a book tells how modern Shanghai was shaped
A book tells how modern Shanghai was shaped, “The Last Kings of Shanghai”, has been one of my readings in the lockdown. How it was shaped? probably many different explanations on how and by whom, we wouldn’t find any answers boring anyway.
This book is more than just entertaining. Through rich investigation, the author tells the story how two Jewish families the Sassons and the Kadoories (Kelly) transformed Shanghai into an international cosmopolitan before mid 20th century. buzzling with glamour. With ‘go get’ attitude, the Sassons and the Kadoories pioneered the foreigners in their era to bring industrious mentality into the city. If you are fascinated by the dynamic culture uniquely in Shanghai, or why it’s named as the capital of “international architecture”, or just interested in those buildings on the Bund. The book presents intriguing picture how the city was initially formed by location and how it’s shaped with the influencers then. Not surprisingly Shanghai is the most pro western city in China. Half a century later, still plenty of literatures and films dotted the fondness for that period, such as the book Peace Hotel (aka Cathay Hotel ).
Interesting books take us afar and away. Back to the reality, whilst we are still adjusting limited travelling for the time being, for the remaining half of year 2020, I feel this book gives me the comfort in my ‘comfort zone’!
What’s the fun in those fine days!
Always get prepared before your planning and travelling, so much to do!
How we enjoyed this quiet time at Shanghai
How did we enjoy this quiet time at Shanghai? It’s been a couple of months since the outbreak of coronavirus. We’ve been staying in and keeping outdoor venturing minimum, building up the inner zen …
Still, having fun: how to pass the time during the time of ‘staying in’ all that long, especially not by choice! Exercising at home, making spaces at living rooms, getting used to stretch out any time if feels like; friends try to perfect the culinary skills, no fear with heat in the kitchen… It will be an epic winter in the memory.
Shopping apps are the nearest and dearest for the restrained lazy toes, instructions on how to make the use of Hema, DingDong（叮咚买菜）, not to forget TaoBao, and, JingDong… Those delivery guys are the heroes.
Like entering uncharted territory, will life or the way of living quite the same or different in Shanghai from now on? Oh, perhaps… wait and hope, as Dumas cheered.
Get ready when it’s all over..
Our blog image overlooks NanPu Bridge at Power Station of Art, we’ll make a “splash” on it in blog in the near future.
Favourite Local Breakfast in Shanghai
Did you know the favourite local breakfast in Shanghai? Too many choices as it appears. There’re fritters (油条), you have them with porridge; or wan ton (dumplings); or savoury pastries… just follow the locals, check out the queue they are in. I have discovered the best fried dumplings in town, Yang’s Fried Dumpling, I have been there backwards and forwards several times during this time, with the easy access transport. Today, it’s the ‘chive egg pancake’ at the same street, Huang He Road (one of the many foodie street areas), shown in our blog image Old Shanghai Pancakes, one of the favourite local breakfast, only a few yards from the celebrated Jia Jia Dumpling, oh the long queue once you get there, worth the waiting, promise …
Read more our blog on local food
Did you know the Chinese National Day
Did you know 1st Oct is the Chinese National Day? It’s been 70 years, the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China. Celebration are in full swing, major cities like Shanghai obviously Is a cool show piece, whilst the rest of world has been through tear and wear, such as financial crisis, conflicts of political ideology, drama of Brexit and etc, China has been unstoppable rising to a formidable superpower. Credit should be given when it’s due.
Bund (wai tan) is a must to visit for the locals and visitors, you’d be lucky to get through during the main festival time, like in National Day. Police closely watch over, one of the main reasons is to keep the crowds in order, this is to respond the tragic accident a few years ago, when 39 people died due to the traffic chaos.
It was great fun to get to the point, when you seet the east side of Shanghai in the front, after wiggling through pedestrian area at Nan Jing Road, we took a photo shot at that famous view, as we have done many times, still not bored. Our Bund walk was not shaken by the typhoon this time.
Check on our blog wai tan
Shanghai Night we took this video at La Terrazza at Bulgari Hotel Shanghai.
Share your thoughts and tips and experience in Shanghai.
How to get ready for summer at Shanghai
How to get ready for summer at Shanghai? We are nearly half way through the year. Summer is calling, isn’t it great to indulge oneself with ice old long drinks under the shades and watch the world goes by… get ready for those hot days!
If you plan to have a week there, we reckon it’s worth having a general plan about what to do, but just go with flow on the rest. It’s a fast paced city, always plenty going on, new sites/ new exhibitions / new gigs etc / new food trends … We have a list for someone who is only going to be there for a week.
- Yu Garden / Xin Tian Di… the former one is old town, where you see the original Oriental architecture, delicious traditional food. Check on our blog; the later one is a revamped residential area, lots of fun places for eating out, shopping, historic sites etc, our blog. These two areas are close by.
- Wai Tan / Pu Dong… you wouldn’t miss Wai Tan (Bund: riverbank) We recommend have an early start on the day, watching the locals enjoying the early morning there, or, becoming part of the evening glamour when you visit in the evening. Standing at Bund, you can see Pu Dong across the river, we also have blog on the best view.
- Shopping / East Bund… don’t miss out the fun of shopping. It is quite expensive to shop the brand goods, you can go shopping for tailor made clothing. We have checked out the place, it is great if you stay there at least a few days, allow the time for fitting etc. Check on our blog. Afterwards, take a stroll on the new development of East Bund.
- Old French Concession… there’re lots going on in this place, it is indeed our favourite place to walk in the town. Check on our blog We recommend visiting Propaganda Poster Art Centre, unusual experience.
- Zhu Jia Jiao / Hang Zhou … one of those days, you may want to venture out Shanghai, have a look the other cities, for example Hang Zhou, which is just two hours away by train. Our image is the sunset shot on Hang Zhou Bay Crossing Bridge. It’s a city where the one of the most successful enterprises in the World Alibaba based. Or, just take a short journey to one of the water towns, such as Zhu Jia Jiao, Read more on our blog
Want more FUN!.
What’s about Propaganda Poster Art Centre
How to make the best shopping in Shanghai
How to make the best shopping in Shanghai, it’s not a funny question. We all know how much Shanghai has changed over the past 30 years, this means that we have to alter our mindset, which may expect that the prices of goods are still cheap. Plenty of shinning shopping malls sell the same or similar products at the same or similar prices just like we see at home. We assume that you want get something local, you want get bargain still. If that’s your thoughts, you still have plenty of choices.
First, we recommend the South Bund Fabric Market we mentioned it in our previous blog, we’ve been there a couple of times, looking for the materials for our fashion up-to-date and some traditional outfits. It’s a place worthy visiting, fairly easy to get there too (a short walk after getting off Metro line 10), four floors of stalls for you to browse or decision making. Different fabrics are available from all seasons. Before we went there previously, we took some magazine images with us to show the in-store tailors, we discussed with them what we want, we wanted something based on the images with own “creativity”. It’s a pretty quick turn out, we went back once to try the fittings, the third time we went was to collect. Overall, the prices we paid for tailor to made are fraction of some brands. Some ready clothes are available too, you certainly can ask the stall owners.
Not only just fabric for clothes, you can also find accessories or linens, we find some handcrafted items too. It seems that the displays changes over the time.
As long as you organise ahead, go there with open mind, it’s unlikely you will waste your journey.
How to enjoy the rest Summer in Shanghai
How to enjoy the rest Summer in Shanghai? Plum Rain season ends, we see off the downpour and lightening, we are entering another hot month next, blistering hot days with high humidity (大伏天), a couple of tips from us to keep your research brief.
We recommend to download Shanghai WOW on the phone, for anything trendy hot and smart, from food, eating out, fun, spa, hotels and so on. But, if you fancy something tweaked by your home folk, who knows Shanghai like his palm, who knows more than where to eat, how to haggle, which gig to go, etc, you maybe check on TimeOutShanghai regularly to get insightful updates.
Viator has added quite a few trips and tours, such as fancy ethnic dinning style on the evening river cruise “Dinning Experience”, it can be a highlight for the trip. Or, some day trips outside Shanghai, apart from Su Zhou, or, nearby Zhu Jia Jiao (see our blog), how about day trip to Beijing exploring the Great Wall, you can even go further, see your options.
Experience your local life. Locals are keen to practice English, you will not be short of conversations with strangers. Common sense prevails if anything too good. Transport is usually super duper with metro, bus lines, mobile app friendly taxi service DiDi (Chinese equivalent to Uber), you probably have to fine tune the search engine.
If you need stay in touch with your acquaintances, or, stay tuned, download WeChat, it can make your life seriously easier.
If you enjoy our tips above, read more on hot summer in Shanghai, or one day in Shanghai. If you want to share any info, we’d love to hear from you, drop us a note on Contact page.
Have fun in Shanghai!
How to get ready for summer in Shanghai
How to get ready for summer in Shanghai? Wow, is summer actually a festival? Why get ready? Pretty simple, it’s noisy, busy and no need to stay put the humidity, get ready, so much fun in summer.
Grew up in Shanghai, I know that it’s hot in summer, and it seems the temperature in summer gets higher over the time. If you haven’t developed the resilience over the heat and humidity yet, it’ll put you in a cool state to enjoy what the heat throws. Anyway you can always resort to the indoors. Fair enough, there are TV festival then Shanghai International Film Festival in Jun. it’s suppose that the films will be interesting this year, highlighted to address the hot issue of ‘belt and road’, which the countries along the new silk road get chances to bring out their works.
At the moment, the annual Lavender Festival is in full bloom at Pu Dong, Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts zone. This festival runs till the end of June, you can make insta-friendly trips. For any sporty person, Dragon Boat Festival can entertain you mid Jun with its traditional rhythm, plus its colour vibrancy. Seasonal staple Zong Zi is already available, you can taste the traditional treat with sweet or savoury fillings.
If you feel like to venture out of downtown, Song Jiang can be an option (the previous blog mentioned “Go Chong Ming”). Rich in history, Song Jian has a lot to offer with parks, temples, cathedral, mosque, plus an English themed Thames Park, nicknamed as “Small Britain in Shanghai”. Check on Song Jiang, to see anything of your picks.
See our picks, visit China Art Museum and enjoy Huang Pu River Cruise and Shanghai Lights, if your trip is a flying visit (see our blog One Day Only).
How to get around in April Shanghai
How to get around in April Shanghai? Mirrored to the Easter, there’s Qing Ming festival in April, where the families pay tributes to their deceased members, as called “sweeping the gravestones” by the locals. Traffic tends to gridlock on the way out to the outskirt for the weekends. People enjoy the traditional dim sum “Qing Tuan” (glutinous rice dumplings).
Drizzling April has its charm and it brings the hope that Spring is on the door step. In the school, Chinese kids learn the great poem of Tao Yuan Ming, which celebrates April’s idiosyncrasy: How to get around it drizzles endless during the rainy season / travellers along the road look gloomy and miserable / when I ask where I can find a tavern / a shepherd boy points a hamlet nestling amidst apricot blossoms in distance. (translation quoted and modified from the edition of XianYi Yang & NaiDi Dai).
Outdoor and nature are the prime choice in April, an exhibition of variety of flowers in Chong Ming runs from March to July. April seems a wise choice considering the temperature at the time, Go Chong Ming Island. This weekend comes with the first practice of Chinese F1 Grand Prix at Jia Ding district. Plenty going on to suit different tastes for culture and entertaining, including a Tibetan heritage show .
For a city which strives to be the best with never ending metro lines and sky scrappers, it has come around to preserve its celebrated unique culture: alleyways and backstreets where you discover the local living, those gems hidden behind the glittering shopping malls and office buildings, will get a makeover, How exciting. We recommend the tours, for the authentic local food as well as with walk.
Expats in Shanghai form own sense of being a local, ask them where to go or what to do, follow TimeOut to check on any seasoned tips.
Read more on our Blog Best time to visit Shanghai
Read more on Alleyways will get a makeover in Shanghai
How to enjoy the water towns around Shanghai
How to enjoy the water towns around Shanghai? It’s getting warm, time to go out, go for those trips.
Why not enjoy the water towns around Shanghai – discover another piece of jigsaw in Chinese culture, delight yourself in these places.
Zhu Jia Jiao of Qin Pu is the one in our blog last year, Water Town Zhu Jia Jiao it often comes to the top of the list for its size and the distance, its history and its gardens.
Far away from the noise, water town is a symbol of the tranquil life in Southern China. In the olden days, these water towns possess rural charms, epitomised the simple lifestyle of easy living and harmony, just like the drawings affectionately done by Feng ZiKai (ZiKai Feng Paintings).
Late artist YiFei Chen put the images of the water towns in some of his masterpieces (Chen YiFei Paintings), they have drawn attention from the visitors ever since. Easy access attributed to the recent development, most of those places are not yet completely commercialised, though not everyone may be sharing this opinion. A fabulous table on China Highlights can expedite your decision making (“Water Towns Nearby Shanghai”), you can choose to suit your plan.
Image of this blog was taken from water town TongLi. Different from the much celebrated Zhou Zhuang, which frequented in YiFei’s paintings, you find Tong Li quietly situated between Shanghai and Su Zhou, make it an ideal en route to Su Zhou.
If time is precious, the nearest to Shanghai, Qi Bao can always be the option, it is still part of Shanghai, so expect the crowds.
Whether you have or have not been to the water towns nearby, we’d love to hear from you.