With the Chinese New Year behind us, it's time to look forward to spring... and that means flowers! Shanghai is full of beautiful scenes where flowers of all kinds from tulips to cherry blossoms can be found.
Chinese ages and birthdays can be a little hard to explain to non-Chinese people. First, we use the Chinese calendar, which typically has 353, 354 or 355 days instead of the western calendar of 365 days. Instead of a leap day added to the calendar every 4 years, we add a leap month about every 3 years.
If this isn't confusing enough, the Chinese start counting age from the time you are conceived, not born, so every Chinese is one year old at birth and then adds to their age each Chinese New Year instead of their actual birthday. To learn your age based on the Chinese calendar, click here for a nifty tool to do so.
I had the pleasure of visiting the world's largest coffee shop today. Yes, it's a Starbucks in Puxi part of Shanghai. I wasn't sure it was the world's biggest, but found this New York Times article to prove it :) And when you go here, it's HUGE... and amazing. Love coffee? Come visit and we'd be happy to add this to your tour... or just point you in the right direction. You can't miss it!
Our Swedish visitors from Biträdande Projekledare Next Step Group has the opportunity to learn Tai Chi from the master, Grandmom Long. They had hoped to do this in Fuxing Park, which would have been fantastic, but since it was raining, we moved it to the Thai Boxing Training Center. This was a lot of fun and I had the chance to participate too! Great fun and good exercise. Coming to Shanghai and interested in learning about this Tai Chi? We'd be happy to set this up for you too...and hopefully it won't be raining! :)
We're honored to have been featured in Josh Summer's TravelChinaCheaper! He clearly appreciates a good deal and great guides who focus on giving customers great experiences :)
Check out his article on "7 Under-appreciated Tourist Stops in Shanghai, China."
Feel free to spend hundreds of renminbi to take an elevator to the top of China’s tallest building (at least the tallest building for now), but if I were you, I would consider budgeting some time to explore some of the lesser-known destinations in Shanghai.
Sometimes it’s fun to find your own way around Shanghai and I know most budget travelers to China will opt for this route, but when it comes to history and culture, I often advise friends to spend a little cash on a local guide to provide context to what you’re seeing. In Shanghai, there are companies like Jenny’s Shanghai Tours that can provide a memorable look around Shanghai that you’ll completely miss out on your own.
Whichever you decide, here are seven of my favorite, what I’ll call “under-appreciated destinations” in Shanghai, China. Enjoy!
#1 Meander Through “Old Shanghai”
While you’re making a visit to the well-known Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai, budget some time to meander through “Old Shanghai”. This is a district that is filled with 100 year old homes, traditional neighborhoods and infinite stories.
The good news is that Old Shanghai is easy for visitors to find and free to walk around. There’s plenty of history hidden within these alleys: walled up homes, weird markings on the wall, etc. So fascinating! If you have learned Chinese, stop and talk with the locals. If you can’t speak Mandarin Chinese, consider walking through with a local friend or guide. You’ll love this place so much more!
Read more here...
We know plans change... It's Ok.
When I started Jenny's Shanghai Tours, we followed a fairly common industry practice of asking for a deposit and then charging cancellation fees if customers cancelled their tour within 7 days of their tour date. This made sense for us (and others) since we need to reserve a great car and one of our awesome guides... and if a customer cancels, they may not get to work that day. But this was not always friendly to our customers! So we changed our policy to be more customer friendly because we want to be known as having the best tour service in China... and it's just a nice thing to do.
We still ask for a deposit of 20% to 50% depending on your tour and group, but now our super friendly cancellation policy should help ease your mind that if something happens, you won't lose your deposit!
See the table below to learn about our new policy.
Today, Thursday, December 7th, 2017 at 10:30 EST, Deepa gave us our 222nd 5-star review! This is something to celebrate. We want to thank Deepa and all our wonderful customers who took the time and energy to give us their heartfelt thoughts and feedback. When we started Jenny’s Shanghai Tours, we weren't sure we could get to 100 reviews and of course prayed most of them would be 5-stars. Hitting 222 has been a dream.
To reach this goal, we are so proud of our team! They all have such a positive life goal and always try to provide a best local experience for all our customers. It’s such a joy to work with them every day.
222 may not be significant to foreigners, but for Chinese this is a lucky number! Why?
We wish everybody a Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you in China soon.
The cast of the Jersey Boys is in Shanghai for their famous Broadway musical which is playing in the city's Daning Theatre from Nov. 9th to Dec. 3rd. We were honored to show them Shanghai during their stay. Our guides, Susie and Cathy, tried their best not to be too starstruck as they visited Yuyuan Garden, Confucius Temple, Shanghai World Financial Center and other top Shanghai sites. They especially enjoyed Yang's Dumplings. We wish them the best of luck on their tour!
Click here to see a review of their music in the Global Times. To get tickets, click here. :)
When we provide tours to customers visiting Shanghai, we strive to make everything as smooth as possible. Many of the things we do such as scope out restaurants, plan the best routes to sites and order cars in advance are not even seen by the customer. But regardless of how much we plan, there are some things that are out of our control. This is especially true when you consider that one goal we have for customers (and they usually desire) is to provide as authentic of a local experience as possible.
When you visit, here are some that may seem unexpected to you, but something that we see regularly and ask you to plan for:
Working with a tour guide is two-way relationship. Our guides are super-flexible and are happy to change itineraries at any moment, but we also ask that visitors understand that not everything is in our control. We hope to see you in Shanghai soon!
We've just created our first video! This was a fun experiment using a GoPro-like video camera attached to a customer's bike. You get a rider's perspective as the customer tours through some of the local streets and sees the shops, people, food and other scenery.
This tour goes through the backstreets of Old Shanghai and visitors see many boarded up homes that the Chinese government wants to tear down in order to replace the neighborhoods with more modern buildings.
We weren't able to capture the whole tour (nor would you want to probably watch it all :) but we hope this captures a bit of the essence and gives you an idea of what to expect.
To book our book tour or learn more, just click on over to the description of our Half-day Old Shanghai Tour. We hope to see you in Shanghai soon to share this tour with us.
It may sound a bit weird the first time you hear the words "ear cleaning" and "tour" in the same sentence, but ear cleaning can be as relaxing and stimulating as a good massage. The question we often get is "why offer this in a tour?" Well.... because it's a unique Shanghai experience that you can't get everywhere and in Shanghai it's considered a cultural heritage. And we discovered Westerners love it!
In old times, before modern medicine in China, the ear was considered a window into potential diseases. It's complex structure and hidden secrets, when properly assessed, could reveal a range of ailments. It was believed, and still is by many, that cleaning your ears provides a path to health and disease prevention. Today customers do it more for the tradition and because it's an extremely enjoyable experience. They are also surprised at the dirt and garbage that comes out of their "clean" ears.
The price of ear cleaning can range from 68 to over 100 RMB depending on the skill of the practitioner you desire, the length of time and the level of service you desire. This service can take from between 45 minutes to an hour and includes cleaning and a relaxing ear massage that many customers describe as sensual, comfortable and rejuvenating.
If you're visiting Shanghai and interested in this experience, send us a note and we'll point you to some of the best ear cleaning facilities in Shanghai. If you take a tour with Jenny's Shanghai Tours, we can add this service to any tour or we also include this service as part of our Vegetarian Cuisine with Ear Cleaning or Hot Springs Tour. As we have discovered, ear cleaning isn't for everyone so we always provide our customers' options.
We hope to see you in Shanghai soon!
If you've visited our beautiful city at least once you've probably seen many of the most common (but still amazing) things to do in Shanghai such as Yuyuan Garden, the Pearl TV Tower, the Jade Buddha Temple or perhaps even the unique bird and small animal market. But if you have more time or on a second or third visit, perhaps you might enjoy some of the more unusual things to do in Shanghai. Here are some ideas for Shanghai activities and sites that many foreigners don't experience, but are worth visiting if you have the time.
Many foreigners may know Shanghai (and other Chinese cities) mostly by the faded pictures of China's past with its traditional tile-roofed buildings, shared toilets and simple rooms that seem more closely aligned with opium dens than modern-living.
Of course, today, Shanghai is a modern city with huge malls, some of the world's tallest buildings and cutting edge homes. While most of this remembered past is quickly fading away with China's momentum to pave a way to the future, pockets of this amazing history do exist
and are just minutes away from central Shanghai. Exploring areas behind some of the most bustling streets you can still find homes that are over 100 years old along with their layered history of pipes, wires and "updates" that coat the area in attempts to keep them up to date.
Unfortunately, many of the rows of these historic, traditional buildings and homes have over 90% of their doors and windows already bricked, blocked or plywooded in preparation for their destiny of being razed as soon as the last resident departs. Other homes have the mark of "please board me up" ready to go as soon as the home owner gives in to the government's incentives to move.
If you have an interest in this past, we recommend a walking tour or bike tour that takes you down some of these backstreets of old Shanghai. This allows you to step in these historic homes and hear the stories of the locals that still live there. A truly memorable experience that won't be available soon. Learn more about our Backstreets of Old Shanghai Bike Tour.
We hope to see you in Shanghai soon and would love to share this amazing experience with you.
While China has cracked down a lot on imitations of famous brands, there are still many bargains to be had on great products at Shanghai's "copy market" such as the one Inside metro Line 2's, Shanghai Science & Technology Museum, 2000 Shiji Da Dao, near Yingchun Lu.
Of course, you must negotiate to get the deals!
If you've been to one of these markets, you are very familiar with the process. You casually find something that catches your eye. Your interest piques until you finally ask, "How much is this?" The sales person nicely pulls out a calculator, enters the price and shows it to you with some reinforcement of "best price for you," "great price for this quality," etc. From here the fun begins.
The amount of negotiation you can do is very dependent on several factors such as how many you want, the type of product and even the time of day. I won't try to give a detailed account of how much discount you can expect for every factor, but good negotiation comes down to some very simple practices:
If you want to try your hand at negotiating at these hectic markets, we're always happy to include it in your tour!
Happy shopping and we hope to see you in Shanghai soon!
A question that many travelers ask is, "Why do I need a tour guide?" Especially with all of the online tools and map applications, you could just design your own tour and enjoy the sites. That's true for some travelers, especially if you're on a super tight budget. But here are five reasons a tour guide may be a good idea in Shanghai.
These are just a few of the reasons to use a tour guide! We hope to see you in Shanghai soon.
If you just have a short time to see the highlights of Shanghai, here are some of the the elements that you want to be sure to include.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Shanghai!
This is Jenny's Shanghai Tours blog where we'll talk about the sites, sounds and tastes of Shanghai. Feel free to suggest topics that you'd like to hear about or we always welcome guest bloggers. Please share if you found a unique spot to visit, a great restaurant or anything else you might think would be interesting to our readers.
Jenny is a professional tour operator in Shanghai, China. She provides custom English-spoken tours to visitors from all over the world.
Enjoy tips to visit Shanghai and call us to develop your perfect tour +86 186 2171 9434