China’s bustling metropolis
As the world’s most populous city and China’s economic centre, Shanghai is a bustling metropolis that combines modern and traditional Chinese culture. Situated on the Yangtze River, Shanghai was once a small agriculture village that grew during the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1912) into one of China’s primary trading ports. Now the city is a curious blend of old and new, and while it’s known for its futuristic skyscrapers, it’s also home to an array of European architecture, temples and gardens that have stood the test of time and development. Fast-paced Shanghai is famous for its snacks and street food and there is a huge variety on offer – from breakfast crepes to the classic pork dumplings, to locally-sourced freshwater fish and shellfish.
Things to do
Also known as the Garden of Happiness, Yu Garden covers an area of more than 20,000 square metres. Highlights include the highly decorated main hall and the Hall of Spring, known for once being the headquarters of the Company of Little Swords when it ruled Shanghai. The inner garden holds pavilions, decorative stones and even a miniature mountain range.
French Concession: Tianzifang
The French Concession is a neighbourhood west of the Bund that’s known for its European architecture, large tree-lined streets and abundant shopping opportunities. Tianzifang, located within the French Concession, is particularly known for its warren of alleys, which are filled with cafes, bars and boutiques.
Famous for its seven-story pagoda, at one time the highest structure in Shanghai, Longhua Temple is one of Shanghai’s largest and oldest religious sites. Still the site of Buddhist ceremonies today, the temple complex also features a two-metre tall bell tower dating from 1382 and over 500 gold-painted Luohan Buddhas.
Shanghai’s Promenade: The Bund
The Bund is a large walkway along the west bank of the Huangpujiang River. Known for its European feel, the Bund is made up of 52 buildings constructed in an array of architectural styles, including Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Art Deco. It’s a great starting point to set sail on a sightseeing boat trip around the Huangpujiang and Yangtze rivers.
The Shanghai Museum
The Shanghai Museum houses China’s most important classical Chinese art. A modern building with unique architecture (a round top with a square base), its four floors include ink drawings, calligraphy and seals, as well as large collections of jade, coins and furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368 – 1912).
Travel time 40 minutes
Taxi Approx CNY 200
Shuttle Approx CNY 30
Train Maglev Train, approx CNY 50Back to top
When to go
Shanghai has four distinct climates. Winter is cold, with temperatures dropping below 0°C, though it rarely snows. Summer is hot and humid, with heavy rainfall between June - September, and typhoon season occurring late August to mid-September.
Autumn (September - November) and spring (March - May) are the best times to go to avoid the hot summers and cold winters. Shanghai’s spring period also features an array of festivals, including Labor Day (May 1st), the Dragon Boat Festival (early June) and the Qingming Festival (April 5th), where citizens pay respect to the dead.Back to top
As a large and sprawling city, the best way to see Shanghai is either using the city’s twelve subway lines or taking a taxi. Trains operate from 5.30am to midnight daily, with one-day pass costing CNY 18 or a three-day pass costing CNY 45.
Alternatively the Shanghai Public Transportation card, which costs CNY 20, allows you to ‘top up’ as you go, and can be used for bus, ferry, train and taxi rides. Taxi rides start at 12 CNY for the first 3km, and 2.40 CNY for each additional kilometre.Back to top