Hi guys. A while back I experienced a total culture shock. Indeed, I went to the other side of the world for that. I visited Shanghai in May and want to tell you all about it with a list of “10 things Shanghai”. In the end I got 11 things, oops. Let me share with you a bunch of tips, tricks, must visits and things you should know or do to prepare yourself. Let’s do this!
1. Shanghai means China (yeah duhhh), which means lots of cool souvenirs and shopping (more about that at number 7) to take with you when heading back home. So everything starts with getting yourself a decent big suitcase. The rule is: better too big than too small right?! I got mine at Duifhuizen tassen & koffers and picked this hardcase suitcase from Samsonite. Trust me, I left Schiphol with 80% and got back with 100% capacity.
2. Another very important preparation is downloading the Betternet app. This is a VPN app that allows you to access Google, Gmail, Instagram, Facebook, and all other websites and apps that are blocked by the Chinese government. The app lets everybody believe that you’re on the other side of the world, in my case I was in the Arabic Emirates.
3. When you’re in China, definitely go for a KTV experience. Karaoke is a very popular activity to do there. Instead of going to the movies, you can rent a room with friends, buy drinks and bites and have multiple hours to sing and dance and perform. The more you drink, the better the performance.
4. Chinese food is yum! Note that there is a big difference between the Chinese dishes we eat here at our local Chinese takeaway and chinese dishes in China. The difference is huge. Locals who dine in a restaurant eat the dishes like tapas. All bowls are put on a turning platform on your table so they are easily shared with everybody. And no worries, you won’t get cat or dog on your dish.
5. Chinese people love irregular pets. I saw a lot of white fluffy dogs and a big turtle. The big turtle was actually a sad story, since the owner put a rope around it and transported it in a bag. See picture below.
6. Not so many locals know how to speak English. When you visit China, take a card with the hotel address in Chinese everywhere you go. We were rejected a lot by cab drivers since they were thinking ‘oh tourists, too much hassle since they don’t speak Chinese’. The Wechat (local facebook) generation uses a local ‘google translate’ app to communicate. Thank god for translation apps.
7. You can find everything in China, and definitely when it comes to shopping. I visited a number of local shopping malls that locals recommended to me. At those malls you can both find the counterfeit stuff, we called it ‘the fakies’ and very fashionable (but cheap) stuff. The “fakies” were so funny, since there were a lot of typos in the brand names. But what excited me most were the little boots with really nice items. I saw a lot of cute dresses, skirts, tops, … And I would really go back, just to get inspired all over again. Note that girls in shops are stuck on their Wechat and will ignore everything happening around them until you ask a question. Oh, and fitting your clothes is not allowed. Culture shock much.
8. The most amazing place to visit is the Bund in the evening. The Bund is a waterfront area in the city center with an amazing view on Pudong, the business district on the other side of the water. The lighting of all towers is just breathtaking.
9. Clubbing in China was also a “fun” (but short) experience. The music is very loud and the bass goes through your whole body. The clubs we visited had a lot of richer locals that ordered way too much bottles, drunk way too much, vomited afterwards and fell asleep somewhere in the club. I preferred visiting the many rooftop bars and enjoy a drink with a great view on Shanghai.
10. I had a funny experience with the street sellers that wanted to sell me “fakies”. They were shouting something and I immediately got my purse close. I thought they were yelling “watch your bag” as in a warning. But in the end they just wanted to sell me a watch or a bag. Beware of the street sellers, they are no quitters. They kept on yelling ‘what do you want, what do you want’. When I yelled back “a rich husband” (as a joke of course) I got silence.
11. Beware of the electric scooters. I was so surprised to see all those electric scooters. Where Amsterdam is full with bikes, Shanghai was filled with these scooters. I say “beware” since you don’t hear them coming, they are so silent.
Ok, when reading back all of my tips and personal stories, I want to highlight that I really had a good time. Although some of the experiences can come over a bit negative, this is not how I feel about my Shanghai experience. I already knew that it would be a culture shock, although Shanghai is very Western. The only “real Chinese” buildings we saw were temples and a village outside the city. All other buildings are very Western. But what I love about the city is that there is a lot of green everywhere. Trees, parks, bushes, .. Great to have that in such a big city.
I would definitely do China again, but then I would go down south to Beijing and I would of course add the Chinese wall to my itinerary. #Bucketlisted.
Hope you liked reading my about my Shanghai experience. Can’t wait till my next trip, I still have sooo many places on my bucket list.
Underneath my picture diary of my Shanghai trip.
Have you visited China already? Do some of my stories sound familiar?
This article is in collaboration with Duifhuizen tassen & koffers who offered me a suitcase to review.Follow me on Bloglovin / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest