Zhujiajiao ancient town Shanghai

Venice in Shanghai – Zhujiajiao ancient town :Shanghai

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Well it is known as the Venice of Shanghai. Zhujiajiao is an ancient town located in the Qingpu District of Shanghai. We had no idea how or where to buy tickets from because we didn’t want to go through a tour or an agent. We googled the ticket center address and we knew we could get a bus from there. Now this sounds easier said than done. Because if you can’t speak Chinese, good luck with making the cab driver understand what you’re saying. So we did the smart thing, got the hotel receptionist to write down the ticket counter place in Chinese and we also took a map. It still took us 3 rounds around the same junction to find the place.  Again we rushed to find the counter because it was nearing closing time. We found the counter at the basement and with hand gestures and map and our Chinese translation, managed to get two tickets to the place. Thankfully everything but the date and timing was written in Chinese. The ticket counter guy was sweet enough to point us to a English pamphlet of the place.

Zhujiajiao Ancient Town

The next day we reached 5 mins before the bus left and found it already boarded and waiting for late comers like us. All the people in the bus were Chinese and they were nice enough to point out our seats when we took the wrong seats the first 2 times.  We reached the place in about a couple of hours or maybe even less.

Zhujiajiao Ancient Town

There are rows and rows of weeping willow trees that great you on the way to the entrance. Since it was our first time seeing these trees, we were kind of  distracted. Zhujiajiao is what it says it is.  An ancient village on water. We had fun strolling around the cobbled streets looking at different varieties of food and souvenirs, dress shops and other entertaining things.There are a lot of alley ways and small shops along the way. The small streets open up to a huge junction.

Zhujiajiao Ancient Town Zhujiajiao Ancient Town

There are a few cozy and pretty cafes scattered along the way and there’s Starbucks. I wonder how Starbucks found it’s way here, but it was a relief to get a reliable chai latte to lift our tired spirits.

Beware of the temple in the village. We went in and couldn’t say no when the 2 Chinese temple guys separated us and took us to two opposite tables. The one who guided me saw my hand, pretended to read the lines, then wrote something down on a paper, put it in an envelope and gave it to me. Then he showed me a register to sign and obviously pay, which I was not going to go. I hate scams like this. I refused saying I had no money. He asked me to return my fortune back to him. Of course. I was only glad to return him the scrap of paper.

Zhujiajiao Ancient TownI bought soft wool socks made for my darling niece from this sweet lady. We also got our paper cut outs made. We watched a 5d movie (yes!) and I had my picture taken in a Chinese dress. I simply cannot resist things like that.

Zhujiajiao Ancient TownAs the sun started setting, it scattered a warm glow over the place which made it look even more beautiful. We might have enjoyed it even more if it wasn’t super hot.

Zhujiajiao Ancient Town

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Shanghai to Beijing high speed train

Shanghai to Beijing…on a train!

Shanghai to Beijing high speed train
Shanghai to Beijing high speed train
When we wanted to travel to Beijing from Shanghai and were looking for options, we zeroed in on a High-Speed Railway that travels at around 300 km/h. This rail line is the world’s longest high-speed line ever constructed in a single phase. It was more expensive than the airfare but we decided to take it for the thrill of experiencing something new. And we’re ever so glad we did.

Shanghai to Beijing high speed train
First off, the train station is huge, it’s almost like a mini airport. In spite of the chaos  its very well managed. Even though we can’t read or speak Chinese, we didn’t have any trouble locating the boarding area. As far as we remember, there was no check-in luggage line. If you have bags, you can keep them in the train when you board in a separate place for bags. We bought the business class tickets but the second class didn’t look bad either. Considering there was no food served in the train I don’t think it matter what class you take. The seats for both classes looked comfortable except business class has more leg space.

Shanghai to Beijing high speed train 901182_10151762123933999_1013490411_o

At 300 km/h we thought the world outside would be a blur but we could see very clearly and also take pictures. If you ever want to travel from Shanghai to Beijing or vice versa, do think about this option. Firstly, you don’t have to reach the place 3 hours in advance. One hour is fine. The boarding process so painless and quick. And the journey is very comfortable. All in all a very good experience.

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top (Ancient Yu Yuan Garden)

It can be a feeling, a perspective, or a physical location — share a photo that says “On Top.”

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A White crane on top of an ancient structure. Everything has symbolism in China. White Crane is a symbol of longevity since it is believed to live very long. I was particularly enamored by this bird. It looks graceful and pretty perched on top of a structure against a bright blue sky.

This picture is from Ancient Yu Tuan Garden in Shanghai.

This Photograph is a response to the weekly Challenge by The Daily Post.

Shanghai: Jade Buddha Temple

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“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

The Jade Buddha Temple was founded in 1882 with two jade Buddha statues imported to Shanghai from Burma by sea. The history of this temple is very interesting which you can read on Wikipedia.

Before going to the temple i read a few reviews online and a overwhelming number of them complained of how its a tourist trap and how 3/4 of the premises are souvenir shops. But i decided to go there anyway based on the few good reviews i read. And i’m glad i did.

I went on a monday. I reached around 1 and it was pretty quite with very few tourists around. When i went inside the main hall I immediately felt a great sense of peace surround me. Im not a very religious person and I’ve been to a lot of temples before but rarely have I felt so connected. The temple is beautiful and the statues have a serene look.

There are different buddha halls. The Devajara Hall, Mahavira Hall and the Jade Buddha Tower. I also saw monks reciting shlokas which is a beautiful thing to hear.

Yes there are a lot of souvenir shops around which makes me sad but of you ignore those things and resign to the fact that everything is going to be overpriced and simply enjoy the temple and its history its a beautiful place to visit. Continue reading