The final stretch of our CEO George’s 12-day tour of China, as the group visits Three Gorges Dam before taking on one of the world’s brightest cities – Shanghai
Days 9-12 – Shanghai
The boat docked at Yichang where the group was met by a coach that would take them to view the Three Gorges Dam, though some unfortunate mist did preclude this detour. And so it was straight on to the afternoon as the group boarded an internal flight to Shangha, taking roughly an hour.
“On arrival in Shanghai we were collected by Sherry, our guide, and taken to the hotel ‘Sunrise On The Bund’,” explains George. “This was a fantastic hotel, amazing rooms and bathrooms, and definitely 5-star.”
The only downside is one is obliged to buy a swim cap from the hotel in order to use the pool. Whilst not the most curious stance on hygiene, it is perhaps a personal preference for which a luxury hotel should not have to charge. Nevertheless the hotel is wonderfully located. The Bund is Shanghai’s central waterfront area. Very popular and very fashionable, it makes up a chunk of Shanghai’s financial district.
That evening the group ventured deep into the world of Shanghai chic with a visit to Xintiandi (‘New Heaven and Earth’), a pedestrianised area set aback from the river just west of The Bund. The atmosphere was electric with bars, restaurants and a vivid nightlife.
“We had a fabulous Vietnamese meal at a restaurant called ‘Aniseed’. The whole area was buzzing. I loved it!”
Day 10 took in the Shanghai museum, a stroll along The Bund and Nanjing Road, a pedestrianised street of designer shops and department stores. A particular highlight, however, was the Yuyuan Garden, a stunning water garden right in the city centre.
The group were recommended a restaurant – ‘Lost Heaven’ – that evening on The Bund, which by now had set the sky ablaze as reflections of coloured uplights bounced between skyscrapers’ mirrored facades. The meal was around £25 per head and its traditional and award-winning Yunnanese cuisine was more than worth it.
The penultimate day meant markets. First up was a half-day trip to Zhujiajiao, a water village in a southwestern suburb of Shanghai.
“It’s China’s version of Venice, explains George. “The market has some very interesting food stalls on the walk to the water’s edge. We took a boat along the streams before walking back through groups of craft shops and, oddly, pet shops, selling mostly turtles and birds.”
The afternoon involved a wholly different type of market – the underground market.
“There are LOTS of stalls. They sell everything. Bags, clothes, shoes, leather, silks, the works. If you’re taking a taxi, ask the driver to take you to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, and look for the subway entrance.”
So, how do you snap a bargain?
“Haggle, haggle, haggle. Most of the time we were paying between a third and half the original price.”
It was recommended the group check out ERA that evening, Shanghai’s world-renowned display of acrobatics. The show is billed as a ‘contemplation across the millennia’ – a dazzling and explosive collision of traditional Chinese acrobatic skill, honed over centuries and generations, and modern multimedia approaches to lighting and projection.
“It’s absolutely brilliant. Ticket prices are about £20-50. Our tickets were £30, reduced to £25 through our guide. We had a perfectly good view, it’s not worth paying for a more expensive seat.”
A free final day was fittingly capped with drink on the 87th floor of Shanghai’s Grand Hyatt Hotel. The ‘Cloud 9’ bar shows off Shanghai’s skyline magnificently. The lasting image of a 3,000-year-old society.
If you’d like to book a tour of China with Kenwood Travel, call one of our agents today on 0207 749 9275.
Written by Jonathan Bright