Elsie (age 20), her sister Becky (15), and their parents Paul and
Susanne Mort. Becky is currently a student at Yew Chung International School of Beijing.
I (Elsie) visited Shanghai with my family during the October holiday. On Tripadvisor.com, we discovered a highly-recommended tour service called Newman Tours (www.newmantours.com). After arranging several tours online, we flew with China Eastern Airlines from Beijing to Shanghai. We stayed in two different hotels: the magnificent Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund (based on Tripadvisor recommendations) and the Crowne Plaza Shanghai.
My dad met up with us after a business trip to New Zealand, so only three plane tickets were purchased from Beijing. Roundtrip airfare (for three) cost RMB 5,800 in total. For the first two nights, we stayed at the Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund and booked two rooms at RMB 2,622 each. The next two nights were spent at the Crowne Plaza Shanghai (again, with two rooms) at a cost of RMB 1,438 per room. We took a series of tours with Newman Tours: Two half-day tours cost RMB 720 each, and a whole-day excursion to Suzhou was RMB 4,120.
The Best Part
The Shanghai museum was the highlight of our adventure. The tour reviewed several thousand years of Chinese history, myths, and legends through a selection of artifacts. Our tour guide was well-versed in lore and used an iPad with pictures and diagrams to help illustrate the colorful history of objects, including a teapot said to be owned by the most beautiful woman in history and a statue of a goddess with a moustache!
The Worst Part
The tour of the Bund was hot and crowded. Because it was Golden Week, the city was packed. I ended up getting terribly sunburnt and Becky (who was recovering from a cold) had trouble keeping up with the unrelenting pressure of the schedule.
On our last night in Shanghai, we met with one of my dad’s co-workers for dinner at Monty’s Steakhouse (www.montysteakhouse.com). Not only was the food superb, but we virtually had the restaurant to ourselves. We were even entertained by a live band as we ate!
The activities we did on our trip would be more meaningful for older children. However, our tour guide spoke English and assured us that private tours can be customized to suit any age. Also, the Hotel Indigo featured cozy movie pods which can be booked for watching films with the entire family.
Visit Shanghai during the off season; you’ll be able to appreciate the city on a more intimate level.
Don’t overload your schedule. Allow yourself some time to explore the city and take in its beauty at leisure.
Bring sunscreen if you have fair skin! Shanghai has much clearer skies and cleaner air than Beijing, which also means more sun.
Eat before the plane ride. The food on the plane was not to be trusted.
photo by the Mort family