Wow, I’ve neglected this thing for a while. But, it was all for proper research, trust me 😉 What did I research, you ask? I went to Shanghai, in my annual pilgrimage, to visit family and to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday. The latter is important because I used Line 2 to reach his (and my) favorite bakery in Shanghai to buy an artery clogging, waistband tightening, and all too creamy buttercream cake. (So good that my mom and I decided to buy another one before I left, despite no one celebrating a birthday). But you’ll have to wait for Part 2 to see where.
What is Line 2 you ask? It’s the green line. And, as you can guess from the name, it’s the second major subway line to cross Shanghai. While Line 1 runs north to south, Line 2 runs east to west, connecting all major airports you need tomove in and out of the city or country. On a typical trip back, I’ll hit the following stations, and then some:
- Pudong International Airport (浦东机场)
Welcome to Shanghai! You’ve landed in Shanghai. Now just work your way through customs, get through what appears to be the most useless security check line ever, and breath in
the smog, I mean air. For people from Beijing, this is fresh air. For all other folks, it takes a few days, when it’s truly smoggy out, to get adjusted. Big question now is, how the hell do you get into the city? There’s options, ranging from dirt cheap to cheap.
Option 1: Subway (6 RMB or < $1)
Option 2: Maglev + Subway (50-60 RMB or < $10)
Option 3: Cab (200 RMB or $30)
Option 1 is a lovely 60-90 min ride into center city. Take it if you don’t have too many luggages and if you’re willing to lug them up and down escalators. China doesn’t do the whole elevators into subways thing. It takes a while and, once you enter Shanghai proper, you may have to do some shoving to create space. Other than that, it’s cleaner than NYC subways and you’ll have a nice view of the nothingness that’s around the Pudong airport. Note: You must transfer to the main Line 2 train across the platform at Guanglan Road (Stop #2 below) or else you’re going back to the airport.
Option 2 cuts Option 1’s trip in half, in terms of time. It made sense before the extension of Line 2 from Guanlan Road to the airport. Now it’s just a bit awkward, taking you from Pudong to Longyang Road. What’s good is, if you need to transfer to the 7, it’s one fewer transfer than Option 1.
Option 3: This is metered. The 200RMB is an estimate, from my grandparents’ place to the airport, which is farther than center city to the airport. That being said, there’s so many ways to get into the city, via tunnels or bridges. Some have tolls, some do not. If you have no idea what the most efficient way is to get to your final destination, you might get played by the cabbie. But, even if you do, you have to be really dense to allow them to get away with anything above 300 RMB or $45 for a cab ride. Consider NYC to JFK is $52 flat before tolls and tips, I’m satisfied with that rate. Did I mention you don’t tip in China? Win.
- Guanglan Road (广兰路)
I like this stop because it’s funny to watch people run across the platform to catch the subway, either to the airport or from the airport to the city. What’s not funny? The complete impracticality of this transfer on normal days. It only makes sense if, on holiday, you don’t want to use a train for the shorter section of line 2. Otherwise, you’ve just created more work for me to lug my stuff off a train and on to another (shorter) train.
- Longyang Road (龙阳路)
Yay, so you’ve arrived at Longyang Road. It’s still quite out there in Pudong. But, this is where you go from the Maglev to the subway, either Line 2 or Line 7, or you can try to get a cab and hope for a cheaper fare into center city.
- Century Park (世纪公园 )
One of the biggest parks in Shanghai. Several subway lines are accessible here and two stops further west at Century Plaza (世纪大道). It’s a nice place to walk around, admire the fauna, and almost feel like you’re away from the city. That being said, I’ve never truly walked here because, well, I don’t like being away from the city. Ironic because when I’m in NYC, I can’t wait to leave, haha.
- Shanghai Science & Technology Museum (上海科技馆)
Check out the science museum here, fully equipped with IMAX and giant screens for an immersive video experience. One can also check out its many exhibits, if you want an educational segment in your Shanghai itinerary.
The last time I was here was probably about 10 year ago, and no, it wasn’t to visit museums. In the subway station, there were several small shops selling goods ranging from iphone ear buds to Chinese paintings. And yes, haggle if you know what’s good for you.
- Lujiazui (陆家嘴)
All the pictures of Shanghai are either taken of this place or taken from this place. It’s the opposite side of the Huangpu River, facing the Bund. What’s here are the most modern buildings in Shanghai, including the tallest building in East Asia and second tallest building in the world. I know them as:
That Beer Bottle Opener (492m/1,614ft/101 fl)
Actual Name: Shanghai World Financial Center
Color at Night: Blue
What’s up there: Observation deck, with glass flooring in certain parts for you to peek down
The Fancy Gold Building (420m/1,380ft/93 fl)
Actual Name: Jin Mao Tower
Color at Night: Silver (ironic right?)
What’s up there: Restaurants, office buildings, observation floor
Holy Shit that’s Tall (632m/2,073ft/127 fl)
Actual Name: Shanghai Tower
Color at Night: Blue Streak
What’s up there: Clean air? JK. I actually don’t know, but if one could sneak up there at dawn or dusk for the sunrise or sunset, that’d be awesome.
Oriental Pearl Tower (468m/1,535ft/14 fl)
Actual Name: Oriental Pearl Tower
Color at Night: ROYGBIV
What’s up there: 4D rides, restaurants, great view of the Bund, and an annual race to see who can climb up the tower the fastest
Other things to do:
- Walk to the Binjiang Park to get a panoramic view of the Bund
- Shop/eat/charge your iPhone at the IFC mall
- Work, if you work for HSBC, Ping An Insurance, or any other major firms who have their office there
Ok, this has been a long post, really long. So, I’ll take you across the river next time. Until then, book a night at the Oriental Riverside Hotel (make sure you get a riverfront view), and enjoy the nightscape of the Bund. The floor to ceiling windows are great, until about 12am when they shut off all the lights…yea…