In June one of the ex-pat Shanghai magazines , Time Out Shanghai (www.timeoutshanghai.com) , hosted their 3rd annual Great Time Out Treasure Hunt. They set up 5 different walks through parts of Shanghai to help show people new parts of the city, inform people about the histories of these different areas , and to teach us about various interesting cultural aspects or strange oddities of the town. Telling people about good places to eat and cool places to shop is also paramount. I think it’s an absolutely brilliant idea to get people out of their neighborhoods and explore more of Shanghai.
Of the 5 different walks I had been in the general area of 3 of them and 2 were completely new. Of the 3 I knew of I saw completely new things and places I had never explored before. I had a really fun time and got to check out things I had never seen in my almost 2 year stay here.
The walks have 5 different questions to each of them that you must keep an eye out. Some involve finding the price of a good , what an advertisement displays , of who a statue is of , and assorted things like that. Each walk starts at one metro station and ends up at another one (except for one that starts and ends at the same station.
The 5 walks are as follows :
1. Find Hidden Gems in the Heart of the City
From People’s Square Station to Xinzha Lu Station
This walk is definitely the hardest but a really amazing one. I’ve spent a lot of time in the People’s Square area and it’s quite hip and modern. This walk takes you off the beaten path and into a fascinating glimpse of old Shanghai. It leads us through so many old style Shanghai alleys lined with homes that I had no idea were there. Fascinating look backward in time . Check it out before its gone, swept up in the building craze that is Shanghai.
2. Explore Arts and Crafts in Taopu
From Qilianshan Lu Station to Qilianshan Lu Statio
Qilianshan Lu Metro Stop ? Where the hell is that? Definitely off the beaten track in Shanghai. Heading out on this walk got me on Line 11 for second time ever. There isn’t much to see city-wise but the Taopu art district is really cool. We talked with the store workers in the Hero pen store and told them about the treasure hunt , they had been wondering why all these white people had been coming in the store and looking for a certain pen ( one of the questions was how much a specific pen cost). They got really excited about the hunt and when we ran into a fellow treasure hunter later on he told us how the Hero Pen shop store keepers excitedly took him back and showed him the pen haha. The guards let us walk around the Hero Pen factory and that was also really interesting. About half of the factory was disused or the space rented out to artists in need of a big work space.
3. Enjoy a Cultural Crawl Through Hongkou
From Dong Baoxing Lu Station to Hongkou Football Stadium station
I’ve been to Duolun culture street and LuXun Park before and didn’t see much new on this trip but it was a really interesting walk anyways. The rain was lightly coming down and made for a pleasant day. There was a particularly pleasant calm old style street with houses that I took a lot of photos of and even though it was raining LuXun park was still happening. The old folks had their karaoke machines and were belting out old red army songs through the thick of it.
4. Discover Korea Town in Gubei
From Ziteng Lu Station to Hechuan Lu Station
I’d been meaning to make it out here for a while and am glad the walk got me out here. This is an unique area in Shanghai with a huge Korean population. The number of Koreans around means bilingual means in Chinese and Korean. Also a huge amount of family run Korean restaurants. We had an amazing Korean BBQ meal. Absolutely huge portions and I had no clue what many of the dishes were. The Hongqiao plant and bird market also has some shopping . Don’t let the name fool you , there is plenty of furniture , knick-knacks , kitchen goods , and other things at good prices.
5. Get a Taste of History in the Old Town
From Dashijie Station to Xintiandi Station
I’ve been around this area before but was totally unaware of some of the attractions . A really peaceful Daoist temple with the last remaining old county wall and the Dongtai antiques market were really cool. I’m not sure about buying anything at the market (white people you had better bargain very hard , don’t get insanely overcharged) Also nice was Shouning Rd. with pretty every store devoted to crayfish.
Now that the walks are over , my weekends feel kind of empty. I’ve gotten used to the last 3 weekends of getting up early and getting excited to go find all the answers. The contest period has ended but if anyone is in Shanghai and wants to get to know it a little better look up the walks at http://www.timeoutshanghai.com
Here are some nice pics from the walks except for #1 , it was dark when we started and the pics wouldn’t have turned out well. Enjoy!