For many people, their adventures through China will begin on the east coast in the cultural and historical melting pot that is Shanghai! It isn’t often that travellers will have a lot of time here though, before winging their way north to the country’s capital, Beijing. So to make the most of your time in Shanghai, our China Travel Specialist, Fiona has put together some of the top sites you might want to visit during your time in this cosmopolitan city.
Walks along the river
We recommend staying in one of the city’s hotels located on the Bund. The Bund is a waterfront promenade on the western banks of the Hangpu River, located centrally within the city. Staying here means that you’ll have great access to everything! Being in the former Shanghai International Settlement, you’ll be surrounded by history and spectacular views (on non-foggy days) of the modern city on the other side of the River. Definitely be sure to make time to take a walk along the promenade during your stay or perhaps take a river cruise to see both sides of the city from the water.
Towering city views
If you’ve got a head for heights and it’s a clear day we recommend heading up the Shanghai World Financial Centre. This towering skyscraper stands at a mind-boggling 492m and is currently the 8th tallest building in the world. There are three observation decks on the 94th, 97th and 100th floors. On the 97th and 100th floors you’ll get to do the Skywalk! The decks are open between 8am and 11pm (admission until 10pm) and if you’re keen to see the city lights, we recommend aiming to be on the decks from 9.30pm onwards. Entry fees vary between CNY120-CNY150 each and it’s just a short walk from Lujiazui metro station.
Something for history & culture buffs
If you’re a history and art enthusiast, why not spend some time at the Shanghai museum! This fascinating museum houses several galleries with displays of ceramics, bronzes, ancient sculptures, coins and one of our favourites is the Chinese Minority Nationalities’ Art Gallery. The museum is located on the People’s square in the Hangpu district and is open between 9am and 5pm daily (admission up until 4pm). Admission is free and it’s a short distance from the Peoples’ Square metro station.
A lesson in wildlife at the Natural History Museum
Here’s one for the family or anyone who would love to know a bit more about China’s wildlife. The museum recently reopened in April 2015 to its new home in the Jing’an Sculpture Park, having previously been housed in the Shanghai Cotton Exchange Building. The museum is a fascinating collection of specimens from all over China, from Mammoths to Panda bears – it’s a sure winner for the family and good for a rainy or smoggy day. The museum is closed on Mondays and you can expect to pay CNY30 each for entry. To get there it’s a short walk from either West Nanjing Road or Xinzha Road metro stations.
Chinese gardens… without leaving the City
If you don’t have time to head out to one of the many picturesque water towns then we suggest visiting one of the city’s more popular destinations in the Old Town, the Yu (Yuyuan) Garden. It’s a great place to stroll around the beautiful Chinese gardens that are dotted with pavilions, bridges, lakes and typical Chinese architecture. In Chinese ‘Yu’ means ‘peaceful’ and has a fascinating history dating back to the 16th century! The garden is open between 9am and 5pm daily and is accessible from the Yuyuan metro station.