The Grand Hyatt Shanghai was my luxurious home for the first leg of my unforgettable trip to China. This hotel is truly impressive from the lobby all the way to the rooms. All the comforts and techno needs are met by very professional staff so it really is worth it to stay in this fabulous hotel.
Day 1: Touring the Old City of Shanghai
Learning about a country’s culture is my first aim in traveling and visiting old districts is the best way to see it. I love roaming around this district in Shanghai! Just look at the pictures below of this building with its awesome roof that is very distinctly Chinese. I found out that this is Yu Garden Tourist Mart and the Huxinting Tea House. The Yu Garden Pond and its garden are simply amazing! Even the lanterns adorning the walkways of the shopping stores are really cute.
I was in a gorgeous boat ride along the Huangpu River that same night and it was a sight that made me say “wow”. I really love how the light played around the buildings and how it reflected happily in the river we were cruising on. Check out a short video I took below. You can clearly see the very distinctive Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower which for some time was China’s tallest structure.
Day 2: Touring The Bund & Nanjing Road
The Bund or Wai Tan as it’s locally known , is Shanghai’s historical financial district. International banks have branches in this stretch of road which overlooks the Haungpu River. Historically, the buildings there used to be embassies of other nations so that’s where all the non-Asian architecture came from. It looks like a slice of Europe got transplanted here.
I highly recommend going to Shanghai in October as the weather was perfect for strolling. Tons of tourists were enjoying the place like I did. I read that like any other tourist area, there are unsavory people like scammers and thieves but I was thankfully spared that bad experience.
Shopping is something I enjoy everywhere and Shanghai’s Nanjing Road is perfect. And of course, when there are stores, there are fantastic restaurants and bars to go with it. We had a really nice dinner at Bund 18 and there were so many bars to choose from if you fancy a drink after dinner or stroll around The Bund at night with all the buildings lit up dramatically. Scroll through my pictures below and see some part of this amazing place.
Day 3: Beijing – China’s grand capital
We took the fast speed train to Beijing from Shanghai and stayed at the luxurious The Peninsula Beijing. The same with all the Peninsula hotels worldwide, this branch is ultra-extravagant and well worth its five star ranking.
Beijing is, of course, China’s center of politics, economics and culture. The capital has a history that stretched for over 3,000 years. You can see their history is when you see the old structures like the Great Wall. Remember that it was built long before some countries where founded.
One experience I would forever remember is enjoying eating street food like small crabs on HouHai Bar Street which are surprisingly really good. First time visitors should really try these. I also admired all the people painting art on this street and really wish I could also paint them too.
Day 4: 1 day Tour of Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum, Tiananmen Square – Forbidden City, The Great Wall
A vist to the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao Zedong
There was a long line of people who still want to visit the mausoleum of their former leader, Chairman Mao Zedong. We did not line up so we were unable to see the grave itself but you can see from the pictures below how long the line was. He was really a very influential part of their most recent history as their Chairman from 1945 to his death in 1976. The Chairman was a very good ruler and one who had been part of their lives for so long.
Another must see in China is a visit to the Forbidden City. I found out that this place is home to the Ming and Qing Emperors of ancient Chinese dynasties. It is huge and reputed to be the biggest royal compound in the whole world. The royal museum inside showcases the Imperial family’s awesome collection of ancient Chinese art.
Lastly, we managed to see the famous Tiananmen Square. Surprisingly, “Tiananmen” means The Gate of Heavenly Peace and was built in the 1400s. The flat dimension is perfect for meetings and announcements that still happen even now.
Seeing the amazing Great Wall of China
Long before I can travel extensively, I learned that the Great Wall of China is one of the Seven Wonders of the World from school books and seeing it for the first time is really like going back in time. It is really amazing and I love how the government did their best to maintain this ancient structure that we can still marvel at even now.
This wall is so long at over 5,000 kilometers and it would take almost two years to walk it from one end to another. History lessons said that the Chinese built the wall to protect them from invaders. I saw restored guard posts for the soldiers who used to patrol these walls. And I managed to take pictures of what would have been their view. I imagine that this have not changed from all those centuries ago.
Day 5: Temple of Heaven Park
Our last day of the tour was in the Temple of Heaven. As in most places in China, the whole area is sprawling! On my picture below is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. There were a lot of tourists and the view of the massive temples are the most perfect backdrop.
This site is where the annual Worship of Heaven ceremony took place. This very important ceremony has a lot of special rules for its preparation including a precise place, time, steps, music and even the dance that needs to be performed. This ancient ceremony comes part of the divine right of an emperor. It is a huge part of the religious beliefs of the ancient Chinese.
One other lovely spot in here are the spectacular trees. It is home to a famous tree called “the grandfather tree” which is said to be several centuries old and aptly named Nine-Dragon Cypress as it has branches like nine dragons winding with each other. The trees are a restful spot and locals use it to perform very graceful morning exercises.
On the first picture above, you can see me touching these red doors which believed to be very lucky. So I kept touching them. LOL! It couldn’t hurt, right? One thing that I learned while I was there was that Chinese women respect men more than they do other women because for them, it is the men who make money. Quite interesting and very different from what I know.
And of course, drinking tea is very important for them. It was an experience buying tea there! To be able to buy tea, I had to sit down in a chair and taste their tea before buying. I was surprised that the most popular kind is black tea. I’ve always thought it was green tea. I really learned a lot in this trip!
I loved the chance to travel to this really ancient country and I sure wish to be able to visit it again soon. Safe travels everyone!