During my trip to Bangkok, I made it my goal to visit at least three vegan restaurants. The first on my list was Veganerie Concept. My family had already had a lavish 5-star hotel breakfast, but somehow I convinced them to have a second breakfast by telling them that y’know, since Veganerie Concept serves vegan food, the meal would be light… knowing fully well it would be anything but. 😉 Needless to say, we were stuffed to the brim, but it was so, so worth it!
Veganerie is Bangkok’s first vegan bakery and started off as a takeaway shop. Over the years, they’ve expanded into three branches: the take-home bakery in EmQuartier, Veganerie Café in Mercury Ville and Veganerie Concept behind Benjasiri Park. I went to the Veganerie Concept restaurant because it has the biggest space, is the most beautiful architecturally and as luck would have it, located closest to my hotel.
Pairing well with its plant-based food, the exterior and interior of Veganerie Concept impress even the trendiest crowd with its wood and metal finishings. The restaurant is easy on the eyes from arrival at the entrance, where outdoor seating is scattered on a raised wooden deck, to the larger indoor area rich with foliage. Floor-to-ceiling windows along the storefront let in a flood of natural light that not only provide life to the plants, but also to highlight the earthy design of the inside.
It’s a photographer’s dream, and the details of Veganerie Concept alone got me snapping away on my iPhone before I even settled down at a table. Today’s young Instagrammers will surely love the hip slogans painted on the walls of the restaurant, from the catchphrase “Keep calm and go vegan” to a plethora of hashtag suggestions such as #vegansofig and #instafood catering for social media.
Personally, my favourite corner of Veganerie Concept features a large interactive corkboard tacked to the wall with a map of the world and the painted question: “Where are you from? Vegan around the world”. The staff will give visitors a few tacks which they can then pin onto the map according to their home country. What a cute and creative idea to engage with the customers!
If the stunning interior of Veganerie Concept is not enough to get you to this particular branch, the food will. While the takeaway shop only offers baked goods and Veganerie Café only desserts, Veganerie Concept serves up a full menu. Since we had just eaten breakfast, the most popular dishes such as the Vegan Barbecue Pulled Pork Burger (with no real pork, obviously) and the Vegan Zoodles were more than our stomachs could handle. Feeling like dessert, we went for the sweets instead.
Our table spread came to a total of three items. We ordered the Caesar Salad to begin with a clean palate, followed it up with a menu special, the Fruit Hotcake, then doused off the heat with a Chunky Monkey Smoothie Bowl. The salad was nothing special, and I could’ve forgone the two slices of soy bacon, but I loved the Fruit Hotcake which arrived with two warm pancakes topped with berries, nuts and edible flowers. So Instagrammable. It didn’t disappoint in flavour, too, and was extra delicious with the maple syrup on top. Lastly, my parents were amazed by the invention of the Chunky Monkey Smoothie Bowl, a blend of acai berries and cacao topped with fruits and chocolate chunks. They commented that it was just the right sweetness but way too filling – oopsies, forgot to warn them. 😉
I only sampled Veganerie Concept’s breakfast foods, and when I go back to Bangkok – which I know I will, judging by how I’ve been to the city over 20 times – you bet I will visit again for lunch or dinner. Their legendary Vegan Barbecue Pulled Pork Burger deserves a try, as do the Traditional Masamun Curry and Vegan Zoodles. With such an Instagram-worthy interior, a comfortable atmosphere and a helpful team of staff, I highly recommend you to try out Veganerie Concept. Even if you’re more of a meat-eater, you’ll love the food, guaranteed.
If you haven’t heard, Pantone recently announced its new Colour of the Year for 2017. It’s greenery. And it’s definitely nothing on rose quartz.
Let’s rewind a bit. Last year, Pantone surprised us with a blending of two shades, rose quartz and serenity. While I liked both colours, I didn’t like the fact that Pantone featured two at once… it’s not ColourS of the Year.
But I took a liking to rose quartz. In 2016, it became a popular colour in design and fashion alike.
Today, I’ll be showing you my favourite new jumper from H&M and surprise, surprise. It’s rose quartz. So what if greenery is in and rose quartz is out. It’s the 21st century and I can wear whatever I like!
I liked the outfit so much I wore it on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Yes, I did wear the same thing two important days in a row. I’m not even going to hide the fact that I am the world’s biggest outfit repeater.
Christmas Eve was on a Saturday this year, which meant I was free from my full-time job to attend my family’s annual tradition of having a Christmas lunch buffet at a swanky hotel. We went to the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel.
I spent such a long time picking out my outfit despite having a winter dressing formulabecause I tried to deviate from it that I ended up being one hour late. Oops. Obviously, my parents didn’t wait for me. They’d smartly decided to grub first.
On Christmas Day, I donned the same rose quartz jumper for a journey to Macau with Jason. We picked a really bad day to play tourist in the Vegas of China. It was a public holiday so the city was swarming with both locals and out-of-towners. The weather also acted up, and though it didn’t rain, the grey skies cast a dreary mood on the both of us.
We visited the Ruins of St. Paul’s and Senado Square briefly and basically spent the rest of the day trying to flag down cabs to get to our next destinations. Surprisingly, dinner made up for it. We weren’t expecting much for its price tag, but the Christmas buffet at 888 Buffet in Sands Macao Hotel was surprisingly good. Maybe our expectations were too low, ha!
And if anything, the only four photos we took in St. Augustine’s Square turned out pretty nice. The shade of rose quartz I was wearing totally contrasted well with the green and yellow walls of Macau’s old buildings, don’t you think? 😉
If you enjoyed this post and want to check out my outfits before they even hit this blog, make sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to charmainenyw.com’s mailing list!
Sick and tired of the same ol’ guides to Shanghai you’re coming across on the internet? Why do they all recommend the same cheesy places anyway, do they all copy each other or something?
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
The first time I went to Shanghai was back in 2012 for a university exchange program. I stayed in the city for more than three months.
But when I returned this year, I realised the Shanghai I knew is now a completely different Shanghai to the one today. What do you do then when you return, but have already seen all the tourist attractions?
I mean, honestly, these tourist attractions have now boomed into cash cows. Think Tianzifang, which was filled with genuine artists four years ago. Now? It’s a street full of big brands that have multiple stores scattered on every corner of the once authentic alleyways.
However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t visit the major locations. By all means, please do, especially if you haven’t yet! Head to The Bund, check out the Oriental Pearl Tower, dance with the locals in Yu Garden.
For this particular guide to 24 hours in Shanghai, though, we’re gonna play it unconventional and trendy. So without further ado, here’s the Unconventional Guide to 24 Hours in Shanghai.
8:00AM: Rise and shine
Good morning! It’s 8AM, the sun is bright and… my description ends here, because there is only one 8 o’clock in the day for me.
However, you’re on vacation. Stop wasting your time, whether you’ve just arrived at the airport after an overnight flight or have had a full night’s rest. Get out and explore the stunning city you’re now in.
In this guide to 24 hours in Shanghai, I’m going to begin with two recommendations for places to stay in during your visit.
Wake up in your perfect AirBnB – because who still stays in hotels today anyway? Your grandfather? Plus, you can pick your budget, your location, the type of design you like. This is the perfect minimalist AirBnB I stayed in, just minutes away from the town centre.
The AirBnB I stayed in can actually accommodate up to four people. How, I don’t know, because there is only a double bed and a smaller, side bed. But I only went with my boyfriend, so it was more than enough for us.
If you’re looking to save up, make sure your AirBnB has a kitchen space to cook. It’s always cheaper to eat in than out, though who’d want to make their own food in Shanghai? The streets are lined with dirt cheap grub.
A former dockyard building and warehouse, The Waterhouse at South Bund has a history tracing back to the 1930s. Shanghai-based architecture firm Neri & Hu Design and Research Office restored the old constructions and transformed it into a truly unique space.
But first, coffee. Oh, and food. Because what guide to 24 hours in Shanghai would be complete without food recommendations, given the affordable abundance of restaurants and cafés? If you can’t choose, I’ve narrowed it down for you.
Baker & Spice
Known for its pastries, Baker & Spice stays true to its name and serves up a delicious, affordable brunch. And most importantly, it’s trendy as… ahem. It is a chain café run by Wagas, so you’ll have to make sure you visit the original branch on Anfu Road, which is arguably the most photogenic of their shops.
Baker & Spice has fresh baked goods made daily which you can buy for takeaway if you’re in a rush. But you’re on vacation, so sit down, grab a coffee, and people watch from your very Instagram-worthy seat.
“Culture is the air we breathe all around us.” – Josh Fox
Okay, I just googled “culture quotes” and picked the best one to sound smart.
There are two routes down this cultural path I’d recommend: seeing an exhibition at an art gallery and going to a museum. It all depends on what’s on and what you’re interested in!
I visited the Long Museum West Bund while I was in Shanghai. I was strapped for time, so my primary goal was to check out the architecture of the museum building itself. But you, you should get a ticket and explore the exhibition that’s on inside!
Long Museum West Bund
Not to be mistaken with the museum of the same name in Pudong, the Long Museum West Bund is a stunning restored coal transportation wharf that houses one of the largest private collections in China. You can be assured you’ll be seeing quality art inside, as the founders handpick their exhibitions with the aim to promote cultural education in mind.
The bonus of visiting Long Museum West Bund as opposed to other museums in Shanghai is the stunning architecture. The project was shortlisted for the Design Museum’s 2015 Designs of the Year awards, making it the ultimate paradise for photographers.
Magda Danysz has three galleries worldwide: in London, in Paris and in Shanghai. Charles Pétillon rotated his installation and photography exhibition, Invasions, through the three locations. Shanghai was the second stop, and at the time of Invasions’ showing, I was in the city.
It was everything I wanted in an art exhibition. It had a mixture of media featuring built structure and photography, demonstrated a deeper meaning tied to humanity and nature, and most of all? It was photogenic.
Oops, you’ve missed lunch now. But it’s fine since millennials and trendy people don’t eat anyway.*
Plus, you can grab a light afternoon snack at my next recommendations.
In continuation of getting cultured in our guide to 24 hours in Shanghai, what better way to experience the atmosphere of Shanghai than to visit their most trendy cafés? After all, coffee is an art. Step into a local youngster’s shoes and head on to these top three Instagram-worthy cafés in the city.
* I’m joking, I don’t advocate fad diets in any way. Please eat.
Legend has it that Aunn Café offers one of the best cuppas in Shanghai. I can’t confirm that legend for you, unfortunately, because I’m not a coffee drinker. But if anything, the architecture of the café is enough to make you go there.
Spread over two floors, furnished with 3D printed chairs and designer lighting fixtures, the minimalist coffee shop is rarely empty even on weekdays. Hear it firsthand from me that a seat is worth fighting for just to enjoy the ambience of Aunn Café. Instagram to your heart’s content.
Wasn’t Aunn Café delightful? Well, there’s more to see at Seesaw Coffee. Opened by the same founder, this coffee shop is really something altogether when it comes to architecture. Make sure you visit the branch at Yuyuan Road. Seesaw Coffee has both an indoor and outdoor area for your choosing, but if it’s not raining or sweltering hot, you must choose to sit in the courtyard.
The main character of beautiful space is an unmissable spiral staircase that brings you upwards to the rest of Jing’an Design Centre, where Seesaw Coffee is located inside. It’s undoubtedly one of the most trendy spots in Shanghai for Instagram photos.
In the late afternoon of our most upcoming guide to 24 hours in Shanghai, what better thing to do than to take advantage of the brief break between tea and dinner to take photos for social media? I mean obviously, you ain’t trendy until the whole world sees it.
Go grab your Instagram husbands, grab your Instagram wives, and let’s get snapping. If you’re travelling solo, a tripod does wonders. *wink*
SOHO Fuxing Plaza
When I visited the city, I took the time to visit two very unconventional spots that put the U in our Unconventional Guide to 24 Hours in Shanghai. Two commercial buildings. Say whaaaat? Well, these buildings aren’t just office buildings. They’re sleek, modern and definitely contemporary when it comes to design.
SOHO Fuxing Plaza is my favourite of the two. Located at the Li Long-inspired site of SOHO Fuxing Road in the Huaihai central business district, the building stands tall and unmissable. You’ll know where the jaw-dropping photography hotspot is as soon as you enter the office tower. The lift lobby is really something altogether. Don’t I look like I just stepped into a sci-fi movie in the photos above?
The second place to drag your Instagram husband to with your remaining time is The Exchange SOHO. Like SOHO Fuxing Plaza, The Exchange SOHO is also an office tower. The skyscraper is conveniently located in the core of West Nanjing Road’s central business district. No excuses for not going.
Again, you’ll feel as if you’ve travelled to the future as soon as you enter the building. The designated photo spot is a few steps in. It’s a large-scale spiral staircase that reaches up to the banquet floors. Check out the location tag on Instagram for ways you can frame your photo. My snaps above don’t do the staircase justice because unfortunately, the guard wouldn’t let me up when I visited. 🙁
What’s that? Did I hear your stomach rumble? No wonder, serves you right for skipping lunch just to go café-hopping. Kids these days.
It’s six in the evening, so let’s move quickly before the office workers rush out for their evening drinks. Leave the traditional xiaolongbao for another day. Tonight, we’re going to eat good and feel good at the same time at a vegetarian restaurant that is all the rage right now.
Pure & Whole
Post-dumpling guilt is no more at Pure & Whole, a plant-based restaurant in the Jing’an District.
Vegetarian or not, this healthy destination has been a hit with locals and tourists alike since its opening. The eatery has three branches spread around Shanghai, making nutritious dining within a modern setting a convenient option.
I went to the Yanping Road shop and spent ages going through the menu because everything sounded scrumptious. It was lunch time when I visited, so my Instagram husband and I both got set meals with drinks and appetisers. Our vegetable paella and detox salad were so good. Even though there was no meat in our food, we left the restaurant fully satisfied – stuffed, actually. We couldn’t finish our meals and had to grab the leftovers to-go!
If you’re still hankering after those dumplings, Pure & Whole does offer a vegetarian jiaozi. It’s filled with a plethora of vegetables wrapped in rice paper and served with cashew sauce. Much better than the streetside fake pork meat, am I right?
So that’s about it for this guide to 24 hours in Shanghai. Walk off your food baby from dinner on the beautiful streets of Jing’an and have a safe return to back to your AirBnB, or back to The Waterhouse at South Bund. Get to sleep early. The real trendy youngsters may still be out clubbing or whatnot, but that’s enough unconventional activities for the day. For now, let’s play it safe and rest up for what’s to come tomorrow.
Thank you for sticking by and reading this Unconventional Guide to 24 Hours in Shanghai! It’s longer than my usual blog posts and took forever to piece together, so I hope you enjoyed it. Please go through my entire Shanghai series (links below) for more details on each of the locations I’ve covered. If you have any further questions, feel free email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment down below – I’m a quick replier!