A Glorious New Age City

Shine on Shanghai

Gliding High Into the Sky © Shawn Clover
Gliding High Into the Sky © Shawn Clover
19 MAR 2015
by

The city of Shanghai is one of China’s showpiece metropolis that has drawn the attention of discerning world traveler. The city is ideally located on the estuary of the shimmering Yangtze River and over the past decades has evolved into one of the most significant economic and financial hub of China. Needless to say, the city with its plethora of attractions, both natural and man-made, has become one of the most visited cities in China in terms of quality international tourists.

For the first time visitor to this thriving metropolis, the sheer scale of modernization, is in itself astonishing. This is one Chinese city which is renowned for its multi-culturalism and the harmony of the contemporary culture with that of the traditional one is pretty unique. Shanghai being the largest city in China and an economic powerhouse that it is, the city is always in the news.

Shanghai, is basically a port city on the picturesque Huangpu River and in the days of yore used to be a fishing and textile hub. This great city has carved a niche for itself after the Chinese opened up the city by the Treaty of Nanking, way back in 1842. As a result, this port city was much preferred by the British, French, Americans, Germans, and Russians, each of whom have left their indelible architectural impression through their distinctive river banks, trading centers and graceful mansions, all of which fascinates today’s global traveler .

The city’s cosmopolitan culture and booming commerce, earned it the soubriquet of "Paris of the East" in the 1930’s era. Even though the city used to be the focal point of Chinese Communism, much to the amazement of the world community, Shanghai was ignored and overlooked during the 1960s and 1970s - the period of Chinese Cultural Revolution. It was only in the 1990s that the Chinese chose this city for accelerated development and be a beacon of China's reform and development.

As dusk descends on Shanghai, the city comes alive in all its glory. The Huangpu river bank, which is dotted with diverse architectural specimens, popularly referred to as “the Bund” offers a truly surreal sight. Each of these historical edifices were built during different eras and is an amalgamation of Gothic and Baroque style architecture.

The two most remarkable edifices are the magnificent Bank of China Building and the exquisitely designed Peace Hotel, both of which are suffused in state-of-the-art lighting. Apart from the Bund, the city of Shanghai is replete with stately mansions, impeccably designed garden estates, elegant clubs and magnificent cathedrals built by Western seafarers more than a century back.

Visitors to Shanghai would do well to embark on a walking tour of the Old City and the sight of old teahouse, oriental temples, exquisitely designed pagodas and archetypal Chinese gardens will come as a breath of fresh air for the visitors. Time permitting, a visit to the Huangpu River bank, popularly referred to as Puxi can be a very rewarding option. There is also the Pudong New Area, which is well worth a visit with its plethora of skyscrapers like the iconic Orient Pearl Tower, which happens to be one of Asia’s highest observation deck. Other prominent edifices like the contemporary Jin Mao Towers and the outstanding World Financial Centre, where the world’s tallest hotel –the Park Hyatt hotel is positioned can be a very exciting sightseeing option.

The renowned “Nanjing Road”, which happens to be China’s foremost commercial district has over the years evolved into an iconic landmark of Shanghai. This veritable commercial hub which stretches approximately for 5.5 kilometers and is replete with shops selling anything from everyday grocery to some of the world’s most high-end luxury gadgets.

From the excitement and buzz of Nanjing Road to the serene vistas of Yuyuan Garden, with its harmonious blend of Ming and Qing style of architecture makes for a truly ethereal experience. The most beautiful part of the garden is the Grand Rockery and in close proximity is the graceful City God Temple where one can indulge in mouthwatering Chinese delicacies served by the local street snack vendors.

For the Buddhist aficionados, Shanghai’s magnificent Jade Buddha Temple is a must visit site. Legend has it that the White Jade Buddhas were transported all the way from Burma (Myanmar) in the 19th century. The temple oozes with spirituality and devotees can be seen offering their prayers at this holy temple. The cynosure of all eyes is of course the sitting Buddha and the fascinating array of images of royalty which makes for a veritable treat. For those with a passion for art and culture would do well to visit Shanghai Museum, where some of China’s rare and priceless artifacts are impeccably preserved. The Museum has carefully preserved ancient Chinese bronze, pottery items, rare paintings and inscriptions. The remarkable feature of the Museum is that it looks a lot like the ancient Chinese cooking pot –“Ding”. Apart from Shanghai Museum, other museums worth visiting are the Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Residences of Sun Yat-sen, Song Qingling, Chenyun and Pingpu Revolutionary Memorial Hall, The Memorial Hall of Fushou Garden, as well as the Tobacco Museum, Science and Technology Museum and the elegant Urban Planning Exhibition Hall.

Traveler’s Fact File:

Getting There:

The city of Shanghai is the busiest transport hub of Eastern China and so is very well linked with two international airports - Pudong International Airport the Hongqiao International Airport. The city offers convenient connections with nearly two hundred cities and direct flights to cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Fukuoka, Osaka, Tokyo, Bangkok, Brussels, Madrid, Paris, Singapore, London, Moscow, Rome as well as provincial links with Hong Kong and Macau. Domestic flights link Shanghai city with Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xian, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang and others.

Accommodation:

There are few cities in China that can match the plethora of accommodation options offered by the city of Shanghai. From budget category hotels to the luxurious ones, Shanghai’s amazing array of hospitality options has been inspiring millions of today’s world traveler to come on a visit to this fabulous Chinese city. For quality accommodation, the Puxi neighborhood with its blend of old and new hotels with elegant architectural style and design are much preferred by the discerning international traveler. There is also the neighborhood of Pudong, which has an eclectic mix of new age hotels.

For further information on the city of Shanghai, please feel free to contact
Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration
Tel: +86 2151105000 Ext. 2626
becky.liu@meet-in-shanghai.net