Look to the sky in Shanghai - one of the most progressive cities in China with the designer skyline of Pudong for proof.
Switch between the furious pace of modern China with its myriad of cool
bars, eclectic boutiques and contemporary galleries, and its traditional past. Explore art deco buildings along 'the Bund' (outer bank), stroll through the quiet leafy streets of the former French Concession, or enjoy a steaming bowl of 'xiaolongbao' soup dumplings from a street vendor on the cobbled streets of the Shanghai Jewish Ghetto. The 'Paris of the east' is a charming combination of the old and new and simply by being there, you will be at the centre of modern history.
A boat tour on the Huangpu River or a stroll along the Bund. Here are some other ways to get under the skin of Shanghai:
- Visit the authentic Longhua Temple complex, dating from the 'three kingdoms period'
- Get a bird’s eye view of Jin Mao Tower from Skywalk 100Opens external site in a new window from 474 metres up the Shanghai World Financial Centre
- Visit Shanghai MuseumOpens external site in a new window for Chinese historical artefacts
- Sip on a cocktail and take in the view from the Cloud 9 BarOpens external site in a new window at the top of the Hyatt
- Visit the Propaganda Poster and Art CentreOpens external site in a new window to brush up on politics and art from the Mao era
- Buy fresh seafood at the Tongchuan Lu seafood market and have it cooked to order at the neighbouring restaurants.
Split by the Huangpu River, Shanghai is divided into the old city centre of Puxi, on the west shore of the river, and the newer business centre of Pudong, on the east shore.
You’ll probably find yourself in Puxi, the cultural and entertainment epicentre of Shanghai, but the modernist attractions of Pudong, with its dizzying Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Cente are not to be missed.
Puxi has attractions like the BundOpens external site in a new window with its wonderful art deco buildings overlooking the Huangpu River, fancy shops and the contemporary Shanghai Gallery of ArtOpens external site in a new window. Visit the former French Concession with its historic European style buildings and the Shanghai Jewish Ghetto. You’ll also find some traditional attractions here, including the Old City God Temple and the beautiful Jade Buddha Temple.
This famous promenade along the bank of the Huangpu River contains dozens of well preserved historic buildings that were previously foreign banks and trading houses, including the famous art deco Peace Hotel, Metropole Hotel, Sassoon House, Park Hotel and the neoclassical HSBC Building.
Stroll along the Bund and visit some of the gorgeous high-end bars and boutiques within the stone walls.
Across the river from the Bund is the central modern financial and commercial district of Lujiazu in Pudong is often referred to simply as Pudong.
Since the development boom of the 90s the construction here has continued to transform the city skyline at a rapid pace. Famous for its futuristic architecture, in particular the Oriental Pearl TV TowerOpens external site in a new window which is a resonant symbol of the city. Many of the skyscrapers house hotels and shopping malls and Pudong International Airport is also on this side of the river.
The tree lined streets of the French Concession are a beautiful contrast to Pudong.
Bound by Ruijin Lu to the east, Yan’an Lu to the north, Zhaojaibang Lu to the south and Huashan Lu to the west – this area includes Xintiandi with its narrow paved streets and refurbished traditional shikumen (alleys) that now house high-end shops and restaurants. Fuxing Park is a large green space with French style gardens surrounded by bars, clubs and restaurants.
Huangpu is the traditional city centre and location of many of the city’s key attractions; People’s Square, People’s Park, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall and City Hall.
The East Nanjing Road pedestrian mallOpens external site in a new window extends from the People’s SquareOpens external site in a new window. Running beneath it all, you’ll find an underground shopping mall and the central metro interchange.
North-east of the city, this large residential area is where Hongqiao International Airport is located as well as Shanghai Zoo. There are some commercial and entertainment hubs around Zhongshan Park.
This area has been settled since the third century AD and the Jing’an Temple is located here. The commercial district of West Nanjing Road extends from here to People’s Square.
This relatively small area is the old Chinese part of the city and a place to see examples of ancient wooden architecture including the Yu GardenOpens external site in a new window, the Old City God Temple and the Huxingting Tea House.
This area is not always on the radar for visitors, but is fascinating because of the significant Jewish population that lived here post World War II. With narrow, cobblestone streets, European style buildings and Ohel Moshe Synagogue, this could be a neighbourhood in Warsaw.
Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CN¥)
220V / 50Hz
Shanghai experiences weather extremes. In winter (December to February) it regularly drops below 0°C, while in summer (June to August) the city reaches temperatures of 40°C and higher. The most temperate time to visit the city is between September and November.
From the airport
Flights to Shanghai on Qantas arrive at Shanghai Pudong International Airport Terminal 1 where you can get into town on the subway system or with a reasonably priced private transferOpens external site.
In and around the city
Once in town, the best way to get around Shanghai is on the clean and simple subway system or a hop-on hop-off tour busOpens external site which will take you around to all the major sights.
Taxis are the best option for private travel but be sure to get your destination address written out for you in Mandarin before you go.
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