Stay: The Grand Mercure – 4 star – approximately 95 AUD for the night, but on the level of 5 star in Australia. This hotel has all of the boxes ticked.
Eat: The street food – China is known for its variety of street foods. If you are anything like me and a bit suspicious of meat that may or may not have been there all day stick to the more established stores than the man on the bike selling meat kebabs from an oven that looks like it is turned off. I tried pork buns and dumplings as well as a sugar stick which is similar to what we would call a donut. Food is relatively inexpensive here. The hotel also does a buffet for approximately 19 AUD which is really good value if like me you decide to eat a main meal at lunch.
See: Due to the weather being a miserable 2 degrees with a continuous downpour I did not get to see any more than abandoned streets. The Bund is the place to be, housing the world’s luxury lines such as Chanel, Cartier and Louis Vuitton. You can see the appeal of the old Chinese area with buildings dating back centuries but on a day like today it was lost as the only peopIe roaming the streets were locals intent on business as usual.
Extra: Major issues I encountered on this stopover were the language barriers, the price of transfers and the distance of the airport to the central city. Knowing some Chinese will get you a long way with asking for directions as the streets don’t match the maps and the majority of people walking the street are not English speakers. I got accosted by a woman at the airport insisting I take a taxi which they would arrange prepayment for, some 100 AUD later I was in the back of a Buick with a man who spoke no English hoping I was going to the right place. On the way back to the airport I went in a taxi ordered by the hotel and it cost half the price. Given the airport is 40km from the city I would suggest taking the fast train and then a local line to your final destination.