Josipa & Benjamin Haller

  • World explorer
  • foodies
  • strategists

Josipa and Benjamin conquer the world as the eclectic couple they are. Strategic and business-oriented worker bees on the one hand and crazy, colourful love birds on the other.

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My 24 Hours in Shanghai

We love to start our day with an extensive brunch with friends in Commune Social, especially when it’s a warm spring day where you can sit outside in their garden. Their food is amazing (no matter what you choose from their menu) and the staff is always nice and caring.

There is always at least one person in our group who still does not know about the ceramic shop nearby called Spin, so that’s were we then end up and most of the time buy some beautifully designed small ceramic pieces. If you’re up for some more shopping, make you way to Anfu Road which offers nice boutiques and stores and you can get your hands on quite unique stuff.

We then keep walking through the Former French Concession which looks like art itself; it’s busy everywhere because the local life is happening outside in Shanghai. Once we’re tired walking, we usually grab a cab and drive to one of the well curated museums. Either the Powerstation of Art, Rockbund Art Museum or in case we are very motivated and hungry for culture we drive up to M50.

When we’re done with culture we grab our scooters and cruise around the city during sunset; the light in FFC during that time is incredible. We then go and have coffee at Farine, grab a funny interior item at Jing Republic or a snack at Little Catch, “snack” here meaning fish poke bowls and dozens of fresh oysters. Another favourite spot of ours for a little something during the day is Hunter Gatherer, where you eat healthy farm-to-table food.

Often we end up having drinks on Yonkang Lu where we always meet new people or old friends. Twice a year the folks from KTGA (Kick the Gong Around) organize a great themed market that lasts for a whole weekend; great live music, yummy food from SH, new food start-up companies and always amazing and changing stalls from start-ups selling alternative beauty products, fashion and accessories. So if this going on, we obviously have dinner there, otherwise we like to eat out in one of our favorite restaurants: Lost Heaven, Xibo, Sichuan Citizen or if we seriously want the money to roll, we go to Chi-Q at the Bund.

After dinner we hit one of our favorite bars, Senator Saloon, before starting to sweat on the dance floor in URVC. This is a tiny but super cool club. Afterwards we might head to Lola or Arkham as well, to dance the night away since both clubs play great deep house tunes until the early morning.


Commune Social511 Jiangning Rd, Shanghai, China

No matter whether you come here for Brunch, an aperitif or dinner; it is always a pleasing experience. You can’t book a table in advance, you either go early in the morning or worst case: queue. Or you’re simply lucky and just walk in.
Spin Ceramics360 Kangding Road, Shanghai, China

Beautifully designed and affordable ceramics and even if you don’t buy anything here, check out their store, they have a spectacular showroom!
Former French ConcessionFrench Concession, Wulumuqi Middle Road, Shanghai, China

The most beautiful quarter of Shanghai with amazing contrasts: high fashion boutiques next to old community longtang houses.
Powerstation of Art200 Hua Yuan Gang Lu, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China

Well curated art collection. Check out their terrace on top: go outside and enjoy the beautiful view of the Bund.
Rockbund Art Museum20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China

Great architecture and well picked exhibitions. When you’re in the area walk along the Bund to see the impressive skyline of the financial district (Pudong).
Monganshan 50 / M 5050 Moganshan Road, Shanghai, China

This is an outdoor art district, north of town, 15 min drive by cab from FFC. A great space filled with cool graffiti, little shops, small cafés, hidden workshops and galleries.
Yonkang LuYongkang Road, Shanghai, China

It is a street full of bars and there are folks who spend their whole day at Yonkang Lu; theoretically possible as there are coffee shops, restaurants, cafes and bars all lined up.
Little Catch247-5 Wulumuqi Middle Rd, Shanghai, China

A small and always quite packed fish marketplace selling imported fish and fresh poke bowls. The one with the wasabi shrimp is our favorite. Their oysters are always super fresh and their beer comes from Hawaii. They also offer some locally produced ice cream made by “Gracie’s” which rounds out the whole meal.
Lost HeavenLost Heaven Yunnan Folk Cuisine, Shanghai, China

Great Yunnan cuisine in a spectacular setting. Girls need to try their Summer Splash cocktail which tastes so yummy!
Xibo83 Changshu Rd, Shanghai, China

Great Xingjian food. Quite heavy though as Xingjian is the province near Mongolia. Therefore a great place for cold evenings.
Sichuan Citizen30 Donghu Rd, Shanghai, China

Yummy Sichuan food, their spice level is adapted to the western taste. The spice of Sichuan pepper is underlying in the great taste of nearly every dish. We especially love their basil drop cocktail!
Chi-QWai Tan 3 Hao, WaiTan, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000

Korean barbecue by Jean-Georges. It is definitely our favourite, a bit pricey though.
URVC999 Xikang Rd, Shanghai, China

A small club with well picked DJs. Super chill people!
LolaLola酒吧, Yueyang Road, Xuhui, Shanghai, China

Always a good idea if you want to dance to cool house music.
Arkham1 Wulumuqi South Road, Shanghai, China

An underground club which plays mainly house music. Quite a unique experience!
Senator Saloon98 Wuyuan Rd, Shanghai, China

A cool bar in an authentic 20’s American prohibition era style.
Farine378 Wukang Rd, Shanghai, China

French pastries and bread in the middle of buzzing Shanghai. And it’s so good!
Jing Republic1 Tao Jiang Lu, Shanghai, China

Quirky interior accessories that nobody else will ever have, also great for gifts.
Hunter Gatherer308 Anfu Road, Shanghai, China

We love their concept of healthy food prepared with ingredients grown at the company’s own farms.
Anfu RoadAnfu Road, Shanghai, China

Anfu Road is where you shop till you drop - but only cool and unique stuff!
‘Go to a karaoke night with locals. If you don’t have any Chinese friends: get some!’
  • Catching a breath of France in Shanghai, at the bakery Farine. © Daniel Szeto @dkkszeto
  • Life in Shanghai is funny and colourful - just like these underpants.
  • © Daniel Szeto @dkkszeto
  • It’s all about fish at Little Catch - delicious and fresh fish dishes!
  • A yummy poke bowl at Little Catch. We love it!
  • Shanghai offers you many beautiful corners and spots for kissing your loved one. © Daniel Szeto @dkkszeto
  • Buy a unique piece for your home at Jing Republic for yourself or as a gift.
  • For me this shop is simply the "Avocado-lady".
  • Enjoy healthy and delicious food at Hunter Gatherer!
  • This jewelry store on Anfu Road is for fashionable ladies.
  • Looks sooo good! At Hunter Gatherer.
  • Check out Anfu Road for quite a few cool and unique boutiques.
  • Another beautiful boutique on Anfu Road.

My thoughts about Shanghai

What do you love about your destination?

Its never complaining and always smiling residents, its art deco architecture, its fast change, its peaceful mornings and its colourful lights at night.

What‘s a "must do" in your destination?

Take your camera and stroll through FFC. Get some steamed vegetable Baozi from the street shop vendors for breakfast. Take the cab (it is so cheap and the cars are incredibly run down). Hop on a bike and drive through FFC early in the morning. Watch the sunset from the VUE Bar. Try and talk to locals. Go to the fake market (immerse in some hard core negotiation: it’s so much fun)! Get a tailor-made Qipao at the fabric market (always negotiate the price!). Get a pair of original Feiyue shoes for approx. 15 USD. Go to a karaoke night with locals. If you don’t have any Chinese friends: get some!

© Daniel Szeto @dkkszeto
© Daniel Szeto @dkkszeto
Our cozy home away from home.
The most beautiful flowers can be purchased from the street florists in Shanghai.

Take a vacation into My life

What’s your background?

Design strategist lost in Shanghai with an educational business and design background (Josipa), Germans constantly puzzled and fascinated by the ‘Chinese way of doing it’.

What is the best moment of the day?

Cycling to work under the trees of the Former French Concession.

What inspires you?

Intense flavors, beautiful people by which I mean beautiful from the inside out, the ocean, high intensity training where you really sweat (Ben), my wife (Ben), achievers, life lovers, psychology, nature, patterns, frameworks (Josipa).

How would a good friend describe you?

Josipa: Refreshing, strong, advisor, caregiver .

Ben: Trustful, big-hearted and determined.

Your lifestyle in 5 words?

Colourful, foodies, urban nomads, travel, lean.

Which books, newspapers or magazines do you read?

Harvard Business Review, fast company, autobiographies, the New York Times, The Economist, Wirtschaftswoche (Ben) / Monocle,, novum, brandeins, Wallpaper.

Which films blow your mind?

House of Cards (wonderfully intriguing), The Danish girl (true love is built on real friendship), Mad Max (every scene is just spectacular), The Lives of Others (all-time favourite), Zootopia (hilarious).

Person you’d like to sit next to in an airplane?

Josipa: The Dalai Lama.

Ben: My future self.

What are your favourite destinations around the globe?

Josipa: NYC and Croatia.

Ben: New Zealand, Croatia and London.

Your life philosophy?

Happiness is homemade.

Suitcase, Backpack or Weekender?

Josipa: Backpack.

Ben: Suitcase.

What else should we know about you?

Josipa: One day I want to become president of my country of origin, Croatia.

Ben: I’m a passionate planning master.

Travelling is…

feeding us with new perspectives.

Life is…

a matter of perception.


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