Lying on the west bank of the Pacific Ocean, the east edge of Asian continent and the tip of the Yangtze River delta, Shanghai is a fair leap port strategically well-located. Shanghai is one of China's largest economic centers and a city of historical and cultural relics. It has three islands in its territory: Chongming, Changxing and Hengsha Island with Chongming Island as China's third largest island.
Favorite Sights & Experiences:
Strolling the Bund: The most widely known street in Asia, with its gorgeous colonial buildings that were the banks, hotels, trading firms, and private clubs of foreign taipans (bosses of old Shanghai's trading firms) and adventurers past, deserves to be walked over and over again. See up close the exquisite architectural details of the Peace Hotel, the Customs House, the former Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, and scores of other buildings, some lavishly restored, others closed awaiting development. Then head across the street to the Bund Promenade, where you mingle with the masses while admiring the splendor and grandeur of old Shanghai. After you've seen it by day, come back again at night for a different perspective. If your China travel agents have included this metropolis in your itinerary, you should never miss the Zhujiajiao Water Town in urban area of Shanghai.
Admiring the Collections in the Shanghai Museum: China's finest, most modern, and most memorable museum of historic relics has disappointed almost no visitor since it opened in the heart of People's Square. Make it a top priority, and allow a few hours more than you planned on.
Surveying Shanghai from Up High: After crossing the Huangpu River from old Shanghai to the new Shanghai), enjoy the ultimate panorama from either the sphere atop the Oriental Pearl TV Tower or the Jin Mao Tower, two of Asia's tallest structures. On a clear day, you can see forever.
Cruising the Huangpu River: A 27km (17-mile) pleasure cruise from the Bund to the mouth of the mighty Yangzi River, past endless wharves, factories, and tankers at anchor, gives substance to Shanghai's claim as China's largest port and the fact that nearly half of China's trade with the outside world travels these same waters. To enrich your China tour deals of Shanghai, cruising along the Huangpu River should not be missed.
Shopping 'til You Drop: To paraphrase a local saying, if you haven't shopped, you haven't been to Shanghai. Savvy local shoppers know if you want greater choice and better deals, Huaihai Lu with its slew of international boutiques and large department stores is the place to shop. Branching off and parallel to Huaihai Lu, Maoming Lu, Xlngle Lu, and Changle Lu are also home to a number of delightful small shops. Even if you're the kind of person who only shops once a year, a visit to Nanjing Lu, the "Number One Shopping Street in China" is practically required, if only for a chance to marvel (or shudder) at the sheer numbers of people, people, people everywhere! A pedestrian mall makes strolling and browsing that much easier and that much more crowded.
Bargaining for Fakes: Shanghai has any number of antiques markets where you can hone your bargaining skills, but none more colorful than the Fuyòu Market in the old Chinese city (at the western end of Shanghai's restored old street, Shanghai Lao Jie). Half the fun is in rifling through all the personal collections of memorabilia and antiques that the vendors seem to have scavenged; the other half is in dramatically protesting the high prices quoted, walking away, then being called back by a vendor newly willing to deal. The same process and joys of bargaining apply when trying to purchase knock-off designer goods, but caveat emptor. Bargaining in the Yuyuan Market would be a great experience along your Shang tour package.
Tackling Hairy Crab: The name says it all. The signature dish of Shanghai is absolutely scrumptious, but it is seasonal (autumn), and it is best enjoyed at a big local restaurant.
Rediscovering Shanghai's Jewish Past: In the mid-19th century, Sephardic Jews from the Middle East helped make Shanghai a great city. In the mid-20th century, thousands of Jewish refugees flooded the International Settlement north of the Bund. Today, this history can be encountered at the Ohel Moshe Synagogue, where the curator, Mr. Wang, has vivid accounts of this little-known but important Jewish ghetto.
Watching the Acrobats: This has "TOURIST" stamped all over it, but it's nevertheless a totally worthwhile pleasure, especially since Shanghai's dazzling troupes are rightly considered China's very finest at this ancient craft.
Sampling Shanghai's Jazz Scene: The Peace Hotel Jazz Band's nightly performances of New Orleans-style jazz, with some members who have been playing here since before the Revolution (1949), are the ultimate piece of colonial nostalgia, but if this doesn't grab you, modern and more improvisational jazz can be heard at a number of true blue joints: the Cotton Club, Club JZ, and the House of Blues and Jazz.
Drifting in a Gondola through a Water Village: There are any number of picturesque "water villages" near Shanghai where you can be paddled in a gondola along streams and canals as you pass traditional arched bridges, quaint stone houses, and classical Chinese gardens. Two villages stand out: Tongli and Nanxun.
Eating Xiao Long Bao: Unless you're a vegetarian, not trying Shanghai's favorite (pork) dumpling while you're here is tantamount in some circles to not having been to Shanghai at all. The "little steamed breads" spill broth in your mouth when you bite into them. You can find them everywhere, but Crystal Jade Restaurant serves up the best in the city.
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