A travel itinerary for first-timers visiting the pearl of the Orient–Shanghai.
Photography by: Svadore
Steps away from Yu Garden, translated to Peace Garden, and from the Old Chinese City Center. This quiet yet central boutique hotel is the perfect home base for a foreigner’s first-time in Shanghai. The property keeps to its Asian roots while simultaneously incorporating a Western and modern feel, minimizing any culture shock one would experience upon arrival. Each room features air-conditioning, iPod docking stations, wireless internet and LCD televisions. The entire staff speaks English and is willing to accommodate any one of your needs–whether it’s offering you a complementary umbrella on a rainy day, a power converter, or order food delivery for you.
When one doesn’t want to linger too far for a meal, the hotel’s restaurant offers a delicious Chinese and Western breakfast, lunch and dinner on an indoor and outdoor terrace overlooking the beautiful skyline of Shanghai. If the Peninsula Hotel on the Bund, voted the best hotel in Asia by Travel+Leisure two years a in row, is a little out of your price range and you are looking for a luxurious yet affordable stay, I highly recommend Narada Boutique. You can always visit Peninsula Hotel for a drink later on in the week..!
In Shanghai, it is not about WHERE you eat, but WHAT you eat. Local food, snack food and street eats can be found around every corner and at a very reasonable price. One can have a huge lunch with just $5 and a dinner with $10. For my top 4 must have eats in Shanghai, read on at What to Eat in Shanghai.
Yuyuan Garden and Chenghuang Temple
Located in the Old City of Shanghai, Yuyuan is a historical garden over 400 years old alongside the famous Chenghuang Temple or Old City God temple built over 600 years ago. The Old Town is what remains of the walled fishing town that was once Shanghai when the British arrived in 1843; modern Shanghai has grown up around Yu Garden leaving it with it a historical jewel. Get lost through the stores and narrow alley ways filled with tea house ceremonies, street food, jewels, silks and souvenirs. Entrance to the garden is about $6 USD.
A walk across one of the world’s Top 10 most recognized scenic routes is a must when in Shanghai. The Bund or Waitan is a waterfront area in central Shanghai lined with buildings from the Old City. The English and French architecture give the mile-long waterfront walkway a charming looking as it mirrors the new, modern and vividly lit modern business district of Pudong. For luxurious views and a good cocktail, head up to the Peninsula’s Sir Elly’s Terrace Rooftop Bar for an outdoor experience you will not forget.
The Fifth Avenue of the Orient, East Nanjing street is frequented by luxury brands, mass brands and restaurants. Immerse yourself into the modern culture that is Shanghai through this lit-up mile-long walk from The Bund to People’s Park.
Tai Kang Lu’s Tianzifang
Tianzifang is known as the hidden artistic neighborhood in Shanghai. It’s narrow streets, interesting shops, and outdoor restaurants and chic cafés give it a charming European feel with some Oriental flair. The buildings are preserved old Shanghai style, with stores on the bottom and tenants apartments on the top. This area is on the top of my list when visiting Shanghai. It is still hidden from many tourists, giving it the local vibe yet elegant feel of an old revived Shanghai.
Xintandi the Old French Concession Area
When the French colonized Shanghai, the Xintandi area was their basecamp. It epitomizes the luxury and eliteness of the 1930s. All Chinese were barred from living in the area prior to communism. Although it has been very much renovated, the area still retains its historical European flair. The streets are lined with trees and the buildings architecture reflect that seen in France. With a hip night life, stylish boutiques, and chic European restaurants–this is the go-to place for a chic night out on the town. Whether you want to sip coffee outside, drink traditional German beer, or dine on Italian pasta, Xintandi has something for you.
For more pictures from my trip to Shanghai, visit My Shanghai Story.
Nanjing Xi Lu Fake Market
What is a trip to China without stopping at one of their infamous fake markets? Han City Fashion & Accessories Plaza on West Nanjing Road is the highest quality and biggest fake market in Shanghai. That was, until the new landlord cracked down on the illegal markets and caused half of the vendors to relocate to Pudong and Zhabei. However, still half of the vendors remain claiming that the market will never truly be shutdown. When the mall first opened, it earned the nickname “Taobao City” for the remarkable diversity of fake products a shopper could acquire there. Stuart Weitzman boots? Louis Vuitton bags? Tiffany & Co. earrings? North Face jackets? You name it. And all for under $80 a piece. The products don’t come that easily. A lot of haggling is involved and at times you need to walk away from the vendor and settle for another before finding a good price, but that’s all a part of the Chinese experience! If shoes are $140 to $160? You can bargain them down to $80. If a bag is $120? You can bargain it down to $40. Earrings? From $20 to $5 each. You just need to know how to play the game. The vendors will never tell you their final offering price out loud, but will always use a calculator to show you their final price. A must-do experience for all! And I promise, when you return home, no one will be able to tell the difference between what’s real and what is not.
- Nanjing Xi Lu Fake Market 580 Nanjing West Road
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