Category: Asia

Tokyo Travel Guiden – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Tokyo Travel Deals

A – Overview

Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is a place of vast proportions where the old and the new merge into a fabulously detailed cityscape. Upon arrival, visitors are confronted with the sheer energy that radiates from within Tokyo. Tokyo’s city center is a kaleidoscope of exotic sights and sounds. The night view brings forth a seemingly endless, delicate tapestry of Tokyo lights. Despite two major disasters, Tokyo, located at the mouth of the Sumida-gawa River, has remarkably transformed into a modern Japanese metropolis. Tokyo is an example of a success story in action.

 tokyo-overview

 

A visit to Tokyo brings a collection of sights and provides for an animated experience. In such a city there is so much to see and do, ranging from visits to shrines, temples, and excellent museums, to trips throughout the various shopping areas.

Tokyo, in fact, is a shopper’s paradise. An amazing variety of high-quality goods and brand designer products can be found in elegant specialty shops located in Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Yurakucho, and Ikebukuro. The dazzling lights of Ginza, Japan’s answer to New York’s Fifth Avenue, and Tokyo’s most celebrated shopping district, attracts both the avid shopper and the window shopper alike.

 

In the sports arena, baseball is big business in Tokyo. The spectacular Korakuen Dome, home of the popular Giants, features Japanese professional baseball games which are held regularly. Sport fans will be drawn to Tokyo’s four biggest spectator sports:  professional baseball, rugby, sumo and soccer. Although not among the four, Yankee style football and martial arts are also quite popular.

 

If you enjoy sightseeing, make sure to embark on a relaxing and fascinating 40 minute day cruise on the Sumida River between Asakusa and the Port of Tokyo. A choice of five routes are offered: the Canal Cruise (canal district and Shinagawa Aquarium), the Harbour Cruise (Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Port), the Kasai Sea life Park (including a stop at Tokyo Big Sight), the Museum of Maritime Science (Odaiba Seaside Park and museum of ships complete with swimming pool and palms), and the Sumida River (passing beneath a dozen bridges).

 

In this city of twenty-four-hour shops and ancient shrines, there is always a showcase performance for visitors to enjoy. For the art enthusiast, Tokyo offers many forms of entertainment. In fact, Japan is focused on the arts and, with excellent facilities such as the National Theatre and Opera City in the Shinjuku district, Tokyo appeals to individuals and groups interested in drama, opera, and the ballet. For theatregoers there are three unique and powerful forms of entertainment: Kabuki, Takarazuka, and Noh. As a standing form of ancient Japanese tradition the Kabuki features only male performers, whereas Takarazuka is an all-girl revue.

 

For a more thorough view of Japan’s history, visitors can tour the many excellent museums scattered throughout Tokyo. The most modern is the Edo-Tokyo Museum, complete with an intriguing 52-meter escalator supported by four colossal pillars.

Closely tied to the culture of Japan, the traditional Japanese gardens of Tokyo take visitors a step back from the frenzied pace of modern life. They find themselves entering a world of tranquility, an enchanting setting of gardens outlined by wooden houses landscaped with neatly clipped bonsai trees. Cobbled lanes lead to tiny neighborhood shrines shrouded in foliage.

 

A major advantage of visiting Tokyo is to participate in the many festivals that take place around the year. Each year a festival is held during which the passing seasons are observed by visits to local shrines or temples. With over 500 annual events, the festivals provide visitors tangible links to the past and present. The upbeat atmosphere is one of the things that makes Tokyo so appealing. This vitality has become part of the popular culture, a culture which seems to be constantly in the midst of a celebration of life.

B – City information

Population: 8,280,000.

Languages: Japanese. English is spoken by many people in Tokyo and is considered a language necessary for international business. Most people in the hotel and travel industry will speak some English. Very few taxi drivers or people working in restaurants and stores will understand it. Many signs in the Tokyo area also list the roman spelling (romaji) of Japanese place names as a courtesy to visitors.

 

Predominant Religions: Buddhist, Christian, Shinto.

Time Zone: 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+9 GMT). 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard time. When it is 12:00 noon EST in New York City, it is 2:00 in the afternoon of the following day in Tokyo. Daylight Saving Time is not observed.

 

Weather

Average Temperatures:

 

Month

High

Low

January

47F

29F

February

48F

31F

March

54F

36F

April

63F

46F

May

71F

54F

June

76F

63F

July

83F

70F

August

86F

72F

September

79F

66F

October

69F

55F

November

60F

43F

December

52F

33F


The temperate climate brings dry and mild to cold winters, warm and humid summers and pleasant springs and autumns. Rainfall is common March-October. The best times to visit are April-May, for the blooming cherry blossoms and pleasant weather, and October-November for changing leaves and similarly enjoyable weather. It can get hot and muggy in August. Winter seldom brings snow, but temperatures usually drop below freezing for a few days.

What to Wear
Very few places have a dress code. When visiting a shrine or temple, it’s best to dress in a respectful manner. T-shirts are OK, but don’t go in cutoff jeans or shorts. Take along warm socks in winter, because shoes are removed when visiting many places, and central heating is not common. Hotels may provide slippers, but they’re tailored for smaller people, so you may be more comfortable if you bring your own.

 

Holidays

O-Shogatsu – New Year’s day and the first few days of the New Year are the most important Holidays of the year. They are filled with customs and traditions to make sure that the year ahead will be a good one.

Golden Week – several days at the end of April and/or the beginning of May which include observed holidays and other celebration days that together make up a full week of holidays.

O-Bon – the Buddhist summer festival to honor the dead or welcome the spirits of the dead on their annual visits to the earthly world (July 13-16 in Tokyo and parts of eastern Japan). O-Bon can also coincide with O-Chugen, the annual summer gift-giving time.

 

New Years Day – January 1st.

Coming Of Age Day – January 15th, in honour of all those who have their 20th birthday in the new year. All ‘new adults’ are legally allowed to smoke, drink and vote after this day.

National Foundation Day – February 11th, in commemoration of the founding of the Japanese nation. Said to be the day the first Emperor ascended the throne.

Spring Equinox – March 20th or 21st, an important period in the Buddhist calendar for paying respect to one’s ancestors.

Greenery Day – April 29th. The late Emperor Showa’s birthday was left as a national holiday.

Constitution Day – May 3rd. Commemorating the establishment of Japan’s present constitution in 1947, based on democratic principles and peaceful provisions outlawing the possession of armed forces or military power.

Children’s Day – May 5th, in celebration of the children of Japan. Huge carp streamers are hung from flagpoles outside of houses and appear to be forging their way upstream. The fish represent the courage and perseverance that young boys should have in life.

Respect For The Aged Day – September 15th. To honour the elderly and pay respect to their knowledge and experience.

Autumn Equinox – September 23rd or 24th and similar to the Spring Equinox in its festivities.

Health – Sports Day – October 10th. To promote health and physical development. Also in commemoration of the 1964 Olympics which were held in Tokyo.

Culture Day – November 3rd, established in 1948 as a day for appreciating peace and freedom and to promote culture.

Labour Thanksgiving Day – November 23rd. A day to appreciate and thank all those who support society by their work. Originally, it was a thanksgiving for the harvest.

Emperor Akihito’s Birthday – December 23rd, the birthday of the present Emperor.

It should be noted that holidays may not be observed on the actual date, and for example, if the holiday falls on a Sunday, it may be observed on the Monday following.

 

Voltage Requirements: 100 volts AC, 50 cycles. Outlets require the type of plug used in the U.S. Appliances designed for use in North America usually can be used with no adapter; however, the difference in cycles means that they’ll run about 15% slower. Many of the larger hotels have a choice of electrical outlets or can supply adapters.

Telephone Codes: 81, country code; 3, city code (dial 03 within Japan).

 

Money

Japanese Money is called Okane. [pronounced oh-kah-neh]

The Yen is the basic coin in Japan just as the cent is the basic coin in America.

The 5 Yen coin has a hole in the middle of it as does the 50 Yen coin. [In times past, men carried these coins with a hole in the middle of them around their necks tied together with a string] There is also a 10 yen, a 100 yen, and a 500 yen coin. Japanese paper money usually comes in 1,000 yen and 10,000 yen amounts. urrency Exchange
Although foreign currency can be used for some transactions at shops and restaurants that cater to foreign tourists, the yen is preferred. The most convenient place to exchange money is at the exchange desk in your hotel. The next easiest place is at a bank displaying the “Authorized Foreign Exchange Bank” sign. Most banks in Tokyo can exchange your currency quickly and with minimum hassle. Many of the larger stores have their own foreign-exchange counters offering competitive rates. Passports usually are required when converting currency.

You can extract yen at the going rate of exchange, using either a bank or credit card, at an ATM. All of Citibank’s ATMs are tied into the CIRRUS network. They have English-language menus and operate 24 hours a day.

Remember to choose a numerical PIN: There are no English alphabet keys on Japanese cash machines.

Taxes
There is a consumption tax of 5% on all purchases. Technically, foreigners are exempt from the tax, but if you’re not dealing with a shop that has a rebate counter for foreign tourists or you don’t have your passport with you, you’ will have to pay the tax.

Tipping
Tipping isn’t practiced. However, restaurants add on a 10%-15% service charge. Porters aren’t as common as they once were, but expect to pay a few hundred yen per bag. Taxi drivers don’t charge extra for handling baggage.

Communication

Telephone
Public telephones are common, and you’ll see many that have data ports. Some will only accept coins, but newer models take prepaid phone cards, too. Buy phone cards at vending machines or kiosks.

If you’re calling a number in Tokyo from inside Japan but outside the city, add the Tokyo area code (03) to the number. If you’re calling Tokyo from outside Japan, you’ll need to dial the country code (81) and the area code (3) without the leading zero. Toll-free numbers begin with 0120 or 0088.

Internet Access
Surfing the Internet is expensive because of high telephone charges. For that reason, Internet cafes aren’t that common in Tokyo. You’ll notice special phone booths on the city streets that provide high-speed data lines: You plug your laptop directly into them.
Mail and Package Services
Japan has an extensive and efficient postal system, and all hotels will provide mail and package service

 

Transportation
The subway and surface train system is the most efficient way to get around Tokyo. It is a much better option than taxis, which are very expensive and get caught in traffic. The secret to the rail system is knowing the color code of the line that stops nearest your destination. Just point out your destination on an English- and Japanese-language map or show fellow passengers your destination (written out in Japanese by your hotel staff). They’ will almost always help you buy your ticket and direct you to the right platform.

Air
All international flights to Tokyo, except those of China Airlines, land at New Tokyo International Airport (NRT) in Narita. Narita is located some 41 miles east of Tokyo, but because of the heavy and unpredictable traffic, it takes about 90 minutes to get into the city. During heavy traffica drive to or from the airport can take three or more hours. Always plan four to four-and-a-half hours between the city and Narita to ensure catching an international flight, or book a room near the airport for your last night. Most domestic flights and China Airlines’ international flights land at Tokyo International Airport (HND) in Haneda. Haneda is conveniently located between Tokyo and Yokohama, about a half-hour bus or monorail ride from downtown Tokyo.

Connecting Transportation

Travel between Tokyo and Narita is using the commercial shuttle buses (called limousines). The Limousine Bus Service counter is in the arrivals lobby, and the staff speaks English. Destinations to all major hotels, train stations and the Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT) and Yokohama City Air Terminal (Y-CAT)—actually bus terminals—are displayed prominently.

Car

Driving is not convenient in Tokyo. Traffic jams that back up 20-30 miles, lasting an entire day, are not uncommon, especially during peak travel seasons.

Bus
Few foreign travelers use the intercity buses in Japan. Tokyo can be reached by bus from most major cities on Japan Railways (JR) highway buses. These leave distant cities in the evening or late at night, arriving at Tokyo station and a few other locations around the city early in the morning. For information in English, phone 3423-0111.Public Transportation
Tokyo’s public transportation is fast, clean, safe and convenient to use. Most of the yellow and black directional signs are in both English and Japanese. Start with good maps of the rail and subway systems. You can pick them up from the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) or in most subway and train stations.

Taxi
Taxis are clean, safe and readily available everywhere in Tokyo. Most hotels and all train stations have a taxi stand. You also can flag down a taxi by holding out your hand. However, the taxis may pass you by to pick up Japanese people—most drivers do not speak English, and they’re afraid of communication problems with foreigners. Because traffic moves on the left-hand side of the street, enter and leave the taxi using the left-hand door. But don’t open it yourself—it’s operated automatically by the driver.

Train
Japan has some of the best train networks in the world—fast, safe, efficient and clean. The main network is operated by Japan Railways (JR), and there are many other privately operated lines. Stations in the city include Tokyo, Ueno, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Yurakucho.

C – Attractions & Things To Do

Tokyo Disneyland – Amusement Park
1-1 Maihama, Urayasu-Shi
Chiba-Ken, 279, JAPAN
81-4-73 54 0001, 81-33-366 5600, Fax: 81-473-545240
It is a re-creation of Disneyland in California. Open every day 9 am to 10 pm April through August and from 10 am to 6 pm September through March. (From September through November it closed on Tuesdays, and from December through February it is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays except holidays.

 tokyo-disneyland

Imperial Palace
The Imperial palace is home to Japan’s Emperor and the imperial family; you can walk around the outside of the moat of the Imperial Palace, and admire the luster of the ancient centuries. The grounds, however, are only open on two days: on the Emperors birthday (Dec 23) and Jan 2.

 

Ueno Park
Surrounding the Tokyo National Museum and Ueno (Tokyo) Zoo, this park encompasses true Japan in its temples, shrines and it even features an aquarium. It is well known for being the prime cherry-blossom-viewing spot.

 

Tokyo Sea Life Park (Kasai Rinkai Suizokukan)
6-2-3 Rinkai-cho,
Edogawa-ku, Tokyo
3869-5152
Tokyo Sea Life Park is a giant aquarium that simulates life in the depths of the ocean. Exhibits featured include the spectacular rooftop glass shark tanks and much more.

 

Edo-Tokyo Museum
1-4-1
Yokoami, Sumida-ku
3626-9974
Edo-Tokyo Museum is the newest and one of the best historical museums, depicting life in Tokyo from the 17th century through the end of World War II. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10- 6  (Thursday and Friday until 8 pm). Closed Dec 28-Jan 4.

 

Wild Blue Yokohama
Heian-cho, Tsurumi-ku,
Yokohama
045-511-2323
Wild Blue Yokohama is an indoor beach that is open year round. It is a perfect example of Japan’s ability to harness the forces of nature in new and innovative ways.

 

Tokyo National Museum
13-9 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, in Ueno Park
3822-1111
The Tokyo National Museum is the nations largest display of Japanese history and culture, with more than 100,000 treasured artifacts and artworks. Exhibits include Chinese and Indian art as well.

 

Azabu Museum of Arts and Crafts
4-6-9 Roppongi,
Minato-ku
5474-1371
Azabu Museum of Arts and Crafts emphasizes Japanese artworks, including glass, ceramics, clothing and paintings.

 

Drum Museum Taikokan
2-1-1 Nishi Asakusa, Taito-ku
3842-5622
Drum Museum Taikokan presents a hands-on exhibit of drums from around the world. Very small but interesting personal collection, housed upstairs in a traditional festival costume-and-instrument store in an old district of Asakusa.

 

Fukagawa Edo Museum
1-3-28 Shirakawa, Koto-ku
3630-8625
Fukagawa Edo Museum looks at life during the Edo period (19th century)

 

Japanese Sword Museum
4-25-10 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
3379-1386
Visit the Japanese Sword Museum for a display of modern and ancient swords.

Kogeikan National Museum of Modern Art
3 Kitanomaru Koen, Chiyoda-ku
3214-2561
The National Museum of Modern Art offers a collection of Japanese art created since the Meiji era (AD 1868-1912). Nearby Crafts Gallery displays Japanese handicrafts.

 

Paper Museum
The Paper Museum displays the process and equipment used in hand-making Japanese paper.

 

The Silk Museum
1 Yamashitacho, Naka-ku
045-641-0841
The Silk Museum (Yokohama) illuminates the silk-making process and also displays fine silk fabrics.

 

The Sony Plaza
3573-2371
Visit the fascinating showrooms of the Sony Building. Visitors can test many products, as well as some products, which have yet to be released

 

Nippon Budokan
2-3 kitano maru Koen
Chidoya-ku
03-3216-5100
The Budokan was built as a martial arts arena for the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. It still hosts tournaments and exhibitions of judo, karate, and Japanese fencing, as well, as concerts.

 

Kotsu Hakubutsukan Transportation Museum
1-25 Kanda Sudacho
Chidoya-ku
03-3251-8481
This is a great place for children! Exhibits explain the early development of the railway system and include a miniature layout of the rail services. This museum also features Japan’s first airplane.

 

Kite Museum
1-12-10 Nihombashi
Chuo-ku
03-3275-2704
Kite flying is an old tradition in Japan, and the kites in this museum include examples of every shape and variety. For the children, the museum offers a special kite-making workshop.

 

Kokuritsu Kagaku Hakubutsukan (National Science Museum)
7-20 Ueno Koen
Taitoku
03-3822-0111
Everything from dinosaurs to moon rocks is on display at this conventional natural history museum.

 

Goto Planetarium
2-21-12 Shibuya
Shibuya
03-3407-7409
The planetarium has daily shows displaying the movements of the solar system, the constellations, and galaxies projected on a dome 65 ft. in diameter. Adjacent to the planetarium, visitors can explore the museum of astronomy.

 

Koraku-en Amusement Park
1-3-61 Koraku
Bunkyo-ku
03-3811-2111
This amusement park offers attractions that the kids are going to love! The chief attractions of which are a giant roller coaster and a “circus train”.

 

Toshima-en
3-25-1 Koyama
Nerima-ku
03-3990-3131
This large amusement park has four roller coasters, a haunted house, and seven swimming pools. It also features an authentic Coney Island carousel, refurbished and rescued by a Japanese entrepreneur.

 

Tama Dobutsu Koen
7-1-1 Hodokubo
Hino-shi
0425-91-1611
This wildlife park gives animals freedom to roam, and most exhibits are separated by moats. Visitors can also take an adventurous tour of the Lions’ Park on a minibus

D – Family Fun Attractions

Tokyo Disneyland – Amusement Park
1-1 Maihama, Urayasu-Shi
Chiba-Ken, 279, JAPAN
81-4-73 54 0001, 81-33-366 5600, Fax: 81-473-545240
It is a re-creation of Disneyland in California. Open every day 9 am to 10 pm April through August and from 10 am to 6 pm September through March. (From September through November it closed on Tuesdays, and from December through February it is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays except holidays.

 

Ueno Park
Surrounding the Tokyo National Museum and Ueno (Tokyo) Zoo, this park encompasses true Japan in its temples, shrines and it even features an aquarium. It is well known for being the prime cherry-blossom-viewing spot.

 

Tokyo Sea Life Park (Kasai Rinkai Suizokukan)
6-2-3 Rinkai-cho,
Edogawa-ku, Tokyo
3869-5152.
Tokyo Sea Life Park is a giant aquarium that simulates life in the depths of the ocean. Exhibits featured include the spectacular rooftop glass shark tanks and much more.

 tokyo-sea-life-park

Edo-Tokyo Museum
1-4-1
Yokoami, Sumida-ku
3626-9974.
Edo-Tokyo Museum is the newest and one of the best historical museums, depicting life in Tokyo from the 17th century through the end of World War II. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 -6 (Thursday and Friday until 8 pm). Closed Dec 28-Jan 4.

 

Wild Blue Yokohama
Heian-cho, Tsurumi-ku,
Yokohama
045-511-2323.
Wild Blue Yokohama is an indoor beach that is open year round. It is a perfect example of Japan’s ability to harness the forces of nature in new and innovative ways.

 

Drum Museum Taikokan
2-1-1 Nishi Asakusa, Taito-ku
3842-5622.
Drum Museum Taikokan presents a hands-on exhibit of drums from around the world. Very small but interesting personal collection, housed upstairs in a traditional festival costume-and-instrument store in an old district of Asakusa.

 

Japanese Sword Museum
4-25-10 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
3379-1386.
Visit the Japanese Sword Museum for a display of modern and ancient swords.

Kogeikan National Museum of Modern Art
3 Kitanomaru Koen, Chiyoda-ku
3214-2561.
The National Museum of Modern Art offers a collection of Japanese art created since the Meiji era (AD 1868-1912). Nearby Crafts Gallery displays Japanese handicrafts.

 

Doll Museum
8 Yamashitacho, Naka-ku
045-671-9361
The Doll Museum (Yokohama Ningyo no le) houses a large collection of Japanese dolls and dolls from 130 other countries.

 

The Sony Plaza
3573-2371
Visit the fascinating showrooms of the Sony Building. Visitors can test many products, as well as some products, which have yet to be released

 

Children’s Castle
3797-5666
Children’s castle is an activities center for children. Featured are playrooms, AV rooms, a swimming pool (children only), library, computer room, and so much more.

 

Nippon Budokan
2-3 kitano maru Koen
Chidoya-ku
03-3216-5100
The Budokan was built as a martial arts arena for the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. It still hosts tournaments and exhibitions of judo, karate, and Japanese fencing, as well, as concerts.

 

Kotsu Hakubutsukan Transportation Museum
1-25 Kanda Sudacho
Chidoya-ku
03-3251-8481
This is a great place for children! Exhibits explain the early development of the railway system and include a miniature layout of the rail services. This museum also features Japan’s first airplane.

 

Kite Museum
1-12-10 Nihombashi
Chuo-ku
03-3275-2704
Kite flying is an old tradition in Japan, and the kites in this museum include examples of every shape and variety. For the children, the museum offers a special kite-making workshop.

 

Kokuritsu Kagaku Hakubutsukan (National Science Museum)
7-20 Ueno Koen
Taitoku
03-3822-0111
Everything from dinosaurs to moon rocks is on display at this conventional natural history museum.

 

Goto Planetarium
2-21-12 Shibuya
Shibuya
03-3407-7409
The planetarium has daily shows displaying the movements of the solar system, the constellations, and galaxies projected on a dome 65 ft. in diameter. Adjacent to the planetarium, visitors can explore the museum of astronomy.

 

Koraku-en Amusement Park
1-3-61 Koraku
Bunkyo-ku
03-3811-2111
This amusement park offers attractions that the kids are going to love! The chief attractions of which are a giant roller coaster and a “circus train”.

 

Toshima-en
3-25-1 Koyama
Nerima-ku
03-3990-3131
This large amusement park has four roller coasters, a haunted house, and seven swimming pools. It also features an authentic Coney Island carousel, refurbished and rescued by a Japanese entrepreneur.

 

Tama Dobutsu Koen
7-1-1 Hodokubo
Hino-shi
0425-91-1611
This wildlife park gives animals freedom to roam, and most exhibits are separated by moats. Visitors can also take an adventurous tour of the Lions’ Park on a minibus.

E – Events & Entertainments

Events


Many of Tokyo’s festivals, drawn from ancient roots, are scheduled according to the lunar calendar.  Although many of Japan’s holidays remain fixed from year to year, some are subject to change and should be confirmed.

 

January
1 January: New Year’s Day. Public holiday. Special foods:  broth, herring roe, black beans, dried chestnuts and seaweed—are served. Throughout the week, families visit shrines and temples. Everyone strives to pay debts incurred from the previous year.

2 January: Kokyo Ippan Sanga. The Imperial Palace opens its grounds to the public for one of only two open houses during the year (the other is 23 December, the emperor’s birthday). The royal family makes an appearance before great crowds. 1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku. For information, call 3213-1111.

6 January: Dezomeshiki Parade. Firemen perform acrobatic tricks atop tall bamboo ladders. The parade route is along Harumi Chuo-dori (Ginza Station on the Hibiya, Ginza or Marunouchi lines). For information, call 3212-2111.

10 January: Coming-of-Age Day. Public holiday. Young people who have turned 20 during the preceding year are honored.

Late January: Plum Blossom Festivals. These red and white flowers are believed to offer protection against evil and various diseases. The plum-blossom festivals reach their peak mid February-mid March at parks, gardens and shrines throughout the Tokyo area. For more information about projected times and viewing sites, call 5321-3307.


Throughout January: Performance. The New National Theatre is home to many opera, ballet, contemporary dance and theater performances. 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (Hatsudai Station on the Keio/Shinjuki line). For information, call 5351-3011. For tickets, call 5352-9999.


Early January: New Year Holiday Season. Government offices and some businesses close during this time. Some companies close as early as 23 December and do not reopen until the second week of January. Concludes early January

Early January: Tokyo Millenario. This New Year’s festival centers around a dazzling light sculpture and gallery. Tokyo International Forum, near Tokyo Station. For information, call 5447-0954.

 

February
Early February: Setsubun. According to the lunar calendar, this day marks the end of winter. Temples and shrines throughout Tokyo hold bean-throwing contests to scare away the devils and bad luck.

Early-Mid February: Tokyo Marathon. Prize money for this 26-mile race through Tokyo suburbs is more than US$50,000. For information, call 5245-7085.

11 February: National Foundation Day. Public holiday.
 

March
Early March: Hina Matsuri. During the Doll Festival, traditional Japanese Hina dolls and miniature household articles are typically displayed in homes with young girls and at other locations throughout the city. The dolls represent the emperor, empress and other members of the court dressed in ancient costume.

20 March: Vernal Equinox. Public holiday. Buddhist temples hold special services, and people pray for the souls of the departed.
 
Late March: Tokyo International Anime Fair. This annual event draws approximately 15,000 industry members and 50,000 fans. Weekend events for the public include a competitive film festival, character shows, live performances, voice-actor lessons and exhibits from nearly 150 businesses. Tokyo Big Sight, 3-21-1 Ariake, Koto-ku. For information, call 5530-1111. For tickets, call Ticket Pia at 983-222.

Late March: Cherry Blossom Viewing. Generally, the cherry trees in parks and shrines around the city reach full bloom during late March and the first two weeks in April. Friends and colleagues gather under the trees to eat, drink and sing traditional songs into the night hours. The best viewing spots are the Imperial Palace, which opens its front road for bicycling on Sundays (phone 3211-5020), and Ueno Park in Taito-ku (Ueno Station, phone 3827-7752 or 3832-0084). Chidorigafuchi Minakami Park in Chiyodaku (Kudanshita station, phone 3264-2111) offers viewing by boat. Sumida Park in Asakusa (Asakusa Station, phone 5608-1111) is almost as famous as Ueno Park. For more information about projected times and sites, call 5231-3307. Continues through early May

 

April
Early-Late April: Baseball. Three professional baseball teams play in Tokyo. The popular Yomiuri Giants  and the Nippon Ham Fighters share the Tokyo Dome (phone 5800-9999). The Yakult Swallows play at Meiji Jingu Stadium (phone 3404-8999). Advance tickets are sold by many hotels’ front desk or concierge and travel agents. Continues through late November


8 April: Hana Matsuri. On the birthday of Buddha, statues of the diety are shown in temples, and sweet tea (amacha) is poured over them in a gesture of devotion. Children place flowers next to statues of the infant Buddha.

29, 30 April: Golden Week. This week of continuous national holidays includes Greenery Day (April 29), Constitution Day (May 3), Nation’s Holiday (May 4) and Children’s Day (May 5). This is one of Japan’s busiest holiday seasons, and many government offices and businesses are closed. Continues through 5 May

Throughout April: Cherry Blossom Viewing. The cherry trees in parks and shrines around the city reach full bloom during late March and the first two weeks in April. Friends and colleagues gather under the trees to eat, drink and sing traditional songs into the night hours. The best viewing spots are the Imperial Palace, which opens its front road for bicycling on Sundays (phone 3211-5020), and Ueno Park in Taito-ku (Ueno Station, phone 3827-7752 or 3832-0084). Chidorigafuchi Minakami Park in Chiyodaku (Kudanshita station, phone 3264-2111) offers viewing by boat. Sumida Park in Asakusa (Asakusa Station, phone 5608-1111) is almost as famous as Ueno Park. For more information about projected times and sites, call 5231-3307. Continues through early May.

 

 

May
Mid May: Kanda Matsuri. This biannual festival commemorates the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate in Edo more than 400 years ago. Marked by parades with elaborate portable shrines and costumes. Celebrated on the weekend nearest 15 May. Kanda Myojin Shrine, 2-16-2 Soto Kanda (Ochanomizu Station). For more information, call 3254-0753.

1-5 May: Golden Week. This week of continuous national holidays includes Greenery Day (April 29), Constitution Day (May 3), Nation’s Holiday (May 4) and Children’s Day (May 5). This is one of Japan’s busiest holiday seasons, and many government offices and businesses are closed. Concludes 5 May.

21, 22 May: Sanja Festival. This three-day celebration at Asakusa Shrine is filled with excitement as portable shrines in lacquer and gold are hoisted and carried around the Asakusa district by happi-coated men and women. 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku. Phone 3844-1575..
 

June
Early-Late June: Iris Blooming Festivals. Though not as famous or as widely celebrated as the cherry blossoms, the irises in parks and gardens throughout the city should not to be missed. A highlight is the 820-foot trail framed by approximately 1,500 Edo irises that reach their peak bloom in mid June at Yoyogi Park, 1-1 Yoyogi-kamizonocho, Shibuya-ku (JR Harajuku station). Phone 3379-5511. Continues through mid July
 

July 
Mid-Late July: Obon. Most people take a week off during this time to visit their hometown and pay homage to ancestors or to vacation overseas. Many shops in Tokyo are closed. This holiday is based on the lunar calendar, so its date varies between mid July and mid August. Bon-dance festivals continue throughout the monthlong period. Continues through mid August

18 July: Maritime Day. Public holiday. Third Monday of July.

30 July: Fireworks. Tokyo’s grandest fireworks display of the year is launched on the last Saturday in July over the Sumida River in Asakusa. The best places to watch are between the Kototol and Shirahige bridges or at the Komagata Bridge. For information, call 5388-3141 or 5608-1111.
  

September
15 September: Respect for the Aged Day. Public holiday.

23 September: Autumnal Equinox Day. Public holiday.

 

October
Early-Late October: Tokyo International Film Festival. The largest film festival in Asia markets itself as one of the top 12 major festivals in the world. Features competitive screenings of international and Asian features, along with works by new directors, world cinema and classic Japanese films. Also star guest appearances, industry forums, symposiums, exhibits and other events. Bunkamura and other cinemas in the Shibuya district. For information, call 3524-1081.

11 October: Health and Sports Day. Public holiday.

Mid October: Oeshiki Festival. A Buddhist festival commemorated by a procession toward the Honmonji Temple. Participants carry large lanterns decorated with paper flowers. 1-1-1 Ikegami, Otoku (Ikegami station on the Tokyu Ikegami line). Phone 3313-6241.

 

November
3 November: Culture Day. Public holiday.

Mid- November: Shichi-go-san. During the Children’s Festival, children ages 3, 5 and 7 are dressed in traditional kimonos and taken to shrines by their parents so that prayers may be said for good health and future blessings.

23 November: Labor Appreciation Day. Public holiday.

Mid November: Tokyo International Women’s Marathon. Course begins and ends at the National Stadium, 10 Kasumigaoka-machi, Shinjuku-ku (JR Sendagaya Station). For information, call 5411-7050 or 3542-2682.

Mid November: City Marathon. In conjunction with the Tokyo International Women’s Marathon, the city hosts a marathon open to the public, both men and women. Participants begin at Jingu-Gaien circle and join the Women’s Marathon course on Gaien-Higashi Road. For information, call 5411-7050 or 3542-2682.
 

December
23 December: Emperor’s Birthday. Public holiday. One of only two days in the year when the Imperial Palace is open to the public. 1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku.

25 December: Christmas. Though not a public or official religious holiday, it is widely observed in Japan.

14 December: Gishi-sai. To commemorate a famous 1702 samurai vendetta, businessmen costumed as warriors proceed along Sotobori Street to Sengakuji Temple, where the samurai are buried. A memorial service also takes place at Honjo Matsuzaka-cho Park, which was owned by the avenged samurai master. Sengakuji Temple, 2-11-1 Takanawa, Minato-ku (Sengakuji Station on the Tozi Asakusa line). Honjo Matsuzaka-cho Park, 3-13-9 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku (Ryogoku station on the JR Sobu Line). For information, call Sengakuji Temple at 3441-5560 or Honjo Matsuzaka-cho Park at 5608-1111.

Mid- December: Hagoita-ichi at Asakusa Kannon Temple. This “ornamental battledore fair” takes place in the compound of the temple. In the evening, look for the brightly colored paddles used in the ancient shuttlecock game of hanetsuki; they’re especially beautiful when lanterns illuminate them. 2-31-8 Asakusa, Taito-ku (Asakusa station). Phone 3842-0181.
 
Late December: Tokyo Millenario. This New Year’s festival centers around a dazzling light sculpture and gallery. Tokyo International Forum, near Tokyo Station. For information, call 5447-0954. Continues through early January. 

Late December: New Year Holiday Season. Government offices and some businesses close during this time. Some companies close as early as 23 December and do not reopen until the second week of January.

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Hong Kong Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Hong Kong Travel Deals 

A – Overview

Whether flying over the city or navigating into the port via the temperamental South China Sea, the magnificent islands suddenly take form as if in a mirage, enticing the traveler to a closer look at this oasis of ancient tradition commingled with sleek, corporate towers . 

 Hong kong overview

Hong Kong Island, (originally named Victoria Island in honor of the queen), covers only 30 square miles and has a population of 7 million.  Its two islands, Hong Kong and Kowloon are separated by Victoria Harbor.  Most of the cultural attractions, restaurants, and shopping areas are located along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island and at Kowloon’s southern tip.  Between Hong Kong and the border with the rest of China are the New Territories which provide a mountainous scenic backdrop to a number of modern suburban towns.    The other major islands in the area are Lamma, Cheung, Chau, and Lantau (site of Hong Kong’s vast and impressive airport as well as Hong Kong Disneyland.  Beyond these is Macau.  There are actually more than 266 islands in all. 

 

With 150 years of British colonial influence woven into 5,000 years of Chinese culture, Hong Kong is a city of contrasts. From the ancient Chinese temples, to an upbeat entertainment district with its karaoke bars, Hong Kong truly enchants visitors with everything from food, art, architecture, to the traditional festivals. Since reunification with China, Hong Kong has been classified as a Special Zone operated by China under a “one country, two systems policy.”  This has eased the transition and has kept the economy thriving. 

 

The Central District of Hong Kong is a glittering, modern business center.   It features the stock exchange, deluxe hotels, and up market shops. The Western District is filled with visitor delights such as bountiful markets, shopping, restaurants, and traditional shop houses.

 

Rising high above downtown is Victoria Peak, an exclusive residential area located on the highest (1,805 feet) range of hills on the island. The Peak offers visitors a varied selection of restaurants and spectacular views. Ride the 1888 tram to the summit.  Located east of the Central district is the Wanchai District, famed for its nightlife and the perfect place for a night on the town.

 

The city is built on steep terrain offering many outstanding views as well as walking challenges.    One of the city’s most unusual commuter routes is a half-mile series of escalators known as the Mid-Levels Escalator Link which brings workers from he Mid-Levels district to the Central district in the morning and back at night.  The route passes the green Jaima Mosque and fashionable Staunton Street.

 

The Hong Kong Museum of Art displays a fine collection of Chinese art and Man Mo Temple is a classic Taoist temple dedicated to Man, a god of literature and Mo, a god of war.  Located on the northeast corner of the island, the area offers a wide range of markets, cafes, and a ferry pier. While visiting Hong Kong, make an escape to the beaches of Shek O. Shek O, a pleasant seaside village, offers hiking excursions on hilly trails and a stunning view of the coast.

 

There is simply is no other place quite like Hong Kong! The sounds, scents, and excitement will leave a vivid impression. Hong Kong has a reputation as one of the world’s greatest shopping cities and is an amazing urban bazaar and  a shopper’s paradise. Hong Kong offers a rich nightlife, diverse sightseeing, and a tradition of cultural heritage.

 

Experience a journey to Hong Kong, and be sure to plan to spend at least a week to explore its wonders.  You will partake of a mosaic of thrilling experiences, memorable adventures, and pure serenity

B – City information

Population: 7 million

Time Zone:  Hong Kong is 13 hours ahead of New York City and 16 hours ahead of Los Angeles.  When it is 12:00 noon in New York City, it is 1:00AM the following day in Hong Kong. 

 

Average Temperatures:

 

 Average Temperatures:

Month

High

Low

January

64F

56F

February

63F

55F

March

67F

60F

April

75F

67F

May

82F

74F

June

85F

78F

July

87F

78F

August

87F

78F

September

87F

78F

October

81F

73F

November

74F

65F

December

68F

59F

 

When to Visit

From October to mid-December, the days are warm and the nights are cool and comfortable.  From June to September the weather is very hot and humid, and typhoons sometimes develop from July-September. There s an average of nearly 16 inches of rain during this time. January- March brings pleasant, slightly cooler weather with occasional cold spells.  From March-June the weather is warm, but it is often rainy. 

 

Holidays

 

January 1                      New Year’s Day

January/February:          Chinese Lunar New Year

Spring                          Good Friday; Easter Monday

April or Early May:         Birthday of Lord Buddha

Early April                     Ching Ming Festival

1 May:                          Labor Day

Mid-Late June               Dragon Boat Festival

1 July                           Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Establishment Day

Early-mid August           Sino Japanese War Victory Day

Late Sept./early Oct.      Mid-Autumn Festival

1 and 2 October            China National Day

Mid-late October           Cheung Yeung Festival

25 and 26 December     Christmas Day and Boxing Day

 

Opening Hours:  Offices are open Monday-Friday from 9-5 and on Saturday 9-1.

Banks are open Mon.-Fri. 9-4:30 and Sat. 9-12:30.

Post Offices Mon-Fri. 8-6; Saturday 8-2.

Stores:  Daily 10-6 and often 10-9 in tourist areas

 

Currency

The unit of currency is the Hong Kong dollar and comes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000.  Coins are in 10, 20, and 50 cents. 

hong-kong-currency

Electricity

The current is 200/220.  US appliances require a converter and a plug adapter.

 

Emergencies:  Call 999

Language:  Hong Kong has two official languages:  Cantonese and English.  While English is spoken widely in business and in tourist areas, it is not always understood by taxi drivers, bus drivers, or when asking directions.  It is advisable to ask the hotel receptionist or concierge to write out your destination in Chinese. 

 

Getting There

By Air

All flights land at Chek Lap Kok Airport on Lantau Island, 24 miles west of Hong Kong City.  The ultra modern facility consists of eight floors and includes three banks, a money changing facility, several ATMs, a tourist information office, and literally acres of restaurants, shops, and bars.

Airport Express

The Airport Express train (2881 8888) is an efficient and pleasant way of getting into the city.  Trains depart every 10 minutes from 5:50AM to 12:50AM for a low fare.  A same day return costs  the same as a one-way fare. 

By Bus

There is bus service to and from Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, and the New Territories.

By Cruise Ship

Cruise ships dock in Victoria Harbor on the island of Kowloon near the Star Ferry Pier and the Ocean Terminal. 

By Train

High-speed trains travel from Hung Hom station to Guangzhou several times a day.  There are also rail links to Shanghai and Beijing.  Tickets can be booked up to 60 days in advance from the station in Hung Hom or by phone.

 

Getting Around    

MTR Train

The MTR train network is fast and easy to use.  Stations have instructions in English and Chinese.  MTR maps are readily available at hotels, the airport, and at the cruise teminal.

 

Star Ferry:  Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon).  Edinburgh Place, Central (Hong Kong Island).  Sea Front Road, Wan Chai.  The ferry has operated since 1898 and can travel between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island in less than 10 minutes.  The views of the city are spectacular.  Daily 6:30AM-11:30PM.

 

Trams

Trams run only on Hong Kong Island’s north side.  Destinations are marked on the front in English as well as in Chinese.

 

Buses

Traveling on buses is not recommended as MTR and Ferry service are said to be more efficient and safer.  If a bus is taken, be sure to have correct fare as change is not given.

C – Attractions & Things To Do

Victoria Harbor

+852 2807 6543

One of Hong Kong’s star attractions and one of the deepest container ports in the world, the harbor is shielded on both sides by stunning skyline:  by skyscrapers and Victoria Peak on one side, and the Tsim Sha Tsui shoreline on the other. Everyday, hundreds of ferries, tugs, junks, speedboats, cruise ships, and barges pass up and down the shore, carrying people and cargo and only pausing briefly for typhoons. Each evening the harbor is the vantage point for an 18 minute (8PM-8:18PM) Symphony of Lights.  The exteriors of 18 buildings along the waterfront glow with a wide range of colors from architectural lights designed to draw the eye along the waterfront.  A narration and music accompany the display.  The narration is in English on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Fireworks sometimes accompany the show.

 hong-kong-harbor

Victoria Peak  (Che Kei Shan)

+852 2849 7654

Peak Tram runs 7:00AM-Midnight

All visitors to Hong Kong usually go to the Peak for panoramic views of the city, which are among the most spectacular in the world, especially at night. A walk around the Peak reveals further scenic vistas over the greener western parts of Hong Kong Island, and the viewing platforms on top of the Peak Tower and Peak Galleria are a must. A tram takes you to the top. The prices depend  on the kind of ticket purchased.

 

Peak Tram

+852 2849 7654

Peak Tram runs 7:00AM-Midnight

The Peak Tram (funicular) ascends the steep incline of Victoria Peak, offering visitors a convenient way of getting to the peak and all its sightseeing amenities. The Tram, which is itself an attraction, dates back to 1888.  New, larger cars were installed in 1989. Passengers sit back for a literally vertical ride enjoying panoramic views as the car steadily makes its way to the top. Trams leave every 10-15 minutes from the Peak Tram Station between 7am and midnight. Admission charged.

 

Disneyland Hong Kong

Lantau Island

+852 1 830 830

Located on Lantau Island (as is the airport), Disneyland Hong Kong opened  for business in the Fall of 2005. Mickey Mouse, along with his friends Donald Duck, Aladdin, Peter Pan, and Buzz Lightyear, offer something different for travelers in Hong Kong: a Disneyland theme park.  Rides include Space Mountain, Jungle River Cruise, and the twirling Tea Cups . A Magic kingdom with an  Eastern flair,  the park is designed with the principles of feng shui in mind and  is filled with waterfalls and fountains. Experience the magic of Disneyland, Hong Kong.

 hong-kong-disneyland

Star Ferry

+852 2366 2576

The Star Ferry takes just ten minute to cross Victoria Harbor, either to the Kowloon or Central side. Enjoy Hong Kong’s majestic skyline as you travel.   The nighttime views, when Hong Kong glitters, are dramatic

 

Nathan Road

+852 2807 6543

Nathan Road, named after governor Sir Matthew Nathan, runs directly up to Boundary Street, the northern limit of the British colony prior to the leasing of the New Territories in 1898.  Nathan Road was once known as “Nathan’s Folly.”  Today, it is one of the busiest commercial roads in Hong Kong.  The lower end of the road is known as the Golden Mile because of the many storefront neon signs. A walk along Nathan Road leads to many boutiques, camera shops, street markets and restaurants side-by-side, occupying every inch of available space.

 

Mid-levels Escalator

+852 2807 6543

This 800-metre hillside escalator starts from Connaught Road Central, runs to the Hang Seng Bank Building on Des Voeux Road Central, then passes through the Central Market and continues to climb past Hollywood Road to the prime Mid-levels residential district. The free ride from Central to Conduit Road takes about 20 minutes and is much faster than walking and climbing.  This is the longest covered outdoor escalator system in the world, and it took two and a half years and more than HKD205 million to build.

 

Stanley Street

+852 2508 1234

Home to Stanley Market, famous for the wide variety of relatively inexpensive goods such as Chinese souvenirs, rattan products, handicrafts and designer labels,  Stanley offers more than just shopping. It also has a relaxing beach, numerous waterfront restaurants and bars, and the 18th century Tin Hau Temple. Stanley Prison, which is still in use today, is also historically important, as this is where Hong Kong civilians were held during the Second World War.

 

Mongkok

+852 2508 1234

No matter what the time of day, this marketplace is always full of people. It is the center of bargain shopping and trendy products. Bargains to be had include electronic appliances, CDs and DVDs, backpacks, travel gear and sports shoes. There is also a Tung Choi Street Ladies’ Market and other specialty shops selling all the latest fashion in town. The Bird, Goldfish and Flower Markets are also in this area.

 

Lan Kwai Fong

+852 2807 6543

Lan Kwai Fong was once an “expatriate hangout” but locals have gradually joined in the party fun. Centered around an L-shaped cobble-stoned lane just above the Central business area, Lan Kwai Fong houses some of the trendiest pubs and entertainment hangouts in town. Every year, during Christmas, New Years, and Halloween, many people dress in costume and parade through the streets, but whatever time of year, Lan Kwai Fong is definitely a  place to see and to be seen.

 

Sam Tung UK Museum

2 Kwu UK Lane

New Territories

Tseun Wan, New Territories

 

Wong Tai Sin Temple

+852 2320 2883

Probably the best known and busiest temple in the city, Wong Tai Sin was built in 1973 on the site of a previous temple dating back to 1921. The current temple is an excellent example of a traditional Chinese temple. Wong Tai Sin himself was a shepherd boy from Zhejiang province in China, who was thought to have mystical healing powers. Most people visiting the temple come to assess their fortune by using fortune sticks, and there are even some English speaking “seers” who can help visitors interpret the fortune sticks. Admission: Free (donations welcome).

 

Po Lin Buddha

Lantau Island

Temple and Museum open daily 10:30-5.

Monastery open daily 9-6

Ferry from Queen’s Pier (45 minutes)

+852 2805 1234

Although this is some distance from central Hong Kong (a ferry trip and a long, at times frightening, bus ride), it is well worth the excursion. A taxi could be considered for the journey. If the goal is to view the Buddha and the monastery without climbing the 288 steps, it would be worthwhile to hire a taxi and have the driver wait while the Buddha is viewed and photos are taken. Envisioned by the community of monks on Lantau Island, it took more than ten years to build. It is 112 feet tall, made entirely of metal and consists of a steel framework covered by a steel and bronze skin, as well as over one ton of gold amalgam. It weighs 250 tons.  Note, however,  that there are 268 steps to get to the Buddha.

 

Ngong Ping Tea Gardens

Located above Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island

This is Hong Kong’s only tea plantation. It’s on top of a mountain with only one road up and down. It offers horseback riding, barbecue pits and a roller-skating rink. The ferry for Lantau Island leaves from the Outlying Islands Ferry Pier, west of the Star Ferry terminal in Central. On the island, directions to the Tea Gardens are available at the ferry pier.

 

Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens

+852 2530 0154

Located near the Old Government House, the Zoological and Botanical Gardens is a popular place for parents to bring their children on the weekends. The gardens are divided into two main areas: plants and aviaries in one area and animals in the other. Although the zoo is not large, it is one of the world’s leading centers for careful breeding and nurturing of endangered species.  It is also a great place to take pictures of the family with the various animals on display.

Family Attractions

 

Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village

+852 2568 7455

The first holiday village in an urban area, Lei Yue Mun Park offers both day and overnight accommodation for campers. It provides a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, such as soccer, gate ball, basketball, tennis, archery, indoor bowls, a swimming pool, climbing, and badminton, plus barbecue sites. There is also a horse-riding school.

 

Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Gardens

+852 2488 1317

Set at the foot of Tai Mo Shan this farm consists of more than just a few fields and some livestock. In the late 1940s, brothers Sir Horace and Lord Lawrence Kadoorie, set up what was to become the current farm and botanical gardens. As well as helping with local and international aid projects, the organization is involved in pioneering organic farming and educating about the environment. A multitude of displays and refreshment areas, as well as a beautiful location, make this worth a visit for kids and adults alike.

 

Mai Po Marshes

Shenzen

+852 2471 8272

Open daily 9-6

Make a reservation in advance as numbers are limited. 

The marsh, on the edge of Deep Bay, in the northwest of the New Territories covers about 3,706 acres of wetlands.  A 939 acre nature reserve attracts as many as 300 species of migratory birds.  The visitor center provides a tour and maps explaining he ecology and history of the site.

 

Bird Market

Hong Lok St, Mongkok, Kowloon

This street market specializing in birds, singing crickets and intricate cages gives a glimpse into the traditional Chinese way of life. Note: Visits to the Bird Market are not recommended at this time due to the possible threat of Avian Flu.

 

Cheung Chau Island

Cheung Chau

This little island offers walks, temples and traditional fishing villages, as well as markets and seafront, seafood restaurants.

 

Museum of Art:  Hong Kong Cultural Centre

10 Salisbury Rd, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon

Art Museum featuring Calligraphy, scrolls and colonial-era art, as well as an excellent, well-presented collection of Chinese antiquities.

 

Wong Tai Sin Temple:  Taoist temple

Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon

Huge, colorful Taoist temple dedicated to a god of healing. A constant throng of petitioners and fortunetellers.

 

Ocean Park

On the south side of Hong Kong Island, near Aberdeen.

Ocean Park Road

2552-0291

Open daily 10-6

An amusement park where a cable car takes you to the best rides: the Dragon roller coaster, the Octopus and the Crazy Galleon. Or you may enjoy the Raging River, a lovely cruise on a sturdy boat. Ocean Park also contains the Shark Aquarium, the Japanese Garden for relaxing and the Ocean Theatre, where killer whales, seals and dolphins act out high-quality drama.

 

Space Museum

10 Salisbury Road

Hong Kong

2734-2722

Open Mon, Wed-Fri 1-8 (longer on Fri.) and Sat,Sun 10-9.

This museum has one of the largest and most advanced planetariums in the world.  It has many hands-on exhibits including the actual Mercury space capsule piloted by Scott Carpenter in 1962.  The Space Museum is the massive white dome in Tsim Sha Tsui, a short walk

from the Star Ferry. It’s in three parts: Planetarium, Exhibition Hall and Hall of Solar Sciences. Short films run in the theater.

 

Government House

Central, on Upper Albert Road

The Government House is the official residence of the governor of Hong Kong under British rule. The tower was added during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in World War II. The Chief Executive of the SAR (Special Administrative Region) has elected not to live in the building.

 

Hong Kong Museum of History

100 Chatham Road South

Kowloon Park, Tsim Sha Tsui,

2367-1124

Open Mon-Wed. 10-6; Sunday 10-7

This museum set in a park includes a replica of a sampan, the interior of a Hakka home, and a full scale replica of a street in the City of Victoria (as Central was once called).  The exhibits bring history to life.  Also an excellent collection of local photographs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

Botanical Gardens

Albany Road

Hong Kong

2530-0154.

The Botanic Gardens are also above Central, but to the west. Lively monkeys and

orangutans enjoy watching their visitors.

 

 

Middle Kingdom

2555-3554

Middle Kingdom offers replicas of temples, pagodas and street scenes, as well as exhibits and demonstration stalls. Get your name written in Chinese characters and see the Lion Dance in front of you!

 

St. John’s Cathedral

On Garden Road

Central, Hong Kong

St. John’s Cathedral is a handsome building, the oldest Anglican church in East Asia. It was constructed in1849.

 

Tsui Museum of Art

2A Des Voeux Rd.

Central, Hong Kong

2868-2688.

Rotating exhibitions drawn from its collection of more than 3,000 Chinese antiquities, predominantly Chinese ceramics.

 

Water World

Ocean Park Road

Aberdeen, Hong Kong

2555-6055

Contains water slides (you plunge down at 28 mph/45 kph), a wave pool, the Lazy River and a children’s area for those under age 6.

 

Hong Kong Science Museum

2 Science Museum Rd

Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon

2732-3232.

Hands-on exhibits that will interest adults as well as children.

 

Temple of 10,000 Buddhas

Close to Tai Pau Street, New Territories

Above Shatin railway station (go by Kowloon Canton Railway). 30 minutes outside Hong Kong

Open daily 8-6

To reach the Temple there is a climb of 431 steps.  Known locally as “Man Fat Sze  Temple”, this Buddhist shrine was built in the 1950s.  Grateful worshippers have donated thousands of small statues over the years.  Each shows the Buddha in a different pose.  From the edge of the courtyard there are magnificent views over Sha Tin.  The courtyard contains a beautiful tiered pagoda. Higher up is a set of four temples.  One contains Hong Kong’s second tallest Buddha statue; another the embalmed remains of Yuet Kai who founded the monastery.

 

University Museum and Art Gallery

University of Hong Kong,

94 Bonham Road Hong Kong Island

+852 2859-2114.

Open Mon-Sat 9:30-6; Sunday 1:30-5:30.  Closed on public holidays.

Large collection of bronze ware from the Yuan Dynasty as well as artifacts from the Warring States Period and Indian Buddhist sculpture. The museum houses an enormous collection of ceramics dating back as far as Neolithic times. 

 

Kat Hing Wai

Kam Tin

Kat Hing Wai also known as Kam Tin Walled Village is the original 10th-century homestead of the Tang clan, the first of the Cantonese “Five Great Clans” to migrate to the New Territories from China. The village may be modern inside, but it’s still surrounded by a moat and walls with four corner guardhouse towers. Contributions to the donations box are expected, as are handouts to the costumed Hake women before camera shutters can be pressed.

 

Hong Kong Arts Centre Pao Galleries

2 Harbour Rd.

Wanchai

2582-0200

Hong Kong Arts Centre Pao Galleries showcase for contemporary art, with major international and local exhibitions of paintings, photography, crafts and design staged regularly.

Flagstaff House, Museum of Tea Ware

 

Lei Cheng UK Branch Museum

41 Tonkin St., Sham Shui Po,

Kowloon

2386-2863

Lei Cheng UK Branch Museum is the Han Dynasty tomb dating back some 2,000 years, the oldest historical monument in Hong Kong. Also a Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) exhibition of dress

D – Family Fun Attractions

Peak Tram

+852 2849 7654

Peak Tram runs 7:00AM-Midnight

The Peak Tram (funicular) ascends the steep incline of Victoria Peak, offering visitors a convenient way of getting to the peak and all its sightseeing amenities. The Tram, which is itself an attraction, dates back to 1888.  New, larger cars were installed in 1989. Passengers sit back for a literally vertical ride enjoying panoramic views as the car steadily makes its way to the top. Trams leave every 10-15 minutes from the Peak Tram Station between 7am and midnight. Admission charged.

 

Bird Market

Hong Lok St, Mongkok, Kowloon.

This street market specializing in birds, singing crickets and intricate cages gives a glimpse into the traditional Chinese way of life. Visits to the Bird Market are not recommended at the present time, due to bird flu concerns.

 hongkong-bird-market

Botanical Gardens

Albany Road

Hong Kong

2530-0154

The Botanic Gardens are also above Central, but to the west. Lively monkeys and

orangutans enjoy watching their visitors.

 

Space Museum

10 Salisbury Road

Hong Kong

2734-2722

Open Mon, Wed-Fri 1-8 (longer on Fri.) and Sat,Sun 10-9.

This museum has one of the largest and most advanced planetariums in the world.  It has many hands-on exhibits including the actual Mercury space capsule piloted by Scott Carpenter in 1962.  The Space Museum is the massive white dome in Tsim Sha Tsui, a short walk

from the Star Ferry. It’s in three parts: Planetarium, Exhibition Hall and Hall of Solar Sciences. Short films run in the theater.

 

Hong Kong Science Museum

2 Science Museum Rd

Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon

2732-3232

Hands-on exhibits that will interest adults as well as children.

 

The Ngong Ping Tea Gardens

Located above Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island

This is Hong Kong’s only tea plantation. It’s on top of a mountain with only one road up and down. It offers horseback riding, barbecue pits and a roller-skating rink. The ferry for Lantau Island leaves from the Outlying Islands Ferry Pier, west of the Star Ferry terminal in Central. On the island, directions to the Tea Gardens are available at the ferry pier.

Lantau Island

 

Disneyland Hong Kong

+852 1 830 830

Located on Lantau Island (as is the airport), Disneyland Hong Kong opened  for business in the Fall of 2005. Mickey Mouse, along with his friends Donald Duck, Aladdin, Peter Pan, and Buzz Lightyear, offer something different for travelers in Hong Kong: a Disneyland theme park.  Rides include Space Mountain, Jungle River Cruise, and the twirling Tea Cups . A Magic kingdom with an  Eastern flair,  the park is designed with the principles of feng shui in mind and  is filled with waterfalls and fountains. Experience the magic of Disneyland, Hong Kong.

E – Events & Entertainments

Late Jan

Chinese New Year Parade in Hong Kong

One of the best places in the world to celebrate Chinese New Year has to be the island of Hong Kong. Dragon dancers are the star attraction, as the annual Chinese New Year Parade hits Wan Chai Harborfront with a cavalcade of colorful floats, accompanied by performers from all over the world.

Decorated floats, performers, street entertainers, music and dance take over the picturesque harborfront, spilling out into the streets throughout the city.  Fireworks over Victoria Harbor mark the end of the parade.

There are also amazing flower displays all over the city, with other parades and markets taking place in Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island and Fahui Park in Mong Kok on Kowloon.

+852 2807 6543

 

Early Feb

Spring Lantern Festival (Yuen Siu)

The people of Hong Kong believe that during Full Moon in February (the first of the Chinese New Year) various spirits swoop above the ground. To avoid being snatched by the ghosts, hundreds of locals take to the streets with lanterns, representing everything from dragons to Michael Jackson. 

Many believe that the lanterns help guide the spirits back to the world of the dead safely, while a separate tradition tells of the Jade Emperor (the Emperor of Heaven), who wanted to exact revenge on a man who had killed his precious goose. The Emperor planned to torch the man’s property but a good spirit warned the man, telling him to hang lanterns out at the first full moon of the year: the Emperor thought the place was already on fire and left it alone.

All of these traditions celebrate good fortune, and the self-made lanterns often come with riddles attached.

+852 2807 6543

 

Early Feb-Early Mar

Hong Kong Arts Festival

The Hong Kong Arts Festival – first held in 1973 – is the premier arts event of the year, featuring dance, visual art, theatre and music. Each spring a wealth of international artists, as well as the best Asian and local performers, makes this one of the most vibrant and exciting festivals in the world.

Highlights for 2006 include a nod in the direction of Mozart’s 250th birthday. Iván Fischer brings the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for two mostly Mozart concerts (3 & 4 March), while

+852 2734 9011

 

Late March-Early Apr

Hong Kong Sevens.

International Sevens was born in 1975 as a result of an idea of the then-chairman of the HKRFU and an imaginative marketing executive – with the first game actually taking place on 28 March 1976. Initially the Twickenham-based RFU were dismissive of the tournament, so it began life as a club competition, but was soon legitimized as a national tour and has grown in stature ever since. Hong Kong’s glamorous surroundings only add to the excitement of the event.

+852 2504 8311

 

Early April

Tomb Sweeping Day

China’s Tomb Sweeping Day, every year in April, is a day for worshipping ancestors; people visit the graves of their departed relatives and burn “ghost money” (money for use in the afterworld) in their honor.

Also called Qingming Day, this tradition is observed by millions of Chinese all across the world. It has its roots partly in the half-legendary huge resettlements that were ordered during the Ming Dynasty, when thousands of families were ordered first to Konglong county before being sent to their final destinations.

Thus, to this day, many Chinese believe their ancestors came from that county. The event also appeals to many overseas Chinese who identify their own diaspora with that of the people who suffered under the Ming rulers.

+86 (0) 10 6520 1114

 

Early April

The Clear and Bright Festival (Ching Ming)

This ancient Chinese festival takes place 106 days after the Winter Solstice in the cemeteries of Hong Kong, where families pay respect to their ancestors with various offerings.

One of the most important parts of Chinese culture (and one which has been all but forgotten in Western society) is the veneration and honoring of the dead. To honor your dead you must provide a long line of family, hence the importance of the family in Chinese culture. Among the offerings, “spirit money” (paper money) is often burnt, and it is said that during Ching Ming some true devotees actually scrub the bones of their loved ones.

+852 2807 6543

 

Early–Mid April

Hong Kong International Film Festival

The Hong Kong International Film Festival is a large, non-competitive event playing over the Easter holidays at a number of venues. With over 200 films every year, the program is large enough to accommodate a focus on Hong Kong cinema as well as the usual international festival-circuit fare. It also includes retrospectives, an award for upcoming Asian directors and a number of themed exhibitions, gala presentations and other events. In 2006 there are special celebrations for the 30th festival.

The festival was founded in 1977 by the Hong Kong Urban Council and responsibility passed to the newly-formed Leisure and Cultural Services Department in 2000. As well as showcasing the astonishingly creative and energetic local cinema industry, the retrospective section brings out an annual themed program of treasures from the archives. The festival is non-competitive and is split into four main sections; Asian Cinema, Hong Kong Panorama, World Cinema and the archive section.

The mainstay of the festival consists of local and international premières, adhering to the trademark combination of Asian Vision and Global Vision as the twin strands. For the 30th festival, to encourage filmmaking at university, there is the Fresh Wave Joint-U Short Film Competition which, following workshops at the end of 2005, will see student films shown at the festival.

+852 2970 3300

 

Early May

Tin Hau Festival

Tin Hau is the Chinese goddess of the sea, making her particularly significant to the sea-dominated city of Hong Kong. The fishing town of Sai Kung is at the heart of the celebrations for the goddess’ birthday, although the festivities reverberate around the towns and villages of Hong Kong.

Every year traditional rites are observed at community temples, but more eye-catching are the colorful parades of floats, fireworks and lion dances and the sailing of hundreds of multicolored junks and sampans in Victoria Bay and beyond. Tin Hau’s birthday is celebrated to bring safety, fine weather and full nets to the fishermen, who adorn their boats with colorful ribbons, offerings and other symbols of devotion.

The boats, clad in gaily-colored decorations and streaming pennants, make their way toward the many Tin Hau temples. Most of the flotilla heads towards the biggest temple, Da Miao (the Great Temple) in Joss House Bay in the New Territories. There they make their offerings, pay their respects and pray for a bountiful and safe year ahead.

The origins of Tin Hau are diffuse but popular belief is that she was born the sixth and youngest daughter of a Sung dynasty (AD 960-1279) mandarin named Mo Niang, lived in a small fishing village called Pu Tien in the Fukien Province on the south-eastern coast of China and is supposed to have endeared herself to sailors from a very young age through an uncanny ability to predict the weather. Born in the eighth year of Emperor Yuen Yan’s reign (1098), it wasn’t until early days of the Ch’ng dynasty (1644-1912), about 600 years after her death, that the benevolent Emperor K’ang-hsi (1654-1722) canonized her with the title “Queen of Heaven” and mother of all boat people and sailors.

Tin Hau is supposed to quell the seas, allowing bountiful hauls for fishermen and keeping sickness away from all seafaring types. It is said that Mo Niang could walk on water if supplied with a straw mat, so elaborate mats are woven as offerings for this day.

+852 2807 6543

 

Mid May

Bun Festival

Cheung Chau is Hong Kong’s largest fishing island and each May sees floating children and towers of lucky buns; the world’s only Bun Festival.

The origins of this Taoist rite can be traced back hundreds of years to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when Cheung Chau was devastated by a storm, followed by an outbreak of the plague which claimed many lives. Believing the island to be haunted, the locals performed a sacrificial ceremony to placate the Gods and pray for their favor. The festival is now timed to coincide with Buddha’s birthday.

No Chinese festival is complete without lion and dragon dancers, but this island’s quirk is the children dressed as mythological and modern heroes suspended above the crowds on the tips of swords and paper fans. They form the float procession of Piaose and are all safely secured within steel frames, though they appear to glide through the air. The airborne children hardly move and their eyes can be half closed, not because they are in a state of Nirvana but because they are often drugged so as to endure the ceremonies. Though such treatment of children may be disturbing to a Western mindset it is such a unique festival that anthropologists are drawn to it every year and parents consider it a great honour for their offspring to be part of the procession.

At a quarter to midnight a paper effigy of the King of the Ghosts is set on fire, giant incense sticks are lit and the buns are harvested and distributed to the villagers, who, delighted to be sharing in this auspicious good fortune, celebrate late into the night.

+852 2807 6543

 

Mid May

Birthday of Lord Buddha

Buddha’s birthday is celebrated throughout Hong Kong (and officially, since 1999), though prime sites are the Po Lin monastery on Lantau Island (home to the world’s largest seated outdoor Buddha), the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Sha Tin and the Miu Fat Monastery in Tuen Mun.

Worshippers show their devotion by bathing the Buddha statues and feasting on sumptuous vegetarian dishes. Though a day of great reverence, non-Buddhist visitors are welcome and it is an opportunity to visit Hong Kong’s Buddhist monks and monasteries.

+852 807 6543

 

Mid May

Tam Kung Birthday Festival

Tam Kung is an important patron deity of seafarers. His birthday festival, which coincides with Buddha’s, is celebrated with considerable devotion and fanfare at the Tam Kung Temple, built in 1905 in the Shau Kei Wan district on Hong Kong Island. Shau Kei Wan is also known as Ah Kung Yam, or “Ancestor’s Rocky Hill”.

Tam Kung is a local Taoist boy-god said to control the weather. He can calm storms by throwing peas into the air, or cause them by throwing water. His cult is strong in coastal areas like Hong Kong and Macau. Little is known about this cryptic figure except that he was of human origin, born in Guangdong province during the Ching dynasty, and that he is the object of devotion and veneration for boatsmen and seafarers in the region, who invoke him for the protection of their livelihood.

+852 807 6543

 

Early June

Tuen Ng (Dragon Boat Festival)

These dragon boat races were first held in 1976 as part of the 2000-year-old Tuen Ng Festival and have now become an annual event. Over 100 teams from across the globe participate in the waters around Hong Kong and its islands. After the locals have raced, the event becomes an international open. The main competitions take place on Shing Mun River, at Sha Tin in the New Territories.

The teams race the elaborately-decorated boats to the beat of heavy drums. The boats, more than ten meters in length, have ornately-carved and painted dragon heads and tails.   Each carries a crew of 20-22 paddlers. Sitting two abreast, with a steersman at the back and a drummer at the front, the paddlers are urged on by the pounding drums and the roar of the crowds.

The festival commemorates the death of a popular Chinese national hero, Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the Mi Lo River during the 3rd century BC, in protest against a corrupt government. Legend has it that as locals attempted to rescue him, they beat drums to scare fish away and threw dumplings into the sea to keep the fish from eating his body. During the festival period, people eat rice-and-meat dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves and many look forward to swimming, or even simply dipping their hands in the water, to symbolize trying to save him.

There is also a  Bathtub Race:  one of the most fun-filled competitions of the day. Each bathtub can have two paddlers and handsome prizes are promised to the winners.

+852 2807 6543

 

Mid July

Hong Kong Book Fair

A high-profile event in the Hong Kong calendar, the annual Book Fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center goes well beyond books and into the realms of electronic publishing, educational software and audio-visual learning aids.  There are journals, newspapers and, of course, a variety of books from a wide range of Hong Kong publishers.

There are more than 350 exhibitors and visitor numbers reach an impressive 500,000 over the course of the event.  The festivities and reading materials are in Chinese.

+852 2582 8888

 

Mid August

Hong Kong Food Expo

Organized by the Trade Development Council at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, this annual expo celebrates and promotes the island’s food industry to both trade and consumers. Visitors get to enjoy entertainment, demonstrations, food sampling, and kitchen tips during this five-day event.

Over 200 suppliers from Australia, the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and the United States showcase their latest products. Included are gourmet and celebrity chefs’ cooking demonstrations.

+852 2582 8888

 

Mid September

Mid-Autumn Moon Cake Festival

An ancient Chinese tradition, the Mid-Autumn Moon Cake Festival a time in which families gather to relax, give thanks, celebrate family unity and view the full moon, and a celebratory banquet is typically held at midnight.

During the festival people eat special yuek beng (moon cakes) containing any ingredients from ground lotus and sesame to various sugary fillings. In Shanghai red bean paste has always been a favorite filling for revelers.

Another feature of the festival is  the colored Chinese paper lanterns, traditionally in the shapes of animals, which decorate almost every house. Festival altars are also adorned with five dishes of round fruits:  apples, peaches etc., as these symbolize the moon, as well as family unity.

+86 (0) 10 6520 1114

 

Early December

Hong Kong Open Golf Championships

Set amidst the stunning scenery of Fanling, the Hong Kong Open Golf Championship is the longest-running professional sporting event, with many great players waiting to take up the challenge.

+852 2807 6543

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Shanghai Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Shanghai Travel Deals

A – Overview

Known in years past as the “Paris of the East” and “Queen of the Orient”, Shanghai is China’s most populous and sophisticated city.  Its infamous Great World Entertainment Center has been transformed into a modern state-of-the-art theater and Shanghai Youth Center. The wide boulevard known as the Bund was the centerpiece of colonial Shanghai and is a major part of the 21st century showcase that Shanghai has become. 

 Shanghai overview

Shanghai (Chinese for on the sea) is a city in eastern China that is situated on the Huannpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze, near the Yangtze River’s mouth to the East China Sea.  Shanghai is China’s main port, commercial hub, and industrial center. 

 

The words most frequently used to describe contemporary Shanghai are:   prosperous and sophisticated.  Its buildings and atmosphere are reminiscent of New York, London, and Paris.  The old and the new dwell in harmony.  Historic avenues and beautiful parks surround busy harbors and crowded streets.  Pagodas, temples, museums, and cultural centers are all part of this bustling city.  Shanghai recently hosted a Millionaires’ Conference for its many residents who now enjoy that income status.

 

Modern Shanghai still retains many reminders of the past.   Rich Eastern charm and Western flavor coexist in the best of both worlds.  The population continues to rise, as people are attracted by Shanghai’s cultural opportunities, by her history, as well as by the pulse and the vigor which this world class metropolis displays.

 

Opera, classical music, jazz, rock, jazz, theater, acrobatics, and dance are all featured on Shanghai’s cultural scene. Shanghai is the birthplace of the Chinese movie and hosts nine annual film festivals.  The Shanghai symphony orchestra has long been held in high regard, and is one of the oldest symphony orchestras in Asia.   The venues are striking in appearance and in capacity.  The Grand Theatre and the Oriental Arts Centre have attracted top international productions.  Traditional Chinese entertainment in the area of Chinese opera and acrobatics continue to delight large audiences as well. 

 

Recent years have brought dramatic changes to nightlife in Shanghai.  New bars and clubs open almost weekly.  A process of sorting has been occurring by which many new offerings are tried and tested with some closing soon after opening, only to be replaced by others (or reopened under new management) within a short period of time.  Sports bars, comedy clubs, theme bars (Egyptian, Irish, glamour and fashion, Middle East, colonial, and others) are all part of the wide array of choices.     

 

The world’s third tallest broadcasting tower, Oriental Pearl Tower, dominates the city skyline from its height of more than 1500 feet.  From its observation deck, visitors can enjoy spectacular views.  Modern Shanghai Museum Park houses one of the most noteworthy collections of the Middle Kingdom and ranks among China’s four largest museums.  Ming and Qing dynasty art are also displayed, along with fine porcelain exhibits. 

 

The Huangpu River divides Central Shanghai into two distinct areas: Pudong (east of the river) and Puxi (west of the river). The best known attractions of interest to visitors are in Puxi, including the Bund, the centerpiece of tourism, (though not the physical center of town). West of the Bund is the former International Settlement and one of Shanghai’s main shopping streets, East Nanjing Road. South of the Bund is Old Town, a maze of narrow lanes and landmarks of the heart of the original city of Shanghai. West of this Old Town and hidden in the backstreets north and south of Huaihai Road (Shanghai’s premier shopping street) is the former French Concession, with its tree-lined streets, 1930s architecture, cafes, and bars.  At its western end, in Xintiandi, is the more recently established collection of Western-style restaurants and bars. Continuing southeast, the way opens onto the massive shopping mall intersection of Xujiahui. Farther south is Shanghai Stadium.

 

Pudong’s extremely rapid rise as a special economic zone of banks, glass and steel skyscrapers, and upscale residential complexes has been called miraculous.  The spirit of this new area of Shanghai is best characterized by one of its modes of transportation:  the Maglev Train.  The Maglev travels at warp speed through an area that was farmland just 15 years ago.   There is no longer a hint of its rural roots in this burgeoning commercial and residential district of soaring towers and five star hotels.  World class museums such as Shanghai Municipal History Museum, Shanghai Aquarium, and the Science and Technology Museum are presided over by the lofty Oriental Pearl Tower.  Pudong, justifiably, aspires to be the Trade and Finance Center of the Far East.

 

Shanghai, the Eastern Pearl, is a welcoming and enchanting city and a fascinating vacation destination.

B – City information

Population: 17 million

Time Zone:  Shanghai (and all of China) is on Beijing time, which is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 8), 13 hours ahead of New York, 14 hours ahead of Chicago, and 16 hours ahead of Los Angeles. There’s no daylight saving time.  Subtract 1 hour in the summer.

shanghai-donghai-bridge 

Average Temperatures:

 

 Month  

   High

 Low

January  

   46F  

  33F

February

   47F

  34F

March  

   55F  

  40F

April  

   66F

  50F  

May  

   77F

  59F  

June  

   82F

  67F 

July  

   90F

  74F  

August  

   90F  

  74F

September  

   82F

  66F

October  

   74F

  57F

November  

   63F

  45F

December  

   53F

  36F

 

When to Visit

Shanghai has hot, rainy summers and dry, cool winters.  With an average daily temperature range of 32F to 90F, July is typically the hottest month.  The average daily temperature range in January, the coldest month, is 33-46F.  Shanghai has an average annual precipitation of 45 inches.  June is the wettest month, and December is the driest.

Holidays

Telephone:  Country Code:  Shanghai’s area code is 021; the country code is +86.

Currency:  Chinese yuan.

Business Hours:  8:30AM – 7:00 PM

 

Post Office:  Namjing Road

Internet Cafes:  Nanjing Road

Shopping Specialties:  Silk, cashmere, clothing, antiques, tea, electronics.

 

Getting There

By Air

Pudong Airport

With the opening of Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport on October 1, 1999, Shanghai became the first city in China to have two international airports. Pudong Airport is 40km from the city. 

Hongqiao Airport

Passengers can take a special airport bus from Pudong Airport to the downtown area and Hongqiao Airport.  Five bus lines  operate on that route.  There is also the Maglev train.. The bus travels from Pudong Airport to Hongqiao Airport; from Pudong Airport to the Shanghai Exhibition Center; from Pudong Airport to Zunyi Road; from Pudong Airport to Dongjiangwan Road; and from Pudong Airport to the Shanghai Railway Station. Buses operate from 6:00 to 19:00 in downtown areas and from 8:00 to 21:00 at Pudong Airport.

 

Hongqiao International Airport is located in the western suburbs of Shanghai, only 13 kilometers away from the city center. Since 1996, Hongqiao International Airport has consecutively won the first prize among airport group with an annual passenger count of over eight million.

 

Getting Around

 

The Shànghai subway system, an inexpensive and fast way to cover longer distances, is currently undergoing some much-needed expansion (from three, including the existing light rail line,  to eight lines. During morning and evening rush hours and on weekend afternoons, the system is so overburdened that it is best to avoid riding the subway at those times. The still incomplete Metro Line 2 runs in an east-west direction from Zhongshan Gongyuán across downtown Shànghai, under the Huángpu River, and through Pudong’s most developed areas to Lóngyáng Lù, where Maglev connections can be made to Pudong Airport. There are plans in the future to extend the line eastward and westward to connect to Shanghai’s two airports.

To locate subway entrances, look for the large signs with a letter “M”. . Subway platform signs in Chinese and pinyin indicate the station name and the name of the next station in each direction, and maps of the complete Metro system are posted in each station and inside the subway cars as well. In addition, English announcements of upcoming stops are made on trains. To determine your fare, consult the fare map posted near the ticket counters and on ticket vending kiosks.

 If you are going to be riding the subway often, purchase a rechargeable Jiaotong Card (Jiaotong Ka).  The card can also be used to pay for bus, ferry, and taxi rides, with your fare being automatically deducted from the amount remaining on the card.

 

Light Rail — By 2001 Shànghai had opened the first phase of its Pearl Mass Transit Light Rail line, which it plans to expand greatly by 2012.. Currently, its 19 stations encircle the western outskirts of the city, with stops at Shànghai Stadium to the south and at Shànghai Railway Station to the north of downtown. Phase two of the Light Rail will complete what’s started of this vast rail circle, extending the tracks across the river, through Pudong, and then back across the river into downtown Shànghai’s southern precincts. The aboveground Light Rail is clean, modern, and not heavily traveled except during rush hours. Ticketing is nearly identical to the Metro system’s. The Light Rail is seldom helpful for sightseeing, although it does stop near Lu Xùn Gongyuán (Hóngkou Stadium Station) and Duolún Lù cultural street (Baoxìn Lù Station) north of downtown, where the Metro lines do not extend. The Metro does usefully intersect with the Light Rail at the stations serving Shànghai Stadium, Zhongshan Park, and the Shànghai Railway Station.

 

By Taxi

With over 40,000 taxis in the streets, this is the most common means visitors use to get around Shànghai. Taxis congregate at leading hotels but can just as easily be hailed from street corners. Few drivers speak English. Most taxis now post a passenger’s “bill of rights” along the back of the front seat. Some of the “rights” include a smoke-free taxi and a driver not distracted by a mobile phone.

The general rule is never go with a driver who asks you your destination before you even get into the cab.

Always have your destination marked on a map or written down in Chinese, as well as a business card from your hotel with the address in Chinese so you can show it to the taxi driver when you want to get back.

Check to see that the supervision card, which includes the driver’s photo and identification number, is prominently displayed, as required by law. If not, find another cab.

Make sure the meter is visible, and that you see the driver reset it by pushing down the flag, If traveling by yourself, sit up front and take out your map so you can follow (or at least pretend to follow) the taxi’s route.

At the end of the trip, pay the indicated meter fare and no more. Tips are not expected.

 

By Bus

Public buses (gong gòng qì che are considerably more difficult to use, less comfortable than taxis or the Metro. Some buses have conductors but others only have money slots in the front of the bus with no change given. Be prepared to stand and be cramped during your expedition, and take care with backpacks and purses.

 

By Bicycle

Shànghai is not the best place to ride a bicycle. Prosperity has tremendously increased the number of cars.  The bicycle is still the main form of transportation for millions of Shànghai’s residents and bicycle riding is challenging, but not impossible.  A bicycle can be purchased at the large Malls.  Be sure to also purchase and use a lock.  Helmets are not required, but are advisable. 

 

By Bridge, Boat & Tunnel

Crossing the Huángpu River is necessary to enter the  Pudong New Area on the east side of the river. There are seven basic routes. Three are by bridge, each handling around 45,000 vehicles a day.  A fourth route (and the cheapest) is by water, via the passenger ferry.

The ferry terminal is at the southern end of the Bund on the west shore and at the southern end of Riverside Avenue at Dongchang Lù on the east shore.

Three more routes across the river make use of tunnels: The Yán’an Dong Lù Tunnel by car;  the  Metro Line 2 of the subway; and the Bund Sight-Seeing Tunnel (Wàitan Guanguang Suìdào) iby tram (daily 9am-9:30pm). 

By Foot

The best way to see Shànghai’s sights and experience life at street-level is on foot..

 

Areas of Shanghai

Pudong Located across the Huángpu River from the Bund:  Pudong was formerly farmland before 1990.   Today,  it is home to the Lùjiazui Financial District and includes the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mào Tower, the Shànghai stock exchange, Asia’s largest department store, a riverside promenade, and the new Pudong International Airport.

 

Huángpu (Downtown Shànghai) The city center of old Shànghai lies in a compact sector west of the Huángpu River and south of Suzhou Creek. It extends west to Chéngdu Bei Lù (the North-South Elevated Hwy.), and encompasses the Bund, People’s Square (Rénmín Guangchang), and the Shànghai Museum.

 

Nánshì (Old Chinese City) Though officially part of Huángpu District, this area immediately south of downtown and the Bund, between the Huángpu River and Xizàng Nán Lù, differs in every way from the westernized areas.  Today’s old Chinese city (or Old Town) includes the Old Town Bazaar with its traditional shopping, Yù Yuán (Yù Garden), Shànghai’s old city wall, and the Confucian Temple.

 

Hóngkou (Northeast Shànghai) Immediately north of downtown Shànghai, across Suzhou Creek, this residential sector along the upper Huángpu River was originally the American sector before it became part of the International Settlement in colonial days. Today it is a developing neighborhood with a few sights.  There are the Ohel Moshe Synagogue, the Lu Xùn Museum, and the Duolún Lù Commercial Street.

 

Lúwan (French Sector) Beginning at People’s Square (Xizàng Lù) and continuing west to Shanxi Nán Lù, this historic district was the domain of the French colonial community up until 1949. The French left their mark on the residential architecture.   Local attractions:  Fùxing Park, the Jin Jiang Hotel, the shops along Huáihai Zhong Lù, the new Xin Tiandì development, and the former residences of Sun Yat-sen and Zhou Enlái.

 

Jìng An (Northwest Shànghai) North of the French sector and part of the former International Settlement, this district has colonial architecture, as well as the modern Shànghai Centre. Two of the city’s top Buddhist shrines, Jìng An Sì and Yù Fó Sì (Jade Buddha Temple), are located here, as are a number of Shànghai’s top hotels and restaurants.

 

Xúhuì (Southwest Shànghai) West of the French sector and south along Héngshan Lù, this area is one of Shànghai’s leading locations for cafes, bars, and shops. Sights include the Xújiahuì Cathedral, Lónghuá Pagoda, the Shànghai Botanical Garden, and the former residence of Soong Chingling.

 

Chángníng (Hóngqiáo Development Zone:   Starting at Huáihai Xi Lù, directly west of the Xúhuì and Jìng An districts, this corridor of new international economic ventures extends far west of downtown, past Gubei New Town and the Shànghai Zoo, to the Hóngqiáo Airport.

C – Attractions & Things To Do

Nan Jing Road

One of the two major commercial streets in Shanghai (in addition to Huai Hai Road), Nan Jing Road spans 5.5 kilometers east to west. There are more than 600 shops and shopping centers, covering both sides of the road. Once the premier shopping street, it has undergone a total renovation in recent years. New shopping centers have been erected and a large section on the eastern side has been pedestrianized. There are some first class hotels scattered along the road including the Peace Hotel, and the Portman. In the evenings, the street is illuminated.

Shanghai zoo

Transportation is convenient as visitors can catch the metro at various points along the road.

 

Oriental Pearl TV Tower

+86 (0)21 5879 1888

2 Lujiazui Road

Lujiazui Metro or sightseeing Bus No. 3

Admission Charged.

Standing 468 meters high, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower is one of the highest towers in Asia. Tourists may climb the tower for panoramic views of the city. The ground floor features a shopping area, café, and an international city exhibit. It also offers deluxe conference rooms that have hosted leaders and VIPs from around the world. On clear days, the upper levels of this tower, measuring no less than 263 meters in height, offer spectacular views.

 

Yu Gardens

This area includes the streets around Fuyou Street, Dongtai Lu and Henan Lu.

+86 (0)21 6326 0830

Admission Charged

The 400-year-old Yu Gardens were built in the Ming Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Jia Jin. Recognized as a significant national heritage site, the Gardens are a remarkable representation of a southern Chinese-style garden. Visitor highlights include the Jade Exquisite:  one of the three most famous jade stones in East China. A bustling  shopping bazaar has developed around the attraction

 

Huai Hai Road

Built in 1901, the six-kilometer-long Huai Hai Road commemorates the Huai Hai Battle during Liberation. Today, this road has become synonymous with what is trendy and fashionable in Shanghai. While the stretch between Shan Xi Road and Xi Zang Road is the busiest section (and best for people-watching), this commercial street contains more than 400 shops, restaurants and businesses. The remnants of French architecture give the street its cosmopolitan charm. Many nearby attractions add to its appeal, including the proximity of Doctor Sun Yat-sen Former Residence and Memorial Hall.

 

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall

+86 21 6318 4477

This museum has five floors that detail the ambitious plans of Shanghai’s urban planners. Visitors are provided with a glimpse of how Shanghai will look in 20 years. The centerpiece on the third floor is a huge model of the city as it is now. The map on the first half floor, outlines the districts scheduled to be cleared for new construction.  Green areas are marked. In the basement, a model of old Shanghai is on display,  with house entrances, cobble stone ways, and operating shops and teahouses.

 

Shanghai Art Museum

325 Nanjing Xi Lu (at Huangpi Bei Lu),

Shanghai, China.

+86 (0)21 6327 2829

Admission charged.

The Museum occupies a heritage building, that once overlooked a racecourse. It is at the northwest corner of People’s Park. There are twelve exhibition halls on five floors showing modern and traditional fine art. The permanent collection includes paintings, calligraphy, and sculpture, but its rotating exhibitions have favored modern artwork. There is a museum store, café, and a rooftop restaurant.

 

People’s Square (Renmin Guang Chang)

People’s Square (Ren Min Guang Chang) is a vast public square surrounded by government buildings. Truly an urban park, it features manicured greenery and, at its heart, the architecturally impressive Shanghai Museum. Other features include a 320-square-meter water fountain, subway station and an underground shopping mall. Because the square attracts many people, it makes an ideal venue for people watching. Add a carefree afternoon of kite flying.   Kites are available at the square.

 

Shanghai Links Golf & Country Club

+86 (0)21 5897 5899

This luxurious golf course is a 40-minute taxi ride from downtown Shanghai.

 

Great World Entertainment Center

Huangpu district Tibet south road

+86 (0)21 6374 6703; +86 (0)21 6326 3760 ext 40

Admission Charged

The Great World Entertainment Center ranks among the oldest entertainment establishments in Shanghai. In existence since the 1920s, it used to cater towards the decadent tastes of some of the colonial settlers during that period and once housed a brothel and a gambling casino. Today, the entertainment is far more wholesome. Performances vary from Chinese gong fu to folk dancing to acrobatics and Beijing opera. A section for children’s entertainment keeps the children happy.

 

Shanghai Museum

+86 (0)21 6372 0276

Admission Charged

This museum boasts 120,000 Chinese art pieces and archeological findings. Permanent exhibits feature bronzes, ceramics and paintings, among other artifacts. Other facilities include a library with 20,000 books, a conservation laboratory and a lecture room. There is an impressive gift shop on the first floor, a non-smoking teahouse and several antique and curio stalls. An audio tour is available in English and Japanese. The building itself is an architectural showpiece, resembling an ancient tripod when viewed sideways. The rooftop with glassed dome is modeled on a Han Dynasty mirror.

 Shanghai-museum

Disc Go-Karting Club

+86 (0)21 6277 5641

Opened in 1997, this club features a spacious, 4,500 square-meter indoor track, so that speed racers get numerous chances to put their foot down on the gas pedal. Visitors can refuel and recharge at the trackside pub and cafe. Entry to the track is free, but there are costs to race.

 

Shanghai Grand Theater Gallery

+86 (0)6386 8686 ext 3103 or 3104

Formerly only showing the works of Shanghai’s popular modern artist, Ting Shao Kuang, the Gallery now showcases a wider range of artists. It is a branch of the AA Gallery, which has established a solid reputation locally (main branch is at the Shanghai Center).

The Gallery aims at popular mainstream tastes rather than the avant-garde. Exhibitions change frequently. Located next to the Shanghai Grand Theatre and near the Shanghai Art Museum, it also sells original paintings and reprints of Chinese artists as well as foreign ones.

 

Shanghai Ocean Aquarium

158 Yincheng Bei Lu,

Pudong, China

021/5877-9988

Admission charged; children below 1.2 meters in height: free.

This new and modern indoor aquarium offers visitors a glimpse of life on the ocean floor. Access to the exhibits is through an entrance resembling an Inca Temple. Schools of colorful fish are viewed against a backdrop of themes, such as a sunken pirate ship, mountain stream and rainforest. There are penguins and species representing all 12 of the Chinese zodiac animals.  The aquarium features a touching pool, and tanks housing unusual crustaceans, sea horses, corals and anemones. The deep ocean and sea floor exhibit brings visitors face-to-face with sharks, sea snakes and other marine life.

 

Shanghai Library

+86 (0)21 6445 5555

This fairly new library is ranked among the ten largest in the world. It seats 3,000 readers and houses over 13 million books, newspapers, journals, rare Western books, family trees, correspondences, and stone inscriptions. It is also honored as one of the ten symbolic cultural buildings in Shanghai.

Technologically innovative, the library is the first in China to have an advanced information management system where coverage, cataloguing, circulation, continual publication and inquiry are done by computers. The library also provides online service for surfing the Internet or checking e-mail.

 

Jade Buddha Temple (Yufo Si)

170 Anyuan Road, Shanghai, China

021/6266-3668

This is one of the most venerated temples in Shanghai.  Famous for its white jade Buddha, the temple was built in 1882 when a Chinese monk brought the figure from Burma.  There are three ornately decorated main halls.  The highlight is the Jade Buddha Tower where the bejeweled white Buddha is displayed.  The massive figure weighs more than a ton. 

 

Bund Museum

(Waitan Bowuguan)

Unit A, 1 Zhongshan Erlu (The Bund)

Shanghai, China

No Phone

Open Daily 9-5

Admission Free.

The white and red observation tower has watched over the Huangpu River since 1884. The base, now home to this tiny museum, was built 19 years earlier. Photos along the walls present the Bund’s most famous buildings, both past and present.

D – Family Fun Attractions

People’s Square (Renmin Guang Chang)

People’s Square (Ren Min Guang Chang) is a vast public square surrounded by government buildings. Truly an urban park, it features manicured greenery and, at its heart, the architecturally impressive Shanghai Museum. Other features include a 320-square-meter water fountain, subway station and an underground shopping mall. Because the square attracts many people, it makes an ideal venue for people watching. Add a carefree afternoon of kite flying to your itinerary—great for the young and the young at heart. Kites are available for sale at the square.

 

Oriental Pearl TV Tower

+86 (0)21 5879 1888

Standing 468 meters high, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower is one of the highest towers in Asia. Tourists may climb the tower for panoramic views of the city. The ground floor features a shopping area, cafe and an international city exhibit. It also offers deluxe conference rooms that have hosted leaders and VIPs from around the world. On clear days, the upper levels of this tower, measuring no less than 263 meters in height, offer spectacular views of the city.

 

Great World Entertainment Center (and Youth Center)

+86 (0)21 6374 6703; +86 (0)21 6326 3760 ext 40

Admission

Performances vary from Chinese gong fu to folk dancing to acrobatics and Beijing opera. A children’s section provides activities for children and youth.

 

Zhen Yang Bowling Hall

+86 21 6439 1708

Zhen Yang is a large and relatively new complex in Shanghai. It has 32 lanes and is in operation 24 hours a day. Peak times are set between 7pm and 11pm.

 

Huang Pu River Tour

+86 (0)21 6374 4461

Taking a boat tour along the Huang Pu River gives visitors an opportunity to see many of Shanghai’s famous sites such as the People’s Hero Monument, the Bund (Wai Tan), the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the dramatic skyline of the Pu Dong business district. Also, in view from the river are the bustling International Passenger Station of Shanghai Harbor, the docks and the Wu Song ancient gun fort relics.

 

Shanghai Ocean Aquarium

158 Yincheng Bei Lu,

Pudong, China

021/5877-9988

Admission charged; children below 1.2 meters in height: free.

This new and modern indoor aquarium offers visitors a glimpse of life on the ocean floor. Access to the exhibits is through an entrance resembling an Inca Temple. Schools of colorful fish are viewed against a backdrop of themes, such as a sunken pirate ship, mountain stream and rainforest. There are penguins and species representing all 12 of the Chinese zodiac animals.  The aquarium features a touching pool, and tanks housing unusual crustaceans, sea horses, corals and anemones. The deep ocean and sea floor exhibit brings visitors face-to-face with sharks, sea snakes and other marine life.

E – Events & Entertainments

Late January

Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)

Chinese New Year is one of the best known, the most widely celebrated and certainly the oldest New Year festivals in the world. Chinese communities all over the globe have made it a big event in their respective communities, but there’s no better place to witness the start of the new lunar year than in China itself.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, falls on the first day of the first lunar month. The date changes in the Western calendar each year. The preparations start long before the event and the festivities last for around 15 days, ending with the Lantern Festival.

In China the New Year is widely celebrated, and everything closes down, officially, for four days. People jam the transport networks to get home to their families. Preparations begin about a month before the day itself, building up to huge house-cleaning sessions to sweep out bad luck. Doors and windows are freshly painted – the colors for the festival are red (for happiness) and gold (for wealth) – and decorative paper cut outs and paintings are put up. Poetic couplets expressing wishes for happiness and longevity, written on rolls of red paper, are traditionally put on gateposts and doors.

On the night itself, almost everyone in China holds a huge family dinner of seafood and dumplings, as well as the traditional New Year cakes. Then, at midnight, fireworks light up the skies all over the country. On the next day, people traditionally visit relatives, friends and neighbors with new year greetings (“Gong Xi Fa Cai”: “Happy and Prosperous New Year”), and married couples give Hong Bao (red packets of money) to children and unmarried adults. There are also high-energy dragon dances, lantern shows, and other entertainments throughout the celebrations.

+86 (0) 10 66 03 11 85

 

Lantern Festival

+86 (0)10 6601 1122

Admission is free.

The streets of Shanghai light up at night during this huge festival as revelers walk about holding Chinese lanterns. Legend claims that the lanterns protect citizens from being attacked and hauled away by evil spirits lurking in Shanghai’s air space..

 

January

Ringing of the Bell

One hundred eight honored Buddhists ascend the Drum Tower in Longhua Park to strike the temple bell at midnight on New Year’s Eve each year. According to ancient Buddhist doctrine, each stroke of the bell represents one kind of earthly happiness.

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, falls on the first day of the first lunar month – the date changes in the Western calendar each year. The Longhua Temple is a great place to head for the event – it has always done its own spectacular thing for local worshippers and tourists alike. The temple’s vegetarian dishes are very popular with tourists, but on New Year’s Eve “over-year noodles” are the only choice – a dish that represents wealth and success in the coming year.

+86 (0) 10 66 03 11 85

 

Early April

Tomb Sweeping Day

China’s Tomb Sweeping Day, every year in April, is a day for worshipping ancestors; people visit the graves of their departed relatives and burn “ghost money” (money for use in the afterworld) in their honor.

Also called Qingming Day, this tradition is observed by millions of Chinese all across the world. It has its roots partly in the half-legendary huge resettlements that were ordered during the Ming Dynasty, when thousands of families were ordered first to Konglong county before being sent to their final destinations.

Thus, to this day, many Chinese believe their ancestors came from that county. The event also appeals to many overseas Chinese who identify their own diaspora with that of the people who suffered under the Ming rulers.

+86 (0) 10 6520 1114

 

Early April

Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival

Hundreds of thousands of tea lovers, experts and tea producers make it to Shanghai for the International Tea Culture Festival. As well as plenty of impressive tea ceremonies, visitors get to taste a good few brands as activities spread around town, attend seminars and visit famous tea spots.

The history of the tea culture festival goes back to when the Revolutionary History Exhibition Hall in Zhabei District opened the Songyuan Teahouse

+86 (0) 10 6520 1114

 

Early April

Longhua Temple Fair

Longhua Park is famous for its ancient temple, the Longhua Pagoda, its evening bell-striking ceremony and beautiful peach blossoms. It is especially worth visiting during the Longhua Temple fair, the largest in Shanghai and said to be the day when dragons visit the temple to help grant people’s wishes.

Stalls surround the temple and thousands of people go to the booths selling every kind of traditional Chinese food and crafts. The temple is decorated spectacularly, and lit at night to full effect.

+86 (0) 10 6520 1114

 

Early-Mid June

Dragon Boat Festival

Every year, on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, a number of Chinese cities (as well as overseas Chinese all across the world) commemorate the death of poet Qu Yuan in ancient times by staging a Dragon Boat Festival. Usually celebrations go on before and after, but there’s one day of races.

Qu Yuan lived as a courtier in the court of the Chou Dynasty until one day he was thrown into the sea after maltreatment at the hands of a corrupt and evil official. When the local fishermen learnt of the poet’s demise, they apparently set to in their boats, trawling the waters to find him. Their efforts were unsuccessful so they threw rice dumplings into the sea, thumping the water with their paddles to prevent the poor poet being eaten by piranhas.

An important part of this timeless celebration is the eating of zongzi – the pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves.

+86 (0) 10 66 03 11 85

 

Mid June

Shanghai International Film Festival

The Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) fills various venues around the city, presenting over 900 official films from more than 60 countries. Founded in 1993, it is the only international film festival in China and has Grade-A international status.

The nine-day event is made up of four strands: the Jin Jue Award International Film Competition, the International Film Panorama, the International Film Market and the Jin Jue International Film Forum.

+86 (0) 10 66 03 11 85

 

Mid September

Chinese Moon Festival

Also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, China’s Moon Festival is celebrated around town and especially in people’s homes. Traditionally it marks the end of the harvest season.

The festival is marked by the making and eating of “moon cakes” – round pastries filled with sweet fillings. In Shanghai, the favorite filling is a red bean paste. Houses are decorated with colored animal-shaped paper lanterns and altars are piled with round fruits to symbolize the shape of the moon. The evening is spent moon-gazing in the company of family, before enjoying a feast at midnight.

+86 (0) 10 6520 1114

 

Mid Sept-Early Oct

Shanghai Tourist Festival

The annual Shanghai Tourist Festival offers a huge amount of entertainment at venues across the city. Float parades, markets, a folklore tour of Shanghai Lanes, a Chinese Festival at Yu Garden,  and a Music Fireworks Festival in Century Park are part of the festivities.

 

Mid Oct-Mid Nov

Shanghai International Art Festival

Shanghai hosts a month-long arts festival every year with a varied program of more than 150 performances. This includes everything  from symphony orchestras, dance and opera to acrobatics, magic, and drama.

Also on the bill are an international piano competition, a magic festival and contest, an Asian music festiva,l and an arts and crafts fair.

+86 (0) 10 6520 1114

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