Flight Centre's Katrina Imbruglia travels to Shanghai and has some amazing experiences in this bustling city. Katrina visited the Oriental Pearl Tower, the Yu Gardens and the Old Town Eating House.
Ah, Shanghai – the vibrant junction of chaotic East and elegant West. It's a city like no other in China, and I'm dying to go back for a third visit!
I was last there in March with the brilliant On The Go Tours. Our friendly guide Richard and his knowledgeable local sidekick Jennifer gave us a great insight into what I now claim as one of my favourite cities. It was bone-chillingly cold, so here are my top three indoor must-dos for Shanghai:
Oriental Pearl Tower
It's the oddity that sets Shanghai's skyline apart from any other thriving city with its looming and very pink Oriental Pearl Tower. A super-fast lift, hosted by an immaculately dressed and very serious young woman, whisks you skywards as she recounts a long list of the building's stats and figures. The doors open on the tower's second level to a spectacular view of Shanghai, with the old and new laid out in glorious disarray. After you've had your fill of picking out landmarks, it's time to try your nerves on the “glass” floored observation deck below – it doesn't take long to get used to the feeling you're walking on air, hundreds of metres up, and I'm sure very clever Chinese engineers thoroughly deserve the faith you're putting in a couple of inches of clear Perspex and some bolts.
Old Town Eating House
After strolling through the blossom bedecked Yu Gardens in Shanghai's Old Town, you'll have worked up an appetite – bypass the hours-long queue at the dumpling house and the boiled pig's head at the takeaway counter, and lose yourself in the wildest food hall you'll ever experience. Tucked away in the maze like streets is the fluorescent-lit Old Town Eating House. It's nothing fancy, very cafeteria-like and deafeningly noisy, but the food is delicious, the choice is huge, and the prices are incredible. We piled trays high with dumplings, crispy wontons, vivid greens and quite a few mystery dishes. We were struggling to spend the equivalent of AUD$5 for our meals. It's a great way to satisfy both your curiosity about the more exotic items you'd have seen on local menus, and your hunger.
Three letters you must learn to ensure a fun night out in Shanghai – KTV! It stands for Karaoke Television, and it's completely unlike the humiliating experience of standing on a little stage in front of half-drunk strangers, mumbling your way through the high notes of the Bee Gee's “More Than a Woman”. KTV allows you and your friends to belt out your favourite tunes in the cosy privacy of your own little room, and best of all, the one we found around the corner from the Grand Hyatt Shanghai had a minimart in the foyer where we could buy all the drinks, popcorn and wasabi peas we'd need to fuel a four hour karaoke binge. The song range was extensive, if eccentric, and the fashion choices made by the local teens loitering in the corridors was endlessly amusing
Looking for more information about travelling to Shanghai, China? Contact Katrina Imbruglia, an International Travel Consultant with Flight Centre based in Stafford, Queensland who can be reached at 1300 163 757.