Category Archives: Discover Shanghai

National Flag of China in Airport – Part II

In 2002, Bill suggested that a Chinese flag should be hang at Pudong Airport. I thought it was a very nice suggestion, and we should do it. I also suggested to the Tourism Bureau but didn’t get any response.

I am happy that during my trip, when I returned from Hong Kong, I found this big flag at the arrival hall of Terminal 2 of Pudong Airport, just before the investigation point for passport.

DSC05652

May I also complain that the Terminal 2 of Pudong Airport, as many airport is completely empty without any decoration of posters or banners. It was so boring to walk from gate 69 all the way to the arrival hall – 15 minutes without anything to read – just feel very lonely when you happen to leave the airplane late.

Swim in River in Shanghai

Shanghai has been highly polluted. When I came to Shanghai more than 10 years ago, I thought people can swim in the Huangpu river, then I just find out to swim in the Huangpu River is just impossible.

Meanwhile, some serious effort has been put into some of the rivers (just very few that I can name). To my greatest surprise, I started to see people swimming in the natural river today.

It is at the Zhangjiabang River, just besides the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. Actually three persons were swimming there. Based on my observation, the quality of the water has been good enough for swim – I even think it is a good idea to swim just in the river.

Congratulations! A good sign for the natural protection and recover started to show the result. Among all the worse and worse situation in rivers and lands, I at least can name one example river in Shanghai that is suitable for swimming now.

Ironically, people swim in the “good for swimming” river, despite of “No Swimming” sign everywhere. Maybe this is the few places in Shanghai that actually need the sign – people won’t swim in other rivers with, or without the sign anyway.

Update August 17, 2008

Here is the photo I took today to compliment with this article:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang. Taken at Zhangjiabang River near the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

Good Online Local Shanghai Map?

This is another FAQ. However, I can only give you the common answers – there are no really good English map online yet, as far as I know, and let me share with you the services I use for Chinese map.

Baidu Map

Google Map

Live Map

That’s it. The three most powerful map provider in Shanghai.

P.S. The reason I posted some kind of “common sense” is because of one post I wrote years ago when I really have no topic to write about – the emergency number in Shanghai is 119, instead of 911. The post was responded so well by my readers because many of them didn’t know it.

Suggestions for Family Vacation Trip to Shanghai

Today, I am trying to help another reader. I will provide answers inline. (Although I think the knowledge base type of article is more helpful than the random Q&A, I hope this type of Q&A also helps)

Hi,am planning a trip to Shanghai this March with my husband and 3 teenage kids. We will arrive in Shanghai Pudong Airport at 12:05am of March 20, 2008 (early morning) and will depart on March 23, 2008 at 12:55am (early morning too). Was trying to trying to check the web for bus and train schedule from Pudong Airport to downtown but it seems that their services do not run up to early morning. Can you help me and/or suggest/provide information on:

(1) how to get reliable transportation from airport (early morning -around 12:30am of March 20, 2008) to downtown Shanghai for 5 persons with some small luggage and also for our transfer to Pudong Airport on the evening of March 22 for our 12:55am flight on March 23

My suggestion is to get a van. Normal taxi only takes 4 passengers and obviously, it is too small for you. After you get to Shanghai, exit at the International Arrival Hall, and on the right most stand is for vans. You can check with the airport to find a van. There are two types: 7 seats, and 11 seats. The price is almost the same as taxi (a little bit more expensive)

(2) what good, clean and reasonably priced hotel to stay in downtown Shanghai – somewhere in Nanjing road or near Nanjing road. I show a Bailemen Hotel (is is a good location? Is it reputable and clean? Coz I will be there with my 3 kids)

I hope this page (cheap hotels) provides some background information, and I guess you may already read some of the pages if you search hard enough on this site. To give specific answers to your question, I would suggest that you don’t really need to stay near the Nanjing Road if you want to save money, and the road is easily accessible via Metro. Bailemen is near that region, but I don’t have any idea about whether it is clean or not.) However, most of the 3 – 5 star hotels in that area is generally good.

(3) as we will be staying only a few days in Shanghai (March 20-22), do you suggest we rent a car or a taxi? If so, can you suggest one for us? I read from your blog a few weeks back about a taxi driver you met (with his cell phone number, but I did not copy it it then) who drives a big taxi good for 5 and who speaks English.  May I have his name and number again please?

Definitely NO CAR! To rent a car in Shanghai for sightseeing is the craziest thing I can imagine. Don’t every think about it. To rent a taxi is maybe a better idea. Depends on how much budget you have, having a taxi going everywhere with you is a good idea, if you want to be convenient – and especially when you have many people, the price is even not too much higher than taking metro. The other way, you can also call taxi when you need – there are many taxis on the street that you can easily find one – unless it is rush hours in the morning or night, or it is raining. Sorry but I don’t know which taxi driver you are talking about. Call 6258000 to book a taxi – I do it every time I need a taxi.

(4) can you please suggest which places for us to go or visit during this short stay of ours? We have been to Shanghai some 7 years ago but am sure the kids barely remember the places we have been too. I have checked on the Frommer’s (destination guide book) web site and found some interesting places:

    a) Jin Mao Tower?
    b) Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
    c) People’s Park/People’s Square
    d) Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
    e) Peace Hotel
    f)  Xin Tian Di
    g) Bund Sightseeing tunnel

Can you suggest which of these places to go to and their sequence so that we will not be back tracking from one place to another? And also how to get to these places – by bus? taxi? rented car? walking? or I also read about the Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center? Do you suggest taking this sightseeing bus route?

Jin Mao Tower, Pearl Tower and Ocean Aquarium are together, and you can arrange a morning.

Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, People’s Park/People’s Square are together (within 100 meters), and Peace Hotel and Bund (the must see) are 15 minutes walk away from People’s Square.  Xin Tian Di is also within (long) walking distance, or one metro station away. I don’t suggest you to visit the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel – I call it stupid tunnel. You don’t need to use the sightseeing bus – taxi and metro are the way to visit Shanghai.

Am sorry to be imposing so much on you and your time. I have visited and read your blog 2-3 times and am very impressed with your first hand knowledge of Shanghai and your helpfulness to prospective visitors to Shanghai.  I hope you can help me plan an enjoyable trip for my family too. Thanks.

Welcome to my city and hope you have a good time in Shanghai.

Chinese Stock Market is More Crazy

Just 4 months after I posted my last comments (Chinese Stock Market is Crazy), the Shanghai Stock Index raised from 3000 points to 4000 points, and keep increasing.

That means, the stock index increased from 998.23 in June 2005 to 4040 in May 2007 – 4 times increase!

What a crazy market.

Shanghai is an economic center for China, and everyone is involved. I am back from a wedding dinner tonight, and on the table, the major topic was “stock”!

I have no idea about stock – I was not in stock in the last round of bull or bear market in 2001 – 2004, and not in this round of stock change. I didn’t pay too much attention about it. Today, when Wendy told me that the stock index has been above 4000 for some time, I was really surprised. What is the next?

There are people claiming that the stock will be 6000 shortly… Who knows?

Chinese Stock Market is Crazy

Maybe I am among the minority who didn’t notice the recent bull market trends in Chinese stock market. I heard some news, but never really look at what is happening in the market. Maybe people outside Chinese also didn’t pay attention to the performance. Here is what happened.

3 Times Increase

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Index was 998.23 in June 2005. Yesterday, it reached 2870.42, which is the highest in the history of the stock market, and almost three times than one and half year ago.

What a crazy stock market!

Individual Stocks are Even More Crazy

The 3 time increase are only the overall increase. Individual stocks – those good performers are even better. Stories like people get 50% gain in days are not rare. When I watch the financial news, I can smell money in air. Double! Double! is the theme of change, instead of the conservative 6% – 7% expectation.

Buy stock in China is always like buy lottery. If you bought the right stock, it can easily bring your wealth to the sky in days, and if you are not lucky enough and get the bad stock, it will shrink at the same speed. I don’t have experience in the Chinese stock market – I never bought any or sell any in my life. I don’t know what my friends felt when he saw his wealth just increased 30% last week.

Unlike NASDAQ, the stock price in China has a threshold. If it raise or drop too much, it will stop trading and hold until the next day. When I chatted with my friend who know stock, he said, you have to catch the first 10 minutes between 9:30 – 9:40 AM. 9:30 is the market opening time. You start to trade at 9:30. However, if you do not act quick enough, the stock you buy may either stop for raising too much, or dropping too much, so you don’t have a chance to either buy or sell.

I cannot confirm whether this is true. But based on the recent crazy articles I read, it seems cash is flying in air. Instinct tells me it is the right time for the market to crash.

Disclaimer: I know nothing about stock market, so this article didn’t provide any suggestion.

Middle Ring of Shanghai

Went to Jeff’s birthday party today. The air-con of my car (goudaner) stopped functioning, so we went to the FIAT 4S store, and had it fixed. After that, we went to the middle ring of Shanghai. It is the first time I use that elevated highway.

The Middle Ring

The elevated highway system in Shanghai consists of 4 rings, and 2 cross highway inside the city, and more than 10 radical highway to outside.

The inner ring was firstly built, and then the outter ring (A20). Later the A30 ring is almost completed. Now, the middle ring was built between the inner ring and outer ring. It will be the major transportation road for Shanghai.

Now, the Middle Ring from Hongmei Road 虹梅路 and the Xiangyin Road Tunnel 翔殷路隧道 has been completed.

Illustration of Middle Ring

The road was built with 8 lanes (4 lanes per direction). The north side of the ring is elevated. The west 1/4 of the ring is almost all on the ground. This design is very similiar with the Beijing 3rd Ring and 4th Ring – there are 10 – 12 lanes (5 – 6 per direction). The 4 lanes are expressway (part of inner ring), and the outside 1 or two lanes are local road. They are seperated and connected with ramps. In Beijing, it is called Main road (主路), and Side Road(辅路). This design seems to be firstly used in middle ring in Shanghai.

The Middle Ring and the local road are at the same level, and are seperated.

More Interchanges

Here is the satellite image of one of the interchange between Middle Road and the Chengdu Road.

© Google Maps. The north-most part of the Middle Ring – the interchange of Middle Ring and the Chendu Road (north-south elevated road)

Pudong Section has not Started

The part of Middle Ring is Pudong has not started yet.

How Many Hotels in Shanghai?

How many hotels in Shanghai? It is a question without accurate answer. I just searched on expedia (EXPE), and it has 350 hotels in record. (25 per page, and 14 pages)

(BTW, in my recent study in the B2C business model, Expedia is in B2C segment, and to be complete in hotel information is key to its business.)

People Don’t Care Cheap Hotels in the Same City

I admit that I only know “splendid”, “wonderful”, “maganificant” and “excellent” hotels in Shanghai, since they are the landmarks of the city. As a local residence, I never have to worry about which hotel should I stay tonight.

However, when visiting another city (just as many travellers to Shanghai do), it is another story. On business trips, people typically can choose the best hotels (or pretty good hotels). On personal, especially on budget trip, we need to think about those cheap hotels.

I am the same. I can easily list 20 five-star hotels in Shanghai, and recently, I can name three cheap hotels or youth hostels but I am not so familiar with middle-level hotels.

Middle Level Hotels

There are limited number of 5 star hotels in Shanghai, many 4-star hotels, and a lot of 3-star hotels. 5-star hotels’ price is about 120 USD or higher, and 4-star hotels are below 120 USD, and many 3-star hotels are as around 500 RMB (or less). They are not as cheap as “Cheap Hotels” I gave (around 200 RMB), but provide very good facility and English-speaking staff. There are a lot, and I am thinking of featuring some, like East Asia Hotel on the opposite side of my office building.

There are many very cheap hotels, like 50 RMB per bed, or 100 RMB per room. Obversely, it is not suitable for many visitors, unless you are really ready to the miserable conditions. I believe there must be some who are as cheap as the cheapest hotel, and really good. I don’t know yet. Anyone has any idea?

It is Important to Check with Local People

When I browsed the list of travel site, I cannot stop wondering why people want to stay in such a hotel? It is in very bad location, inconvenient, and charges as high as those on the Bund or at the heart of the city! The problem people face when they book a hotel is, they have no idea about the surrounding area. All these information, local people can easily tell you. I am willing to help, but maybe not today, and not in recent month. I am still thinking ways to help to provide some suggestions to the 300+ hotels…

World Expo is Coming, Shanghai is Short of Hotel

One of the reason to build Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev? They said Shanghai is short of hotel rooms, so they have to build a railway to have some people stay in another city. This news sounds true, since it is really hard to book hotels in Shanghai even today, especially those 5-star hotels. One key reason I can imagine is, people trust the 5-star standard, and they really offer good reservation system on the Internet…

Lion King Comes to Shanghai

Passed the Grand Theatre tonight. All lights went on. The Disney broadway musical the Lion King went on show tonight. July 18 is the first day of the continuous 100 shows in Shanghai.

The Lion King is the best Broadway show I saw. I am not saying it is better than the Phantom of Opera, it is just easier to understand for me (the story is well-know), and more colorful. I enjoyed the show in my last trip to Seattle. Highly recommend!

Look at These Advertisements

Handsome Man in the Store Window

When I tried to enter the Metro tunnel today, I found many people blocked the entrance. It was not easy to get through the crowd. What happened?

Then I found a handsome guy dancing inside the store window – the guy in green. Recently, there are some still models there. Sometimes, a girl will quietly stand there, pretend to be a fake woman. Sometimes she just made phone calls.

The location of this special advertisement is at:

B1, Raffles City,

268 Xizang Middle Road

Shanghai

It is at the Metro Line #1 exit and the Raffles City entrance.

Budweiser on World Cup

I watched the German v.s. Argentina World Cup. Besides the 5:3 penerty shoot out score, I noticed the Budweiser advertisement in the Berlin stadium was in both English and Chinese.

There is another big Chinese logo on the right hand of the field. Interesting. What does it mean?

I Love Shanghai!

Wendy and I talked with three senior guys in the media industry in a cafe near the Shanghai Railway Station. They are in their 40’s and experienced the change of Shanghai. Since I am new to the classified business, they provided guidance and shared their experiences with me in a very candid way. They acted as a tunnel for me to travel back into the history of Shanghai for the latest 20 years. My direct feeling is, it is so nice to be in Shanghai.

The businessmen in Shanghai are very down to earth. They calculate everything, plan everything in a thorough way and execute it in a solid manner. They also willing to offer help to young people like me. This is the spirit of Shanghai. Although at the very begining, people may feel Shanghai people are too focused on small money, small things, on the other hand, it can be treated as solid ways of doing things.

Getting back to home around 11:30 PM, driving on the elevated highway of Shanghai and got to the center of the city. The whole city is still bright with cars moving to every directions. There are much more than the view in this city. The spirit keeps inspire me to do something solid. Shanghai is really the place to do something solid.

Black Day for Shanghai Stock Market

May 9 is not a good day for Shanghai Stock Market. It reached the lowest point of the six years. It closed at 1,130.835 yesterday.

I never invested in stock market in Shanghai, and I have no idea about the stock market. But I know, the stock market in China encountered big problem.

screen-shanghai.stock.index

Image in courtesy of Yahoo! Finance

From a normal non-financial major person, the fact I know/heard of (but didn’t confirm) is:

  • Most of my friends were losing money in the last three years (from 2002 to 2004), and I didn’t see anyone discuss about domestic stock market.
  • People say the prosperity of real estate market in Shanghai may be due to the lack of confidence to stock market
  • I personally don’t trust listed companies.
  • My friends told me many CEO or big boss of listed company don’t know the stock price of their company at all – they just don’t care.
  • Yesterday, I watched a program by Lang Xian Ping, a famous encomiast in China. He called for more stick monitoring of the bad guys in the stock market.
  • I heard from radio that recently, there is only one result for any news release, no matter it is good news or bad news from listed companies or the market. The result is: big drop in the stock price or the stock index.

Disclaimer: as I said, I have no idea about stock. The above information were either heard (from TV, radio, my friends) or my personal observation. I have no ability to check whether the facts are correct or not, or the opinion are correct or not. So take it with great caution.

Inside Jin Mao Tower

It is strange for me. Jin Mao tower has been the symbol of Shanghai, along with the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, for many years. But I never really went into the tower.

I went to the top deck of Oriental Pearl TV Tower for twice, was amazed of the nice view, but completely unsatisfied with the facility and service there. It is more like a tourism place (actually it is), instead of a restaurant. It is somewhere you only need to go for once in your entire life.

Influenced by the experience, I hesitate to try the Jin Mao Tower. I have been to the office building of the Jin Mao tower (lower than 54F). The impression is so-so. It is just normal office building with a better view. When there is strong wind or it is raining, the steel decoration outside makes big noise. So, I didn’t try the 88F observation deck or the hotel. Tonight is the first time I really goes into the Jin Mao Tower. It is exactly the difference of Enjoy Doing or Being Able to Do. The experience, in short, is fascinating.

86 F Jin Mao Club

Tom and Andreas were kind enough to invite me to have dinner together at the 86F Jin Mao club. The restaurant faces west, the direction of Puxi. The view was optimized for us today since the visibility is low, but the topic we discussed really inspired me. Andreas is so passionate to try news things that he put a Canon camera pointing to us and take one picture every ten second during the talk. I don’t know how he produces it and what the result of so many pictures. I don’t worry about it though because Dr. Weigend is the professor on Data Mining in Stanford University, so he must know some good ways to find something interesting outside a mass. Not surprisingly, our photos arrived on the public Internet quicker than I arrived in my home.

shanghai-jianshuo.weigend.jpg shanghai-jianshuo.weigend-lean.jpg

© Andreas Weigend.

56 F Lobby

Later, I went to the lobby at 56F of Jin Mao Tower. Jin Mao is a complicated building. The Lobby of the Hyatt hotel is at 54F, and you need to change the elevator to 56 F lobby. (86F club is nore wired that you need to get to 85 F first and exchange for the third elevator.) There are great public areas and it was almost full when we were there. Looking up, you will see the most famous view of the tower (ranked immediately after the exterior look) – the hall to the top of the 86F. I didn’t bring my camera with me, but the view looks like this. I didn’t realize we were at the bottom of such as huge vertical tube. When I looked up, I heard WOW coming out of my mouth. Later, I asked Andreas to look up – he didn’t notice it yet, and he said: “WOW….”.

shanghai-weigend.zhangzhang.jianshuo.jpg

© Dr. Andreas Weigend

I am happy to have the rest of the time with JL, Lisa and Zhang there.

More Jin Mao pictures.

TGI Shanghai

If you have visited TGI Friday, you may know what the title of this entry means.

Yes. I am back to Shanghai via MU5122 from Beijing (1800 – 2000 hours). I am so happy to be at home again, see my Wendy, listen to my radio, and lit up the caddles. I also have access to my own home wireless network with network sid “wangjianshuo”. This is my own small world again.

I am in Shanghai again. Wow!