2 Weeks In Shanghai, Part 1

The 3 amigos at Element Fresh, Silver Court

So you may have heard my brother was here for two weeks with his friend Ben. It was a vacation for them, but for me it was two weeks of playing host and tour guide by night, and working at the office by day while they slept till mid afternoon! Needless to say, I was exhausted by the time the two weeks were up, but I think I fulfilled my duty as we ticked off a wide variety of activities in a relatively short space of time. Here are some of the highlights, which could probably help anyone expecting visitors to Shanghai this summer and wanting to put together an itinerary …

Beijing Roast Duck @ Lao Beijing

This place has been my go to roast duck joint for two main reasons – firstly, the duck is as good as I’ve had outside of Beijing and secondly, well, it’s across the road from where I live. The service has always been appalling, but the food, not just the duck but also the other main course dishes, has always been excellent. But we were horrified to see several huge rats running around in the rafters quite casually. The staff seemed fairly unconcerned when we pointed this out and as a result, I’m going to have to take this place off the list for a while!

Flair @ Ritz Carlton, Pudong

I genuinely cannot decide if this or VUE Bar at Hyatt On The Bund provides the best view of Shanghai by night. From VUE Bar you can see a spectacular view of both sides of the river at the same time, but Flair has a stunning and unique view of the nearby Pearl TV Tower. Beware though, they have a minimum and frankly ridiculous 350 RMB per head charge for the privilege of sitting outside. Fortunately, there’s no minimum if you sit inside, and you’re still free to wander out to enjoy the view.

Just a light snack – 85 Degrees at 2am

One of the big surprises of the 2 weeks was how Rich and Ben became obsessed with Taiwanese bakery 85 Degrees. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything from there, despite having one just across the road from my home, but Ben and Rich were over there several times a day and often did bakery runs at 2 in the morning. Apparently, the “French donuts” are to die for.

The Shampoo Girl

Perhaps less of a surprise was how young Ben enjoyed having a shampoo at Tiffany salon at Raffles City in People’s Square. We were just passing by, but my stylist spotted me and with some justification, pointed out that I was overdue for a cut. Ben is very particular about his hair so refused to have it cut but didn’t seem to mind have a shampoo while he waited for me. Of course, in China, a shampoo includes head massage, ear cleaning and a few “accidental” brushes with various parts of the shampoo girl’s anatomy – all for 24 RMB!

Going nuts at the fake market

Every tourist’s favourite destination – the fake markets. Yes, that’s not 1, not 2 but seven Ice watches at 50 RMB each including the boxes. I personally detest this place and the way they start their opening prices at ridiculous prices before eventually collapsing the price once you threaten to walk away. So a watch that starts at 1,800 RMB ends up costing around 300 RMB. I suppose that’s all part of the game. But how can a fake A&F tee shirt cost more than a real one? Riddle me this (or should it be “riddle me that”?)

Love at first sight

In some ways, we peaked too soon. Young Ben’s highlight of the fortnight was the very first jet lagged night out, when he met the very lovely Jenny at Eden, one of the new additions to Shanghai’s club scene.

The gorgeous M1NT dancers

How do you top an amazing first night? Well, a visit to M1NT is probably a good option, especially when the dancers are doing their thing on the bar top.

And so there you have it. A flavour of what the last two weeks have been about. More to come, but I’ll sign off for now ….

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15 Responses to 2 Weeks In Shanghai, Part 1

  1. Lil bro says:

    I vaguely remember some of the above. What a city, and what a tour guide. Hope to be back there again very soon.

  2. Suey says:

    no kids, no spouse, surely must have been really boring trip for you Rich! =)

  3. Lil bro says:

    Oh it was horrible. Worst part was the wifi must have been down in the clubs so I couldn’t even FaceTime with the fam to relieve the boredom. I only slept till the middle of the day so the time would pass quickly. Yeah, that’s the reason.

  4. Very nicely put together!

    350RMB a head sounds reasonable if competition exists to sit there.
    I stayed there last time I was in Shanghai, surprised that the service wasn’t topnotch at all.

  5. Suey says:

    Oh i feel so sorry for your lil bro, I mean, YOU. I feel sorry for YOU lil bro! Next time get your own wifi and stop being cheap when you’re on vacation! ;P

  6. Lil bro says:

    @suey – less of the ‘lil’ please. Ta.

  7. WoAi says:

    @Suey – He DID have his own wifi but his English iPhone was locked by his English provider as they don’t like you using other networks, so he spent the whole 2 weeks without access. And yes, Rich was miserable most of the time, missing the wife and kids, but a few club nights and bakery products certainly helped him cope!

    @Shopgirl – Yes, exactly – if competition exists. But when we went they outside section was empty and it was empty when we left. We could easily have had one drink and left without impacting their revenue (we had dinner plans afterwards). My point is, some flexibility around this policy would have made sense.

    @Lil bro – Great having you over. Are you free this weekend?

  8. Kari says:

    great pics … “Rich and Ben became obsessed with Taiwanese bakery 85 Degrees.” really?

  9. WoAi says:

    @Kari – Surely the photo confirms this! They went sometimes several times in one day!

  10. Bittermelon says:

    “several huge rats running around in the rafters quite casually. The staff seemed fairly unconcerned” I am glad you have your standards. Are you sure that’s a roast duck on the platter?

  11. WoAi says:

    @Bittermelon – Seriously, I’ve been in China for over a decade but what we saw there was pretty scary and that is saying something. I think it’s because they were high up instead of on ground level that made it worse. Imagine one falling on your head!

  12. Ahh I see, if that’s the case they are just stupid

  13. T. says:

    For a different view, try Char Bar at the Hotel Indigo. Dreadful service, but a view of the Bund from the South, and a really nice hotel. Also, no minimum charge of 100 (Vue) or 350 (Flair).

    For roast duck, have you tried the restaurant in the lobby of the Hyatt on the Bund? They supposedly have imported their brick oven from Beijing (along with their chef)

  14. WoAi says:

    @T – Heard a lot about Indigo although one of my friends said they DID require a minimum spend which was annoying. Will certainly check it out. Is there just one bar? For VUE they did try to give me every chance not to pay the 100 cover – they asked first if I was a guest, then if I had dined at any of their restaurants. So maybe I’ll combine a duck dinner with drinks at VUE next time. Again, several people mentioned Xindalu but on the other hand it’s in a different price bracket to Lao Beijing.

  15. T. says:

    No one has ever hasslled me about a minimum spend at Char Bar. Its difficult enough to get anyone to talk to me about trying to take my money in exchange for a beverage!

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