This is a continuation from my first post on our Shanghai Travelogue 2013.
I wanted this trip to be about memories and getting immersed into (more) Chinese culture and language, rather than ticking off items on a tourist list, so instead of planning a full itinerary, I read up on places to go and sought some advice from our friends who live in Shanghai, and had a list of all be information handy of the places we could go and do. It might not have been the most efficient in squeezing out every single minute from our days, but I liked having some flexibility and spontaneity, especially given the unpredictability of the haze and cold weather conditions.
Here are a few sites which I found extremely useful:
- China Highlights’ How To Plan A Day Trip to Shanghai – a very useful page, it lists activities specific to children as well as gives a gauge on how much time you’ll need at each spot.
- Top Activity for Kids in Shanghai
- Shanghai: 48 Hours With Kids – this article is from 2009 (and so much has changed since then!) but still a good read.
We stayed at the Ascott Huai Hai Shanghai which is just along 新天地, but we didn’t have any time to walk around, I wasn’t keen on window shopping anyway, and it was too cold to be walking around! The rooms are extremely comfortable, and when you have young kids like I do, you’ll love having a washing machine (washer and dryer integrated!). I didn’t have to bring too many clothes, and I could wash the clothes at night and by morning we’d have clean clothes to wear. I love having clean clothes, I’m OCD that way!
Side note: We had a little incident on the plane, and I knew that the airplane seats are merely Velcro-ed on, so I wasn’t embarrassed to ask them to change the seat for me. They just ripped the entire seat off, dumped it into a special bag, and fitted in a new seat. Viola! They even offered hot towels for me to help clean up the boy. And of course I was so happy to be able to dump them into the wash when we got to our room.
Arrive into Shanghai at 10pm, wait for the plane to taxi for what felt like forever (were we driving to Hangzhou or what?), then waited ages for the luggage. We only left the airport at 11pm.
Since we only crawled into bed way past the boys’ bedtime the night before, we barely woke up in time for brekkie, hung out to enjoy the room for a short while before it was time for lunch at Mr and Mrs Bund, where they have wonderful value lunches and lovely views of the Bund. If only it wasn’t too hazy. They don’t have a kids menu, but we were able to find something that pleased everyone.
We headed across the river to run an errand then decided to go to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum since we wanted something indoors. We arrived here at 4pm (they were closing at 5), but we quite liked the little that we saw of it. We’re not much of fans of the Singapore Science Centre, and we think this Shanghai counterpart of sorts is worth going if you have the time although probably not a must-see in Shanghai. I’d also have liked to have gone to the Shanghai Museum and the Shanghai Natural History museum, especially since there are dinosaurs native to China, so perhaps next time.
We had dinner at Lost Heaven, a Yunnan restaurant, then we headed to our friends place where the boys were only too happy to play and we had some time to catch up.
Lunch at 大蕫Dadong, a modern, artsy Beijing duck restaurant, they have some very interesting dishes, both taste and presentation wise.
After lunch we head to 泰康路, which is an old area of Shanghai turned artsy. Not particularly interesting for kids. It was around 1°C and we were all pretty miserable so the boys headed to our friends’ place to play for a while, while the ladies went to the 豫园 Yu Yuan Gardens area to shop. I bought some tea (mostly as souvenirs), and some snacks to give away, as well as CNY or Racial Harmony day outfits, or whenever they’ll come in handy. We’ve been here before to eat the soup buns so we skipped that this time, otherwise I think it’s worth a trip for kids. There is a wholesale market just outside the Gardens selling all kinds of household stuff but they were closed possibly due to the winter solstice celebrations.
Dinner was at a local hairy crab restaurant, by which I mean almost every single dish had crabs in it, cooked different ways, and thankfully we didn’t have to do any of the peeling ourselves! Thankfully the boys also loved it, especially the roe!
Lunch at 鲜墙房 Xian Qiang Fang, a large and quaint Shanghainese restaurant. Apparently they have traditional performances at night, which should be pretty fascinating!
After lunch we squeezed in a massage while the boys played with the other kids (again), and then headed back to our apartment to check out before meeting our friends at 老上海弄堂 for dinner. Then we reluctantly left for the airport for our flight at midnight to go back home.
We really enjoyed our time here although it’s unlikely we’d bring the kids again when it’s this cold because it’s not an easy task getting them suited up and then convincing them that they need to wear ten layers (ok I exaggerate but it sure feels like ten!). Personally I don’t like having to feel like I have to wear a spacesuit all the time. I think that there is plenty for kids to do here, but we also made an effort not to drag them along to any markets or shopping areas. If I’d had the time I would have gone to one or two other markets, few museums and temples.
These attractions were on my possible To-do list, which I shall have to save for next time!
Shanghai Sculpture Square
Shanghai Natural History Museum
Oriental Pearl TV tower (and in the vicinity is the insect kingdom and ocean aquarium, from there you can walk across to the IFC mall)
Night cruise along the Bund