Shanghai for work, and few days Beijing

Old Feb 15th, 2011, 04:06 PM
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Shanghai for work, and few days Beijing

Hi, as another poster has just entered, we have used Fodor's for Europe and US travel but not for Asia. We could use your help!

My husband will be going to Shanghai for 2 weeks for work, followed by 2 days in Beijing for a short side-trip (not work) . He will be staying at the Ramada Plaza in Pudong in Shanghai. He will be staying at the Renaissance Beijing Chaoyang. Other co-workers are going. Some will not continue on to Beijing afterwardbut a few will.

He spent part of his growing up in Japan and Taiwan, so he is not entirely new to Asia but does not speak Chinese.

He will have the first weekend when he arrives, jet-lagged, and one other weekend in Shanghai. He will have 2 days (not counting the travel days coming and leaving) in Beijing.

Shanghai Questions:
1. What activities or sites would be feasible to do after work?

2. Is his hotel in an area where he could take the Maglev train from the airport? He was hoping to do so.

3. What are the best choices for things to see in the city?
a. From our research and his interests, we are thinking the Shanghai Museum (he has seen some amazing ones growing up, how does this compare to Taipei and Tokyo in size and quality)?

b He is also interested in the Shanghai Aquarium; is this a decent one? We liked that they focused on native species.

c. Which temple would be best to see? He has seen many amazing Buddhist and Shinto temples. Is the Confucian one different in style? For his co-workers, who have not been to Asia, what is the best choice for Buddhist temples?

d. Should we figure the big Shanghai Museum and one temple would take a whole day, plus travel times and lunch? (Also metro vs taxi???)

e. Of high-rises in Pudong, which is best to go up in? Some have restaurants, how expensive are they? Looked fun.

f. Other restaurants recommended near Hotel or because they're worth getting to. Fodor's Guidebook mentioned Sasha's, any info?

f. Would it be relaxing to leave for a day in Suzhou--how difficult is it getting a train or transportation there?

For Beijing:
This will be a quick trip to see the Wall for one day and the Forbidden City/Tianamen Square for the other day. We have had less time to research this portion.

Tour needed? Which part of wall? Anything else that could be seen on way to/from either of these days?

Best travel options given the hotel?

Thanks so much!!

FiveAlive
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 06:17 AM
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The Beijing Duck must try in Beijing.
Mutianyu Great Wall will be a good choice.you can do the Mutianyu Great Wall and Summer Palace together.
I don`t think there is nice temple in Shanghai.
The Lama Temple,a Tibetan Style temple in Beijing is good.
Violet
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 09:02 AM
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> For Beijing: ...the Wall for one day and the Forbidden City/Tianamen Square for the other day ... Tour needed?

Tours are not needed - you can easily visit these places on your own, even without knowing Chinese. Check a good guidebook or search this forum for more information.

> Which part of wall?

It depends on your preferences. Badaling is the closest to Beijing and the easiest to visit, but can be very crowded. Some say it has the best vistas. Mutianyu is a bit further and may be less crowded. There are other sections that are a bit more difficult to reach.

> Anything else that could be seen on way to/from either of these days?

That depends on how you plan to reach them and how long you spend visiting them. Again, a good guidebook should be helpful, as would a search of this board.

Hope that helps!
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 10:27 PM
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Thanks for your help with Beijing. kja, you are right! Normally I would spend a month reading before posting. We were given very little lead time.

The reading I have done on this board led to more questions and uncertainty.....

Still unclear as to the quality of the information provided at the Forbidden City or Tiananmen Square. Yes, my husband and friends will bring a guide book in English. We also make up a notebook of notes from Fodors, photocopies from library books, restaurant reviews, etc.

For the destinations within the city of Beijing, I understand that we don't NEED a tour. We can take a taxi or public transit and go on our own.

Here is why we would LIKE a tour, if it is a quality one: First trip to Roman Colosseum, paid staff would not explain things and books were hard to follow their explanation versus the reality in front of us. Second trip, we hired guide who had worked for the Roman antiquities department. She made the place come alive.

With the Wall...

In my reading, I found Badaling section is criticized for being so remodeled it is not authentic. True? Not true?

But advantage of Badaling is to visit the tombs nearby. Are the tombs an amazing destination in their own right? Are they also close to Mutianyu?

Is Summer Place on way to Mutianyu?

No one wants to rent a car in this group. If one easier via public transport that would be good to know.

Any further thoughts on Shanghai questions in original post....thanks again!

Five Alive
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 11:03 PM
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Is his hotel in an area where he could take the Maglev train from the airport? He was hoping to do so

Yes..maybe a 20 minute taxi ride. I used to stay there sometimes when I was working on and off in Shanghai. You need to get the address in CHINESE for the taxi driver though, otherwise, your husband will not be able to get from the MAGLEV to the hotel. 97% of taxi drivers dont speak English, so, having a hotel card is a must.

TALL BUILDINGS:
Best building is World Financial Center building in Pudong. Its RMB 150 to go to the top floor. 474 meters high. I was there in January this year.
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Old Feb 19th, 2011, 08:24 AM
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Awesome.

For the Shanghai hotel, I don't know if they could mail me a biz card in time.

I was able to convert the home page for the Shanghai to Chinese..... http://www.ramadaplazapd.com/cn/reservation.html
do you think if I take a screenprint of this and print it out it would work for a taxi driver?
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Old Feb 19th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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The adress is 上海浦东新金桥路18号
There is a map on http://www.ramadaplazapd.com/cn/location.html. The chinese characters directly beneath the map is the address and the contact info. Print it out would be good for the dirver and you too.
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Old Feb 20th, 2011, 12:16 AM
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Perhaps you e-mail the hotel. Sometimes, the hotel will have the information as a .doc or .pdf file .

[email protected]aplazapd.com

All the best ....Peter
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Old Feb 20th, 2011, 01:09 PM
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Try this : http://www.ramadaplazapd.com/images/map.jpg

Looks nice and clear and print that out at 125% in landscape format . I just tried it and it would be perfect.

You need to have good information for the taxi drivers, because, sometimes they cannot read. Have been into Shanghai and China on numerous occasions, and having a clear map, makes it much easier.
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Old Feb 20th, 2011, 09:38 PM
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Thanks, you guys are great!

I have been reading up on other threads about currency vs Visa cards and it sounds like best to avoid Visa unless he wants to pay extra, and a lot of places don't take Visa? Is it worth it to get traveler's checks. One person mentioned it.
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Old Feb 21st, 2011, 01:18 AM
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Problem with using a foreign-issued credit card - whether it's VISA, Mastercard or others, is the widespread use of Dynamic Currency Conversion - which is basically a scam developed by the VISA/MC and the banks to charge the user twice for conversion fees.

Difference is that anywhere else in the world, when you request that the charge is to be made in local currency, the merchant will listen. In China, however, EVEN IF you request the charge be made in RMB, often that request is not followed - intentionally or otherwise.

So, you can use the cards and basically accept that scam when/if it's applied to you; or don't use a foreign credit card in China. Of course, that means paying with cash, and that has its own fees and inconvenience associated with it.

Traveler's cheques are hard to use, and they have their own fees too.
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Old Feb 21st, 2011, 01:40 AM
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My recommendations for Shanghai:
The Bund, esp. at night
Shintiandi, the nightclub area has an old Shanghai house that is interesting. Restaurant - Din Tai Feng for Shanghai dumplings
Chenghuang temple for souvenirs, also Nanxiang xiao long bao place for dimsum
The maglev
Shanghai museum
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Old Feb 21st, 2011, 09:25 PM
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Hi, thanks so much for your responses. Rkkwan, I somehow thought the dcc was just a European issue....

I actually got into an argument in Rome where a merchant insisted on doing the dcc. When I got pretty insistent, he angrily tore up my receipt and reversed the charges but it was quite a scene; I paid him cash.

Since this is a work trip, he will have a employer-issued Visacard for qualified expenses and will probably use it anyway because getting the receipts figured out is also a pain. But not our personal card for his own expenses!

LChin, is the nightclub area large, is the house easy to find?
Thanks for your suggestions!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 02:12 PM
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A question re: Dynamic Currency Conversion. One should always insists the merchants on charging the local currency, is that it?
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 03:59 PM
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mohan - Yes. But many Chinese merchants will ignore you.
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