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Both American and Chinese cut back on travel

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It’s travel time. Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel seaon in the US. But due to weak economy, the holiday travel will slow down a bit (compared to same period last year). AAA Chicago estimated the trend in this thanksgiving. (source: marketWatch)

Slowdown in China: Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRIP), the leading online travel consolidator in China, already reported Q over Q slowdown on its 3Q08 report. Note travel slowed quite dramatically after the Olympics.

Last but not least, I got this from my friend in Shanghai. IHT (International Herald Tribune) reported on car inventory at Long Beach, CA.

Continue reading Both American and Chinese cut back on travel

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More Shanghai travel tips

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1) If you decide to stay at home inn (Rujia), book early (2 to 3 weeks in advance), here is the web site and their phone No. 800-820-3333. I booked through their web site. Note their web site is designed slightly different from some of the US travel web sites. Couple times I thought I already booked but the system did not think so. Make sure you get a confirmation email.

Home Inn front desk

2)  Get the money (RMB): the best way for me is bring the USD (or other hard currency). You can exchange it at the Pudong Development Bank at the Pudong airport (they waive the fee if you exchange more than $500). You can also exchange any amount at Bank of China without any fees. I also tried my Citibank ATM card at the ATM machine outside Citibank Branch at Marine Tower in Pudong, it still treated me as non-citi customer and charged 1% transaction fee. Later I found out I can do it at the Super Mall (Zheng Da Plaza) itself: I walked 15 minutes from the Marine Tower to Super Mall.

Don’t bring money order, or travellers check, as they can not be cashed immediately.

3) Maps: I found the dingding map to be handy. You can search places (e.g., 中国银行 bank of China), or get the bus transmit toute from point A to point B. It seems could not understand English very well, for instance, when I typed “bank of China”, I only got one 中国银行, the rest is all coffee places (maybe it thinks China and coffee are close?).

BTW, there are many web based maps in China, Wang Jianshuo has a short review at his blog. He also suggested there is no good maps in English language.

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Travel tips for Shanghai

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Thought it might be helpful for people new to Shanghai or have been away for a while.

Get the money: exchange your USD for RMB at Pudong Development Bank in PVG airport. There is no transaction fee if you exchange more than $500. You can use the US debit card to withdraw cash (RMB only) although I have not done so.

Where to stay: I suggest Ru Jia (Home Inn) or Jin Jiang. I stayed at both places in past few years. Both are clean and inexpensive.

Get around: there are a few options get from Airport (PVG) to downtown including the Maglev. But the best one is probablly the Airport Bus (to save the transfer). There are 6 routes and they covers pretty much the whole city. Metro (subway) is the best way to get around, there are 5 routes running around the city now. In the rainy days or certain rush hours (Friday night), it will be difficult to get a taxi. In that case, knowing some bus routes will be helpful.