Shanghai is an effortless blend of ancient and modern. Join hundreds of locals as they perform their daily Tai Chi rituals in Jing'an Park or take the ferry across the Huangpu River to Pudong to see some of the tallest buildings in the world.
It's a paradise for food fans. Try spicy dumplings and hand-pulled noodles from street vendors or linger over cocktails and contemporary cuisine at one of the upscale restaurants on the Bund.
Museums and galleries, historic Shikumen houses, and one of the world's richest collections of Art Deco buildings, or glamorous nightlife and entertainment and luxury shopping - Shanghai is a city with something for everyone.
The Bund is located on the west bank of the Huangpu River so you'll enjoy impressive views of the Pudong skyscrapers as you shop in Nanjing Road or the glamorous No.3 on the Bund mall. After dark, the Bund is truly beautiful ,and its glittering restaurants, bars, and nightclubs are popular with tourists.
Take river cruises down the Huangpu or walk through the French Concession and you'll feel as if you've stepped back to the 1930s. Alternatively, visit the Yuyuan Garden, which dates from the Ming Dynasty, or venture a little further afield to the suburb of Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town that is known as the Venice of Shanghai.
Shanghai's temples offer a fascinating look at the city's Buddhist history. Jing'an Temple, Chenghuang, Longhua, and the Jade Buddha Temple are among the most popular.
Jinshan City Beach is a must for sun worshippers. Jinshan is ideal for family outings, and events like the national kite flying competition in spring and the Fengxia Music Festival each summer add to its appeal.
Take the kids to Shanghai Disney Resort, one of the newest attractions in the city and home to the world's biggest Disney Castle. Or, visit Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, where you can walk through the longest underwater tunnel on earth and explore the only exhibit in the world dedicated to endangered Chinese marine species.
Along the Huangpu River, the Bund stretches for one mile of city views and architectural exploration. Shanghai's colonial past can be understood in all its stages with a stroll past the city's most historical buildings. The western style architecture contrasts with the contemporary skyline across the water, and tourists from all over the world come together to gape at the sights, from public art to people watching.
Inland from Shanghai, Zhujiajiao sits on a network of waterways. This town was established 1,700 years ago and has kept all of its charm. Wandering the stone bridges and canals reveals countless sights: the Kezhi Gardens, Yunjin Monastery, and endless age old teahouses. Hitting the water on a gondola ride really offers immersion into traditional village culture.
This is China's most renowned museum and it blows all the others out of the water. The building itself is an architectural sight to behold, and its vast halls house the greatest of Chinese treasures. Bronze works, ceramics, jades, calligraphy - there is ancient art to satisfy every taste. And each medium is as diverse in content as the next, as these vast halls tell the story of the country through its dynasties.
Yuyuan Garden presents a paradise of colors, sounds and smells. The senses are awakened as you wander through interconnected waterways, paths and pergolas, sights to behold with every step. The Great Rockery offers a bird's eye view of the vast complex, including its mystical five-ton Jade Rock, a satisfying end to an overall great experience.
The main shopping street of Shanghai - and shopping certainly is a popular pass time here -, it is one of the busiest in the world. The area has been forbidden to cars in response to its popularity, and the sheer mass of people is enthralling to watch. At night the street glimmers beneath a remarkable density of neon lights, and the city comes alive - again.
Although peak tourist season is in summer from May to September, the best time to visit Shanghai is in spring from March to April or fall from October to November. Not only will you avoid the showers and humidity of summer, you'll enjoy fewer crowds and more competitive hotel prices.
International visitors fly to Pudong International Airport (PVG), which is 25 miles from the city center. Take the subway (line 2) and change at Guanglan Road for People's Square; the journey takes 60 minutes and tickets are ¥2-7. Or, try the famous Maglev high-speed train, which travels at up to 431mph. Tickets cost ¥50 or ¥40 with your flight ticket for the 7.5-minute trip to Longyang Road Station, where you can connect with the subway. A 24-hour bus service is also available and a single fare for the 90-minute trip is ¥15 to ¥30. Taxis can be found outside the first-floor arrivals hall at both terminals and the fare is ¥160 before 23.00 and 35% higher after.
High-speed train services arrive at Hongqiao Railway Station, which is close to the city's domestic airport. There are regular trains from most major cities in China including Harbin, Beijing, Ningbo, Zhengzhou, Tianjin, and Qingdao and there are good transport links to the city center. Trains from Hong Kong terminate at Shanghai Railway Station, which is at the intersection of subway lines 1, 3, and 4.
New roads and highways link Shanghai with other regional cities like Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Nanjing. The city is also just 2.5 hours from Ningbo via the Hangzhou Bay Bridge, the longest sea spanning bridge in the world.
Shanghai Hongqiao Bus Terminal is also close to Hongqiao Airport. There are regular services from Jiangsu, Nanjing, Zhangjiang, Wuxi, Suzhou, and other major cities.
The city is known for its boutique hotels like 88 Xintiandi, the Langham Yangtze Boutique Hotel, and Le Sun Chine and luxury hotels such as the Peninsula, the Mandarin Oriental, the Four Seasons, the Grand Kempinski Hotel Shanghai, and the Banyan Tree Hotel Shanghai. There is also plenty of mid-range and budget accommodation to choose from including Best Western Pudong Sunshine Hotel, FX Hotel Shanghai Xujiahui, and Hotel Ibis Shanghai JinshaJiang Road.
The Bund - on the west bank of the Huangpu River, the Bund is Shanghai's colonial district. It's known for its beautiful riverside walkway and fabulous views of Pudong as well as Nanjing Road, the city's premier shopping street.
Huangpu - Shanghai's traditional center and noted for attractions like the Shanghai Museum and People's Park, City Hall, and People's Square.
The French Concession - an upscale area that used to be known as the Paris of the East and one of the most elegant parts of the city. Home to Shanghai Stadium and the extensive Xujiahui shopping district.
Despite its massive size, Shanghai is easy to get around thanks to an excellent transportation system that is comprised of the subway, buses, ferries, and the high-speed Maglev train. Buy a three-day subway pass for ¥45 or a combined Maglev and subway pass for ¥55, which allows you to take one Maglev trip and unlimited subway trips over a 24-hour period. Buses are pay per trip and you should have the exact fare of ¥2 ready.
Shanghai is served by over 100 taxi companies. Taxis are a little more expensive than in other Chinese cities and fares range from ¥14 to ¥18 for a two-mile trip depending on the time of day.
You'll need a driving licence issued by the People's Republic of China to rent a car or drive in the city. An International Driving Permit won't cover you but if you're traveling with a Chinese driver, you can rent a car from companies like Avis from ¥138 per day.
Get measured for a suit at South Bund Fabric Market or visit the Chinese flagship Armani store at the No.3 on the Bund complex. You'll find your favorite brands at reasonable prices on Nanjing Road and knick-knacks galore at Fuyou Antique Market, particularly during the Sunday morning Ghost Market. Create your own designer jewelry at Hongqiao International Pearl City, or let the kids explore the stalls at Nihong Kids Plaza.
Food and basic items can be purchased at supermarkets like Carrefour, Tesco, and City Shop. 12 large eggs will cost ¥26 while a quart of milk is ¥19. There are also lots of Chinese outlets like Kedi, C-Store, Kwik, and All Days as well as hundreds of local convenience stores for those last-minute essentials.
Delicious steamed or fried jiaozi dumplings are a Shanghai staple. Try Yang's Fried Dumplings or for the steamed variety, Fu Chun. Visit one of Shanghai's Muslim soup restaurants for hand-pulled noodles that are created from a ball of dough in front of you when you order a bowl of savory lo mein. For something a little more substantial, Lost Heaven serves Yunnan-style cuisine in a villa setting, or try typical Shanghai dishes at Xian Qiang Fang's Hongqiao Road branch. A basic lunch with drink in a city center diner costs ¥78 while a meal in an upscale restaurant is ¥200.
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