Shanghai is a modern, international city with skyscrapers, history and a lot of Chinese culture. Shanghai is a mix of China and the world and there is so much to see and do there.
Shanghai is a place where everyone wants to be, including me as well. I live in Beijing but when my sister and friend came to visit me in China a few years ago, I thought we should go and see something new for once. The choice was Shanghai and we met up in the center of the city. I was crazy excited to see them again because I hadn’t seen them for months and now they had finally arrived.
This was taken in one of the many lovely hostels around Shanghai
A little too cheap
Because all of us were students so I had booked a cheap hostel. When we arrived at the main entrance of the building, we were met by a short Chinese guy wearing an orange t-shirt and eating a corncob. He smiled at us and we went upstairs with him. I had a feeling this was going to get a bit sketchy. The price was low and the hallway looked dirty and old.
I was right. We walked into a small apartment with three rooms. The doors were open and we were met by a bunch of Chinese guys wearing no shirts and smoking in their bunkbeds. I didn’t know what to think so I just smiled and told my sister and friend that it was going to be an interesting experience.
After settling into the room of four beds and six girls. Yes, to save money, they slept two in one bed, my sister asked for the bathroom. We had to go and find the landlord because there was no handle to open up the water so he had to use his tool to make it run. The water was icy but it was too much trouble to ask for hot water so we had to just accept the situation.
Maybe this little cutie could come and stay with me next time instead of the insects?
A snail in the bathroom?
When my sister was done showering, she came out looking pale and said that she had counted at least ten insects inside the bathroom including a snail on top of the toilet. We still laugh at that comment until this day. Whenever she comes to China, she will always ask me to find a hotel without a snail. That was a bit too much for her.
Sleeping in the little overfilled dorm room was also a bit of a challenge. The beds weren’t made for bigger girls so while one climbed up, another had to hold the bed to make sure it wouldn’t fall. We slept on bamboo mattresses and woke up at 5 am because my sister was attacked by a cockroach.
Square dancing is a common thing to see around China – in Shanghai as well
Embrace the experience
But this experience didn’t break us. We got up and walked outside and towards the park where we could hear the traditional Chinese music. Old senior citizens were dancing and doing taichi in the park and we joined in.
After laughing and dancing for an hour, we thanked the ladies and all agreed on the fact that even though the hostel experience was a bit of a disaster, it shouldn’t ruin our trip.
To make sure you won’t bump into a hostel or hotel like the one we went to, I suggest you to book from English-language websites such as Shanghai Hotels which is accessible in China and easy to use.
Trip.com is especially a great website because it will only show you the best high-quality hotels and hostels for foreigners in China. You see, in China, some hotels don’t have the certificate for hosting foreigners so you might experience the hotels saying no if you just walk in. I tried that a few times in Shanghai and it is not fun if you’re tired and just want a place to sleep.
If you want to know a few more things before booking a hotel in China, please check out my newest video on Chinese hotels where I’ll tell you everything you need to know before going to Shanghai.
I hope you’ll enjoy your trip to Shanghai and remember if you aren’t sure where to go and what to see, check out https://www.trip.com where you can find reviews from other travelers who went there already.
Lots of dragon kisses from