|Shanghai Pt 1, Zhou Zhuang Pt 1, China Pt 1
||[May. 25th, 2014|12:50 pm]
Travel talk, tales and tips
Well, I thought I would leave this for later. Already planned to write something else but thought I should do this in appreciation for the organizer of the trip.|
Am very honoured to be approached by the best low cost carrier of China, Spring Airlines, to be invited as part of the guests with a few other bloggers to experience their inaugural flight from Singapore to Shanghai. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience because I have never taken an inaugural flight before and this is going to be part of a joyous to commemorate the occasion with the airline. Was invited to their press release and everything was just a breeze as the marketing team settled all the logistics of the trip.
Checking in at the Changi Airport Terminal 3.
Was feeling hungry when I reached the airport and thought I would be able to grab a meal after check-in but the process took me an hour! By the time check-in was completed, I was left with only 45 minutes before departure, more importantly, only 15 minutes to get to the gate for boarding.
Didn't get to grab any food, and it was already last call.
I was fearing that I might become hungry because it's a budget flight after all, and there would not be food to satisfy me on the plane.
Everyone seated and waiting for take off.
First impression of the plane: Felt very new and clean. Service of the crew were pretty good and the announcements made were pretty clear. I don't think there were many options for the food sold during the flight, but the drinks sold were really cheap. I didn't buy but the passenger in front of me bought a bottle of fruit juice for 8 RMB (~ 1.2 SGD). During the flight, there was also a segment which they played games to give out free souvenirs to passengers on board.
The passengers onboard were a pretty quiet bunch hence it was not long after when I started falling asleep. The only thing I could only think of is that it could be quite boring without entertainment for a 5.5 hours flight, so be well prepared with magazines and books or iPads to last for the entire journey. One thing which I felt rather uncomfortable was that leg space is kinda limited and was also rather surprised to discover that there is no button to recline the seat!
Landed safely at Pudong International Airport at 0030 hrs.
Immigrations was rather long but was pretty quick, cleared within ten minutes.
Impressed that luggage was also done within ten minutes.
So glad a respresentative from the Marketing team Jonathan was waiting for us at the arrival hall. He was so nice to come pick all of us up at the airport past midnight. He also came to bring us to the hotel to ensure we were all checked-in and well rested for the trip.
A shock we saw at the taxi stand.
We waited for very long, at least an hour, before we finally got on the taxi and took another forty minutes to get to the city. By the time we reached the hotel, everyone was already looking so tired that could just jump onto a bed and sleep immediately.
My cab was the first to arrive at the hotel, and we waited for a while as one of the other taxis had got lost and took them a while to reach the hotel before Jonathan checked all of us in. When I looked at the watch when we were all ready to head up to our rooms, it was already 0230hrs.
But it was well worth the wait!
I was actually very impressed that they put us up in such a nice hotel. The bed looked so inviting but I had to wash up before heading to bed.
A view from my window at 0300hrs. I need to sleep.
I didn't sleep much because I have planned a full day out. I have only decided to stay in Shanghai for a day and so I would need to make full use of the day. I have been to Shanghai in 2006 and this time round I wanted to visit places which I haven't been to and also see if I have time to re-visit some of the memorable places which I went the last time round.
Same view at 0545hrs.
Unfortunately this time round the weather was not very permitting. I remembered the last time I visited Shanghai was in July where temperatures soared to forty degrees Celcius and this time the weather was about seventeen degrees Celcius and it was raining all the time. I decided not to let the weather dampen the mood and still carry out my itinerary as planned.
Headed to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.
The restaurant is supposed to start serving breakfast from 0600-1000hrs but when I was there at 6 the staff had just started preparing laying out the trays and the food. Took them quite a while before I could actually start breakfast proper.
Took a quick breakfast as I needed to get out of the hotel as quickly as possible.
Didn't really get a good look of the hotel during the wee hours of check-in, as I got to leave the hotel I finally found out the name of the hotel:
Hua Ting Hotel.
I thought this hotel was inaccessible judging from the ride from the airport to the hotel, little did I know that this is a five star hotel located at the Xu Jia Hui business district in Shanghai. I was told this hotel used to be very famous and the main feature was its big and grand hotel lobby which in the past used to be a very big dance floor. I was still fretting how to get to the destination I wanted to head to and whether I needed to take the Metro but I just realised it is just across the street and there is a Metro station just outside the hotel.
And just across the street from the hotel is the Tour Bus Centre!
I read from a guide book that the tour bus would depart from the bus centre at 0700hrs so I ate so quickly, and upon reaching and buying the bus ticket I was told the bus would only depart at 0830hrs. I was quite unhappy and was still contemplating whether I should head back to the hotel for a nap.
Some of you might know that Shanghai is pretty famous for it's neighbouring water villages. There are so many water villages near Shanghai and which one is the best to visit? Look no further, let me bring you to the best water village: Zhou Zhuang.
One day pass to visit Zhou Zhuang, via Tong Li.
Tong Li was initially in my list of places to visit and I thought it was killing two birds with a stone. However later I realised that it would be kind tough as the two villages are rather far apart.
And so I waited at the bus centre till 0830hr before the bus arrived.
The journey started off with an hour to reach Tong Li, which the tourists who wanted to visit Tong Li would alight and the bus would continue the next one and a half hours to get to Zhou Zhuang. And upon alighting at Zhou Zhuang, the first thing we had to do:
This is not a restaurant but we had to take a river cruise to the main tourist zone in Zhou Zhuang. 50 RMB (~ 10 SGD).
And after a ten minute cruise ride, the moment I alighted from the boat:
Nicer than I expected!
As it has been drizzling, I had to keep finding sheltered paths to walk but unfortunately there is little or none, but it is really an interesting experience walking in the little lanes and getting lost because there are so many things to see in every street. And just as I was walking along one narrow lane, I smelt something nice...
Hmm wondering what that is...
And I walked nearer for a closer look:
Fermented beancurd and fried fish!
Couldn't resist the temptation and had to try one. Really tasted good.
Continued crossing bridges and walking on narrow lanes...
The boatwomen hard at work even on rainy days.
The first place to visit in Zhou Zhuang was the Ye Chucang Residence. I didn't know much about this person until I visited the place and got to read more about him.
The main hall of the Te Chucang Residence.
He was a well known poet of the South Society who later became an officer. He was so influential that Zhou Zhuang that the place was named as Chucang Town in the past. He has written a few great works and his residence depicts his life and his works.
His study room where he used to get all his inspirations.
Of course in one of the rooms of the residence was converted into a bookstore where one can get to know more about Ye Chucang and purchase his works home. There are also many of his books which are available for people to just sit and read if you do not wish to buy the books.
The room converted into a bookstore.
And before leaving the bookstore, I could this sight at the corner on a sofa:
What a sight of a puppy cuddling a kitten to sleep!
And what a book with an apt title beside it: The beauty of the Humanity of Dogs.
More of Zhou Zhuang in the next entry.