The best tourist attractions in Shanghai

The Bund, photo by Ben Paarmann

Shanghai is the epicenter of change in China, a land that never stops transforming, but even on an international scale this city is one of the most dynamic places on the planet. Today it is the home of business tycoons who build futuristic towers, of venues where one can party all night with the young and the reckless residents of the city, and shopping centers the size of cities. But there is a historical side to Shanghai too, and although the city is resolute on looking forward, it doesn’t ignore its historical heritage. There are countless things to see in Shanghai, both modern and historical, so wherever your interests lie you will find something that you’ll definitely want to see. Here are some of the best attractions in Shanghai that you shouldn’t miss on your trip to China.

Yuyuan Gardens

The aesthetics of Chinese gardens are famous throughout the world and the beautiful Yuyuan Gardens are some of the finest. Walking through these gardens will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the China of yore. Classical Chinese architecture makes this park even more attractive and although the area is quite popular with visitors and the crowds of vendors outside the park entrance can be suffocating, there are patches of tranquility as well.

Shanghai Museum

Jade Buddha Temple, photo by Mats Linander

This imposing museum in the People’s Square is one of the largest repositories of ancient Chinese art in the whole country. The collection housed within is truly impressive: 120,000 pieces, one more exquisite than the others. The bronze collection is particularly fascinating, but the calligraphy, furniture and paintings are also valuable and interesting.

Jade Buddha Temple

Although the temple is not very old by Chinese standards (considering that some Buddhist temples are over a thousand years old), the Jade Buddha Temple is one of the most visited sights in the city. The temple was opened in the late 19th century, and it was named after two jade Buddha statues acquired from Burma. There are many statues worth seeing at the temple, and pop by the restaurant if you get hungry – it’s quite good!

Oriental Pearl Tower

Oriental Pearl, photo by d. FUKA on Flickr

The Pearl Tower was the tallest building in China for quite a while, and althought it has been surpassed already, it is not a bit less impressive as a decade ago. The tower is a famous landmark in the city, and a well known sight on the Shanghai skyline especially at night. Climb up to the observation decks to see the whole city from above.

The Bund

It might be strange for some to see so many European buildings in Shanghai, but the Bund and its distinctive architecture is one of the symbols of the city. The Bund is pretty much like an open-air architecture museum along the Huangpu River, although it used to be the financial heart of the ‘Far East’ in the past. Seeing all the modern buildings on the opposite side of the river only makes the Bund even more interesting.


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