The most influential city in China, Shanghai pulsates with life amongst the bright lights from towering skyscrapers, fashionable folks strolling along the scenic banks of The Bund, and old temples with rich culture and history. Here at the heart of the huge metropolis, you can find the perfect blend of cultures – old and new, western and oriental – exemplifying what contemporary China is all about.
Best of Shanghai
1. The Bund
A symbol of Shanghai’s colourful past and thriving future, this 1.5-km-long waterfront on the banks of Huangpu River is lined up with buildings that are Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Classical-inspired. Across the river is an astounding skyline of Shanghai’s skyscrapers, including the famous Oriental Pearl Tower.
Located in the French Concessions Area is Xintiandi, the ultimate car-free shopping, dining and entertainment area. Traditional Shikumen (stone gate) buildings have been turned into cafés and restaurants, bars and chic boutique stores. Translated as “new heaven and earth”, Xintiandi is a great place to soak in the historical and cultural elements of the city set amidst modernity.
See Shanghai in its cutting-edge best at in the central business district of Lujiazui, where futuristic and contemporary architecture occupies the area. Be inspired by the great structures such as the Jin Mao Building, Bank of China Tower, Shanghai World Financial Centre and the Oriental Pearl Tower, where you can head to the viewpoint for an amazing 360-degrees view of the city.
4. Jade Buddha Temple
In 1822, a monk from Burma brought two Buddha statues to Shanghai, and subsequently a temple was constructed to house them. Now a monastery of Zen Buddhism, the temple is known for its main attractions—the Sitting Buddha and the Reclining Buddha statues which were made purely from white jade.
5. Yuyuan Garden
One does not think of tranquillity when you come to the Yuyuan Garden. A souvenir paradise, there areit has countless vendors surrounding the lively square amongst impressive classical Chinese architecture. Shop for jade, jewellery or handicrafts, or even splurge at on the more popular brands within the gardens.
6. Shanghai Art Museum
From the outside, the building strikes an opulent modern pose but once inside, it is a sanctuary for ancient art appreciation. Take a look at the intricate beauty of thousand-year-old Chinese bronzes, sculptures, ceramics, jades, seals, calligraphy, coin and currency, paintings, furniture as well as crafts of China’s ethnic minorities.
7. Nanjing Road
A true shopping paradise! Nanjing Road is one of the world’s longest and most vibrant shopping districts, and a must-see for fashion shoppers and tourists! This 6-km-long street is constantly buzzing with excitement all day, and when night falls, the vibrant lights from the stores and restaurants light up the street brilliantly.
8. Moganshan Road Art Centre
What’s more avant-garde than an old warehouse district transformed into a thriving art community, with cafes, workshops, studios and galleries filled with contemporary artworks from more than 100 resident artists? Sip coffee with the gallery owners and artists themselves, and admire the works of art around you.
9. Xiaolong Bao
The most famous Shanghai dish, the dumplings are not your usual meals. Delicious broth with a dab of meat fills the dumpling, and to eat it, one has to bite a little hole, sip the broth and dip the meat in dark vinegar. The dish, served on a bed of napa cabbage inside steaming bamboo baskets, is an explosion of flavour in your mouth.
The beauty of Hangzhou has been revered for centuries. Surrounded by lush greenery and towering mountains, you will feel like you’ve stepped into an elegant Chinese painting. The land is green with agriculture, the architecture is enchantingly rustic and there’s the majestic West Lake, the main attraction of Hangzhou.