This is my third time to Shanghai and one of the best things I have ever done to date. Such fun! The trip was easy to arrange by email and we advised the company that we did not fancy the tourist schlep of temples etc and wanted to see the quirky and interesting side to Shanghai. I am certain they can arrange any itinerary to suit the customer whether you are new to the city or resident there. There were 2 of us and the price was 1400 RMB including pick up at a pre-arranged spot and drop off at our hotel in the old French Concession some 2 hours later.
Our driver/guide was a Swiss chap named Shane, I believe, who has lived in Shanghai for a number of years. We agreed to the final itinerary upon meeting him and were super excited when we hopped onto the antique bike and into the sidecar. Helmets are provided if you wish to wear them but they are not mandatory and whilst it spotted with rain during our trip we both declined the wet weather gear. What a thrill the trip was. Shane was extremely knowledgeble and interesting and we felt extremely safe as we zoomed around the city. Our tour was on a Sunday afternoon so traffic felt a little lighter.
We were taken to an old art deco mansion house that the Japanese had occuped during the occupation and which was now an art gallery. Then onto the Marriage Market at People's Park that is held every Saturday and Sunday afternoon for parents and grandparents to matchmake their offspring by advertising through agents and adverts. Fascinating! Our visit to the old American Concession showed us a side of Shanghai I would never had seen. There was such a different vibe to this part where we visited a renovated slaughterhouse now containing shops and restaurants. The building was very Escher like. The Astor Hotel is an art deco building and the lobby contained photos of previous visitors including Charlie Chaplin. Following a thrilling spin down the Bund with the wind in our hair we had stroll through the Old Quarter and its food street containing a plethora of sights and smells.
Not once did we feel hurried on our tour and as Shane certainly knew his stuff and appeared interested in the history and architecture and culture of Shanghai as there was no rote script to his commentary as there often is with other tour guides. We bid our farewells with smiles on our faces and fantastic memories of a different Shanghai we would not have experienced had we not been our own Wallace and Grommit for the day. Absolutely recommended!
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