After much procrastinating, I finally flew over to Shanghai for a few days in mid-November. I’d been wanting to visit a friend there for months, but kept not organising it and getting put off by the expensive and time-consuming Chinese tourist visa application process. Kiwis can travel pretty much anywhere visa-free, so I guess I was spoiled. Anyway, it turns out there’s another option where if you enter China while holding a ticket to a third country (and fulfill a bunch of other requirements) you don’t need a visa. So … Shanghai and Taipei!
After some more wandering around the blissfully quiet and suburban Hengshan Road district near my apartment, I managed to meet up with Miya by the main river.
We also attempted to go to a famous garden, discovered it was closed, and then spent a while wandering around getting souvenirs.
Taiwan has an interesting relationship with China. It’s not recognised as independent by many other countries, but it still counts as a “third country” for the purposes of visa-free travel. I didn’t get to learn much of the history while I was there, but I did get to eat lots more delicious food, particularly in the famous night markets.
And back again
I’d definitely like to go back to both places for longer, but for very different reasons. I didn’t get much of a taste of Taipei in the end so I want to go back with a guide and experience more of the cultural side of the city. Parts of Shanghai, on the other hand, feel like a taste of the multiculturalism and great coffee that I miss from New Zealand, so considering it’s 3 hours flight away instead of 14+, I’d definitely be inclined to stop over there for a mini-break on my way to pretty much anywhere else.