The most dynamic city in the world’s fastest- changing nation, Shanghai is an exhilarating, ever-morphing metropolis that isn’t just living China’s dream, but is setting the pace for the rest of the world.
Once a playground for foreign adventurers and socialites, Shanghai is now where home-grown tycoons build soaring monuments to capitalism and the locals party all night. But despite a past as evocative as it is notorious, the city has dispensed with the rear-view mirror, pushed the pedal to the floor and is roaring towards its imagined future so fast that keeping up is almost impossible. New developments spring up weekly, while the rapidly growing middle classes work seven days a week in the hope of graduating to the big-time.
Shanghai is much more Hong Kong than Běijīng; there are no dusty imperial palaces here. Instead, European-style cityscapes and tempting, tree-lined neighbourhoods rub shoulders with the sci-fi skyline of Pǔdōng. Shanghai was where China first met the West and it’s still a frontier town, obsessed with the latest fads, fashions and technology.
But tucked between the shopping malls and the eye-popping modern architecture is the old Shanghai, where temples nestle down alleys, along with street markets and classical Chinese gardens. Shanghai is a city of stunning contrasts, where visitors can go from sipping a cocktail in a designer bar overlooking the Bund, to eating dumplings at a street stall, or gazing at a 10th-century Buddhist monastery, in the space of a few hours. Summer is hot and humid, winter can get cold, but Shanghai never stops.
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Best places to stay in Shànghǎi
Shanghai Food and Markets Walking Tour
Get the lowdown on Shanghai’s culinary landscape with a food-loving local guide! Sample a wide range of dishes as you descend upon the city’s amazing food scene on foot – from authentic stores to top restaurants – stopping at a fresh produce market for veggie picking and local cooking tips. You’ll leave this 2.
Shanghai city guide
The engine of China’s future, Shànghǎi dazzles. A blend of East and West with a voracious appetite for new styles and trends, the city is above all cosmopolitan and cutting edge.
Top 10 Shanghai pastimes
You can’t see the Great Wall from space, but you’d have a job missing Shanghai. One of China’s biggest and most vibrant cities, it is heading places the rest of the country can only fantasise about. In a land five millennia old, Shanghai feels like it was born yesterday...
Zhujiajiao and Seven Treasure Town Day Tour from Shanghai
Head to the outskirts of Shanghai on this guided 1-day day tour to quaint Chinese villages. See Seven Treasure Town, an ancient water town famous for its textiles, before heading to Zhujiajiao, sometimes called 'Pearl Stream, a village that will take you back in time to the Ming and Qing dynasty with its fantastic architecture, ancient bridges and houses.
This phrasebook covers: Mandarin, Cantonese, Chaozhou, Dongbei Hua, Hakka, Hunanese, Shanghainese, Sichuanese, Xi'an, Yunnan Hua, Zhuang, Mongolian, Tibetan and Uighur.
Shanghai's coolest hotels
With a seemingly endless array of hotels and new ones springing up all the time, it can be hard work searching for a decent room in Shanghai. Below is a guide to the city’s most fabulous accommodations, from five-star stunners housed in towering skyscrapers to beautifully renovated pre-war villas...
Experience Shanghai: Small-Group Tea Ceremony
Experience an authentic Chinese tradition during this small-group tea ceremony in Shanghai. Led by a tea master, you’ll sip rare tea, listen to soothing music, and enjoy fragrant incense while learning about the importance of tea in Chinese culture with the help of your English-speaking guide.
Whistle-stop Shanghai on business
This dynamic city of almost 20 million people, with no single discernable centre point and few iconic landmarks, doesn’t make for an easy stroll; if you’ve down-time in Shanghai between business meetings, making the most of it might not come easy...