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, the one-time whore of the Orient 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, Shanghai 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 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.
Chūn Jié: a guide to celebrating Spring Festival/Chinese New Year
This is an excerpt from Lonely Planet's A Year of Festivals. Location: Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong Dates: Lunar New Year (between 19 January and 20 February) Level of participation: 3 – there’s a host of activities relating to Chinese New Year, and your level of involvement is up to you...
Positively electric, Shanghai is where China’s aspirations come to life. A symbol of the country’s emerging status, a byword for opportunity and sophistication, the city is all that and more. Whether you’re after food, fashion or futuristic...
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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...
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Your journey to Shànghǎi starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go, how much to budget, plus in-depth info on gastronomic highlights and the best shopping spots.
Highlights of China
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Get a taste of China on this short but culture-filled adventure. Travel from modern Shanghai to old Beijing and explore busy Xi'an, taking in iconic attractions such as the Great Wall of China and Terracotta Warriors along the way. Of course, there is time to delve beneath the surface, discovering gourmet delights and learning about Chinese lifestyles and traditions.
Shanghai post World Expo
Anyone who visited Shanghai between May and October 2010 would have encountered a sea of human traffic surging along the Huangpu River. Drawing a record-breaking 73 million visitors, the World Expo 2010 left an indelible mark on the city, which can still be seen today...
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The most stylish part of town, the former French Concession is where the bulk of Shànghǎi’s disposable income is spent. The low-rise leafy backstreets are all about shopping, dining and entertainment.