An international metropolis, Shanghai is the largest city in the prosperous, world super-power that is China. A place that has undergone vast modernisation in recent years, sat on the Yangtze River estuary, it is an influential centre that affects the world and has managed to combine the best of the east and west both for business growth and individual welfare.
The country itself continues to undergo pulsating development, providing plenty of glamour to entice every traveller.
Explore the history of Chinese dynasties
Two words that are synonymous with each other are China and dragons; the legendary creature is a powerful symbol of the country and the Chang Jiang River is said to carry the shape of the creature, with Shanghai at the top, and thus it is often referred to as the ‘head of the dragon’.
It might be a modern city but there is still plenty of history and mystery to Shanghai. Zhujiajiao is a classic example of this; an ancient water village that has crumbling buildings, temples and alleyways. It is an hour from the centre but while being away from the hustle and bustle, still attracts big crowds.
To see some more of the marvellous old architecture, Yu Yuan Garden and City God Temple are also a must-see for every visitor. It is a well-preserved temple that still houses a large market and inside the beautiful gardens you can get in touch with your zen.
At ground level
The skyline of Shanghai is filled with huge skyscrapers and beautiful buildings, so while the city may be a labyrinth, it’s important to do some walking. Start with the Bund, this iconic symbol epitomises the modernity of Shanghai and is a great place to tour complete with spectacular views, it is not to be missed. Try to go during the day and in the evening for two different but similarly amazing experiences.
You come to this city expecting a brilliant skyline, and Lujiazui across from the Bund also offers this. Elsewhere, People’s Square in the centre is a huge square that is surrounded by an array of buildings while the Shanghai World Financial Centre is an important hub where you can go up a high-rise tower for the fanciest of all Shanghai viewing stations.
A vibrant, dynamic and youthful city, it is no wonder that Shanghai boasts an eclectic party scene. From the gentrified Xintiandi where you can enjoy trendy bars to the buzzing Nanjing Road there is plenty to enjoy any time of the day.
Once you’re done on foot, you can take a load off by cruising part of the 114 kilometre Huangpu River. An integral part of China’s international trade, it is spectacular to enjoy during the day or when the sun goes down and the lights of Shanghai shine bright.
Being an international hub, Shanghai is simple to get to whilst also having the right air and rail connections to be your springboard to China. Non-stop flights depart from London and take around 12 hours flight time to Shanghai. Many flights do have a layover though, and this can push travel time up to the 14-hour mark.
Shanghai has four seasons and, as is often the case, it tends to be spring and autumn that is recommended for visitors. This is when you are safe from the hot and humid summers with the scattering of downpours and the damp and cold winters, which can drop into negative readings. With this in mind, look for dates from March to mid-May or late September to mid-November for your trip to the Chinese city.
Found in central-eastern China, Shanghai is an enthralling mix of scenic, historical sites and a vibrant, modern city. An affluent area, it needs a good few days to explore as you delve into the exotic promise of this great place
With some of the tallest towers in the world, the skyline is impressive enough to compete with that of well-travelled cities and there are a number of styles amongst the cathedrals and alleyways that are found in Shanghai. It is a creative place, with plenty of arts and entertainment to enjoy while the cuisine is delightful and shopping done seriously.
Key Highlights of Shanghai
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