My husband, my mom and 3 kids(13,10,7) spent 4 days at the Expo from Sept 14-17 from 10.30am to 11pm each day. We managed to cover almost the entire site and visited 80+ 'countries' and a few of the corporate ones on the Puxi side of the river. The kids enjoyed zipping through each pavillion to collect the stamps for their EXPO passports, country pins to add to their lanyard pin necklace and of course see the arts and crafts in each place. To enter, there's a bit of a q as there's a security scan as in airports. Fortunately, we did not have too much trouble with the qs in Sept as it was low season due to the start of the school year in China and prbly w foreign tourists too. The crowds comprised mainly of mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, HongKong, Korean and Japan tour groups. The visitors in that period was only abt 400k compared to the current swell of almost 900k a day. We found that the tour groups would disperse at abt 6pm and thereafter, the qs to the pavillions would be very short and one cd zip thru qte fast and move on to anr. The Americas and Europe C area is more compact with the pavillions smaller and closer together and easier to navigate. The other side where the China, Korea and Japan and Mid East area is more spread out and harder to zip thru and also, seems to be more popular with the locals. We attempted to visit the Japan pavillion many times but each time we gave it a miss as we were told that the q was 6 hrs long and at about 7pm, they closed the lines anyway. We noted that some pavillions held back the qs either due to the congestion in the pavillion due to lack of circulation area or some say, for show! We came across some shows at the Americas, African, Malaysian and Indonesian stages. And Latvia will hold a nightly skydiving show on the rooftop of the pavillion. We didn't hv a chance to get into the China pavillion as tickets are prebooked each day with qs starting at 7.30am! We were approached by touts who said they had tickets for a huge price. As with anything in China, make sure it all works and is valid before handing over any cash! The kids enjoyed Austria wh had an snow-making machine, Sweden wh had a playground and slide (again hv to prebook the ticket at the entrance!), France for the interactive displays & robots, Uk for the v avantgarde, Chile for the mesmerising LCD & mirror display and live link to Santiago, Mexico for the faces/eyes on Mexico life, the coffee of Colombia, Laos and Ethiopia, the beautiful displays in Morocco and Indonesia plus the very exotic and rich cultural displays in the Africa pavillion, cultural heritage of Peru and Oman, the little mermaid of Denmark, Happy street of the Netherlands, the gorgeous flamenco dancer and giant baby of Spain, the beautiful roof garden of Singapore and of course, felt great pride and priviledge to get priority entrance to their own Malaysia pavillion. And they enjoyed talking to the hosts of the pavillions from all over the world and were amazed these foreigners cd converse with them in English and also in some Mandarin.
The night scene is even more pretty with the amazing, competing and generous use of colourful LED lights everywhere - like Las Vegas. the lights at the PUxi site was even more crazy and the best was the OIL pavillion. The corporate pavillions are equally interesting and there were qs too! Everyone wanted to get into the Coke one to get the free mini bottle of Coke.
Many pavillions have a mini restaurant but prices are on the high side. There are plenty of restaurants around but usually KFC is sold out by lunch time. But we found Burger King still available even at 10pm and Yoshinoya still serving till late. Shd carry some snacks in the bag to munch on while waiting in the qs. Most drinks kiosk would run out of water for 3yuan early on but soft drinks remain avlb at 5yuan a bottle. Not allowed to bring in own water. There's free drinking water dispensers but my kids didn't like the taste of the water. Toilets are at every turn and relatively clean and there are sitting pedestals besides the squat toilets. Lots of helpful English speaking volunteers around and the free buses to go from one end to the other. The overhead pedestrian walk is a great place to capture pictures of the Canada and Russia pavillions. We had no trouble catching an Expo taxi to and fro the EXpo but we had to take two cabs each time as cabs only allowed to carry max 4/5 persons.
There are also many vendors outside the grounds selling expo souveneirs for half the price of licensed shops inside. Again, do not pay till u get the goods in hand and inspected it.
Cards are accepted at most pavillions and restaurants tho some only accept cash.
Overall, the expo was a great experience especially for the kids, who visited countries they had only seen on TV or read in books and may never hv the chance to visit being so far away. It has certainly opened their eyes to new things, people and cultures and given them a new perspective of life and seen the future as presented by the countries.
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