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With a whopping 23 million people calling China’s industrial hub home, Shanghai is known for being the busier, brusquer sibling to smaller, friendlier Beijing. However, the cosmopolitan element of Shanghai has travellers flocking to see how traditional Chinese housing sits alongside art-deco, Parisian and Tudor architecture. The unexpected level of ‘East meets West’ in Shanghai is part of what makes it so fascinating. A visit to Shanghai will introduce you to China’s most capitalist yet creative city.
- Stroll along the Bund, Shanghai’s financial center, and take in the art-deco and neoclassical buildings. Shop in the exclusive boutiques, have a coffee and snap a shot of the Pudong skyline.
- Explore the ‘Old Town’ for a sense of traditional China.
- The neighbourhoods of the French Concession offer the best of laid-back entertainment from retail therapy to fine food.
- See a Buddha carved from pure jade at the aptly named Jade Buddha Temple.
- For those wanting to seek out Shanghai’s edgier side, head to M50 design space.
- The Yuyuan Gardens are an unmissable experience of fine Chinese landscaping. Avoid the weekend for a peaceful visit.
- Shanghai Tower is China’s tallest building - no easy feat.
- Shanghai Museum perfectly displays Chinese history for all.
- Avoid the heat and crowds of summer and visit Shanghai in early spring (March to May) or fall (September to November).
- Tipping is becoming more common in Shanghai. Though 5% tip is sufficient in restaurants.
- Street food is second-to-none in Shanghai. Make the most of it if you need to watch your budget.
- If eating alone, ask for ‘Xiao Pan’. You’ll be given smaller, cheaper portions suitable for one.
- The Shanghai Metro is huge but also quick and easy to use and machines have an English option.
- Get a transport card and recharge it to use on buses, ferries, metros and even taxis.
- Drink bottled water.
- If you have respiratory problems, consider bringing a mask to fight the fog.