BNE Magazine_ISSUE#2_COVER_LR - page 27

BNE SUMMER 2013
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27
Away from the tourist centres of the Bund, Nanjing Road and Huaihai
Road, at People’s Park in Huangpu, there are paper flyers advertising eligible
bachelors and bachelorettes. Parents are more than happy to “advertise”
their child for a serious relationship and, hopefully, marriage at the
Marriage Market, which takes place every Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
The Chinese government still operates strict internet censorship controls
– social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter are banned
– so forget Instagram selfies and Facebook check-ins, and instead enjoy
Shanghai the old-school way.
What to see
The historical
Yu Garden
(also known as the Garden of Happiness) is a haven
of peace away from the hustle and bustle of the city in the north east of the
Old City of Shanghai (218 Anren Street, Huangpu). It was built as a private
garden in 1559, during the reign of Ming Emperor Jiajing, and was declared a
national monument in 1982. The garden is a wonderland of ponds, pavilions,
rock formations and intricate carvings spread over two hectares.
Also accessible on Shanghai’s Metro Line 10 is
Xintiandi
(123 Xingye
Road, Huangpu), which translates as “new heaven and earth” and once was
where the Communist Party of China first met in July 1921. The site is
commemorated in the Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese
Communist Party, now part of a car-free shopping, dining and entertainment
precinct surrounded by traditional shikumen (stone gate) houses.
Where to eat
The French Concession – the former settlement for the French in 1849
– has been turned into bars, restaurants and homes popular with expats
and locals.
The Secret Garden
(333 Changle Road, Xuhui) is a good
stop for lunch, serving up savoury dim sum and Cantonese delicacies in
a quaint French-style villa.
Boonna
(1690 Huaihai Zhong Road) is walking distance from the
Shanghai Library stop on Metro Line 10 and one of a chain of cafés
where tech savvy travellers seek out the WiFi, computers available for
patrons and books and magazines (some in English) to read with their
coffee (yes, even a cappuccino) and sandwiches. It’s no surprise that
this particular one, with its outdoor patio, has been a popular spot for
freelancer writers and bloggers to work.
Jardin De Jade
(Block A, 2558 Yan’an Road West) may look flashy
Las Vegas-style inside but the food is first class local fare. The house
speciality – xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings filled with pork and
crabmeat) – and jasmine tea-smoked duck are simply divine.
Lost Heaven
(38 Gaoyou Road, Xuhui) serves tribal food inspired by
the legendary Ancient Tea Horse Trail which winds its way throughout the
south-west province of Yunnan, Burma and Tibet – a gastronomic treat.
Where to play
At night
Donghu Road
is the place to wander, with lots of “hidden” cafés
and bars that even locals may have trouble finding. For example, you have
to head down a side lane then upstairs to find the cool and cosy cocktail
bar
Craft
(south side Donghu Hotel, 7 Donghu Road, a reasonable walk
from South Shaanxi Road station on Metro Line 10) which specialises in
101 (well, almost) ways with vodka, open Wednesday to Saturday from
5pm until late.
The Apartment
(47 Yongfu Road, Xuhui) is a cosy lounge modelled
on a New York-style loft, which also has a rooftop area. Serves food and
With flights now servicing
China’s largest city with greater
frequency, tourist numbers
are set to rise
great cocktails, and has a six-hour-long Happy Hour every day.
The Public
(Second Floor, 174 Xiangyang Nan Road, near Fuxing
Zhong Road, Xuhui) has a homely feel and provides Southern-style food
such as fried chicken and sweet potato fries, and expertly mixed drinks.
Sir Elly’s
terrace on the 14th floor of the Peninsula Shanghai (32
Zhongshan East 1st Road, Huangpu) offers stunning views overlooking
the Bund. Top spot to drink and dine if you have cash to splash.
Where to shop
Nanjing Road,
Huangpu, is one of Shanghai’s most famous shopping
streets, approximately 5km long from the Bund in the east, continuing
past People’s Square towards the Jing’an district. Designer stores such as
Tiffany & Co, Prada and Louis Vuitton sit alongside European brands
such as Zara and L’Occitane, and local shops selling souvenirs.
Hongqiao Pearl Market
, 3721 Hongmei Road, just off Yan’an Road,
Changning district. This is bargain city – meaning barter before you buy!
Each floor in this Aladdin’s Cave of goods specialises in certain products:
clothes on the ground level, pearls (ready-made or can be made to order)
on the second floor, while the third is for tailored clothes and fake goods.
Where to rest
After a day exploring and sightseeing I opt for a truly authentic Chinese
massage at a local salon in the Changning district (massage salons are
ubiquitous in Shanghai, there’s one on almost every street corner).
Foot massage is particularly popular but my no-frills, hour-long body
treatment, complete with vigorous kneading and pummelling, albeit in a
room with sparse decor and bright lighting, cost less than $A15. It does
the trick as I leave feeling relaxed and with a spring in my step.
For all the changes taking place in Shanghai, there are still plenty of
traditions worth preserving.
Fly from BNE (Brisbane Airport) to Shanghai with China Airlines, China
Southern, Air China, Eva Air and Cathay Pacific.
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