Shanghai, meaning upon the sea, is China’s largest city and home to some of the world’s tallest building. Chinese purchase almost half of the world’s luxury goods.
People’s square was once the Number One Racecourse in the Far East before being destroyed. Visitors from all over would gather to bet on horses. Now, the parks and streets are thriving with pedestrians, restaurants, shops, theaters, and museums. People’s Mansion and Shanghai Museum border the central square.
Directions from the Bund: walk along East Nanjing Road to the metro station and take line two to People’s square.
Nanjing East Road
Nanjing East Road, one of the busiest shopping streets in the world, is over 3 miles long and home to the 8 floor Number One Department Store. An estimated 1,00,700 shoppers visit the area each day. The colorful Dangdang sightseeing train transports customers between more than 600 businesses selling jade, silk, name brand clothing, bread, pastries, cakes, candy, and meat.
Knock off or counterfeit brands, commonly found in touristy areas in China, are rated on a scale from A to D according to how similar the product is to the original. A, the most expensive, at times can even fool the manufacturers.
Yu Yuan Old Street
Near YuYuan Old Street is the 400 year old Yuyuan Garden. The garden consists of 6 different 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, also known as Shanghai Old Street. Here Shanhai’s first jeweler, bank, and tea house were located. Now, the market place is bustling with over 200 shops and vendors selling souvenirs, food, jade, pearls, statues, chop sticks, clothing, paintings, and tea. Resembling the Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture, lanterns line the walkway among red ornate buildings with upturned roofs.
A variety of authentic Chinese food can be purchased at cafeteria style food court with a long metal counter wrapping around an enormous kitchen below colorful photos of food. We order a sweet pumpkin rice ball, barbecued pork steamed buns, and a giant crab soup dumpling. A thin layer of rice coats a doughy, stretchy pumpkin ball encasing a cube of pumpkin gelatin.
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.
Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and second tallest in the world. The 118th floor observatory is reached by the world’s fastest elevator in about 30 seconds. In the exhibition hall, visitors can read about the world’s other tallest skyscrapers as well as the history and development of the Shanghai Tower. 9 years after construction began in 2008, the building was ready to be occupied by tenants.
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.
The observatory offers a 360 degree view of Shanghai. From here visitors can look down on the Shanghai World Finance Center, the 3rd tallest building in the world shaped like a bottle opener. Also visible is the 6th tallest building in the world and 2nd tallest television/radio tower in China, the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower.
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 1992 the Peace Hotel was recognized by the World Hotel Association and currently is the only awarded hotel in China.
Passing through the grand lobby with gleaming marble floors is the dimly lit Jazz Bar, providing entertaining jazz bands from around the world to guests since the 1930’s. In the front of the hotel, is the bustling Jasmine Lounge serves high tea and freshly baked French pastries.
The Bund Stretches a mile along the Haungpu River. From here 52 buildings of various architecture dating back to the 1800’s can be seen. At one end are small restaurants including Z Dragon Restaurant, Huangpu Park, and the entrance to the Bund Tourist Tunnel.
The Bund is a popular location for wedding photos. Bridesmaids commonly wear full length red dresses, representing good luck to the new bride and groom. Surprisingly, this 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