Shanghai is full of modern skyscrapers, high rises and buildings, but it doesn’t boast of as many must-visits places like NYC. Instead, it takes all the action down to its streets, the best venues to see daily life unfold in front of your eyes and explore Chinese culture at its very best.
That said, there are a few must-see destinations that you should always add into your itineraries. A good place to find some of the below great tours is Bookmundi.com.
The Bund (above image)
Irrespective of how many magnificent skyscrapers Shanghai comes up with, the Bund shall always remain famous as its best and most popular landmark. Considered to be the star attraction of the city’s distinctive skyline, the Bund presents a magnificent riverside promenade and beautiful European styled buildings which exude a glamorous and exotic feel. Spend some time exploring those breathtaking Huangpu River scenes, but also make sure you visit a few of those restaurants and nightclubs located in the area.
The finest classical garden in China is sure to be full of tourists irrespective of when you visit. Unrelenting crowds aside, this magnificent Ming Dynasty garden presents a beautiful collection of bamboo clusters and pagoda-style pavilions which let you enjoy natural beauty at its scintillating best. The garden occupies an area of 5 acres and is divided into 6 scenic areas, with each area having its own attractions. Some of the best areas to see are the Inner Garden, Sansui Hall and the Wanhua Chamber. You can also visit the adjacent bazaar, a good place to buy souvenirs, provided sharpen your bargaining skills before visiting. The Yuyuan Garden is also a part of this amazing Bookmundi tour.
Oriental Pearl TV Tower
The Oriental Pearl TV Tower rises to a height of 468 meters, making it the highest tower of Asia, as well as one of the highest in the world. The tower presents a magnificent image with its steel spheres of different sizes and makes you fall in love with its architectural ingenuity. Double-decker elevators transport tourists up and down the tower while attendants introduce them to its rich and fascinating history. What makes the Oriental Pearl TV Tower even more exciting is that its various spheres are full of recreational activities, futuristic designs, shops, restaurants as well as a museum. And if you’re lucky enough to visit on a clear day, the observation deck offers some of the best views of the Huangpu River.
Jade Buddha Monastery
Considered to be one of the most popular Buddha temples in Shanghai, the Jade Buddha Monastery also attracts a number of visitors, particularly during the Chinese New Year. The most popular structures in the temple include the Tang Hall, Recumbent Buddha Hall and the great Devajara Hall. Those glittery white jade statues leave you breathless and the remarkable collection of porcelain simply makes your day. Out of the two Buddha statues located here, the seated Buddha is considered to be more impressive.
The country’s museums still present a sorry state, especially when you consider its fascinating 5000-year-old history and those breathtaking relics China is usually associated with. Located on People’s Square, the Shanghai Museum tries to change all that. A far cry from many of the poorly lighted museums in the country, the Shanghai Museum presents a magnificent collection of more than 120,000 cultural relics such as ancient ceramics, 400 beautiful bronzes and all kinds of sculptures. It is impossible to explore the entire collection in a single day, so Bookmundi recommends you to choose your favorite section and dive in. Bookmundi also offers a museum experience of our own. Check out History Tour In Shanghai Archive for more details.
Zhujiajiao Water Town
A trip to China is never complete without visiting one of its water towns. Whoever said you have to travel to Venice to experience all those watery wonders, when you have a mesmerizing oasis complete with Chinese gondolas here in the East. Located at a distance of 47 kms. from the city, Zhujiajiao Water Town is a traditional water town that presents breathtaking rock bridges, enchanting waterways, buildings which date back to the Ming dynasty and a 1700-year-old history. There are four water towns in Shanghai, and Zhujiajiao is considered to be the best-preserved of the lot. Some of the best things to see in Zhujiajiao include the Fangsheng Bridge, Yuanjin Buddhist Shrine and Kezhi Garden.
Also known as the City God Temple or the Yi Temple, the Chenghuang Temple is one of the must-visit attractions of Shanghai. The temple covers an area of 10000 sqm. and is home to two breathtaking gardens – the East Garden and the West Garden. It is has a number of halls such as the bedroom palace, grand hall and star gods hall. Once you’re done exploring the temple, you can dive into all that food served in the area. Some of the best drinks of Shanghai can be found in Chenghuang Ancient Street and the dim sums of Lubolang Café are phenomenal. Bookmundi recommends you to try and visit the temple during the Sanxun Festival, the day when the Chenghuang god comes to the temple and the entire area is decorated with red lanterns, incense, folk arts and activities to celebrate his visit.
Huangpu River Cruise
It would be a sin to visit Shanghai and not go for a cruise in the Huangpu. A ferry cruise or a boat ride is the best way to check out Shanghai’s most famous attraction, The Bund, and taking to the water is an always exciting experience. If you’re searching for amazing photo ops, this is the place to be! Bookmundi recommends you to go for the cruise just before sunset so that you can watch the sun go down and the city light up from the water.
Nanjing Dong Lu at Dawn
Waking up so early on a holiday sounds horrendous, but we promise you that the experience will be worth it. Nanjing Dong Lu is full of tourists and pesky vendors throughout the day, but if you visit the area at dawn, you will find most of it to be empty. What makes your day is watching local life unfold right in front of your eyes in this popular street as people come out to practice tai chi or play badminton. If you’re not one to wake up at dawn, you’ll love this 2 Hours Guided Tour Throug The Classic French Concession tour. City walks and exploring needn’t always be a hassling experience!
The SWFC Observatory
Despite living in the city, very few of the locals have actually gone inside the Shanghai World Financial Center. The center hosts a number of fun events right through the year, so it makes sense to check up on those while planning your itinerary. And even if you don’t have an event to become a part of, paying that steep entry fee to visit the Garden Observatory, one of the highest viewing platforms in the world, is certainly worth the experience. You can also check out the scale model of the Bund area in the basement exhibition hall, complete with 24-hour time lapse lighting.
Most travelers visiting Shanghai end up becoming a part of group tours, but group tours needn’t always be boring. There are a number of tours and adventures which offer an incredibly special experience, and you can find most of them here at Bookmundi. If you’re visiting Shanghai and are still not sure of what to do when you’re free, do check out one of the many tours that we have on offer at Bookmundi.com, and of course all our travel resources available.
Also check out the Top Ten Things to do In Shanghai to discover more about the Chinese culture and landscapes at their best.