, just keep calm and contact the police immediately.

Tip:  Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself bus route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:

Shanghai Highlight Day Tour from US$ 65
Afternoon Ambling & Evening Brilliant Cruise Day Tour from US$ 55
Historic Shanghai and Ancient Water Town Day Tour from US$ 59
Shanghai 2 Day Tour Package from US$ 145
Shanghai 3 Day Tour Pacakge from US$ 199

Further Readings


Top 10 Attraction in Shanghai
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do at night in Shanghai
Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai