Shanghai might not stack up to the site seeing mecca of Beijing, but if you find yourself stopping over in shanghai for a day or two, or even here for a little longer, there is still plenty to see and do. Here are a few favourites:
French concession – Wander down the tree lined streets among a mix of 1930s colonial and new Chinese architecture. Browse through the boutique shops, stop and people watch from the cafes. If you are an earlier riser then head to the closest park and take in the sites of the strange morning exercise routines of the older generation.
Yongfu Road – A great little strip of cocktail bars and restaurants for the later on in the evening.
Anfu Road – An expat friendly street with good bakeries, cute shops, coffee and restaurants. Head here if you need an easy afternoon.
Taicang Road – Rabbit warren of old chinese homes that have been turned into shops and restaurants. A little bit pricey but an interesting place to walk around. This place can get packed out with tourists and visitors in the weekend, especially if it’s a nice day, so go during the week if you can.
Wukang Road, Sinan Road and Nanchang Road are a few others. The best thing to do is just get lost (with a taxi card for your hotel) and see what you find.
The Bund – Probably the most common of the site seeing areas in Shanghai but definitely a must. Stroll along the Huangpu and take in the contrast of the futuristic skyline of Pudong, while walking beside the old International concession buildings on the Bund. The view back toward the bund from the other side of the river is equally as good and also gives you the opportunity to head up one of the towers to a bar with a view. In the evening and into the night there is some great fine dining and glamorous bars.
Markets– The fake markets are a bit crazy but must be done if you have never been to one before. Try out your bargaining techniques at one of the 3 main markets in shanghai; 580 Nanjing West Road, Pearl Market -Hongmei Road or the Science and Technology market in the Metro Station. There is a lot of shopping in Shanghai and you can find almost anything at a much cheaper price than most places. Other places to check out: Antique Market, Flower Market (not just flowers), Fabric market – tailor-made suits, coats and much more (you will need to be in Shanghai for at least a few days). If it’s all a bit much for you, or you want to make sure you don’t get ripped off, then go on Suzy’s shopping tours (www.shoppingtoursshanghai.com), which will give you a good overview of these places.
Spicy Food – China has some amazing food and you can get pretty much all of it here. Sichuanese, Hunanese, Yunanese and Xingjang food is excellent. All from regions where it gets very cold it is full of flavour, and spicy hot. Check out Lost Heaven, Pin Chun, Di shi dong or Sichuan Citizen for some great food with english friendly staff and menus. Check out smartshanghai.com for a more complete guide of food options.
English is becoming more common here but it is not generally spoken. To get around Shanghai you will need to have the address in manderin for your taxi driver. If that is going to be difficult, then the metro system is one of the best and easy to understand with both chinese characters and English. There is a great taxi help line, which you can call if you are having trouble pronouncing the road names to your driver – 962288.
Going to be in Shanghai for a while longer? Then investigate going on a day trip to a nearby watertown for some picturesque snaps of ancient chinese towns with water lined streets and stone bridges. There are quite a few all within a couple hours drive from Shanghai. Zhouzhuang, Wuzhen, Zhoujiajia, Xitang (featured in Mission Impossible 3), Tongli and Suzhou just to name a few.
Would you recommend this destination: Yes
Overall rating: 4/5