I had hoped to visit Chengdu and the Panda Reserve, but in Beijing we really did have trouble finding a train to anywhere and as such both Chengdu and Xian had to be ruled out. We tried to find the Zoo in Beijing but the subway route on which it lies was being refurbished. So I had hoped we could find the Zoo in Shanghai.
Whilst in China I have been using and 2 resources, firstly Lonely Planet China – Which is good. But (and I really find this unbelievable) when they tell you about the places to visit they don’t tell you what the nearest subway is, or what bus routes go there (Since in China buses run on a continuous route, unlike the UK where they go to a place and back, here they run on a continuous loop) But the second resource I have used, and it really has proven invaluable is http://www.travelchinaguide.com/
We managed to find out what buses ran near the Zoo and set off. A quick hop on the subway – Which is inferior to that of Beijing, since here you have to pay to a station and the fare is normally at least twice that of in Beijing (who have a flat rate of 2 yen and you can hop on and off wherever) We found the bus we needed and were at the Zoo in no time.
The first thing we noticed was how it seemed much cooler and a far more comfortable 24 degrees, it cost me 40 yen entrance and Charlie 24 yen (about 6 quid total) the Zoo is actually really nice, to begin with we weren’t too impressed, it was almost like a fish/bird sanctuary. But as you walk round the zoo gets better, probably the most unusual animals we saw were dogs. There were about 30 different breeds of dogs (which is weird for a zoo) then we got to the bears, now, in the UK we might have a Polar Bear and a Grizzly, at Shanghai zoo they had many different breeds of each animal – The polar bear looked less than impressed as he was forced to sun bathe in the ever increasing temperature and humidity – which by this time was in the low 30’s and very humid. We saw 2 beautiful Panda’s – all our first time seeing one. What amazing animals they are!
We saw Lions, Panthers, Tigers, Monkeys, Gorillas, Orangutan’s in fact really the only animal we didn’t find was the Rhino.
It really is a great Zoo – Ok, it breaks probably every animal law ever created, it stinks and is in major need of a cleanup but we loved it – I’m not so sure an avid animal lover would enjoy it as much as some of the states of the animals are pretty grim and many are obviously in great duress as the locals try and feed them crisps and hot dogs. But if you just want to look at animals it is perfect – Never have I known a zoo allow such close proximity.
And, I have to say – Last year I decided that Jackson Zoo in Mississippi was my favourite Zoo, but it’s now Shanghai.
After the zoo since it had got so warm Charlie and I had started to melt so we headed back to the hotel to attempt to peel our clothes off.
In the same way Dublin rests heavily on Guinness Shanghai rests even heavier on a place called the Bund. It’s basically a street which helped form Shanghai as its known today. All the guide books get turned on by the Bund, in the prose you can imagine the writers foaming at the mouth as they talk about how amazing the Bund is. Well, we went. And someone must have robbed it, because when we got there it was a letdown – A Street no different to any in London. That’s really all ill say about that. What was far more impressive was the Pudong, the Bund is a street which lies at the side of the river, well at the other side of the river is a skyline which I would say matches any skyline In the world. From the amazing Pearl Tower to the funky huge skyscraper which I do not know the name of. We saw it in all its illuminated glory and were impressed. In fact I think I shed a tear…. (Ok I didn’t but it was beautiful)
The remainder of the day and the following day were spent exploring the extremely interesting Nanjing Rd; it’s basically a street which is like something straight out of Hong Kong Fuey, huge oversized lit signs in Chinese, millions of shops from Rolex to Versace right down to KFC. A great place to be, even though you do get hounded by people trying to sell everything.