Event 24/27 in Seoul: Travelling in Shanghai

Here I describe my short stay in Shanghai at the end of my studies abroad in Korea. The preparation for it can be read here.

To my advantage, a fellow student from my home university did his exchange program at the same time like me, but in China. We agreed to meet in Shanghai and I was lucky having his expertise on our journey (which was not the case for the followed up trip to Tokyo).

Day 0 – Departure from Seoul and arrival in Shanghai

Airport Incheon and flight

It took me about two hours by train from KU to Incheon Airport and I paid about 3000 WON for it. Fortunately, my flight was in the noon, so I didn't had to get up too early and still had time left when I arrived at the airport.
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I flew with spring lines, a cheap carrier, which had three seats on each side of the row.

Arrival at Pudong airport

Due to an one-hour time difference, it was already evening when I arrived at the Pudong airport. As I didn’t have a paid regular visa, but wanted to travel further to Japan within the next days, I went to the gate for the “144 hours passengers”, which was quite fortunate as there were only four other passengers before and after me on this line; however, an old couple right in front of me got some problems because they visited Turkey in the past. I couldn’t figure out the exact issue, but concluded that it might make sense to check your travel history online whether there could be constellations that hinder your entry to a country, just like the common known Iran-Israel-visa-problem.

On my turn, they wanted to know where I’m going to stay during my short visit. I gave them the hotel’s name, but it seemed to me they couldn’t locate it. I showed them that my friend has written the address, and after they discussed with each other they finally agreed to let me in. Memo to myself: the next time I make sure to have an official printed document of my stay.

Once I got in, I found my friend and we took the metro to arrive at our hotel. The hotel has to register any foreigners and inform the police. While I was again not sure if they really did that, I didn’t encounter any problems as I left China, so somehow it must have worked.

Quite comfortable and a fair price at the JI Hotel. I recommend it.

Day 1 – Way to the Oriental Pearl Tower

Groceries, restaurant and traditional buildings

We began our day by walking to a Carrefour a few blocks away so I could get contact lenses solution again, but unfortunately they hadn’t any in their assortment. Apart from that, the typical Carrefour mall seems to be no different from the European counterparts, and it’s hard to communicate in English. We left with a few groceries to go to an at least middle class restaurant.

At this restaurant, you ordered your meal via tablet. It had a great variety of dishes that you could combine.
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View over the Huangpu river

On our way to the financial district, we had to cross the Huangpu river seperating it from the center of the city. The following gallery contains mainly images of the views.

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Another picture of a group of people.

And their great leader.

Entrance to the Oriental Pearl Tower

We went inside the Bund tunnel that connects both areas. Inside the tunnel, you enter a closed platform that moves towards the other end and lights inside the tunnel create nice effects. Below this gallery you can find a video about it.
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As described in the first picture inside the gallery, the Bund tunnel is a seperate attraction.

And here a much better picture of this famous roundabout.

By Tauno Tõhk, via flickr.com

Well, if I took a look at the next picture I question myself why I even tried making photos as these can’t compare in anyway to them. But at least it works as a proof that these buildings are as awesome and real as shown by much better ones.

Roundabout near the Shanghai Pearl TV tower – By Jaybee Bondoc, via flickr.com

View from the tower

First, a few more pictures, unfortunately mainly through glass. But I think I should have captured nearly all of these, just like the Shanghai World Financial Center, and all these hundreds of thousands of people.

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And some of these towers are changing their lights, like this one:

Movie of future Shanghai

Now it got really exciting. Once you want to leave the observation deck you come into a room showing a video of an imaginary future Shanghai.

I was really amazed and happy about what I’ve seen. When you reach the end of the show, you can also take a look this cool wall.

Last pictures on the way back

After the room pictured above, you reach one level down where it will take another while to really be able to exit the tower. While you’re standing in another queue, you can take pictures from a hole right above your head. If you hold your phone into it, the images then are not blurred by glass.

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When we came back through the tunnel, I had the chance to take the last pictures of the day.

And this time with people in front of all these towers.

Day 2 – Images from the soil

Way to the financial district again

On the next day we went to the mall again to get some breakfast – at Johnny Moo.

Interior of the restaurant. The staff speaks English and the overall atmosphere was pleasant and cozy.
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More on the background of the sculpture can be read in this wiki-article. The Shanghai marriage market is explained here.

Lujiazui Central Green Space

Finally, we arrived at the Lujiazui Central Greenland, described by some raters on tripadvisor as an oasis among skyscrapers in all directions. I only took few images – but found a good impression video on Youtube.

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Pictures in the night

As it became already evening, we managed to get to the roundabout where I made the following phone camera video.

The last gallery consists mainly of pictures in the night. The last of them were taken from a ferry.

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And, finally, a short phone video from this ferry.

Day 3 – Back to airport

The last day was quite rainy and after the long walks the days before some rest came at the right moment. On my way back I went to the Longyang Road Subway Station and used the Transrapid to Pudong airport for 50 yuan. The trip didn’t last 10 minutes and the maglev reached its peak with over 300 km/h. Here’s a video (not by me):

Miscellaneous

In this short time, I experienced the following:

  • There are many services on the internet (like Google and Facebook) unavailable, but you can use VPN tunnels to reach them. I used my university VPN and it worked quite well.
  • On the other hand, Bing (Microsoft) works very fast, so you can try to go along with it, and it’s much faster by direct access rather than using a VPN tunnel.
  • Just like in Seoul, the public transportation in Shanghai works well, and while I haven’t paid to much attention on the prices, I got the feeling it’s also quite cheap. You can use pre-paid cards or pay for each ticket, just like in Seoul. If you’re staying a few days, it might be appropriate to use the card rather than single tickets.

Summary

In retrospective, the trip to Shanghai was a very valuable experience as I not only often felt astonished by the skyscrapers and the technological stuff, yet I’ve also seen so many people that work and live in this metropolis just like in other parts of the world, despite partially significant political issues. To my surprise, in these three days I’ve seen only one Mao sculpture and nearly no hanging flags – in contrast to Seoul where I’ve seen banners everytime I went out. Overall, my impression is that if you can arrange with the system, you can live a good life, especially if you enter as a foreigner.

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