Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kota Kinabalu To Shanghai Part 1

This was not a bullet train or so I thought at that time because it kept on stopping on a few towns. The townhouses just outside of Hangzhou are so quaint looking. It looked like it was from a storybook land.



As the train approached Shanghai, the landscape of houses slowly changed to high rise condominiums as far as the eye can see.

Shanghai is the most populated city in the world. Coming from a city with a population of barely one million, it would most definitely be an eye boggling experience for me and the first of them was the taxi queue. It was so long, I could not even see the end of the line.


Outside the tall high rise buildings and cris crossing multi level highways was impressive. Our taxi driver weaved in and out of the lanes like he was chasing time. Incredibly we got to Jin Jiang Inn at Huihai road without any traffic incidents.

The room at Jin Jiang hotel was good except that it faces the main alley road and was noisy. The hotel looks new and very clean.

Diaeshe metro was a short walk away. Here i experienced what it's like to be a sardine. it was office rush hour and the trains were full.  it was not just full but very very full. We were packed so tight that if one person falls down the rest will also fall like dominoes.

We took the metro to Circus World station. Coming to China you need to know some Mandarin or else ensure you are armed with direction cards written in Chinese. I am lucky that hubby at least speaks 25% mandarin. It was useful when my navigation skill failed me.

I bought two tickets costing rmb200 each to watch ERA, a Chinese acrobatic performance. We still hadn't eaten our dinner yet so we took a walk to the nearest mall and bought some KFC ala china style. It was fast food as we were short of time with the show starting at 7:30 pm.

 The theatre was quite full with tourists from all corner. The show itself was quite good and very entertaining. We took a cab back after the show because my feet were beginning to ache. Just around the corner from our hotel was a stall selling pomengranate juice for only RMB10.00 It was sweet and very refreshing.


We took a short walk to find out what else was near our hotel and found a lot of hotpot restaurants.


We also found more night stalls selling quick snacks and we could not resist some dumplings.


The next morning I woke up a little sick but decided to hit the road anyway. We had more chinese dumplings as well as xiao long bao for breakfast. It is found almost everywhere from the streets, from small shops to big restaurants.


After breakfast, we walked down to look for the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall at People's Square where the Big Bus Station is supposed to be located. Locating the hall was not difficult. You can buy a package which includes the Big  Bus Tickets and the entrance to the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. The ticket counter is located at the front entrance of the building itself.





After we finished our tour of the building, we head out to wait for our Big Bus. Our bus was a double decker so we had a good view from the top of the bus. Inclusive with the ticket was a pair of headphones that will tell you where you are and what is the next stop.


The bus stops in many of the hot tourist spots which makes things very convenient. At each stop the bus will wait for about 5 minutes. We hopped out of the bus at the Bund to take photographs and waited for the next bus which did not take too long. 


The only thing I missed in my Shanghai tour was visiting the City God Temple Of Shanghai because I got sick and to cut out this part of our itinerary. The only thing I have is a snapshot of the temple as we go pass it on the bus.


At the end of the red line, we changed bus to get on to the green line. The green line took us to Pudong area. At the first stop near the Oriental Pearl Tower is a row of shops where we took our lunch. Yummy ramen noodles.


Using the same tour company as our Big Bus, we bought tickets for RMB150 each which includes a visit of the tower, a boat cruise and the underground bund tunnel. This time our tour guide can speak english. He has a yellow flag for us to spot him.

The tower was super cool. There is one floor where there is see thru glass floor. I could only gather enough courage to place my foot on the glass before it started to freak me out. The view from this height is absolutely amazing.


Shanghai Municipal History Museum is located in the tower's pedestal. This is something all tourists SHOULD NOT miss. The collection and details are simply impressive. I would have easily taken 2 hours just to browse through this museum but we had a cruise to catch so we rushed through all the exhibitions in under 30 minutes.



The cruise was also unforgettable. The boat turned out to be quite large. At first the crew directed most of us tourist into the lower deck. Only after the boats moved then we were allowed to go to the upper deck.






The Bund underground tunnel is nothing to shout about but the lights were interesting as I have never experience such thing before. It was a little hotter below ground so I wonder what would it be like on summer days.


We got out on the other side on Bund street and decided to walk to Nanjing Road. Apparently one of the busiest shopping streets in the whole world. We took the electric train to cut down on walking time. It only cost RMB5 per person on way. Its a faster way to see the whole street without walking. We came at night and the night scene was simply beautiful with its neon lights and large LED screens



We stopped by at China First Food Hall to have our dinner. There were many restaurant in this complex. We decided to try some china duck.



The next day I woke up too sick to do anything else so we decided to look for a clinic. We found out there was no such thing as clinic in China. They also do not prescribe anything over the counter at the pharmacies unlike what you can get back home. So it was the hospital we headed to. What a drama that turn out to be. First problem was getting me registered. It was up, down, in and out. Queue to another queue. From one counter to the other. What an experience. When we finally got to the doctor room, our doctor turn out not to be able to speak a word of English. Duh. He did not even understand the word antibiotics and that was all I wanted. Luckily he was smart enough to use a language application in his mobile phone.


One thing I noted that was very interesting about Chinese hospital was the herbal medicine counter. You have a choice to choose from herbal medicine, china patented medicine or imported medicine. Chinese patients were carrying plastic bags full of dry herbal plants as seen in the picture below.


After my ordeal at the hospital, I was too tired to do anything else so we decided to head out to Suzhou earlier than planned. We got to Hongqiao Railway Station by taxi and also had our lunch in one of the food outlets there. This station was huge, and I mean really huge. Just look at the photograph taken below. Long queue too at the ticket counter.





Bye-bye Shanghai for now and Suzhou here we come.


Kota Kinabalu to Hangzhou
Hangzhou to Shanghai Part 1
Shanghai to Suzhou Part 2
Suzhou to Shanghai Part 3