Bright lights, big city

NEON JUN­GLE: No time to ap­ply for a visa? You can travel for up to three days with­out one in Shang­hai. shares her tips for a whirl­wind stopover.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Travel -

T’S 8am on a Fri­day in Jing’An – the cen­tral dis­trict of Shang­hai, packed with gleam­ing ho­tels and shop­ping malls – and al­ready the pace on the streets is fre­netic. I’m try­ing to cross a busy main road but even su­per-sized traf­fic lights, a green man and a ze­bra cross­ing hold no sway against driv­ers who seem to see pedes­tri­ans as an an­noy­ance best ig­nored.

I make it across un­scathed (just) and head for the Jing’An Park, a leafy haven where pen­sion­ers are hud­dled around Mahjong boards and a bunch of f teenagers are at­tempt­ing to get a drone cam­era into the air.

It’s 20 years since I’ve been to China – I lived in the south­ern city of Guangzhou for a year when I was 10 – and boy things have changed. In those days, my blond sib­lings and I were world’s largest city (cur­rently home to 24 mil­lion) has grown sig­nif­i­cantly since short-term visa re­stric­tions were re­laxed in 2013. You can now stay in China for up to 72 hours with­out a visa, mak­ing it more att at­trac­tive to trav­ellers al­ready in So South East Asia or on route to Aus­tralia. AuS So how do you max­imise a three-day stay in this me­trop­o­lis? thW While I could hap­pily gawp at the vie view from my 17th floor room at th the Puli Ho­tel all day, I’m keen to ex ex­plore old-school Shang­hai. So af af­ter my stroll I make a bee­line fo for Tian Zi Fang, where the na nar­row criss-cross­ing streets ar are lined with low rise “Lane” ho houses, built in the 1930s.

T The area now has a mar­ket feel, w with for­mer residential homes mostly trans­formed into shops se selling silk cloth­ing, loose leaf te tea, car­toon­ish trin­kets and ot other tourist-friendly goods. gaw­ped at like we were aliens wher­ever we went, but in mod­ern day Shang­hai, Western­ers (or “gui­los” in Man­darin) are 10 a penny.

The num­ber of for­eign­ersg vis­it­ing g the

I haven’t re­tained much Man­darin in two decades (and bar­ter­ing is made all the more dif­fi­cult be­cause the Chi­nese have a sys­tem of hand sym­bols for num­bers that’s more com­pli­cated than our one to 10 fin­gers) but with the help of my iPhone

With the help of my iPhone cal­cu­la­tor, I man­age to hag­gle

down the price.

cal­cu­la­tor, I man­age to hag­gle down the price of some sil­ver jew­ellery and a tra­di­tional silk Cheongsam dress.

Ready for a breather, I make my way over to the pic­turesque Yu Gar­den to watch koi carp and tur­tles pad­dling in jade green ponds, as I walk across the Zigzag Bridge to reach Hux­int­ing Tea­house and a re­fresh­ing

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