Shanghai was the third city that I have been able to discover on my trip through China. As I left the “old” Xi’An behind me, I soon realized that Shanghai was different from the two cities that I had visited before. In Beijing and Xi’An I got the typical Asian feeling and I made my way through the traditional buildings. In Shanghai it was the other way around when I walked between the tall skyscrapers and buildings.
There is no middle-way for most people who travel to Shanghai. You either love it or you hate it. I think I belong to that mini-percentage that simply doesn’t know. Nevertheless, there are a lot of activities to do in Shanghai. Today I like to explain which are my top 10.
The most favorite place of the people of Shanghai is probably the Bund. Not strange, since there is a fairly relaxed atmosphere here. The promenade is no less than 1.5 kilometers long. It’s located next to the Huangpu Jiang River and the Bund offers you a beautiful view of the modern skyline of Shanghai. That is why the promenade is the ideal place to take wedding photos. This makes it more difficult to enjoy the skyline, because you have to be careful not to stand on a wedding dress, not to stand on their wedding photo by taking tourist photographs of Shanghai’s skyline and to irritate professional photographers. Anyway, the Bund Promenade remains a good choice and a must-do when you are in Shanghai.
A tall skyscraper here, the bottle-opener (nickname of a financial building) there, museums everywhere and then you come to the most busy but peaceful place in Shanghai ever: the Yuyuan Gardens. These gardens are in the middle of the modern city and the place is surrounded by old, typical Chinese buildings. The gardens are located in the Old City and yes, you read that right: Shanghai also has an old section attached to it. It is very busy here, but once you have a ticket for the gardens you can enjoy the peace in the middle of Shanghai.
Talked about the old part of Shanghai; Tianzifang Street gives a good impression of what Shanghai once looked like. They are narrow streets with all kinds of shops on both sides. I would recommend to discover the streets early in the morning or late at evening. In the day it is very busy and you see everyone with a camera in front of you. These little streets form more or less a labyrinth in which you can lose yourself, but it is very cozy, so it isn’t that bad, is it?
Taking a ferry
If you are more someone who loves tourist activities and does not want to hide it (don’t be ashamed of it!). You can of course take a ferry as many tourists do. For example, I was in Pudong, the financial district and a more modern part of Shanghai and from there I took a ferry to take me to the Bund promenade. This allows you to sail on the Huangpu River and also have an excellent view of the skyline of Shanghai with the famous Oriental Pearl Tower.
Jin Mao Tower
In Shanghai you have high, higher and highest and yet not the highest in the world. I’m talking about the skyscrapers that Shanghai is so famous for. Until 2007 the Jin Mao tower was the tallest building in China, but the Shanghai World Financial Center has pushed off this tower from the highest place. Nevertheless, the Jin Mao tower remains one of Shanghai’s best-known and most popular buildings. The building has 88 floors and on this highest floor there is a bar and space where you can take photos and possibly have a drink.
For those who have paid attention, I have already talked about Pudong several times. Pudong is the more modern part of Shanghai and a must-visit if you want to visit the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Jin Mao Tower up close. This area is the financial district of Shanghai, which is why most buildings here are also office buildings. You can experience a lot in Pudong, although I would describe it more as “the quiet neighborhood”.
On the most popular square of Shanghai you will find the museum of Shanghai. Around 120,000 objects from China are exhibited here. A bronze collection, Chinese coins, paintings, sculptures, etc. In short, in the Shanghai Museum you become immersed in the culture of China through all kinds of objects and sculptures. What also needs to be mentioned is the striking construction of this museum. The ground floor is a square, but the upper floor is circular. The story is that air is round, actually a sphere, while the earth is represented by a solid square (the ground floor).
Oriental Pearl Tower
The pearl tower or the Oriental Pearl Tower is perhaps the first building that comes to mind when I say Shanghai. It stands on postcards, there are images of it and the tower is part of the famous Shanghai Skyline. The pearl tower owes its design to Chinese symbolism. It comes from a poem by the poet Bai Juyi (Tang Dynasty), which describes the music of the Chinese Papa plucked instrument. The Oriental Pearl Tower does not count 3, but 11 balls “falling” down from the sky on the Jaden plate that is represented by the Huangpu Jiang River.
Jade Buddha Temple
Have you ever heard anything about jade? The gemstone that originally comes from China has many meanings. For example, it would be seen as a gemstone that repels evil forces. But then you have the Jade Buddha Temple that was founded in 1882 and this temple contains two Buddha statues made of jade. A vegetarian restaurant is connected to this temple and has therefore become a major tourist attraction.
Food and actually eating the food belongs in the list of activities that you can do in Shanghai. The most famous dish of Shanghai is the Xiaolongbao. This dish is often compared to the known dumplings of China, although they are prepared differently. Xiaolongbao is so tasty, but hot. Very hot. The specialty of Shanghai is filled with hot soup. So a big tip: eat them carefully.
More China-inspiration? Read these articles!
Have you already been to Shanghai?
Do you already follow me on social media?