It’s hard to escape news of China’s progress these days, and Shanghai is the city right at the heart of it. As the ever-changing face of a fast-growing world power’s modernity, you’ll find iconic skylines, international cuisines and something of a rat-race feel, but in a trendy, make the most of life way. You might be surrounded by suited businessmen, but the noveau rich of Shanghai certainly know how to party all night.
There’s a prevailing feeling that Shanghai is at the heart of something big, and not just in terms of China. As you walk along the waterfront (The Bund) and eye the multi-storey business hotels, or climb the symbolic architectural wonders of Pudong, you’ll find designer bars, pricey cocktails and an ambience that would fit right in amongst the richest corners of London or New York. The ambiance of The Bund on a Friday or Saturday night, illuminated by the glow of hundreds of skyscrapers, makes it something of a promenade; a place to be seen.
Fortunately, while Shanghai may have left its history behind, it’s also made every effort to preserve its sites. The Shanghai Museum is home to more artifacts than you’re ever likely to see, some of them over 4000 years old, while you can feel more involved in things by heading to the Jade Buddha Temple, with its incredible carvings and Buddhist paintings. The Garden of Peace offers a tranquil escape from the vigor of a frantic city, while Nanjing Lu – the city’s dedicated shopping street – will throw you right back into the heart of it, to explore herbal medicine shops where pieces of Ginseng can cost thousands of dollars, and snack on dumplings from a street-side stall.
A cruise down the Huangpu River is a quintessential tourist experience, while putting aside an evening to take in the world-renowned Shanghai Acrobatic Troop’s selection of extraordinary balancing acts and strange contortions is another unmissable Shanghai institution. Things change so fast here; you’ll have to find your own way to the most fashionable restaurant of the week, or the ‘in’ club, but you’ll have an incredible time doing it.