Abi’s Shanghai travel journal: My addictive discovery and some travel advice

My addictive discovery – Milk Tea

I never heard of  bubble tea or milk tea before coming to China. I noticed that many locals and most of my friends really liked it so I decided to try it. I got the pudding milk tea from CoCo and literally had it almost every day after.  It was the perfect drink for the hot summer days in the city.

1

A Taiwanese chain which sells very nice tea. I liked the flexibility of this stall where you could choose a specific level of sweetness. I had countless ice green fruit teas from 1 on the hot summer days. The green milk tea is also worth ordering.

Website: http://www.alittle-tea.com/stores.asp?VF=1

CoCo

A famous chain of tea stalls which serves up some of the best milk tea in the city.  If like me you are new to bubble tea and milk tea I recommend trying the ‘pudding milk tea’  at CoCo. I absolutely loved it.   I now understand why I see many people with coco cups around the city.


 

Travel advice

Things to know before going to Shanghai

VPN- you would need to download a VPN on your phone and laptop to access sites that are blocked in China such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Phone: you can buy a China mobile sim and top it up as desired(Pay as you go). To top up your sim, buy credit from a convenience store and follow the simple instructions to top it up. After topping up, all you need to do to activate 4G is to turn it on(on iPhones: settings>mobile data>4G)

When to go

Shanghai is usually humid and gets very hot in the summer and really cold in the winter.  Make sure to bring really light clothes in the summer. There is no central heating in Shanghai, be prepared to wrap up and have many layers  as the humidity makes it feel colder in the winter. Make sure to always have an umbrella in your bag because it pours especially in the summer(June – September), the showers are usually lighter in spring.

Spring (March – May) – This is the best time to visit Shanghai as the average temperature is a pleasant 20°C. (68° F)

Getting around

  • Taxi: are relatively affordable in Shanghai. Avoid dark blue cabs and opt for lighter blue ones as they are cheaper. The taxi drivers in Shanghai don’t understand English so make sure you always have the Chinese address of your destination before getting in a cab. It is also a good idea to always keep the Chinese address of your hotel on you  in case you get lost.
  • Metro: You can buy a metro card at the metro station which you can top up for your transport(it works like an oyster card). You can download the Shanghai metro map on your phone and it will help you navigate your way around town with the metro. The metro closes by 10:30 so you would need to use a Taxi if you are staying out late.
  • Bus: The buses are the cheapest mode of transport and cost about 2RMB per journey. The buses arrive at frequent intervals and you can use your metro cards on them

Travel tips

  • Shanghai is very populated and like with every big city you have to be extra careful and cautious about pickpockets. Always make sure your bag is zipped and held in front of you with your hand over it. China is generally a safe place.
  • Tap water is not safe to drink in China so make sure to drink only bottled water.
  • Fake alcohol is common in China, be very wary about this on nights out. If the drinks are free or rather cheap they could very well be fake.
  • Spitting in public and starring are both very common in China. People stare just because they are curious about the physical differences. Don’t take offence to any of the differences in the culture, rather be very open and adaptable.
  • Getting around is cheap and easy by metro( 3 – 5 RMB). The taxis (starting from 14 RMB)in shanghai are relatively affordable though the cost can add up. I recommend downloading the Shanghai metro map as it is interactive and works without internet connection
  • Websites like  Smartshanghai are very helpful when looking for Chinese addresses to show taxi drivers
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