Shanghai has an urban population in
excess of 23 million, making it the largest city in the world, excluding suburbs.
The city is located on the Yangtze River
delta, where it enters the East China Sea. The city had
fortifications built during the Ming Dynasty in the 1500s. Shanghai was predominant in the late 1800s and early 1900s due to its association
with the British, who gained control of the region in the First Opium War
in 1842. Shanghai's influence declined under communism, but
has regained strength since the 1990s. It is now the symbolic
centerpiece of a booming Chinese economy and has the busiest
container port in the world.
Summer temperatures in Shanghai are comfortable and not exceedingly
hot. Rainfall increases in the summer months, but rainfall is common
throughout the year. Winter temperatures are cool and damp.
Winter temperatures seldom go below freezing, except when Siberian cold
weather reaches the city. October and November can be excellent
months to visit, as temperatures are still reasonable and rainfall is at
its lowest levels.
High speed Maglev trains, that approach 300 mph
(430 kph), are available at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and will deliver passengers
to Longyang Rd station in 8
minutes. From there it's another 20 minutes to People's Square and
the downtown area. Alternately, a cab ride will be quicker and more
Yu Garden, Yu Yuan, Shanghai
Things to see and do in old town Shanghai:
Yu Garden (Yu Yuan) is a top rated tourist
destination. The garden is traditional Jiangnan style. In
the center of the garden is the popular
Hu Xin (Huxingting) Pavilion Tea House. The Huxingting is accessed by the
zig zag Jiuqu Bridge. The pattern of the bridge
protects the tea house from ghosts. The Yu Yuan Bazaar is
located adjacent to the garden, where City God Temple and the Shanghai
Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao)
are also found.
The Bund is the riverfront promenade area along the Huangpu
River. It's a great place to view the architecture along the
promenade and catch views to the skyscrapers
across the river. Here you will find the Monument to the People's Heroes
in Huangpu Park at the confluence of the Huangpu River and the
Wusongjiang. The Fairmont Peace Hotel with its Jazz
Bar and the pedestrian-only section of East Nanjing Road
are found in this area. There is also a pedestrian tunnel under the river to
Xin Tian Di (Shikumen Xintiandi) - a large area along
Taicang Road that was once an old residential zone. Today
it has been converted to
restaurants, bars and clubs, while retaining its traditional Shikumen
architecture of brick construction and ornamental gates.
Dongtailu Antique Market - antiques and souvenirs.
Take a walking tour of the Shanghai French
Concession. Fuxing Park is at the center of this French colonial-era
district. In the park men bring their caged birds for a stroll
and conversation with fellow birders. At 7 Xiangshan Road is the former residence of Sun Yat-sen,
the first president of the Republic of China.
Walk among the skyscrapers in the area known as Lujiazui,
Shanghai World Financial Center - this building was
originally designed with a circular hole through its top, however its
resemblance to the unpopular Japanese flag resulted in a redesign to a
rectangular opening. Visit the observation deck or the Park
Jin Mao Tower
- right beside the Shanghai World Financial Center. Visits the
observation deck or the Grand Hyatt Shanghai.
Travel east about an hour and a half to Suzhou
where the delta of the Yangtze River creates several water
villages. The narrow canals creates an area known as the
Venice of the East. The best known is Zhouzhuang Water Village,
but Tongli and Zhujiajiao are found here too.
Another popular destination in Suzhou is the Liu Garden (Liu Yuan or
Lingering Garden). Many tour
companies arrange full day trips from Shanghai.
Take a full day trip to Hangzhou's West
including Six Harmonies Pagoda (Liuhe Pagoda), Meijiawu Tea Village, Su Causeway and Flower Harbor.
Fly to Xian for the day and
see the Terracotta Warriors. Alternately take an overnight
sleeper train to save travel costs, accommodation and daylight
Fly to Beijing
for the day and see the Great Wall. Alternately take an
overnight sleeper train to save on travel costs, accommodation and
daylight hours. There is also a high speed train.
Fly to Guilin for the day
to experience the Li River.
Zhouzhuang Water Village
Savor the Tastes of Shanghai:
Xiaolong bao is the trademark food of Shanghai. It
is a soup dumpling filled with broth and pork or crab. Try Din Tai Fung
for a popular version.
Radish pickled in soy sauce (jiang luobo).
Tofu skin with mushrooms (fuzhu).
Cucumber with aged vinegar (pai huanggua).
Sweet-and-sour spare ribs (tangcu paigu).
Tofu with wild greens (malantou).
Pork with bamboo shoots (hongshao rou he zhusun).
Fish and scallions (congbao yutou).
Spring rolls (lumpiang).
M on the Bund
- a classic martini at the roof terrace overlooking the Bund.