Day 4: Shanghai/Yangshuo

April 14, 2010

Today we needed to leave for the airport by noon, so we got up early and headed east across the river to check out Pudong. The guidebook recommended the “Bund Sightseeing Tunnel”, a kitschy underwater ride that at $5, cost twenty times as much as a ferry ride but was touted as an “essential Shanghai experience”. Of course we would take it!

Very psychedelic and a little bizarre

The tunnel was filled with lights, music, and those inflatable people wavers, with a voice occasionally booming out things like “OCEAN. MYSTICAL. FISH.” The whole trip took about ten minutes, and we exited to find ourselves surrounded by the skyscrapers we’d been admiring from afar.

The Pudong area of Shanghai

I found a place for breakfast in the World Financial Center, so we made our way down Century Boulevard trying to pick out the right skyscraper. Like everywhere else in Shanghai, this area was under a lot of construction, but we navigated around pretty easily.

HEY! Leave that there!


Another lion? Not sure

We had a delicious breakfast at Julie’s Bistro, a cute little diner where the omelets were so good we only missed Yang’s Dumplings a little bit. After breakfast, we ran through the rain to the Metro and headed back to the Peninsula to check out. The weather was even worse than when we’d arrived, and the prospect of making our way back to the train with our luggage through the blanket of umbrellas was so daunting we opted to take a cab to the airport.

Ten well-spent dollars later, we arrived at Hongqiao Airport for our flight to Guilin. The rain continued, but our China Southern flight was only delayed by fifteen minutes and we landed in Guilin around 5:00 PM. Our hotel had arranged for a car to pick us up, and while Matt and I are all for cheap public transportation, it was pretty nice to go from baggage claim into a waiting car. It was a 90-minute drive southeast from Guilin to Yangshuo, and we relaxed and enjoyed the scenery along the way.

You mean Dr. Galakowitz?

Yangshuo is in southern China, about 300 miles northeast of Vietnam. It’s surrounded by limestone karst mountains, winding rivers, and rice terraces, giving this area a completely different feel from big-city Shanghai. The city is a top tourist destination in China, offering hiking, biking, river rafting, caves, and more. However, as we drove through the mountains on our way to the hotel, I decided that even if we did none of those things, the scenery alone would be worth the visit.

We were staying at the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, a small hotel located on the banks of the Yulong River. Our room had a balcony overlooking the river and we marveled at the gorgeous views. The hotel is extremely popular with foreigners, with English widely spoken and any activity you could possibly want helpfully mapped out for you. We loved it immediately.

Yangshuo Mountain Retreat


Rainy, misty view from our balcony


Entrance to our room

The hotel had a nice restaurant, so we got settled and went for dinner. The meal was excellent: pineapple chicken, Yangzhou-style fried rice, spring rolls, and ginger tea. The menu is extensive, and we’re looking forward to trying some different dishes.

Our delicious dinner

After dinner, we headed back to our room to plan out the next few days. The forecast is for rain, rain, and more rain, with Friday potentially being clear, so I think it’s time to get out the ponchos.

3 Responses to “Day 4: Shanghai/Yangshuo”

  1. Nick and Matt, What a gorgeous hotel. We were a bit concerned because of the earthquake near Tibet, but we knew you were far away from there. You are making China a very tempting place to visit with each of your blogs better than the previous ones. Spent the afternoon with the sisters celebrating Kathy’s new job at Bemis. She found out Monday morning. We love the pictures and narration; keep it coming. Love, Mom and Dad

  2. The first picture is really awesome! You are taking some really cool pictures, Matt. I agree with Pat, you are certainly convincing us that China is THE place to visit! Your new hotel looks absolutely amazing and peaceful. Enjoy.

  3. It is very neat to experience your trip with you through your blog. Great idea–lots of work though. We all appreciate the time that you are taking to share your trip with us.

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