From Suzhou we take a two-hour fast train to Shanghai, one of the most populated cities in the world.
From the Bund, we walk along East Nanjing Road to the metro station and take line two to People’s square, once the Number One Racecourse in the Far East before being destroyed. The street is thriving with pedestrians emerging from restaurants, shops, theaters, and museums. Yolo Café and Bar has a large outdoor seating area and happy hour. Nearby, Irish Pub No. 9 has delicious western style pizza and a small outdoor seating area.
Nanjing East Road, one of the busiest shopping streets in the world is over 3 miles long and home to the 8 story Number One Department Store. A colorful train transports customers between more than 600 businesses selling jade, silk, name brand clothing, bread, pastries, cakes, candy, and meat. An estimated one million seven hundred shoppers visit the area each day.
We learn from a local, knock offs in China are rated on a scale from A to D according to how similar the product is to the original. A is the most expensive and at times tricks even the manufacturers.
We eat lunch at a Chinese restaurant inside one of the street’s shopping malls. Feeling adventurous, we order Sesame Tang Yuan, typically eaten as dessert, a thick, sweet soup of rice balls filled with black sesame, lo mien, and cold quinoa salad at a Chinese restaurant inside one of the street’s shopping malls.
Yu Yuan Old Street
Walking to YuYuan Old Street, visitors pass the four hundred year old Yuyuan Garden. The garden consists of six sections separated by walls: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall, and the inner garden. Perfectly manicured shrubs and bushes, rock formations, flowers, and statues are on display along the stone path.
At the center of Shanghai is the entrance to Yu Yuan Old Street. Resembling the Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture, lanterns line the walkway among red ornate buildings with upturned roofs. The marketplace is bustling with shops and vendors selling souvenirs, food, jade, pearls, statues, chop sticks, clothing, paintings, and tea.
A variety of authentic Chinese food can be sampled at cafeteria style food court with a long metal counter wrapping around an enormous kitchen below colorful photos of food. We sample sweet pumpkin rice balls and barbecued pork steamed buns. A thin layer of rice coats a doughy, stretchy pumpkin ball encasing a cube of pumpkin gelatin. From a vendor we purchase a giant crap soup dumpling.
Shanghai Circus World, located on metro line one, has a phenomenal Shanghai Acrobat Show. Snacks, beer, popcorn, and even marinara flavored potato chips can be purchased at a small convenience store outside the theatre and brought in to enjoy during the show.
We are on the edge of our seats as a tower of four acrobats ride around the stage on a single bicycle, plates spin on the end of a stick high in the air, and a man balances on boards atop rolling glass tubes. Above us, ribbons hang from the ceiling as dancers perform a colorful show. Men dive and roll through hoops, a giant wheel Ferris wheel spins powered by men, a ceramic vase is tossed in the air and caught on a man’s forehead, and for the finale motorcycles fill a glowing metal ball, their path’s miraculously intercepting at just the right moments.
Directions: metro line one to People’s Square, transfer to line two to East Nanjing Road, walk to the Bund, and ferry across the Huangpu River to Lujiazui Financial Zone.
Shanghai Tower, the tallest building in China and second tallest in the world. Riding the world’s fastest elevator, the one hundred and eighteenth floor is reached in about thirty seconds. In the exhibition hall, visitors can read about the world’s other tallest skyscrapers and the history and development of the Shanghai Tower. Construction began in November two thousand and eight. Nine years later in January of two thousand and seventeen, the building was ready to be occupied by tenants.
The observatory offers a 360 degree view of the city below. The Shanghai World Finance Center, the third tallest building in the world, shaped like a bottle opener can be seen below.
The observatory offers a 360 degree view of the city below. Visitors can look down at the Shanghai World Finance Center, the third tallest building in the world, shaped like a bottle opener, and the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, the sixth tallest building in the world and the second tallest television and radio tower in China. Visitors can mail post cards from the world’s highest post office on top of Shanghai or place a wish on the wishing tree.
The Peace Hotel
Across the street from the Bund is the historic Peace Hotel, also known as the Number One Mansion in the Far East. The hotel reflects both eastern and western architecture with a shiny copper roof, white Italian marble floors, and French glass art. In nineteen ninety-two the Peace Hotel was recognized by the World Hotel Association and currently is the only awarded hotel in China. We pass through the grand lobby with gleaming marble floors and open the door to the dimly lit Jazz Bar, providing entertainment to guests since the nineteen thirties. Being earlier in the day the dark wooden bar is empty, but this evening the sound of jazz from around the world will fill the room. In the front of the hotel, is the bustling Jasmine Lounge serving high tea and freshly baked French pastries.
Stretching a mile along the Haungpu River fifty-two buildings of various architecture can be seen from the Bund, some dating back to the eighteen hundreds. The view of Shanghai across the river looks like a postcard. Walking along the Bund, following signs for Z Dragon Restaurant we pass Huangpu Park and the entrance to the Bund Tourist Tunnel.
As we are enjoying our view, a bridal party arrives to have their photos taken. The bridesmaids wear full length red dresses, representing good luck to the new bride and groom. Surprisingly, the bride wears a Western style wedding gown.
The Bund at Night
Lights from stores, signs, and lamp posts splash onto the busy streets of visitors wanting to view the Bund at night. The once empty sidewalks have become crowded one way lanes of pedestrians with crossing guards directing masses of people to and from the Bund. It’s a magical place at night.
*For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures China Express.
- Day 1: Fly into Beijing
- Day 2: Beijing: Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square
- Day 3: Great Wall Mutianyu and travel to Xi’an
- Day 4: Xian: Terracotta Warriors Guided Tour and travel to Suzhou
- Day 5: Suzhou: Master of the Nets Garden Tour and overnight train to Shanghai
- Day 6: Shanghai: Orientation Walk of the Bund
- Day 7: Shanghai: Carte Blanche
- Day 8: Fly out of Shanghai