Shanghai is the biggest city in the world with over 24.000.000 citizens. Wow! I was expecting the most crowded and overfilled streets and people everywhere, but I was more than wrong. People call Shanghai for “The New York of Asia – the city that never sleeps” and after my visit, I have to be honest and say I do not really agree. Actually, I was so disappointed in Shanghai, because I had the biggest expectations about this huge Metropol of a city. The reality was, that it felt empty walking around, the streets weren’t busy as I thought they were gonna be and the worst part – the people were extremely rude to us. The taxi’s denied driving with us, no one wanted to answer our questions or help us when we came with a big smile and a translator app to ask. No one smiled, and no one smiled back. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve experienced a slight sort of race discrimination.
We asked the hotel if we did something wrong, but they said no. I really hate that I have to bring all these prejudices about Chinese people being rude to live, but that was truly my experience. Besides this, I found it very difficult how their idea of hygiene is. They wash hands before they use the toilet, not after. Everything and everywhere is dirty – also places where food is contained and that gave me serious anxiety. I’ve been food poison so many times that I was too scared to even try any of the street food.
So all in all – I was a bit disappointed in Shanghai. Especially also since my expectations were very high and I thought it was the New York of Asia! (That city I imagined it was ended up being Hong Kong, but I will tell you about that later this week in a new post).
Beside my disappointments, Shanghai was a great city and had some great spots. I want to highlight some of the best spots I found in Shanghai:
The bund is the promenade of the Huangpu river where you see the beautiful skyline. Due to the pollution, it is much prettier at night where you more clearly can see all the beautiful lights in the buildings! There are many restaurants and bars where you can enjoy the view, I’ve listed some of them below.
The well-known Chinese restaurants Hakkasan should be EVEN better in China and I can confirm!! We had the best dinner I’ve ever had at a Hakkasan while looking at the Huangpu river and all the buildings.
Mercato by Jean-Georges
This Italian restaurant was my favorite night in Shanghai! We had the most amazing dinner with an even more AMAZING view! I am obsessed with city lights and to experience dinner like this, was absolutely a dream. My biggest restaurant recommendation in Shanghai is Mercato.
POP bar East terrace
After enjoying a wonderful dinner at Mercato, you can visit the POP bar East terrace in the same building on the 7th floor. Here you get one of the best views of The Bund and the interior is really cool.
Jia Jia Tang Bao
For the best Bao, you need to visit Jia Jia Tang Bao. Its very local and not fancy at all, but the bao’s are to die for!
The old city of Shanghai
To experience the old culture of Shanghai, you can visit the old part. Here you can visit the City God Temple of Shanghai. You can try different delicates while walking around in the old streets. It’s quite touristed, but you get a good idea of how Shanghai started.
Nanjing West Road
Nanjing West Road is the main shopping road and one of the busiest places I visited in Shanghai. You find everything from high street to high fashions shops and in huge sizes. This is the closets (and only) New York vibe I got while visiting Shanghai.
So all in all, I was very happy that I got to meet Shanghai and experience this huge city, but I have to be honest and say I was not that impressed. Shanghai has some greats places, restaurants, bars, gardens and temples to visit, but the culture and vibe were not for me. After Shanghai, we went to MACAU!!! Stay tuned for my thoughts and best recommendations in a new post about Macau tomorrow!