Travel Inspiration By A Pro Trip Designer

Shanghai’s Urban Planning Museum

Asia, Travel Tips



Today, I visited the Urban Planning Museum in Shanghai, which at first seemed a bit frustrating of a tour given I was going to a museum about a city I was actually in rather than touring around the city itself. Yet, I now stand corrected. The museum was interesting with photos from the city’s past plus an enormous (like 30 x 30 feet) floor model of the entire city.  I apologize I don’t have a picture. Instead I do have a rather hideous one of me and Haibo, the mascot of Shanghai’s upcoming World Expo at the entrance to the museum.

Unfortunate pic of me but Haibo looks pretty good

Unfortunate pic of me but Haibo looks pretty good

Posted in: Asia, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Tuesday, September 15, 2009 No Comments

Shanghai’s Famed Fabric Market (The Fantasy)

Asia, Shopping, Travel Tips



HOLY MOLY! The FABRIC MARKET in Shanghai, located now at 399 Lu Jia Bang road, is one of the most alluringly dangerous places I have ever set foot in abroad.  It’s Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for fashion-lovers and I unabashedly embodied every single one of those bratty children characters throughout my three-hour stint. Oh yes, one needs multiple hours in this fun factory, unless of course, you are well-guided by a trustworthy source. Otherwise, do NOT fall prey to the first booth you see, or the supposed cashmere you are prompted to feel — the true gems are well-hidden.



Of course, being a novice, I was instantly mesmerized by the row of booths showcasing custom and classic designs of jackets, suits, dresses, drawn to the promise of cheap, tailor made clothing. I mean, it’s where J.Crew and Michael Kors get their clothes made after all.  Surely I can then custom order jackets and dresses in expensive fabrics like Cashmere for well under $300 a piece.  Or so I thought. Again, this is where the guide should take your hand firmly and insist you follow him or her to the well-vetted booths only. As a more savvy Asian shopper very well knows, there’s way more to it than first meets the eye.

A rainbow of cashmere options - the snozberry wallpaper equivalent

A rainbow of cashmere options – the snozberry wallpaper equivalent

As I hemmed and hawed my way through the booths, I slowly learned to haggle with the myriads of “I make a good price for you, Lady” vendors and felt like a kingpin as I plucked the rolls of fabric from the wall and drew my designs on the seamstress’ design-pad.  I nodded yes to their statements of 100% Cashmere though the sample felt a tad different, caught up in the belief that my jacket when it came to my hotel the following day  would be indeed, the 100% quality they assured.  So, I went around to my various chosen booths, I doled out the 100-RB notes for the deposit on the various items (two dresses, a long jacket, a cape and a silk shirt) and left the market feeling like I’d just gotten a steal of a new winter wardrobe.  To be continued…

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Posted in: Asia, Shopping, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Monday, September 14, 2009 No Comments

about meg

About Meg


Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.