Officially the world’s largest city, Shanghai has been surprisingly overlooked as a holiday destination until recently. This bustling metropolis is a symbol of modern China across the world and there’s plenty for travellers to enjoy here, from tours of its glistening modern buildings to dining out at an authentic Shanghai restaurant.
What to see and do in Shanghai
If you’ve never been to China before, Shanghai can be a little overwhelming. Tour operators like Wendy Wu Tours could help you negotiate some of the cultural differences that await. But whether you’re travelling on your own or with a guide, you’ll never be short of things to do in Shanghai. Take a stroll around The Bund for a glimpse into Shanghai’s colonial past; the buildings here exude history at every corner and it’s a great spot for a walking tour.
Another historic must-see is Yuyuan Gardens. Founded in the 16th century, this attraction showcases iconic Chinese architecture and garden design. Make sure you stop in Huxinting Tea House to partake in this traditional Chinese pastime, and the nearby bazaar is a great place to pick up some local souvenirs. To learn more about local history, head to the Shanghai Museum in People’s Square. Here, you’ll find fascinating exhibits on traditional art forms like sculpture, calligraphy and bronzeware.
When you’ve had your fill of Shanghai’s past, look to the future amongst the skyscrapers of Pudong, the modern business district. For the best views of the city, visit the Shanghai World Financial Centre and take the lift up to the Observation Deck, 474m above ground level. Next, join the locals shopping on Nanjing Road, China’s equivalent of Oxford Street. For stores that are a little off the beaten track, visit the French Concession area and browse its fashionable boutiques.
And don’t leave Shanghai without trying the delicious local cuisine. Fish, crab and chicken dishes are popular here, and – as in the rest of China – pork dishes are a mainstay in almost every restaurant. Xiaolongbao, steamed buns filled with pork or crab, are particular favourites. Visit Yang’s Dumplings to taste the best of this Shanghai favourite. If you’re in a group, make sure you visit a hot pot restaurant like Hai Di Lao, where you can order raw ingredients to be cooked in a simmering broth at your table.
Booking your holiday in Shanghai
Trips to Shanghai are easy to book online with the help of operators like Virgin Holidays. Major airlines, including British Airways, run flights directly between London and Shanghai and you can book holiday packages throughout the year. There’s a range of great hotels to choose from in Shanghai as well. For luxury accommodation in Shanghai’s modern district, book a room at the Mandarin Oriental Pudong or the Ritz Carlton Shanghai.
If you’d prefer to stay in the city’s historic quarter, The Fairmont Peace Hotel on East Nanjing Road evokes the colonial atmosphere of Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s. And for anyone looking for centrally-placed accommodation in the stylish French Concession area, the Langham Xintiandi Shanghai is a wonderful five-star hotel.
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