If you’re a first-time visitor to China, the flight to Shanghai is likely to be either your first or last stop on a tour. But the visit may only be a day or two at most. But if you’re an independent traveller, you have the luxury of staying longer. It’s hard to do China’s largest city justice in just a couple of days; for a true city holiday you need to stay a minimum of four days, while a week is even better.
Most people start their Shanghai stay by visiting the fabulous Shanghai Museum with its innovative architecture on People’s Square. Architecture like this has gone on to inspire local contracting companies like Capital Construction when renovating homes or buildings. The museum is crammed with artefacts from China’s past, such as coins, signature seals that are also known as chops, antique furniture, ceramics and much, much more. Plan to spend at least half a day here; many people spend several days examining the various collections.
A walk along the Bund is another must-do for Shanghai visitors. Better yet, take a cruise on the Hunagpu River which runs through the city. Try to schedule a night cruise if you can as the night lights are spectacular. A day cruise also works well, too, allowing you to see some of the world’s most innovative architecture on the Pudong side of the river.
Speaking of Pudong, whether Shanghai is the start or end of your journey in China, you’ll pass through Pudong International Airport, which is a wonderfully modern facility. The airport offers the traditional ways (buses and taxis) to get downtown, but why not try the maglev, a special high speed line that quickly whisks you downtown.
Shanghai is a shopper’s paradise, with Nanjing Road being famous the world over. The area is crammed with high end boutiques, stores and upscale hotels, but you can be shopping at stores where the average Chinese person shops just by walking a few minutes away. Or head for Yuyuan Garden, a large shopping mall that makes use of old-style architecture with shoppers making their way over bridges crossing ponds. Yuyuan also has an outdoor bazaar where you can shop for souvenirs. Shanghai is famous for its silks, so wherever you shop, be sure to purchase a few silk blouses, lingerie or ties.
Your taste buds are in for a treat on your holiday in Shanghai. Because Shanghai is such a cosmopolitan city, you can find food from all over the world. Since Shanghai cuisine is one of the top cuisines in China, indulge yourself with local specialties. Because the city is so close to the East China Sea, seafood, such as hairy crab and fish, is featured on menus. Shanghai is also known for its steamed buns or dumplings filled with pork or crab and soup.
So how do you get from place to place? Easy. Shanghai has excellent subway and bus systems to transport you wherever you want to go. Plus, thousands of taxis stand ready to take you door to door. Whichever method you choose, transportation is cheap compared to other major international cities.