Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How I Spent New Year's in China Without Spending A Fortune....

Ok first.... lets get the honest stuff out of the way, first this trip could never have happened without my good friend Lisa who is still living in Shanghai, thank you so much Lisa. Secondly, I flew here on New Year's Holiday, this flight will never ever be cheap... so although this is a blog for the budget traveler, you may want to work some overtime if you plan on flying here for New Year's. But otherwise as I have said, I went to China to visit Lisa but after going I would tell anyone if they are going to Asia to do everything to stop in China, notably Shanghai. Let's get down to the booking!

First night with Lisa at night club

Ok so remember in travel tips we talked about making friends? Well I've known Lisa over 15 years, so guess how much hotel in Shanghai was? Free, is correct. We splurged for the Hyatt West Lake Hangzhou, and stayed at a cheap guest house in Moganshan. Next thing, everything in China is cheap!!! Why spend $2,000.00 to go to Vegas for the weekend when you can live like a king in Shanghai for $100/day or less! Meals at high class restaurants may only run you $50 for two people. Chinese dumpling breakfast was around $1.00! After a long hard day get a massage at the spa for $10.

We also took the train and ventured out into Hang Zhou, and Lisa got us to Moganshan. I could not have go to Moganshan without Lisa. You need to speak Mandarin, have someone with you that speaks it, or rent a car to get to Moganshan.

Hard to get here to the mountains in Moganshan but so worth it!
Shanghai is a great city to visit if you are in the mood for a metropolitan vacation. The high rises in Shanghai make my hometown NYC look like a village. It is HUGE! The people are very nice but get ready for the language barrier because finding someone who speaks English is not going to be too easy, but not impossible either. As always learn the formalities, please, thank you, and I don't speak Mandarin. ;-) It's a non stop city, you won't wait for the subway for more than 2 minutes, and the same goes for service at restaurants or bars. Speaking of which, the bar is the only place you will be spending significant money. It's fairly expensive to drink in China, so if you are not big on bars and clubs this is going to be a real easy trip for you!

If you do have time to leave Shanghai, Hang Zhou (west lake) and Moganshan highly recommended!
Shanghai Tips
  • Do take a walk on the bund, day and night if you have the time
  • Take the tour of the pearl tower and museum inside
  • Walk through Yu Yuan park, the tea shop is optional as the line will be very long
  • So I am 200 pounds with an athletic build, if you wear an XL in America I wouldn't get too hopeful on clothes shopping in China. The XL is about a large or maybe even medium. They had some great clothing/fashion styles but all I went home with was an overly tight T Shirt. :-(
  • If you do not speak Mandarin have a business card with at least your hotels address or the address of where you are staying. Taxi prices were very reasonable in China, as long as the driver can find the place you are going!
    • Bargain, bargain a lot! If they tell you at certain places, notably the outlet type stores, that a shirt is $60, you will say $30 and they will say deal, but in reality you could have got it down to around $8
    •  Stop in the French Concession, enjoy shopping, food, or a beer in the alleys of stores and shops
    • Don't hesitate on souvenirs here, they are all cheap and all made in China!

      After the flight, Shanghai is one of the easiest places for the budget traveler! On another note, China is the largest country by population in the world, Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, and a lot of the country is still beautiful. Visit if you can.

      Enjoy my NYE video of this trip:

      Choose the continent!!!!


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