Have you ever been stuck between two destinations waiting for your next flight? Awkward layover times or just want to make the most of each leg of the journey? Our Business travel consultant Mandy recently had the opportunity to experience the whirlwind of activities you can pack in to 48 hours in the bustling city of Shanghai…
We arrived in Shanghai just after 7am, and made our way straight to the hotel - the recently opened Melia Shanghai Hongqiao, and has a great location in the Business District close to Hongqiao Airport and high-speed railway station, the Exhibition Centre and not far from the F1 Circuit. The modern, large rooms are stylishly decorated, and the facilities include a gym, ballroom, an indoor swimming pool and Spa.
Keen to make the most of my trip, straight after check-in we headed to a kick boxing and tai chi lesson with a hotel fitness instructor, followed by some laps of the large pool, and finally a breather in the jacuzzi! After an early dinner sampling the hotel’s delicious range of international cuisine and local wines, I headed to The Level Lounge to catch the end of happy hour!
The next morning began early with a huge buffet spread, preparing us for a day of sightseeing! We soon found ourselves 90 minutes outside of Shanghai in Zhujiajiao, one of the nine ancient water towns in the area. Although it was overcrowded, it was beautiful, with fascinating buildings, bridges, shops, and even a ride on a gondolier style boat.
We headed back into Shanghai’s city centre for lunch at the Shanghaitang Chinese restaurant, where we tried local beer, tea and a selection of dishes. The food was so different to our UK Chinese food and tasted deliciously fresh and vibrant.
Next stop was the 5 acre colourful Yu Gardens, right in the centre of Old Shanghai. An extravagant mix of pools, grand gilded architecture, plants and boulders including the unusual jade rock, it was a spectacular visit with a fascinating history of its origins.
Our final tourist spot was the Shanghai Tower – China’s tallest building at 632m and the second tallest in the world. The view across Shanghai was amazing, even though it was a little hazy after the 30 degrees heat we had enjoyed all day!
After a long day sightseeing we went for dinner at a restaurant on The Bund, opting for a Chinese restaurant with Vietnamese influence and a great rooftop bar! Our guide Michael ordered for us and we enjoyed another delicious selection of dishes and local wines – Michael even complimented me on my chopstick skills!
The following morning we were up early to head back to the airport and our flight home. Our 48 hours in Shanghai was up! Flying back Business class was very nice, with reclining seats, Bosh headphones, lovely food and attentive staff making the time go quickly.
I loved my whirlwind trip to Shanghai, it is a colourful city with a mix of very modern and very traditional, and is so different to anywhere else I have been. We didn’t get time to see any temples or other sights on this occasion, and I would love to go back up the Shanghai Tower at night – and with a visa valid for 2 years I hope to go back soon!
ABOUT NORAD TRAVEL GROUP:
Norad Travel Group is a full service specialist travel management and leisure travel organisation headquartered in Liss, Hampshire. As well as a Liss-based holiday and concierge service, Norad Travel Group's Leisure Division includes Norad Travel Gloucester, Howard Travel in Trowbridge and Erne Travel in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.
Formed in 1981 Norad are members of the influential Guild of Travel Management Companies and partners in the Advantage consortium of independent travel agency companies. Chairman Mick Gibbs is also chairman of the Focus Group of travel management specialists within Advantage.