Welcome to this page

Welcome to my blog!
I am sharing stories of my trips and providing some tips in case you also want to travel.
This is also a photo blog, so I hope you like the candid photos I have taken from different places!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

- CB (freezymenthol)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Weekend in Shanghai, China

Weekend in Shanghai, China

Pudong Skyline at Night
Pudong Skyline at daytime

Being Formula 1 Fanatics, our main intention of going to Shanghai was just really to watch the UBS Formula 1 Grand Prix, so when we had an opportunity to book a seat sale in Cebu Pacific, we did.

But our other family members decided to tag along (my mom and my aunt), so what was supposedly a pure F1 experience became a weekend getaway in Shanghai, China

Pre- trip Requirements

If you are a Filipino citizen, you are required to have a Chinese Tourist Visa. You can check the Chinese Embassy's website (http://ph.china-embassy.org/eng/) for the most updated requirements.  It is best that I reference the website rather than posting the requirement since they may change or update from time to time.

We submitted our requirements a month before our trip and got our visa's pretty quick.  We were a bit nervous during that time since we've heard that the Chinese Embassy is very strict in reviewing financial documents, but fortunately we got our one-time entry tourist visa valid for 9 days.

Also, during that time, there was some news about a new strain of bird flu virus so we decided to get a flu shot a day before our trip.

As we arrive...

We arrived in Pudong International Airport around Friday pass midnight and the train and bus services are already closed so we took a cab going to our hotel.  Good thing the airport foreign exchange kiosks allow Peso to RMB exchanges.  

Tip:  Always have your hotel address written in simplified Chinese so that the taxi drivers would understand where you would need to go.

Arrived pass midnight in Shanghai

Pudong International Airport is about an hour and a half drive to Shanghai via an express way so it's pretty far.  

Tip:  Make sure you allot enough travel time to and from the airport because it is far from the city center.

We arrived at the hotel around 2:00 am and we checked in at Hotel Ibis Yu Garden.  The Hotel was situated across a tourist spot which is Yu Garden beside City God Temple in downtown Shanghai, so Hop on Hop off double decker buses were very accessible (more on than later).  The hotel has a nice view of the Pudong Skyline as well.  For more details on Hotel Ibis Yu Garden, you can visit this website (http://www.ibis.com/gb/hotel-8010-ibis-shanghai-yu-garden/index.shtml)

Hotel Ibis, where we stayed
My mom at Hotel Ibis.  Weather was about 14 deg. Celcius
View at our hotel room in Hotel Ibis Yu Garden.
At the hotel loft.  You can see Yu Garden at the back at the Pudong Skyline
Pudong Skyline and Yu Garden from our hotel loft
Nice view of Shanghai from our hotel

Day 1 - Formula 1 Race

The following morning we prepped up to watch Formula 1 in Shanghai International Circuit.  The circuit is located in the outskirts of the city and took us about an hour and a half to get there.  We spent the whole day watching the race and visiting the F1 village.  Surprisingly, my mom and our aunt liked the experience and were immediately fans of F1.  So basically that was our entire day (Friday). 

Lunch at the F1 Village.
In front of the Shanghai International Circuit Grandstand

Team Red Bull Racing and Vettel's Garage
View of the Grandstand
Vodefone McLaren Team
Ferrari Team
F1 fans waiting for the race to start
Close up shot of Team Lotus Racing Car at Turn 6
Strolling around the circuit park
F1 Car on display at F1 Village
Car on display at F1 village
Pirelli Display Car

Day 2 - City Tour on Bus

The best way really to discover the city is to ride a "Hop-off Hop-On" Bus and as mentioned, there's a stop right across Hotel Ibis.  

Tip:  The best way to tour Shanghai in 2-hours is via a Hop on Hop off Bus.  Here's a website were you can do further research (http://www.shanghaitours.org/?event=offer.detail&offerId=13264). No need to book a ticket online, you just to know a bus stop and just ride.  

Some buildings along the city tour
Familiar brand
Another building during the city tour
During the city tour

The one we rode costs RMB20.  In about an hour or two, we got to see the famous tourist attractions like the Bund.  We finished the whole loop and then we decided were to alight or "hop-off" on the second loop.  So we dropped at 2 stops:  Nanjing Road and The Bund.

Nanjing Road is the main shopping district of Shanghai wit a lot of local and foreign brands to choose from.  The prices are very reasonable, a bit cheaper compared to the Manila.  So of course, we all shopped at Uniqlo, Giordano and Forever 21 (the usual brands) and got good deals.

Nanjing Road - first stop, Apple Store
See a familiar brand?
Nanjing Road
Nanjing Road
Nanjing Road
Another familiar brand
Apple store in Shanghai

Nanjing Road at Night
Nanjing Road at Night

Then we also stopped at the Bund and took photos of the beautiful skyline.  Then we decided to take the Huang Po River Cruise at night.  This was one of the highlights of our trip as we were able to see the two sides of the river bold old (The Bund) and new (Pudong Skyline).

The Bund
The Bund
Pudong Skyline
Pudong Skyline

River cruise - view of Pudong Skyline
River cruise - view of Pudong Skyline
River Cruise - view of the Bund
River cruise - view of the Bund
River cruise - view of the Bund
Pearl TV Tower

Day 3 - Last Minute Shopping

Before checking out, we decided to stop by God City Temple and Yu Garden which were the 2 famous tourist attractions right across our hotel and bought souvenirs.  We bought some magnets and keychains for our friends, I bought a small replica of the Pearl TV Tower as well as whole set of Terracotta Warriors. 
Yu Garden
Yu Garden
City God Temple

City God Temple
City God Temple
City God Temple

Yu Garden

Tip:  When you haggle, make sure you buy the item.  Chinese sellers don't take it graciously when you haggle then you leave not buying the item.

Overall, our trip to Shanghai was very short but were able to see the famous attractions.  As I've said our only intention was really to watch the Formula 1 race but decided to also check out the sights in Shanghai.

Will I come back?  Definitely!  I plan to watch Acrobatic shows and again Formula 1 race next year!!!