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10 top spots to pop the question

Couples usually remember where the momentous question "Will you marry me?" was asked and many people go in for elaborate planning about where to pop the question. Yao Minji checks out places for lovers to take the leap.

If you're a guy who plans to pop the question, and if you and your sweetheart have a romantic streak, then picking the place to take the plunge can be quite important.

Since everyone seems bent on marriage and that's what dating all is about, the chances of rejection are presumably pretty slim, so that reduces one big cause of anxiety.

Some people like it without the trappings and fuss but many people go to great lengths to make their marriage proposal memorable. You don't want your wife complaining that your proposal was pedestrian, a snoozer or that you took "yes" for granted.

Apart from a ring, proposals may involve atmospherics, music, dining, flowers, poetry, a spectacular view, a walk along the beach, a gorgeous building, a place with special memories. Some people have proposed on transcontinental flights, some have hired bands and performers - there's no end of possibilities if one is truly creative.

But let's stick to location, location, location.

Shanghai Daily has picked 10 places in Shanghai to pop the question and gives the estimated cost, in some cases, preparation time.

Binjiang Avenue

Everyone knows about the Bund and the famous lover's wall on the Puxi side where sweethearts once used to stroll, hold hands and cuddle. That was in the old days when it was dark, quiet and private.

But with the Bund renovation, the Puxi side is very crowded, no longer the place to exchange sweet nothings or ask someone to spend the rest of her life with you. The view is spectacular, but there's no privacy.

On the other hand, Binjiang Avenue on the Pudong side is much less crowded; there's space, privacy and plenty of greenery. And the view of the classical old buildings on the Puxi side is breathtaking.

You can either choose one of the many nice restaurants, Chinese or Western, along the avenue, or just invite her for a romantic stroll.

Cost: Nothing, unless you expect to have dinner, which then depends on the restaurants. Dinner for two can cost 500 yuan (US$76) to 2,000 yuan.

Preparation time: None

Century Park

Parks with shady trees, plum blossoms, blooming shrubs, lakes and hills are frequent lovers' haunts. Century Park is the city downtown's largest.

You can rent a bicycle built for two, which requires balance and cooperation, just like a relationship. After a well-balanced ride in a harmonious setting, a couple tends to feel comfortable. It might be time to ask about the future.

Estimated cost: 20 yuan (tickets for two)

Preparation time: None


Airports can inspire special feelings of intimacy. They are the places where people see off their loved ones and friends, and welcome them home, and terminals can inspire us to appreciate what is at hand. After all, people go their separate ways in life and we often don't know when, or if we will see someone again.

The smiles, embraces, tears and kisses at airports can make us feel sentimental.

So, you can pop the question when you are seeing her off or picking her up at the airport. Or when she sees you off or picks you up.

You could ask, "When you (or I) come back this time, can we stay together forever?"

Or, when you greet her in the arrivals section you can hand her flowers or car keys and say, "Let's go home together, not as lovers, but as an engaged couple."

Estimated cost: None

Preparation time: None

The movies

Dark theaters are romantic and sexy. Many movie theaters will rent screening rooms, from 50 to 500 seats, and you can project a romantic film of your choice. You can also make your own movie, a collage of videos with your girlfriend.

You can ask the theater to project a romantic movie and add your video at the end.

Nothing beats shared memories, so you can pull out the stops and play it for all the nostalgia and sentiment it's worth.

First prepare a video compilation of important memories - pictures of the two of you, important moments, short interviews with friends and relatives. Don't make it too long unless you're a gifted cinematographer. You don't want to bore her to death.

You don't want to wait too long to propose after the video starts playing. To keep it a surprise, you can ask a bunch of friends to enter with you - and some should be prepositioned in the theater, so it looks real. She may think it's another date to watch a romantic comedy.

Ask the theater to insert your own video just before the end of the film, and have the lights on and all of your friends clapping as soon as the video concludes.

Then it's time to ask the question. Of course, you could also propose on film.

Estimated cost: 3,000 yuan (US$456) to 10,000 yuan (theater rental and projection)

Preparation time: Depends on the length of your video, but it usually takes only a few hours with easy-to-use editing software. It may take a few days to select the pictures and videos to be edited. You can hire a professional, but there's nothing like do-it-yourself films for sincerity.

Sheshan Hill

If you want to include nature in your proposal, Sheshan Hill, the highest point in Shanghai, is just 35 kilometers from downtown. You can say, "I'm asking you to marry me at this place, the highest spot in Shanghai, so that every day of our marriage will be a peak, just like this moment."

The scenery is varied and there are several options. The east hill is famous for its bamboo scenery, a symbol of China. The hill is especially beautiful on a sunny afternoon, when everything is green. The west hill has two nice spots, the church and the old observatory, which are not too far apart.

Sheshan Marian Basilica, built in 1935, was one of the most famous Catholic churches in the East. The 38-meter-high bell tower, made of red bricks and the church itself, shaped like a cross, was constructed without using any nails, beams or steel. The interior is entirely of granite. It was renovated and reopened just before the World Expo Shanghai last May.

The Sheshan Observatory, an astronomy museum, is a beacon for star gazers during meteor showers, eclipses and other phenomena. The hill provides a clear view of the stars at night.

Estimated cost: 100 yuan (Metro transport and tickets)

Preparation time: None

China Pavilion

If you don't mind the long queue (sometimes as long as four hours), then the China Pavilion of the World Expo Shanghai makes a dramatic setting for a let's-spend-our-life-together proposal.

After all, the Expo was a once-in-life-time event for the city of Shanghai, just as a proposal and marriage are supposed to be once in a lifetime. The ancient design of the magnificent structure and the festive China-red color create the atmospherics for a momentous proposal, a very private request within a national symbol.

While some people are turned off by the long queuing, others might consider it a symbol of the efforts you are willing to expend to make your marriage a happy one.

Estimated cost: 40 yuan (tickets for two)

Preparation time: None, except for queuing

Happy Valley

On the screen, excitement, danger, close calls and physical proximity all contribute to attraction and a passionate kiss. It's about chemistry and releasing hormones.

So how about asking for her hand on a roller coaster?

Happy Valley theme park, which opened in late 2009, is just the ticket. It has seven areas with different settings, all built in the hills and streams of suburban Shanghai.

It has five roller coasters, including a wooden one and a water ride, as well as many thrill rides such as the drop tower. You can choose any of these to get your hearts pumping and your arms around each other.

It is recommended to try one of the most exciting, which starts with a long climb to its peak of 60 meters and then falls at almost 90 degrees.

Estimated cost: 400 yuan (tickets for two)

Preparation time: None

Shanghai Ocean Aquarium

The underwater viewing tunnel is one of the magnets of any aquarium, the fantasy world where the ocean and its colorful creatures float around you. It's dark, mysterious and romantic.

The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium has the world's longest and most spectacular underwater viewing tunnel, 168 meters long, with a 180-degree dome overhead.

Maybe you can catch the moment when a sea turtle swims by over your head and ask her, "Hey, do you want to be together as long as the sea turtle lives?"

Estimated cost: 270 yuan (tickets for two)

Preparation time: None

First date/first kiss revisited

Many women remember the first date and first kiss. Show her you remember that first sweet moment as well as she does.

Estimated cost: Depends

Preparation time: Depends

The Cupola

This is the private dining room for two at the top of Three on the Bund. It's designed for just two people. The view is incomparable.

It is a legendary place for popping the question and it's said to have a 100 percent success rate. But there's not a big element of surprise. If you take her to dinner there, she may well expect a proposal, so think of some more surprises.

Estimated cost: 3,000–10,000 yuan (dinner for two)

Preparation time: None


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