The past week I've had 2 friends visiting me here in Shanghai and we've had so much on the program. Anne and me went to Huangshan for a hiking trip and just as we returned to Shanghai Lilya arrived. Lilya flew in from Taiwan without a visa as China has the 72h rule saying that you can stop over for 72 hours without a visa. As far as I know the only demand is that the airport/country you come from is different from the one you travel to after - so it's actually a prober stop-over. So with 72 hours in Shanghai I had to choose carefully what to show and what to do.
The list of places to show in Shanghai is endless so for me personally the most important thing to show is Shanghai's incredible contrasts: Old vs. New. Traditional vs. Modern. Rich vs. Poor. Over-the-top vs. Simple. I love spending an afternoon walking around in my local area in the French Concession, chatting with the locals in my lane house, eating street noodles and then continuing the evening with a visit to the bund e.g. for a drink at the fancy Hotel Indigo's Char Bar which has the most incredible view over Shanghai (in my opinion).
I really wanted to show Anne and Lilya a little bit of a different China than Shanghai but with our tight schedule a 2-3 hour trip a nice water town such as Zhujiajiao, Tongli or Luzhi just seemed too long. Then I remembered that my friend Janie had once posted a really nice picture of Qibao Old Town on her Instagram. And that this place is only a short subway ride away.
It's line 9 to Qibao st. and it took us 25 minutes to get there from the centre of the French Concession. Don't get disappointed when you walk out of Exit 2 and are being met by a big shopping mall and a Starbucks (yes you are still in Shanghai) just turn right and you'll see one of the brown attraction signs with "Qibao Old Town" and directions.
Qibao Zhen which is the traditional Chinese name literally means The Seven Treasures Town and the old town is named after the temple you can also find here. The peaceful temple is RMB 5 and definitely worth a visit after a stroll through the touristed small paths and bridges hosting shops, vendors and restaurants. Maybe you will meet the happy monk Frank from Taiwan, if so remember to say hi from me.
I've heard Qibao is really famous for "hong shao rou" (red braised pork) but as a veggie I didn't have the full experience of that part.
Enoy Qibao with or without visitors - it's so worth half a day trip!
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