It has been more than a half year since my last post. Life has been hectic; this is a difficult time for all of us.
Readers who are seeking for latest updates and happenings will be disappointed because this post is mostly about my experience visiting Shanghai two years ago.
Having said that, it still feels like I was there yesterday.
I remember vividly that I woke up seven in the morning to squeeze in a visit to Longhua temple (龙华寺), a Buddhist temple established in 242 AD (Google Map, Baidu Map). Most of the structures that are still standing today are reconstructions from various periods as none of the original buildings had survived. To learn more about the history of the temple, Wikipedia is your friend and Baidu for those who are in China.
Getting here was a straightforward affair as the temple is located right next to Longhua station (Shanghai Metro, Line 11 and 12 interchange).
Is visiting Longhua temple a must for tourists? It may not for those who seek grandeur, but it is second to none when it comes to authenticity.
Here, you will find people from all walks of life praying, socializing, exercising and even dancing.
The best season to visit is probably during the plum blossom season (not to confused with cherry blossom / sakura) sometime mid-February to mid-March. Do search online for the latest forecast.
If you are visiting Longhua temple, do spend some time to stroll in park next door at the Longhua Martyrs’ Cemetery (memorial).
People watching and the soviet-like sculptures in the park will be worthwhile although I did not manage to glimpse what was inside of the memorial hall due to time constraint.
I had an appointment with my AirBnB host to register my stay with the local public service bureau (PSB a.k.a. police station in plain English). Despite of what the press had reported, foreigners including tourists must register their stay within 24 hours of their arrival in mainland China.
If you are staying in hotel, you do not have to worry about this as the hotel will register on your behalf. On the other hand, if you book your accommodation through AirBnB, you must go register your stay with PSB. To do so, you will need the assistance of the AirBnB host as it usually involves documents such as your host’s proof of ownership / tenancy agreement, Hukou etc. The documents required and procedure differ across cities / provinces.
A useful rule of thumb is always asking the AirBnB host if they are willing assist you because based on my personal experience, not all hosts do.
The good news is since 2019 (a year after my visit), tourists visiting Shanghai can now register their stay online. Check out this guide by SmartShanghai.
Part One: Canton 8
Part Two: Longhua temple and registering AirBnB stay