Shanghai’s appeal stretches across generations, from the glamour and glitz of the 1920s, the city’s ‘Golden Age’, typified in the Art Deco architecture of the Bund, to the ultra-modern skyscrapers of Pudong, Shanghai’s high-tech hub. As the nation’s most developed and largest city, no tour of China is complete without a visit to Shanghai to contemplate its eclectic buildings, diverse neighborhoods and ‘anything is possible’ atmosphere.
Carved in two by the Huangpu River, Shanghai oozes cosmopolitan elegance. Most of the city’s historic districts and top sights lie on the west bank of the river, in the areas known as Puxi. Here, you can shop till you drop in the leafy avenues of the French Concession, dubbed the ‘Paris of the East’, or soak up the charms of old Shanghai in Huangpu and the Old City, where traditional wooden architecture and teahouses promise to transport you back in time.
Aside from its financial center and reputation as a shopping paradise, one thing that Shanhai stands out for is its amazing food scene. Chock-full of Michellin-star eats, scrumptious street food and quirky cafeterias, food is at the heart of Shanghainese culture, so come with an empty stomach and eat your way through delicious Chinese delicacies. A tantalizing mix of east and west, a trip to Shanghai is bound to be an action-packed and eye-opening experience.
As you’d imagine for a city of its size, there are countless things to see in Shanghai. The Bund is surely one of the most popular parts of Shanghai. Here you can relive the city’s Golden Age as you stroll past stately western-style architecture on the banks of the Huangpu River and enjoy excellent views of the skyscrapers of Pudong. From the Bund, you can see the Oriental Pearl Tower, an icon of the city’s skyline and a quintessential stop on any tour of Shanghai. Cross the river and you can ascend to one of its fifteen observation decks or even eat in its rotating restaurant!
During the summer downpours, one of the best things to do in Shanghai is to pay a visit to the vast Shanghai Museum, a fantastical modern building situated at the center of People’s Square. This museum, dubbed one of the world’s finest, houses priceless ancient Chinese paintings, ceramics and sculptures and a tour of Shanghai Museum can easily fill much of a rainy day. If you’d rather focus on the historical parts of the city during your stay in Shanghai, don’t miss out on a visit to the Yuyuan Gardens, situated behind the beautiful City of God Temple in the Old City.
This traditional Chinese garden portrays the typical postcard aesthetic of the China of yesteryear, with various buildings and monuments to explore, as well as a bustling bazaar. A further relic of the city’s past, Jade Buddha Temple, reveals the spiritual side of, Shanghai and is a peaceful haven amidst the urban sprawl. Built-in 1882, this Buddhist temple is best-known for its beautiful reclining jade buddha statue although it is also home to three large golden buddha statues. A holiday to Shanghai is incomplete without paying homage to ancient Chinese tea culture at one of Shanghai’s many teahouses, a number of which are concentrated around the Yuyuan Garden area.
Inside a traditional teahouse, you’ll have the opportunity to sample fine Chinese tea in atmospheric surroundings. A unique thing to do in Shanghai that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world to ride on the Maglev Railway, the fastest commercial electric train in the world. A trip from Pudong Airport to Longyan Road gives you the chance to experience a top speed of 431 kilometers per hour! For young and young-at-heart visitors on a tour of Shanghai, a visit to Shanghai Disneyland is a must-do. Described as a Chinese interpretation of the much-loved theme park franchises, it boasts the largest fairytale castle out of all the Disney theme parks in the world.