Are you planning to visit China´s most westernized city? Get ready to experience the perfect blend of the traditional with the modern like no other city in the world. Apart from being home to some of the world´s tallest skyscrapers it has amazing nightlife, shopping, architecture and culture.
It’s one big impressive city. And like every big city it’s always changing so it’s hard to be bored, you can find something new and fresh every time. So here are some places you can visit when you´re in Shanghai:
First of all, upon arriving at the Pudong Airport jump on the Maglev for a fast ride to the city center, it´s not like every other train ride, it floats above the rails by magnetic levitation. Its the fastest commercial train currently in operation and has a top speed of 430 km/h (270 mph), covering a distance of 30.5 km (19.0 mi) in 8 minutes. You can find more information here.
Check before the timetable and get your ticket for the 430kmh high speed.
One of the most attractive cityscapes you’ll find is along the curve of The Bund promenade, an elevated walkway where panoramic views of skyscrapers. At night, the towers are lit with flashing neon lights reflected on the Huangpu River. It’s really worth it to go both during the day and night to see the different contrasts and if you’re looking for that ‘iconic’ photo of Shanghai, this is where you should be headed.
This is my favorite place in all Shanghai, I went during the Lunar New Year and here it’s were they hold one of the biggest Lantern Festival in all China. It’s such an amazing experience, so if you’re able to go there during spring festival don’t miss your opportunity to visit these gardens - for more information be sure to click the link.
Yuyuan Garden is a famous classical garden located in Anren Jie, Shanghai. It was finished in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan. Yu in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying, and this garden was specially built for Pan's parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age.
Filled with beautiful pavilions, rock gardens and ponds, it is a nice place to step into the past and take a break from modern Shanghai and an excellent spot for photos, but be sure to get there early. Outside Yu Garden is really commercialized filled with shops and restaurants.
CNY 40 (Apr.1-Jun. 30; Sep.1-Nov.30) | CNY 30 (Jul. 1-Aug.31; Dec.1-the next Mar.31)
* Children who are 6 years old or younger or not taller than 4.3 feet (1.3 meters) can visit the garden for free, accompanied by their parents.
Opening Hours: 8:30-16:45
VISIT ONE OF THE TOWERS
Puxi, the west side of Shanghai, has the city’s historic buildings, and Pudong, to the east, has its skyscrapers. These are concentrated in the Lujiazui neighborhood, just across from the Bund. Choose one to enjoy the view or go to all if you can. The best time is one hour before sunset and stay a little more to see the city light up.
Jin Mao Tower stands 88 floors high, a postmodern spin on a classic 13-tier Buddhist pagoda design. Get to the observation deck in just 45 seconds and take in the 360-degree views, or skip the line and settle into a window seat at Grand Hyatt’s 87th-floor Cloud 9 bar.
The Oriental Pearl Tower has a particularly unique design and is one of the most memorable icons of the city. At 467m, this once stood as the tallest structure in China, with 15 different observation decks and a revolving restaurant.
Shanghai World Financial Center is the 8th tallest building in the world at 492m. Park Hyatt Shanghai is the tower's hotel component, occupying the 79th to the 93rd floors.
Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in all China and has one of the tallest observation decks in the world.
We´re staying here at Charms Hotel and it was such a great choice. We had been backpacking around Southeast Asia and we came here during winter which means we weren´t carrying any winter clothes so being next to this shopping road was just perfect. It’s also walking distance from the bund and easy to access by the subway.
Shanghai’s main shopping street, Nanjing Lu (lu means road) runs in two sections—East Nanjing Road, from the Bund to People’s Square, and West Nanjing Road, from People’s Square to Jing’an district. A walk along Nanjing Road in either direction is a walk through the city’s history. East Nanjing Road is the Times Square of Shanghai. It has long been Shanghai’s high street, pedestrianized and lit by the blaze of neon signs. West Nanjing Road is a busy upscale street, lined in gleaming malls, shops, offices, and hotels.
OTHERS TO VISIT
Dongtai Road - offers something a little more rustic and traditional.
Tianzifang - The narrow alleyways are packed with restaurants, cafés, galleries, and shops with a traditional feel. You can enter Tianzifang from the front, on Taikang Lu, or on the back side at 155 Jianguo Zhong Lu.
Xintiandi district - is a very popular entertainment district. If you’re looking for dinner, drinks and a good night out in the city with a more laid back vibe – this is where you should be headed.
Nanxiang Ancient Town | Longhua Temple | The Jade Buddha Temple | The Shanghai Museum | People’s Square | Xujiahui Cathedral | Yangpu Bridge | Lu Xun Park | Suzhou Creek | Shanghai Botanical Garden | Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center | Shanghai Natural History Museum
If you want to experience a more traditional China there are many day trips from Shanghai that can be easily accessed by train or bus. Here are some water towns and cities so close that you can explore in less than 24hours and are totally worth it – you’re already there so experience as much as you can!
WATER TOWNS: ZHOUZHUANG WATER TOWN | ZHUJIAJIAO ANCIENT TOWN | QIBAO ANCIENT TOWN | TONGLI | SUZHOU | LUZHI | WUZHEN | XITANG
CITIES: NANJING | WUXI | HANGZHOU | NANTONG | HUZHOU
TIP: If you have already visited China you already know this, but if you haven’t be sure to download a VPN app, most of the websites like Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat are blocked in China. Shanghai doesn’t have free public WiFi service, but you can certainly find it in restaurants and hotels.
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Have you been to Shanghai or are you planning to go? What would you recommend? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.