Things didn’t start well at the airport. Immigration and customs were both fine, but then it went downhill.
Yes, we were exhausted after over 30 hours of travel from Munich at that point, but we fell into a trap at the airport – a trap that I should know better not to fall for: we listened to an “airport guide” and got ripped off on our taxi ride to our hotel in Pudong.
Instead of waiting 30 minutes for the Maglev, and instead of braving the taxi queue on our own, we let ourselves get convinced by this official-looking “airport guide” dude that 600RMB was a fair price for a private driver (i.e. cab) from the airport to Pudong.
Yeah, we got ripped off.
As we found out later in the trip, a cab for this trip should cost no more than 160RMB, and the Maglev could be had for even less. Oh, well. You live and you learn, I guess.
We really did enjoy our two days in Shanghai, though we screwed up along the way and got ripped off a time or two. Rather than dwell on that, I’ll hit some highlights of the two and a half days we spent in Shanghai. To be honest, the absolute star of the show during our stay was our hotel – the Park Hyatt Shanghai.
An Around the World Trip — Oktoberfest and Asia
- United Global First Class Chicago to Munich
- Oktoberfest… and Six Other Highlights of Munich
- Le Meridien Munich
- THAI Royal First Class Munich to Bangkok
- THAI Royal First Lounge and Royal Orchid Spa
- A Layover in Bangkok
- THAI Royal Silk Business Class Bangkok to Shanghai
- Two Days in Shanghai
- Park Hyatt Shanghai
- China Eastern Economy Class Shanghai to Hong Kong (to Shanghai)
- A Weekend in Hong Kong – Ten Highlights
- Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui
- Grand Hyatt Shanghai
- Air China First Class Lounge – Shanghai-Pudong
- Air China Forbidden Pavilion First Class Shanghai to Tokyo-Narita
- A Twenty-Two Hour Layover in Tokyo and the Hyatt Regency Tokyo
- ANA Suite Lounge – Tokyo-Narita
- ANA First Class Square Tokyo-Narita to Washington-Dulles
Din Tai Fung
When I think Shanghai, I think xiao long bao – soup dumplings! So of course, once lunch time hit on our first day in Shanghai, I only had one thing on my mind! Luckily, there was a Din Tai Fung in the same building as our hotel – in the Shanghai World Financial Center. The meal? Was freakin’ awesome. From fried pork chops to an assortment of Xiao long Bao – this place was seriously worth the trip. I know there are a number of other dumpling houses in Shanghai for much cheaper, but you know what you’re getting here. We made two trips to this place, but the second time we got noodles. Take this advice – the place is known for its soup dumplings – stick with that!
The Bund is the central waterfront area in Shanghai along the Huangpu River that encompasses the original Shanghai International Settlement. The area features a very traditional and colonial-type architecture, which stands in stark contrast to the sprawling city of glass skyscrapers found elsewhere in the immense landscape of a city. Along the Bund is a wide promenade along the banks of the Huangpu that features astonishing view of the ever-changing Shanghai Pudong skyline – home to two of the World’s six tallest buildings (including the Shanghai World Financial Center – home of the Park Hyatt, and the newly topped-out Shanghai Tower – the second tallest building in the world to Burj Khalifa in Dubai).
At night-time, the rooftops of the Bund are transformed into an array of restaurants, bars and an overall vibrant nightlife. We did enjoy one night out at one of the many roof top bars / clubs here with an amazing view of Pudong. I did find it odd that the buildings in the city were all lit up until 10pm, and at that point, all the buildings dimmed down their lighting – perhaps because it’s too bright!
YuYuan Gardens and Market
This ended up being a particular highlight for us during our short time in Shanghai. Located in the old city, a few blocks from the Bund, YuYuan Garden is a bit of beautiful contrast in the heart of Shanghai. The gardens feature traditional Chinese architecture that hovers above a gorgeous pond with dense vegetation. Also in this area is the YuYuan Shopping Mall, which features multiple outdoor promenades with shops, restaurants, and street food. We also thoroughly enjoyed a very, very cheap and delicious meal here at Nanjing Steamed Bun Restaurant. The dumplings here were excellent, and quite cheap!
Transport on the Shanghai Metro is quite easy and cheap. Standard, one-way fares start at 3RMB and go up from there, based on distance. We had no issue getting to all parts of the city on the Metro during our time here. Cabs are also widely available, though we only used one for the return to the airport on our first stay in Shanghai. It was about an hour drive and cost about 160RMB.
Getting from Shanghai-Pudong International Airport (PVG) to Shanghai
A previously mentioned, don’t fall for the Shanghai “Airport Representatives” — they’re there to rip you off.
On our second brief stay in Shanghai, we simply took the Maglev from the airport to town for the extremely reasonable 40RMB per person, each way. Reaching speeds between 300 and 430 km/h, the Maglev is a true high-speed train and is a pretty awesome way to get into Shanghai from the airport.
In seven minutes, you arrive at the Longyang Road station on the Line 2 of the Shanghai Metro. For Pudong Hotels, it is just a short, five stops on the metro (for 4RMB).
Total time and cost from airport to hotel?
35 minutes and 44RMB per person.
Shanghai is a city of contrasts. It’s a wildly modern and sprawling cities in some respects, but in others, it’s very un-developed. It seemed like you could transit from a very developed region to an area that’s quite un-developed pretty quickly. The area in which we stayed – Pudong – is much more modern and clean, and we for whatever reason felt more at ease in this more sterile-type environment. It was probably because we were essentially exhausted from travel at this point. Sadly, a good part of our stay in Shanghai was spent in our hotel room – partly because we were so tired, and partly because the room and hotel were just so overwhelmingly awesome. At the end of the day, Shanghai was an interesting place, and we admittedly didn’t spend our time in the best way possible… oh well, there’s always next time.