If travellers want to experience life in a futuristic far-eastern mega-metropolis then Shanghai is the place to go. Riding the crest of the Chinese economic miracle, even Beijing doesn’t have the energy and sense of awesome scale and ambition of Shanghai. The city is extremely well connected to the rest of the world but the distances and costs involved in getting here work against short trips. Perhaps more than any other city in China, Shanghai is ready and waiting to welcome visitors and show off its fascinating history and exciting promise for the future.
photo by koshrf
Many visitors are surprised by the weather in Shanghai, despite many of them arriving in high summer. It gets very hot but, more importantly, the humidity is incredible until the air is cleared with sudden showers of rain. This means that essential items to bring during summer visits are several changes of clothes for each day and an umbrella. In winter the weather is less of a challenge although it can get quite cold so be prepared to wrap up warm.
To my mind the most fascinating thing about Shanghai is the possibility to see and compare the architectural styles that clearly show the evolution of the city. Traditional Chinese buildings gradually give way to western style colonial styles and then, finally, the skyscrapers and gleaming modern buildings reach towards the sky and give the city its distinctive and ultra-modern skyline. Many of the traditional Chinese style temples are open for visitors to enter and explore, usually for free although a donation is appreciated.
For a new perspective on the city’s skyline, or just a chance to get some fresh(er) air, then take to the river. There are many options of boats plying the waterway, tourist boats will take you on a scenic tour while the regular ferries used by the locals will simply cross in the shortest time possible. The views from both can be stunning, although the tours are obviously more impressive and priced accordingly. The food in Shanghai is both impressive and varied, the migrant populations from far-flung parts of China mean that delicacies from diverse regions are available. Restaurants used by locals rather than mostly tourists tend to have more ‘authentic’ dining experiences, so be prepared.
Shanghai’s excellent international and domestic travel links mean that it is increasingly being used as a gateway to China by visitors hoping to explore more of the country. Mostly this means staying in the city for between three days and a week and then heading off by train. However, Shanghai’s location between Beijing and Hong Kong means that for many it is still a transit stop on the ‘coastal run’. If this is the case on your journey make sure that you allocate enough time to make the most of the city and become acquainted with its unique character.
Hotels in Shangai
Average Price: €43
Average Rating: 8
New Asia Hotel Shanghai
Average Price: €39
Hotel Donghu Guest House
Average Price: €38
Average Rating: 8