Last winter my friends and I visited the water town of Qi Bao(七宝) on the edge of Shanghai. It is a very old town with a history spanning over 1000 years (It is the only part of Shanghai with a history spanning this long). My Swedish friend bought a tour book before he came to Shanghai and Qi Bao is one of the scenic spot recommended in the book. Actually, I have never heard of this town before, hahaha, feel shamed… Anyway, after a discussion, we decided to go to Qi Bao together.
We met each other in Zhongshan Park and then took Subway Line 3 to Yishan Road. In Yishan Road station, my friends were attracted by an automatic medicine vending machine. They were very interested in this machine. My German friend got a cough, so he bought a box of Golden Throat Lozenge from the vendor. My American friend also wanted to take a photo with the machine as well, so funny. We walked for 5 minutes in order to find Subway line 9, line 3 and line 9 is not connected in the same station. Then we took line 9 and got off at the stop of Qi Bao. The stop is under a shopping mall. We had lunch there in the first floor, the food was not bad, but the annoying thing is you need to “rent” a card and put money in for buying the food, and then return the card and got back the rest of the money.
Qi Bao town was first constructed in Northern Song Dynasty (960-1126) and prospered as a business center during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. The waterways or canals are made for commercial purpose and acted as a connection with other major water-towns and villages. The name Qibao can be translated as “seven treasures” which is said in reference to the folklore about seven treasures: iron Buddha, a bronze bell, a jade axe, a pair of jade chopsticks, a lotus sutra written in gold, a thousand year old catalpa tree and a gold cockerel.
tea houses, and restaurants. For my friends, it was interesting to see something distinctively “Chinese”, but like many other water towns, it is really crowded. We tried some snacks and took a boat trip. It was fun. As Shanghai is a relatively new city, so it is hard to see old style buildings and temples very often. The couple of hours in Qi Bao were like we were back in “old” China again!