Shanghai has come a long way from a humble fishing village full of fishing boat masts centuries ago to become a international metropolis and one of the most dynamic Chinese cities today.
People’s Square (Rénmín Guǎngchǎng 人民广场) and Museum of Shanghai (Shànghǎi zìránbówùguǎn 上海博物馆)
People’s Square is the largest public square in the city! You will have to decide where you want to go first. Among the different possibilities you will find the marriage market where a lot of Chinese families gather to organize the future union of their precious children. This market is open every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 1pm to 3pm. You will find it at the north end of People’s Park (人民公园, 75 Nanjing Lu, near Huangpi Bei Lu 南京西路75号, 近黄陂北路).
The closes metro station is Metro Line 1, 2 and 8 People’s Square Station.
You can continue your visit to the famous Museum of Shanghai and its eleven galleries and three exhibition halls. They contain an impressive collection of bronze from the Shang and Zhou dynasties, costumes, statues, weapons, engravings, furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties and so on. Good to know, every day the museum issues 5000 free tickets!
Nánjīng Lù (南京路)
You can continue your trip by walking along Nanjing Road, the world’s longest shopping street (approximately 6 kilometers long). This street is visited by almost 1 million people every day. If you add the quantity of shops and different flash lights it will give you the feeling of being in “the place to be” especially during spring or summer when the weather is promising for walking outside. You can stop in one of the restaurants and bars for a drink or a bite to eat. Shopping is another possibility regarding the number of tourists there, a lot of shopping places opened to satisfy the demand.
The Bund (Wàitān 外滩) and Pǔdōng (浦东)
If you keep walking further down Nanjing Road, you will reach the famous Bund where you face Pudong, the new business district of Shanghai on the other side of the Huangpu River.
This promenade is also enjoyable regarding the contrast between the western style building on one side and the huge skyscrapers with the massive advertisement lights on the other one.
It is also possible to join a cruise which will take you along the river to have another overview of this incredible place at night when the lights turn the Bund into a magical place.
Be sure to arrive at the Bund before 10pm, since most lights of the buildings are switched of that time.
You can also cross the river by ship, subway or car to reach this business district of Shanghai named Pudong to go up on one of the highest buildings like the Financial Tower or the Jin Mao.
Former French Concession (FǎZūjiè 法租界)
If you seek some contrast after all those lights, demonstration of technology and modern streets, you can visit the former French Concession. The atmosphere brought by the western style architecture allows you to rest a bit more than in the other crowed streets. As a foreigner, it is a perfect district to spend your evening regarding the impressive number of foreign and Chinese style restaurants and bars.
Shanghai is also well-known for its fake markets. Years ago there was only one but it dispatched in different locations among the city. Regarding the location, you can find clothes, Chinese handicraft, hi-tech products (such as DVD-player, head phones, video games)…
Other places offer you to ask for some custom-made clothes and even suites for really cheap prices.
Yùyuán Garden (豫园)
Located in the old city of Shanghai, not too far from the Bund, the Yuyuan Garden opens its doors to let you discover a beautiful and peaceful place full of ancient trees, old style houses and little bridges. Do not get impressed by the crowd around the area, once inside the garden, the majority of people do not really want to enter and the noise will disappear quickly. The old city of Shanghai is full of chaotic streets, rough stone paths and old Shanghai residential places. You might be attracted by the Wenmiao Temple (215 Wenmiao Lu, east off the southwest section of Zhonghua Lu)or the Xiaotaoyuan Mosque (52 Xiaotaoyuan Jie, off Fuxing Dong Lu by Henan Nan Lu), symbols of the religion diversity.
Trips around Shanghai
Even if Shanghai offers a lot of different places to visit, China is a great country to travel in general. If you want to spend some days around this huge city, here are some really interesting destinations.
Hangzhou is only 180km far from Shanghai so it will take you an average 45 minutes to get there by train from the Shanghai South Railway Station.
Once you’re there, you can make your way through more than 40 different tourist places and create your own list. But the majority of the interesting ones are around the West Lake. You will enjoy it whatever the season but the best period to visit the city is during April and October. After walking around the lake, you can taste the famous food from Hangzhou and then make your selection among the different temples where the statues are impressive. Just one last advice, try to create your own list; the tourism agencies will maybe guide you through expensive places.
Based100km away from the West of Shanghai, this “Little Venice” is another pretty location to spend one or two days. The little stone bridges will seduce you and distract you from the subtropical weather, but be careful to avoid the city during August or you might be discouraged by the rain.
Among the different places that you are able to visit, do not miss the Beisi Pagoda (Běisì Tǎ 北寺塔) and its 9 floors which stand since the 14th century. The other one is the Lingering Garden (Liú Yuán 留园, categorized as World Heritage by the UNESCO) which is divided into 4 different places (where you will find some statues, bonsais, cave…).
The city is also famous for its embroidery skills, so do not hesitate to have a look at it.
Also enlisted as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Yellow Mountain offer wonderful sceneries. About 500km southwest of Shanghai, 50km of scenic area and long walks are awaiting for you.
The famous spots are: the Sea of Clouds, the Oddly-Shaped Rocks, and the Imaginatively Named Pines; you can walk by the two lakes (Taiping and One Thousand Islets) and the three waterfalls (the “Renzi Waterfall", "Baizhang” and the “Jiulong Pu” which means “Nine Dragon Waterwall”).
You can climb most of the mountain by walking or by cable railway which can save you some time. Moreover, the walking routes do not have great scenery every time so you can make your choice regarding which part of the mountain you want to climb. You can have an idea of the sceneries by watching the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which is really famous as well.
Mògàn Shān 莫干山
This bamboo mountain is not really famous among the foreign community and the Chinese one as well, which is a pretty nice opportunity for you to discover this place without meeting anyone on your trip. So if you want to get away from the noise and lights of Shanghai, this is the perfect place to be. You can get there by taking a train to Hangzhou and then catch a van to reach the mountain.
Because this is not a typical destination for the foreigners, you will maybe face a lack of English signals but sometimes it is quite interesting to be left by yourself. The Chinese people will anyway manage to
help you finding your way and if you still have some problems. Just ask the driver to go to the “place where the foreigners gather” and you will surely arrive to a little and charming hotel restaurant which is hold by an English couple. So you will not have difficulties to have a typical western style breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Moganshan has some really charmful walking routes lost in the mountain; some of them will lead you to the top where the clouds often pass by.
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