The GoGlobal Blog

Golden Week in Shanghai!

Golden Week in Shanghai!

Hello, everybody! Welcome back to my blog~! ^_^

This past week was the Chinese National Holiday, so everyone had a week-long break from school and work (from October 1st to October 5th). Almost everyone within my program went somewhere outside of Beijing for the long holiday, nicknamed the “Golden Week,” traveling in planned groups that were decided way beforehand.

As for my friends and I, we decided to spend our Golden Week in Shanghai! We were a group of five people, which I thought was a perfect size. We five left for Shanghai on the Monday of the break at around 6pm. We took a bullet train to get to Shanghai because train tickets were way cheaper than airplane tickets. The train station was ridiculously crowded since quite literally everyone was going somewhere for the National Holiday, but we were able to plan accordingly and got to the station early enough to obtain our tickets, get some dinner, and then wait around for a bit before boarding our train. The actual train ride was very pleasant: it was a smooth ride (quite different from the overnight trains we took on the Silk Road!) and the inside of the train was very clean. We were very pleased to find that everyone had plenty of leg space, which was one of the reasons we were glad that we decided to take a bullet train inside of a plane to Shanghai. We traveled an average of around 350 km/hr for about four hours before we arrived to our destination at around 10pm at night.

Our ticket to Shanghai!
The inside of the bullet train was very clean, and everyone had plenty of leg space to stretch out and relax during the ride, must different from an airplane ride!
On our way to Shanghai!

Once we arrived to Shanghai, we split into two groups and got into taxis that drove us to our Airbnb. I remember that taxi ride being ridiculously, and I mean ridiculously fast, almost hilariously fast. If there’s one thing I was impressed with, it was the speed at which our taxi driver drove in order to get us to our Airbnb. After we were dropped off, we were able to settle down for the night in our cute home for the next week.

This is the bedroom that I slept in. I shared the really cute bed with one of my friends.
The dining table!
We were provided a TV with an HTMI cable and free Wifi, which is how we were able to put on Moana that first night. The table pictured is where we would play many rounds of countless card games at night when we returned from our daytime activities.
The living room area!

That first night, even though we were all tired from the travel, we decided to put on Moana on Netflix and stayed up a little later than we probably should have before retiring to bed.

From here, I’ll divide our three full days in Shanghai into three parts by the day and talk about each day separately!


The morning after we arrived in Shanghai, we woke up and walked to breakfast, enjoying the blue skies and the tall buildings of Shanghai. Walking around, I noticed that compared to the area around the UIBE’s campus in Beijing, Shanghai had more tall buildings. Looking at all the skyscrapers and tall apartment complexes reminded me of downtown Chicago, but the buildings were more spaced out from each other rather than being clustered together.

We had breakfast at a dim sum place, and the food was delicious. We ordered things like chicken feet, shrimp dumplings, egg custards, and BBQ pork buns. The BBQ pork buns were so soft and fluffy and filling, so they were my favorite part. The breakfast did well to fill us up for the day ahead of us!

Them yummy BBQ pork buns!

After breakfast, we took the train to our first activity of the day: the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium.

The aquarium was so busy. And I mean, really, really busy. It was a kind of busy that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before in an aquarium of all places. Think of Black Friday and then combine that amount of people with the amount of people in an amusement park on a given summer day. Then, shove all of those people into a relatively small aquarium. What you should get is people literally pressed up against each other as they shuffle along trying to get from one place to another. It was very difficult to get to the front of any exhibit or tank to see the organisms, and whenever we did, we were quick to leave the front on our own accord before we were pushed to the side by the crowd. Going to the aquarium very quickly reminded us that we had come to Shanghai during Golden Week, where a lot of people come to Shanghai for vacation.

But, aside from the really crowded part of the aquarium, I enjoyed it. Aquariums are one of my favorite places on Earth, so I was very glad that I was able to experience one here in China. My favorite exhibit would have to be the jellyfish, since the aquarium had multiple very large tanks just filled with them. Seeing the different types of jellyfish float around aimlessly provided a temporary relief for little introverted me from the bustling loud crowd of the aquarium.

After leaving the craziness of the aquarium, we still had half of the day leftover, so we decided to hang out inside of a large shopping mall nearby for awhile until night time. Walking over to the shopping mall, we enjoyed the sights of the buildings yet again, the most interesting one of them being the Oriental Pearl Tower which seemingly looked to be the centerpiece of the area we were in.

The Oriental Pearl Tower in the daytime.
Inside the shopping mall!

While inside the shopping mall, we wandered into many stores and looked at many clothes and goods to pass the time. The mall reminded me vaguely of Woodfield Mall in the suburbs of Illinois, only it had a ton of more floors and a lot more food places. It was in this shopping mall that I tried the trendy “cheese tea” that blew up on the internet for awhile. I can confidently say that it isn’t as bad as it sounds or looks! Cheese here in China seems to be more on the sweeter side and is commonly used in pastries. Because it’s sweeter, it paired well with the slight bitterness of the tea that was underneath the cheese layer on top. So I guess there was a reason why the cheese tea became viral for awhile!

Once we had exhausted our time in the shopping mall, we decided next to go to a roof top bar in a fancy hotel. It was a relatively short walk from the shopping mall, and once we were inside the hotel, it was quite obvious that we stood out with our relatively casual clothes from the many dressed up guests. Despite this, however, we were able to get a really good table right next to the window, 58 floors high (I know, our ears were popping when we rode the elevator up to this floor), with a breathtaking night view of Shanghai. It’s self-explanatory that we spent most of the time taking classy photos with all the mood lighting and the gorgeous window view. I sat back and breathed a relaxed sigh as I enjoyed the company of my friends and the lit up view from below.

The little table lamp was used in many pictures to provide just the right lighting to many of our pictures. I thought it was hilarious to watch my friends manipulate this thing in order to get the right lighting. Do it for the Insta post, right?
Come on, you can’t blame me for taking a selfie with that amazing view! 😉

Once time was up for us at our table, we headed back to our Airbnb, where we listened to music and played card games well into the night before retiring to bed.

The lit up Oriental Pearl Tower on our way back to our Airbnb! The characters on the tower said “I love you, China.”


The next day, we woke up more on the early side to get to our next destination in Shanghai, which was this “Old Town” area that had rivers running through the town. It was a neat place that had many street food stands on the sides of the small cramped roads that winded through the little town. Like in the aquarium, the location was quite crowded, and it was common that we were right up against people trying to get anywhere in the town. Regardless, though, we were able to enjoy ourselves and the nice weather, as well as the beautiful water-town-like views that we saw when we crossed bridges to get to another side of town.

At some point, we got tickets to board one of those passenger boats pictured above and enjoy more scenery from the river’s point of view. The boat ride was an experience in on itself: there were many times where our boat bumped into other boats, just because of the sheer number of boats filled with tourists on the river and the small width of some of the areas that we were taken into by our boatman. The boat also rocked from side to side to match the rhythm of the man who rowed us with a giant oar, so it was fun just to see the boatmen of all of the boats laugh at us nervous tourists.

On our boat!

Once we had seen enough of that town and evening was approaching, we traveled all the way back to “downtown” Shanghai to see the famous Shanghai skyline at night time. It was breath-taking, to say the least. To see all of the buildings lit up brilliantly at night made me stare in awe. Of course, the area where you could see the skyline was, again, ridiculously crowded, but once we moved down a little bit, it wasn’t so bad. We were able to take some nice photos of that beautiful skyline and enjoy it while the night was still young.

This photo doesn’t really do the actual view justice.

Thursday (a.k.a., the greatest day of this trip to Shanghai, in my opinion)

At 5:30am the following morning, all of us rolled out of bed and got ready for perhaps our best day of the trip. Why in the world did we wake up at 5:30am, you ask? That’s because we were going to Shanghai Disney, and because it was Golden Week, we were all prepared to fight even more ridiculous crowds while walking around inside the park. My expectation was a kind of crowded that was even worse than the crowds we had already encountered in the Shanghai Aquarium, so I braced myself.

But, even before we could worry that, we had to somehow get inside the park in a timely manner.

To do so, we woke up that early and got onto the train to the park pretty early. The park opened at around 8am, and our strategy was to get through right when Disney opened in order to avoid the early-afternoon crowd when we thought most people would be coming into the park. By the time we actually got off of the train, it was around 7:00 or 7:15, and that was when I witnessed the closet thing to a zombie-apocalypse.

Literally, after we got off of the designated “Shanghai Disney” stop on the train, we saw the people around us either fast walk, jog, or sprint towards the entrance, trying to get ahead of everyone else by zig-zagging around them or even through them. Of course, we also ran as fast as we could to get as far ahead in the already long line for the security check as possible. I had forgotten of the amount of people who had the same mindset as us. One of my friends had said, “For every person who passes you, that’s another person who’s in front of you!” I’m pretty sure everyone who was at the park that early in the morning had the same idea because almost everyone rushed to get in line. I’ve never went to any amusement park, let alone Disney, that early in the morning before, so maybe I’m biased, but I had never seen anything like that before. To say it was crazy would be putting it quite lightly!

But after waiting in the cramped line for security for about half an hour or so and getting through the ticket entrance, we finally made it in!

Excitement and pure childhood giddiness washed over me as we quickly walked out and into the actual park. Complete joy filled my chest as I looked around at the Halloween-themed Shanghai Disney around me.

We walked down to that beautiful, giant, iconic Disney castle at the center of the park and proceeded to take just a handful of the countless numbers of pictures that we took that entire day. The moment was perfect — the amount of people who had already made it into the park had spread out so it looked like barely anyone was around.

We were able to fit in about three rides or so before lunchtime, using the Shanghai Disney Resort App that we downloaded in order to best plan when to get in line for rides. That app was the best thing that we downloaded for that day because it allowed for us to finesse the lines and maximize our time at the park. By the time we were done for the day, we had crammed in about 8 or so rides, the majority of them being large major rides. Surprisingly, as the day went by, the park didn’t get any more crowded than any old regular amusement park. I had braced myself for something worse than the crowd that we had experienced in the aquarium, and pleasantly, we just got the usual Disney park crowd.

But after lunch, before we went on any more rides, we saw that the parade was about to start, so we stuck around for that, getting a spot right in the front. Because we were in the front, and because all of us girls were wearing these cute pink rabbit ear headbands that we had purchased the night before, a lot of the parade characters interacted with us! It was so much fun saying hello to the characters and for them to come up right to us and interact with us. You could say that it was a magical time!

Once night fell and the park was nearly empty, we walked back over to that magical castle again and took some more photos of that magical view.

Our 16+ hours at Shanghai Disney was well worth the price that we paid for the tickets (and the sleep that we lost waking up that early!). Being able to ride on as many rides as we did and just have a grand old time in Disney of all places was a perfect way to end our time in Shanghai and our vacation for Golden Week. I was ridiculously happy to have gone to Shanghai Disney and have had a really great time there.

That’s about it for now!

Until next time~


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