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Shanghai, a metropolis that has been synonymous with rapid development and modernity, is a city that embodies the new face of China. With a rich history dating back centuries, it’s a city that marries the old with the new, creating a dynamic, thriving atmosphere that’s unlike any other place on Earth. If you’re considering a visit to this bustling hub of innovation, commerce, and culture, you’ll need to secure a China travel visa, but rest assured, the experience is well worth it.
Before we delve into the exciting facets of modern Shanghai, let’s take a step back in time to appreciate the city’s history. Shanghai’s roots date back over a thousand years, when it was a small fishing village. It later became a prominent trading port during the Ming Dynasty and played a significant role during the Opium Wars in the 19th century. Its history is marked by foreign occupation and colonial influences, which are still visible in the city’s architecture and culture.
Before you embark on your journey to Shanghai, you’ll need to secure a China travel visa. Depending on your nationality, the process and requirements may vary, so it’s essential to check with your local Chinese consulate or embassy for the most up-to-date information. Ensure you have a valid passport, complete the visa application form, provide a recent passport-sized photo, and be ready to pay the visa fee. The processing time can vary, so it’s wise to apply well in advance of your planned departure date.
Once you’ve obtained your China travel visa, you’re ready to explore this incredible city. Here are some must-see modern marvels in Shanghai:
The Bund: Start your journey with a visit to The Bund, a waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River. It’s home to iconic skyline views that feature an array of architectural styles, from Gothic to Art Deco. Here, you’ll be reminded of Shanghai’s history as an international trading port.
Shanghai Tower: The Shanghai Tower, standing at 632 meters, is one of the tallest buildings in the world. Its unique spiraling design and state-of-the-art facilities make it a true engineering wonder. A trip to its observation deck will provide panoramic views of the city.
Shanghai Disney Resort: For a taste of family-friendly fun, head to the Shanghai Disney Resort. It’s not just any Disney park; it incorporates Chinese culture into its attractions, making it a unique Disney experience.
The Oriental Pearl Tower: This iconic landmark, with its distinctive, space-age design, offers incredible city views and a museum that explores the history of Shanghai’s development.
Shanghai World Financial Center: With its sky-high observation deck, the SWFC is another excellent spot for taking in breathtaking vistas of the city. It’s known for its distinctive trapezoid hole at the top.
Nanjing Road: If you’re looking for shopping and vibrant street life, visit Nanjing Road. It’s one of the world’s busiest shopping streets, offering a wide range of stores, boutiques, and restaurants.
Yuyuan Garden: To experience a slice of old Shanghai amidst the modernity, explore the Yuyuan Garden. This classical Chinese garden dates back to the Ming Dynasty and is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the bustling city.
Shanghai Maglev Train: The Shanghai Maglev Train is one of the fastest commercial trains globally, reaching speeds of 431 km/h (267 mph). It’s an experience in itself, and you can hop on it at Pudong International Airport.
Shanghai is renowned for its diverse and delectable cuisine. Don’t leave without sampling some of these local dishes:
Xiaolongbao: These succulent, steamed soup dumplings are a Shanghai specialty. They burst with savory broth when you bite into them.
Shengjian Bao: If you love dumplings, try Shengjian Bao. These pan-fried pork buns are crispy on the bottom and soft on top.
Jianbing: Often considered as the Chinese crepe, Jianbing is a popular breakfast option. It’s a thin, crispy pancake filled with various ingredients like eggs, vegetables, and sauces.
Beggar’s Chicken: This traditional dish involves marinating a whole chicken, wrapping it in lotus leaves, and baking it until the flavors meld together.
Shanghai Noodles: These thick, chewy noodles are often stir-fried with a variety of ingredients, creating a hearty and flavorful dish.
Stir-Fried River Shrimp: As Shanghai is close to the coast, it offers some of the best seafood in China. Stir-fried river shrimp is a popular choice, showcasing fresh, plump shrimp.
In addition to its modern attractions, Shanghai is a hub of culture and art. Some cultural highlights include:
Shanghai Museum: This world-class museum houses a vast collection of ancient Chinese art, including ceramics, bronzes, paintings, and calligraphy.
Shanghai Opera: Enjoy a performance at the Shanghai Grand Theatre or the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. Whether it’s traditional Chinese opera or contemporary theater, you’ll be in for a treat.
Tianzifang: Explore this artistic district filled with narrow lanes, boutique shops, and galleries. It’s an excellent place to discover local art and crafts.
Propaganda Poster Art Center: Dive into China’s history and culture through a unique collection of propaganda posters from the mid-20th century.
Shanghai comes alive at night, with a vibrant nightlife scene. Visit places like:
Bar Rouge: This iconic rooftop bar offers stunning views of The Bund and a lively atmosphere.
M1NT: A popular club with a glamorous ambiance, perfect for dancing the night away.
Old Jazz Band: Enjoy traditional jazz in the heart of Shanghai. It’s a must-visit for music enthusiasts.
Acrobatics Shows: Don’t miss a mind-blowing acrobatics performance. Shanghai is renowned for its acrobatic talents.
While Shanghai is generally a safe city for travelers, it’s important to be mindful of your belongings and take standard precautions. Respect local customs, and be aware of cultural differences in behavior and etiquette. Learning a few basic Chinese phrases can be immensely helpful, though English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Shanghai is a city that never sleeps, a place where the past and present intertwine harmoniously. From its stunning modern skyscrapers to its ancient gardens and flavorful cuisine, it’s a destination that offers a wide range of experiences. After securing your China travel visa, you’re poised to embark on an unforgettable journey through this dynamic and captivating metropolis. Shanghai will leave you in awe of China’s past, present, and future.
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The Philippines, a captivating archipelago in Southeast Asia, beckons travelers with its stunning beaches, rich culture and warm hospitality. This tropical paradise is known for its pristine shores, vibrant coral reefs and lush landscapes that make it an ideal destination for both relaxation and adventure. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key aspects of traveling to the Philippines, from budget considerations to breathtaking beach destinations, accommodation options, staying connected with international eSIMs and the best time to visit.
To embark on your Philippines adventure, it’s essential to plan your budget wisely. The cost of traveling in the Philippines can vary greatly depending on your preferences and choices. On average, a budget traveler can get by on $30-50 per day. This budget covers accommodation, local meals, local transportation and a few activities. If you spend $50 – $100 per day, you can really travel here without watching what you spend too much and possibly even use some internal flights or stay at nicer accommodations.
To save money while enjoying the best the Philippines has to offer, consider the following tips:
Keep in mind, saving money on a trip usually starts before you even leave home. You should look at ways to save money on airfare or even accommodations using credit card points or travel tricks that can lead to some big savings.
The official currency of the Philippines is the Philippine Peso (PHP). ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted in most urban areas. However, it’s advisable to carry some cash, especially when venturing into rural areas or onto smaller islands. It simply makes life easier as you don’t want to be stuck somewhere that doesn’t accept a credit card.
The Philippines is renowned for its beaches and island paradises, each with its own unique charm and attractions. Here are some of the most popular beach destinations:
Each of these destinations offers a unique blend of natural beauty and activities. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure or a bit of both, the Philippines has an island for you.
On most islands, you’ll find a wide range of accommodations. Here are some recommendations:
Airbnb has gained popularity in the Philippines, offering travelers a different type of experience. Staying in an Airbnb property often allows you to connect with local hosts and discover a different side of each island. Here are some tips for finding and booking Airbnb properties:
Staying connected while traveling is essential for navigating, sharing experiences and staying in touch with friends and family. In the Philippines, you’ll find various options for internet connectivity, including Wi-fi in hotels and public places. However, the connections are often not reliable and it is very common for Wi-fi to stop working or to be extremely slow. For seamless and reliable internet, I recommend Holafly as the best eSIM card for the Philippines.
Holafly eSIM cards offer several advantages for travelers in the Philippines:
Easy Setup and Activation: Setting up an Holafly eSIM card is quick and hassle-free. There’s no need to swap physical SIM cards or visit a local store. You simply download the eSIM onto your phone and follow the simple activation instructions as soon as you arrive in the Philippines. Here are the easy steps:
Flexible Data Plans: Choose from a variety of flexible data plans to suit your needs, whether you require a lot of data for streaming or just basic internet access for communication. Holafly offers great data plans for the Philippines, such as:
5 days Unlimited Data = $19.00 USD
7 days Unlimited Data = $27.00 USD
10 days Unlimited Data = $34.00 USD
15 days Unlimited Data = $47.00 USD
20 days Unlimited Data = $54.00 USD
*As you can see, all Holafly eSIM data plans come with UNLIMITED DATA for the time period specified, so you don’t need to constantly watch how much data you’re using. If you’re approaching the end of your eSIM’s time period, you can easily top up using the Holafly app in order to keep your connection going without interruption.
With an Holafly eSIM card in the Philippines, you’ll enjoy reliable coverage throughout the country, from the moment you land. This eliminates the frustrations involved with trying to find a stable Wi-fi connection in the Philippines.
The Philippines experiences a tropical climate with two main seasons:
Of course, the best time to visit depends on your preferences but the Philippines is one of those destinations that can be visited and thoroughly enjoyed year round. I’ve been to the country in both the dry and wet seasons and there was barely a difference. There were occasional rain showers during the wet season but it absolutely did not affect my trip in any major way.
In summary, the Philippines is a captivating travel destination that caters to various budgets and preferences. From the pristine beaches of Boracay, Siargao and Palawan to diverse accommodation options, including hotels, resorts and Airbnb properties, there’s something for everyone. Staying connected is a breeze with a convenient Holafly eSIM card, and there are great destinations no matter what time of year you want to visit.
Make the most of your Philippines adventure by planning wisely so that you can fully enjoy the natural beauty, rich culture and warm hospitality of this incredible archipelago. Whether you’re a beach bum, an adventure seeker or a cultural explorer, the Philippines has it all.
I’ve been several times and each time, I choose a couple of different islands to visit. Every trip has been incredibly rewarding and I always look forward go going back!
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