5 must-try travel experiences in Shanghai

photo by ehnmark on Flickr

Colorful, mysterious, bustling and ever-surprising Shanghai is like the essence of China concentrated in one big, sprawling, neon-tinged metropolis. Shanghai is one of the most intensely multicultural cities in China, where people, cultures and religions from all over this vast country converge to one place. Looming temples with brightly painted decorations, old palaces that harken back to the days of Imperial China, crowded streets and glitzy shopping centers make Shanghai into one of the most dynamic cities ever built. There is much to see in Shanghai in terms of attractions, but if you like to be active during your holiday, or do more than simply look at the sights, here are 5 must-try travel experiences in Shanghai.

Take a walk on the Bund

The Bund is one of the most iconic spots in Shanghai, and a great place for a walk in a very scenic part of the city. The Bund is the waterfront of Shanghai, on the western bank of the Huangpu River. The Bund is a curious place – the waterfront is lined with dignified colonial buildings, tradings houses and embassies. But look across the water and you will see the futuristic sprawl of Pudong, Shanghai’s financial and commercial hub. The view on both sides of the river is especially beautiful at night. The Bund is made to be walked, so a moonlit promenade is a must for every tourist.

A bird’s eye view of the city

photo by decafinata on Flickr

Shanghai can be bewildering and will make you feel small and helpless at times, but the only way to truly realize how huge the city actually is is to go to the viewing platform of the tallest skyscraper you can find, and see the city in all its glory. The Shanghai World Financial Center has three viewing platforms, and since the skyscraper is located in Pudong, the evening is the best time of the day to see the city in all its colorful glory.

Drink tea

Shanghai is full of teahouses serving tea in the traditional manner, and the sheer variety of teas that you can find is staggering. Even if you are no fan of tea, the ceremony is worth seeing, but if you’re in just for the tea and the snacks, there are countless teahouses where you can taste many types of tea. One of the most famous teahouses in Shanghai is Tang Yun, a two-storied old establishment surrounded by bamboo trees, serving a large variety of traditional teas and dim sum.

Boat trip on the river

photo by Silver Tusk on Flickr

Huangpu River bisects the city and a boat trip is a great way of seeing the two skylines (Pudong and the Bund), and to grab some great pictures. There are several tour operators that organize river boat trips for tourists, for all budgets. If you want the cheapest alternative, then you can take a ferry trip from one bank to the other, which will cost you only a few yuan, but will be much less scenic.

Visit a market

Even if you hate shopping, you will not be able to resist browsing through the wares at some of the more bustling markets in Shanghai. Markets in this city are not just for buying what you need and then leaving, but creating a whole cultural experience. Dong Tai Road Antique Market is a bit like visiting a museum, the Pearl’s Circles market is simply dazzling, while Shanghai South Bund Fabric Market is a fashion addict’s paradise.


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