Shanghai x Hangzhou, China

I’ve only traveled to a few countries, but I knew that I love traveling even before I traveled overseas for the first time. The first time I traveled to a foreign country, I was in Bangkok, Thailand and as we landed, I remember thinking about how it feels so surreal to be on another part of the world map for once.

What appeals to me most about traveling is the fact that everything is different (with varying degrees) from what I have experienced and/or encountered before. Different places, faces, air, food, language and etc.

They say that Capricorns crave stability, but I desire for change. Being at one place for too long, literally and metaphorically (the latter most of the time), makes me feel like I’m not progressing in life. However, in the literal sense, me constantly needing change means that traveling to a foreign country after my first time there does not hold the same amount of appeal anymore, even though I enjoyed myself thoroughly while I was there. This is probably one of the reasons why I decided to visit China last December.

I never wanted to travel to China – I preferred Western countries or countries where English was the main spoken language. Call me Westernized, whitewashed or whatever is more suitable, but I never saw the appeal in visiting China.

I went anyway, possibly also because we were going to go to Disneyland (it was my first time) and I’m glad I did, although this holiday was the first one that made me wish that it would end earlier than planned.

Shanghai was, to say the least, a let-down. There were some redeeming factors, like Disneyland and Shanghai Old Street, but the rudeness of everyone there just turned me off.

Disneyland was magical; it’s that one thing you don’t think you need until you have it.

I prefer Hangzhou over Shanghai because firstly, the people were much nicer and polite. Secondly, it’s because I found the city more beautiful. Although, I’m only saying this based on the places I visited.

Overall, our accommodations were alright. We stayed at 3 different places.

  1. Joyful Star Hotel Pudong Airport, which provided free authentic Chinese breakfast that I really liked. The room and heating were really nice too.
  2. Shanghai City Central International Hostel, which had very quirky and unique decorations. It also had a mini club/bar/restaurant where a lot of backpackers and younger travelers hang out. This is my least favorite accommodation because the room was quite dirty and old, and the heating was terrible. So, it was really cold because temperatures outside dropped as low as 3 degree Celsius.
  3. Westlake 7 Service Apartments in Hangzhou. This is my favorite out of all 3 accommodations because it had a loft, it was really clean and cozy and the heating was the best. There is nothing bad I can say about this place.

The food in both Shanghai and Hangzhou were actually quite bad. They weren’t how I expected them to be (I expected food like in Din Tai Fung?? tho I’ve never been), didn’t have a lot of variety and just had a very different taste palette than what Chinese food in Malaysia has.

The best thing that I didn’t expect was the shopping. The Chinese are really fashion forward! There were a lot of trendy clothes, shoes, and accessories that weren’t exactly cheap, but the prices were reasonable enough for me to buy them because the designs that I saw there, I never saw in Malaysia. So, I bought quite a few things, which if you know me, made me really happy.

After coming home, I thought that I would never return, only because I felt that some of the people were quite rude. But now that I’m less bothered about it, I’d totally go back. That, and also you know what. 😉

Day 2; Shanghai Disneyland Resort

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Sleeping Beauty’s castle

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Giant Christmas tree

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Day 3; A very Chinese breakfast ft. Pa @ Joyful Star Hotel

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People’s Square, Shanghai (人民广场)

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The Bund, Shanghai (上海外滩)

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Day 4; Hangzhou (杭州)

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West Lake (西湖)

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Day 6; Old Shanghai (上海老街)

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