Shanghai is one of the most Westernised cities in China, but it still holds a bounty of oriental charm, history and culture for the traveler to discover. Its bustling skyline of skyscrapers, towers and cranes (it is said that there are more cranes per square kilometer in Shanghai than anywhere else in the world, such is its rapid development), hides a multitude of incredible discoveries at street level and beyond. And with many more operators offering flights to the city, affordable comprehensive travel insurance options, and an ever increasing number of hotels in the city, it is an accessible destination for many travelers, whatever their budget. Here are some of the main attractions.
This museum is one of the best in China and will immerse you in the ancient culture and traditions of this vast country. With relics from across several centuries arrayed across four floors, you can wander for hours through the history of China. And, even better, entry to the museum is free.(Image by David Leo Veksler)
Power Station of Art
A more modern take on Chinese culture can be found at this exhibition space opened in 2012. The renovated industrial building itself is a fascinating piece of architecture, and provides the perfect backdrop for major Chinese and international touring exhibitions of art and sculpture.
After touring museums or simply wandering the bustling streets, you’ll want some sustenance. And Shanghai is a culinary adventure all of its own. XiaolongBao is a Shanghai staple, being a delicate dumpling filled with tender pork, crab or vegetables. It’s what people eat any time of day or night, and you can find it everywhere. Look for places full of locals, or even with a queue – if people are queuing for it, they know it’s good.
Qibao ancient town
Accessible by public transport, Qibao is one of the ancient water towns that first comprised the city. Much like Venice – but on a smaller scale – buildings sit flush on canals and you can tour on boats or walk over the older age bridges.
As evening approaches head for the Bund, the promenade on the waterfront, for some people watching. It’s here that the Shanghainese come for a stroll before or after dinner. Take a seat at one of the bars housed in the old colonial 1920s buildings that dot the waterfront for a relaxed view. (Image by Azchael)
Dating from the sixteenth century, this is one of the most beautiful of the city’s gardens. With everything from pavilion and halls, to ponds, cloisters and rockeries, it is an oasis of calm amid one of the Orient’s most vibrant cities.
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Feature image by Kris Van de Sande