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Posts tagged “Shanghai

THE LOST LITTLE SHANGHAI, North Point (北角), Hong Kong

North Point (北角) has long been referred to as Little Fujian (小福建) and Little Shanghai (小上海) since waves of immigrants from Mainland China flocked to settle in the area during the turbulent first half of 20th century. Among the refugees came a group of cultural elites and merchants from Shanghai. Many of them chose to reside in the quiet streets at the foothill of Braemar Hill (寶馬山) in North Point, just a block or two up from bustling King’s Road. This neighborhood was once dominated by multi-storey tenement apartments, with fine terrazzo portal, Art Deco motifs and Streamline Moderne building profiles that echoed the architectural trend of old Shanghai. Today, despite most tenement buildings have been replaced by highrise apartments, these sloped streets remain tranquil most of the day, except when students get out of Kiangsu & Chekiang Primary School (蘇浙小學), Hong Kong’s first school that offer all lessons in Mandarin, at the end of school day.

In 2019, Yonfan (楊凡)’s animation No.7 Cherry Lane (繼園臺七號) won the Best Screenplay Award at the Venice International Film Festival. In the film, the stepped lane where the protagonists walk down to North Point, and the tenement apartment on Cherry Lane where Shanghaiese and Taiwanese immigrants reside, is actually based on the sloped street of Kai Yuen Street (繼園街). During the pandemic, the peaceful Kai Yuen Street has gone through drastic transformation as many old tenement buildings were locked down for new luxury apartments. The neighbourhood where renowned Shanghaiese writer Eileen Chang (張愛玲) often came to visit the family of Stephen Soong (宋淇), a famous writer and literary critic who came to Hong Kong in escape of the Chinese Civil War, is all but gone. A few blocks west of Kai Yuen Street lies another sloped street Ming Yuen Western Street (明園西街). Ming Yuen Western Street is probably one of the last spots in “Little Shanghai” where there are a few original tenement blocks still standing today. Ming Yuen Western Street and the adjacent Metropole Department Store form part of the site of the former Ming Yuen (名園) amusement park. Opened in 1918, the design of Ming Yuen was based on another amusement park in Shanghai. After the amusement went out of business, the area was soon turned into a residential neighbourhood. At nearby Ching Wah Street (清華街), a five-storey apartment with curved balconies and Art Deco motifs stands as a lone reminder of what Little Shanghai might have look like in the bygone era.

Opened in 1953 to serve the local Chinese immigrant community, Kiangsu & Chekiang Primary School (蘇浙小學) is the first school in Hong Kong to give most lessons in all Mandarin. [2022]
Built in 1949, No.2 Ching Wah Street (清華街) stands as one of the last survivor from the era of Little Shanghai. [2022]
Mak Kee offers many traditional Shanghai snacks, such as streamed dumplings and hot and sour soup. [2022]

Kai Yuen Street (繼園街)

One of the most recognizable set in Youfan’s No.7 Cherry Lane is the stepped pedestrian pavement of Kai Yuen Street (繼園街). [2020]
The retaining wall and stepped sidewalk of Kai Yuen Street is quite a photogenic backdrop. [2020]
Just 150m from bustling King’s Road, the peaceful community up Kai Yuen Street seems like another world. [2020]
From 1957 to 2021, the Streamline Moderne tenement apartment designed by architect “Yam Koon Seng” (任冠生) was a fantastic landmark of the Kai Yuen Street neighborhood. [2017]
Before demolition, the ground floor of the tenement apartments were occupied by car mechanic, hardware and construction shops. [2020]
In 2020, I made a brief visit to Kai Yuen Street. Back then, I didn’t realize that the entire block would soon be demolished. [2020]
Architect “Yam Koon Seng” (任冠生) loves the Kai Yuen Street project and even moved into the apartment with his family. [2020]
Today, the entire block of Kai Yuen Street has become a large construction site. [2020]

Ming Yuen Western Street (明園西街)

A few blocks west of Kai Yuen Street lies Ming Yuen Western Street (明園西街), another sloped street where several tenement buildings dated back to the Little Shanghai era are still standing today. [2022]
With a deadend at its top, Ming Yuen Western Street is a fairly quiet street away from all the actions of North Point. [2022]
Architectural details from a bygone era can still be found at Ming Yuen Western Street. [2022]
Many loves the quiet ambience of the sloped street. [2022]
Of course for most of the tenement buildings in Hong Kong, the absence of elevators or lifts is one of the biggest drawback for these old apartments. [2022]
Date back to 1954, the tenement apartment at 34 Ming Yuen Western Street is the most distinctive architecture on the street. [2022]
Like other tenement apartments from the same era, beautiful Italian terrazzo was used at the entrance portal. [2022]
Situated high on a steep street and without an elevator, living in these old tenement apartments may not fit everyone’s preference. [2022]
The glass blocks and operable windows at the stairwell facade form a remarkable feature that emphasizes on architectural verticality. [2022]

LANDMARKS FOR THE LOCALS, North Point (北角), Hong Kong

What does “fort”, “oil”, “electric”, “power”, and “wharf” have in common? They are all street names in North Point that reveals the neighborhood’s strategic location and utilitarian past. The “fort” or battery hill is long gone, leaving behind a parkette up on Fortress Hill Road that even local residents may not know about its existence, and the name “Fortress Hill” that defines the westernmost area of North Point District. The former oil depot, powerplant and wharf facilities that gave us the street names “oil”, “electric”, “power”, and “wharf” have all been replaced by high density residential developments. In the 20th century, North Point has gone through series of transformations, from just a defensive battery at the northernmost point of Hong Kong Island and a cluster of infrastructure facilities that supported the adjacent Victoria City, to an area teeming with domestic life where amusement park, theatres, swim sheds, department stores, and red-light businesses sprang up and then mostly faded away. Due to a large influx of mainland immigrants in mid 20th century, especially the Hokkien Fujianese and Shanghaiese, North Point has become the most densely populated place on earth in late 1960’s, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Today, the urban density of North Point may no longer ranked top of the world, but a stroll on King’s Road, the district’s main thoroughfare where blocks after blocks of concrete apartments encroaching in all directions, can still be disorienting for many.

Published by Hong Kong Art Centre as part of “Via North Point” art programme in 2020, a local magazine did a poll with a group of local residents about their favorite landmarks in North Point. Unlike the monumental and glamorous urban icons in Central or Tsim Sha Tsui, their top five selected landmarks include two theatres, a pier, a market and even a street intersection. For them, these daily scenery have defined the collective identity and a sense of belonging for the community. For us who have been working in the adjacent Quarry Bay for the past eight years, North Point is also an area we would pass by almost everyday. We share some of their sentiments and also find beauty from these what may seem like ordinary street scenery by first glance. Here are their top five favorite landmarks in North Point:

NO. 5: King’s Road (英皇道) and the North Point Road (北角道) Intersection (4.3%)

Being the most important thoroughfare in North Point, King’s Road is probably the street that most residents in the neighborhood would visit on a daily basis. [2014]
Densely packed concrete buildings abutting each other is a common scene in King’s Road. [2014]
Taking the tram is probably the best way to experience King’s Road. [2017]
With a concrete footbridge, an apartment block painted with eyecatching red outlines, and a rail junction where the tram turns into Chun Yeung Street Market, the intersection of King’s Road and North Point Road is a well recognized intersection in North Point. [2021]
Against the backdrop of eye-catching Coronet Court (皇冠大廈), even a simple footbridge can be photogenic. [2022]
Coronet Court (皇冠大廈) dominates visually at the street intersection even if one is not facing the building. [2022]
From the footbridge at North Point Road, scenery of King’s Road can be neatly framed. [2022]
Somehow, openings of the footbridge match perfectlynfine with the round corner of the adjacent building. [2021]
At North Point Road, some trams would divert from King’s Road and make a detour into Chun Yeung Street Market. [2022]

NO. 4: State Theatre (皇都戲院) 8.7%

Now under scaffolding, the listed former cinema awaits for its turn of rejuvenation. Opened in 1952, the unique concrete structural arches on the roof have make the former cinema a one-of-a-kind building in the city. [2021]

NO.3 : North Point Pier (北角碼頭) 10.9%

Offering the most prominent harbourfront promenade in the area, North Point Pier has been a local’s favourite for years. [2020]

NO. 2: Sunbeam Theatre (新光戲院) 17.4%

Founded by Shanghainese emigrants in the 1950’s, Sunbeam Theatre (新光戲院) is the most important theatre in Hong Kong to showcase Cantonese opera. [2020]
Neon sign of Sunbeam Theatre has been a prominent feature in North Point for decades. [2022]
Sunbeam Theatre features Cantonese opera all year round. [2022]

NO.1: Chun Yeung Street Market (春秧街街市) 21.7%

Appeared on foreign travel shows and guidebooks, Chun Yeung Street Market is no doubt the most well known attraction of North Point. Named after a wealthy sugar tycoon Koeh Chhun-iong (郭春秧) who bought a huge lot of North Point in 1921, Chun Yeung Street Market has been a busy commercial street for a century. [2017]
Bisected by the tram railroad right in the middle, Chun Yeung Street Market is renowned as the only railroad market in Hong Kong. [2022]
Known as Little Fujian, Chun Yeung Street Market is a great place to find traditional Fujianese and Chiuchow food. [2022]
Double Happiness Noodle has been a fixture at the street market for half a century. [2015]
Many come to Chun Yeung Street Market for seafood at bargain prices in the evening. [2014]
While Chun Yeung Street Market is famous for produce, meat and seafood, the adjacent Marble Road Market is filled with stalls selling all kinds of dried goods. [2015]
To many, Chun Yeung Street is a great spot for urban photography. [2022]
Handcrafted souvenir mahjong tiles depict the landmarks of North Point, including Chun Yeung Street Market in the far left, then Sunbeam Theatre (second from left), and North Point Pier (third from left).


Situated between Causeway Bay and the heart of North Point, Fortress Hill (炮台山) has long been under the radar. In recent months, East Coast Park Precinct in Fortress Hill has emerged as one of the hottest new attractions in Hong Kong. Apart from the harbourfront lookout, the following two spots in Fortress Hill are also gaining popularity on Instagram as well.

Oi! Art Space (油街實現), Former Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

Oi! Street Art Space is housed in the former Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club headquarters and clubhouse. [2022]
Serving as the former Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club headquarters and clubhouse between 1908 and 1939, the masonry building is now a Grade II historic building and a popular landmark in the neighborhood. [2022]
Oi! Street Art Space is an inviting community art centre. [2017]
Small art exhibitions would sometimes be held at Oi! Street Art Space. [2017]
Open to both Electric Road and Oil Street, Oi! Street Art Space is a highly welcoming node for the community. [2017]

Staircase at Fortress Hill MTR Station

Thanks to IG and blogs, perhaps the most recognizable landmark in Fortress Hill is the checkered staircase right by Fortress Hill MTR Station. [2017]



We got off work early for Christmas Eve. Some restaurants were about to close as we picked up our takeout from a small Japanese restaurant in Tai Hang. In Hong Kong, no restaurant is allowed to serve customers (except takeouts) after 6pm. No countdown events, Christmas parties or family gatherings. Just a simple dinner at home for the two of us seemed to be the most appropriate Christmas Eve celebration for this unusual year. 2020 is an extraordinary year. I can hardly recall another incident in my lifetime that has simultaneously affected virtually every single human being in the world. The terrible pandemic is forcing all of us to face the same fear, frustration and isolation. Most planes have been grounded, borders shut, and international tourism has almost come to a complete halt. This abrupt disruption to our lives lead us to realize that celebrating a festive moment with families and friends or spending the holiday season at a foreign land shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Memory is interesting when it works with time. At this bizarre moment of frustrating lock downs and social distancing, a recollection of how we had spent Christmas and New Year in the past two decades remind us how we used to freely experience the world and appreciate every little things around us. Looking beyond the vivid fireworks and lavish parties, it was our curiosity, freedom and gratefulness that allowed these joyful moments to simply make us happy in different stages of our lives. At this time of physical restrictions and emotional stress, looking back at these little moments of ours have become more precious than ever. Everyone deserves memories of celebrations that worth cherishing. Hope our little sharing would remind you some of your own best moments of Christmas.

We wish you Merry Christmas and good health for the upcoming 2021.

Separately we both had a school term in Rome. In the eternal city, both our studio and apartment were located in the lively neighbourhood of Trastevere.
Rome, December 2002
Wooden decorations for Christmas tree, festive balloons, magic shows, and many others. The Christmas market at Piazza Navona was our first experience of an European Christmas.
Rome, December 2002
I used to go to Vatican for evening walks during my stay in Rome. Vatican was relatively quiet and peaceful throughout much of December. A large Christmas tree was put up at St. Peter’s Square.
Vatican, December 2002
Another big Christmas tree was set up at the Victor Emmanuel II Monument.
Rome, December 2002
After graduation, we moved to London in 2007. At Christmas, we made a short trip to the Belgian capital for Christmas break. Like many locals and tourists, we spent the night at the Grand Place for light shows and Christmas countdown.
Brussels, Christmas Eve, 2007
Back in London, the Covent Garden was particularly festive during Christmas. The Apple Market was full of delightful vendor stalls and dining patios.
London, December 2007
Elegant, sparkling, and eye catching. One thing we loved about Christmas in London were the amazing shop windows.
London, England, January 2008
Cinema became a big part of our lives in London. We often went to the BFI and Leicester Square after work. At Leicester Square, a carousel and small fair would be set up during the holiday season.
London, December 2008
We decided to stay in England at our second Christmas in London. We made a short trip to the area of Liverpool and Manchester. During that trip, we were particularly fond of the Christmas lights in Leeds.
Leeds, England, December 2008
In 2009, we returned to Toronto to do our professional licensing. In Toronto, Christmas is always cozy and homey, and so does its lights.
Toronto, December 2010
In 2011, we made a trip to Cambodia and Hong Kong. With two of our friends, we experienced one of the most noisy countdown at the bustling Pub Street in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap, New Year’s Eve 2011
On our way to New Year’s countdown in Downtown Toronto, we stopped by the atmospheric Distillery District to test out my new DSLR. From then on, film camera has eventually faded out from my travel packing list.
Toronto, New Year’s Eve 2012
Before relocating to Hong Kong, we made our 90-day trip to South America. We spent the entire month of December in Patagonia and made it to Ushuaia (world’s southernmost city) in Argentina. Reaching the “End of the World” definitely deserved an early Christmas dinner at the beautiful Kaupe restaurant.
Ushuaia, December 2013
Ushuaia is the main port going to Antarctica. We didn’t take the chance to do an Antarctica Christmas trip. Perhaps we would regret it, who knows.
Ushuaia, December 2013
For almost a week we based ourselves at Argentina’s El Chalten to do day hikes near Mount Fitz Roy. At Christmas Eve, we did the longest day hike of the week to the glacier lake right below the magnificent mountain.
Mount Fitz Roy, Christmas Eve 2013
We booked the best room at Yellow House Hotel well in advance just to take in the panoramic harbour view of Chile’s Valparaiso, and enjoy the world famous New Year fireworks from the comfort of our room.
Valparaiso, New Year’s Day 2014
Getting off work at 2:30pm on Christmas Eve, talked about a short getaway trip during dinner, bought the plane ticket right away, then packed a small carryon bag and get a bit of sleep before heading off to Hong Kong International Airport at around 2:30am on Christmas Day. At 7 in the morning, we finally arrived in Taiwan. That trip remains as our quickest travel decision so far.
Main Station, Taipei, Christmas Day 2014
Thanks to the convenient public transportation network, we have been to many neighbourhoods across the city of Hong Kong. Because of Cinematheque movie centre, we often find ourselves in Yau Ma Tei, home to a wide spectrum of people from new immigrants to elderly. Christmas Carol in Yau Ma Tei has to be catered for all.
Hong Kong, Christmas Eve 2015
New Year, Chinese New Year, HKSAR Anniversary, and Chinese National Day. There were once numerous firework displays each year over the iconic Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. All shows have been scrapped for 2020.
Hong Kong, New Year’s Eve 2015
Most Hong Kongers love to visit Japan, and so do we. Their fine sense of beauty and comfortable balance between traditions and technologies go beyond just commercialized eye candy for festival decorations and celebrations.
Railway Station, Kyoto, December 2016
Famous for their lighting technologies, Christmas lights in Japan often create a coherent ambience reflecting their pursuit of romantic fantasy for the holiday season.
Kyoto, December 2016
Under the dreamy lights, the sense of community remains strong during Christmas in Japan.
Kyoto, December 2016
We didn’t expect to see Christmas celebrations in Myanmar (Burma), a Buddhist nation in Southeast Asia. Seeing such a large crowd and festive decorations in Yangon was a pleasant surprise.
Yangon, December 2017
Christmas celebration, Southeast Asian style. Street food is definitely a must.
Yangon, December 2017
I took my parents to Shanghai for a short trip. At the Bund, we passed by the historical Peace Hotel and its Christmas tree.
Shanghai, December 2018
After two trips to India, our third journeys to South Asia was a winter getaway to Sri Lanka. The trip was full of history, spices and fine tea. In a Buddhist country, we were surprised to see so many churches in Negombo, a coastal town near Colombo. A heritage since the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, Christmas is celebrated in a number of coastal towns in Sri Lanka.
Negombo, December 2019
After visiting and staying at a number of cities around the world, Hong Kong remains as our top destination to experience the festive energy and Christmas decorations in an urban setting. Political and social unrest in 2019 have taken a toll in the financial hub. Tai Kwun, a cultural and commercial complex at the former colonial police headquarters in Central, remained as the place to go for expats and the younger generation.
Tai Kwun, Hong Kong, December 2019
Due to the pandemic, most Christmas celebrations have been cancelled across the city. Christmas trees have been downsized, and lighting decorations have been scaled down. In Central District of Hong Kong, the high-end commercial complex Landmark Atrium remains as one of the few venues still maintain a relatively large Christmas installation.
Landmark, Hong Kong, December 2020
But perhaps the most representational thing for this year’s festival season is the Christmas face mask. Social distancing with a bit of festive joy, why not?
Hong Kong, December 2020

LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China

East of Huangpu River across from the historic city centre of the Bund, Pudong (literally means the east bank of Huangpu) has been Shanghai’s new ground for contemporary developments in recent two decades, including the city’s international airport Pudong International Airport (opened in 1999) and Shanghai’s financial district Lujiazui.  Many of Shanghai’s iconic skyscrapers from the past two decades, which include Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Building, Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai IFC, and the tallest of them all – Shanghai Tower, stand proudly at Lujiazui, directly across Huangpu River from the Bund, its historic predecessor.  One tower after another tested the vertical limit of modern architecture.  The development of Lujiazui reflects the ambition and pace of the contemporary development of the Chinese society.

Before heading to the airport, we dropped by Lujiazui of Pudong District one last time.  At Lujiazui, we intended to visit the Aurora Art Museum, a gallery designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.  Unfortunately not until we reached the door, we realized that the museum was closed on Monday.  We ended up spending time wandering around the financial area to check out the latest skyscrapers.  The main focus in the area was undoubtedly Shanghai Tower (上海中心大厦).  Construction was completed but Shanghai Tower had not opened its doors to the public yet.  We could only walk around the 632m tower, the tallest in China, from outside.  While admiring the twisting gesture and double skin facade system of Shanghai Tower, we could not ignore the two other super highrise towers of Lujiazui: Jin Mao Tower (金茂大廈) and Shanghai World Financial Center (上海環球金融中心).  Before leaving Lujiazui for the airport, we had a quick tea break at a chain restaurant for a last taste of Shanghaiese food.  We then took the metro to Longyang Road station and switched to the maglev airport express.  Reaching a speed of about 430km/h, the magnetic levitation train ride to the airport took less than ten minutes.  Our 4-day experience was coming to an end as we sped through the suburbs of Shanghai before our evening flight back to Hong Kong.

DSC_1712The three super-tall skyscrapers of Shanghai: (left) Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai World Financial Centre (centre), and Shanghai Tower (right).

DSC_1678_01The central atrium of Grand Hyatt Hotel at the 54th floor of Jin Mao Tower.

DSC_1690View of Putong and the Bund from the 54th floor of Jin Mao Tower.

DSC_1697Shanghai Tower as viewed from Jin Mao Tower.

DSC_1699Shanghai Tower as viewed from Jin Mao Tower.

DSC_2572Shanghai Tower, Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Tower viewed from a footbridge near Lujiazui metro station.

DSC_2586The three super tall skyscrapers of Shanghai are all designed by American architects: Shanghai World Financial Tower by KPF, Jin Mao Tower by SOM, and Shanghai Tower by Gensler.

DSC_2605Oriental Pearl Tower (東方明珠塔) viewed from a footbridge near Lujiazui metro station.

DSC_2616The twin towers of Shanghai IFC with the Shanghai Tower in the middle.

DSC_2622Shanghai Tower, Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Tower viewed from a footbridge near Lujiazui metro station.

DSC_2632The rest of the commercial buildings at Lujiazui were dwarfed by the three tallest towers.

DSC_2650Extensive footbridges connect a number of commercial developments in Lujiazui.

DSC_2633One last look at the three towers before we headed for the airport.


Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China


Originated from the nearby provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guizhou, the hand making of blue nankeen cotton fabric have been a local heritage for centuries.  Dyed in indigo and finished with white traditional patterns, the traditional blue nankeen fabrics have caught the eyes of many people, including Japanese artist Kubo Mase (久保麻紗).  Kubo Mase was a prominent collector of blue nankeen fabrics, dyeing tools, handlooms, and many other blue nankeen related tools collected from the rural areas across Southern China since 1950s.  Kubo Mase founded the Chinese Hand Printed Blue Nankeen Gallery in a small courtyard at Changle Road Lane 637.  It houses many of her collections, and also hosts a small shop selling hand printed blue nankeen fabrics.

Before leaving Shanghai, we were keen to drop by the Chinese Hand Printed Blue Nankeen Gallery to know more about the traditional indigo cotton.  Following the sign from the main road, we found our way through small lanes and courtyards until reaching the gallery forecourt where a few rows of indigo fabrics were hung.  In an old two-storey house, Kubo Mase’s collection and a small shop of a variety of blue nankeen products made up the off-the-beaten-track attraction for anyone who is interested in cultural heritage and beautiful handcrafts.  In a nation where modernization is rapidly wiping out authentic heritage, historical neighborhoods, and rural culture, the gallery appears like a peaceful oasis where the old ways of blue nankeen making is quietly preserved.

DSC_2539Entrance into the gallery forecourt.

DSC_2533Blue nankeen fabric hanging in the forecourt of the gallery.

DSC_2537Blue nankeen fabric hanging in the forecourt of the gallery.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore blue nankeen fabric hanging on the second floor of the gallery building.

DSC_2542Inside the gallery building, many blue nankeen fabrics were framed and displayed all over.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA With nice wooden floor and nostalgic pendant lamps, the gallery interior was an atmospheric old mansion.

DSC_2545On the second level, a traditional handloom was on display.

DSC_2551The Koinobori (Japanese carp flag) inspired print was also on display among the traditional blue nankeen fabrics.

DSC_2558Detailed patterns of a traditional blue nankeen fabric.

DSC_2560Detailed patterns of a traditional blue nankeen fabric.

DSC_2562Second floor exhibition hall showcasing dyeing tools in the glass display counters.

DSC_2567Traditional clothing made with the blue nankeen fabric.

DSC_2570A hallway marked by neat archways was also used to display blue nankeen fabrics.


Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China

TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China

Hidden in a series of alleyways of traditional townhouses known as Shikumen (石庫門), an interesting area popular with artists and young people has become a major tourist attraction in the former French Concession of Shanghai.  Known as Tianzifang (田子坊) since artist Huang Yongyu (黃永玉) named the area after an ancient painter Tianzifang (田子方) in 2001, Tianzifang has become a vibrant location for young people and artists.  Many of the traditional Shikumen houses were restored during 2000s and converted into craft shops, cafes, bars, souvenir stores, etc.  Taken quite a distinct approach towards preservation than the nearby Xintiandi (新天地), Tianzifang maintains a relatively low-key and community feel.  Electrical cables were hanging all over, while weathered bricks and decades old windows could be commonly seen.

We spent much of the last morning of our Shanghai trip wandering in the alleyways of Tianzifang to absorb the lay-back and creative atmosphere.  We did quite a bit of window shopping.  At the end, we stopped by Cafe Dan for coffee and soba.  Owned by a Japanese, Cafe Dan is a lovely small cafe serving excellent Japanese food and great coffee from around the world.  Up a flight of narrow wooden stair, the dining area of Cafe Dan on the upper levels felt like a peaceful oasis above the bustling activities of tourists and visitors of Tianzifang.  Sitting by the wooden window screen, we had some moments of tranquility under the warm sunlight, while the aroma of our filtered coffee gradually filled the cafe interior.

DSC_2528We reached Tianzifang through one of these alley entrance on Taikang Road.

DSC_2384One of the alley gateway into Tianzifang.

DSC_2383Statue of the ancient painter Tianzifang from the Warring State Period (481 to 403 BC).

DSC_2311Hand-drawn 3D map of Tianzifang.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlleyway in Tianzifang.  Some shops were at the upper level of the old houses, accessible by narrow stairway from the ground level.

DSC_2317Much of the old houses in Tianzifang were transformed into cafes, restaurants and shops.

DSC_2303This shop is dedicated to Teddy bears.

DSC_2322Pedestrian nodes such as a small courtyard could be found at a number of places.

DSC_2333Colourful or kitsch souvenirs selling the Chinese culture could be found all over.

DSC_2352A shop selling traditional and bespoke clothing.

DSC_2386Statue dressed like a red army during the Cultural Revolution in front of a second-hand camera shop.

DSC_2419Interesting murals contribute to the community feel of Tianzifang.

DSC_2320Alleyway in front of Cafe Dan.

DSC_2519Entrance of Cafe Dan.

DSC_2459Interior of the upper level of Cafe Dan.

DSC_2464Delicious Japanese soba at Cafe Dan.

DSC_2481My cup of coffee was brewed with beans from the Galapagos.

DSC_2511The alternating tread wooden staircase at Cafe Dan was an interesting feature.

DSC_2521Heading out of Tianzifang to find our way to our next destination of the day, the small Blue Nankeen Museum.



Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China

THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China

After another long day touring the city, our friend took us to a rooftop bar at Three on the Bund for evening drinks in front of the magnificent night view of Putong (浦東).  Nowhere else is more iconic in Shanghai than the Bund, the historical commercial centre of the former International Settlement by the Huangpu River (黃浦江).  All tourists who come to Shanghai visit the Bund at least once during their stay, on one hand to admire the historical Beaux-art buildings along the Bund, and on the other hand enjoy the glittering lights from the ever-changing skyline of Lujiazui (陸家嘴) skyscrapers across Huangpu River.  Thirteen years ago when we first visited Shanghai, many skyscrapers in Putong had yet been built.  Back then, Oriental Pearl Tower and Jin Mao Tower were the two structures that stood out from the horizon.  Standing at the roof patio of POP Bar on the 7th floor at Three on the Bund, the vivid lights from the cluster of commercial towers across the river tinted the water in rainbow colours.  We had a great time chilling out under what my friend described as a clear sky with relatively little pollution according to the standards of Shanghai.


DSC_2251Skyline of Lujiazui viewed from the promenade along the Bund.

DSC_2255Old skyline of the Bund at night.

DSC_2256Old skyline of the Bund at night.

DSC_2261Old skyline of the Bund at night.

DSC_2262Old skyline of the Bund at night.

DSC_2267Old skyline of the Bund at night.

DSC_2269Old skyline of the Bund at night.

DSC_2293POP Bar on the 7th floor of Three on the Bund, the historical Union Assurance Company has been restored by architect Michael Graves in the 2000’s .

DSC_2296Colourful cocktails at the POP Bar on the 7th floor of Three on the Bund.

DSC_2291View of Lujiazui from POP Bar.

DSC_0633Interior of the Peace Hotel (和平飯店), one of the most famous hotels in the old Shanghai.

DSC_0634Interior of Peace Hotel.

DSC_0639Interior of Peace Hotel.

DSC_0641Interior of Peace Hotel.

DSC_0644Elegant entrance of Peace Hotel.


Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China