Saturday, June 6, 2015

6 Places to visit in Shanghai

When I was little, I remember seeing a photograph of my grandfather posing in front of the Oriental Pearl Tower. He said that the tower is one of the most iconic landmark in Shanghai and that one day I must visit the place to appreciate my roots and "follow his footsteps" :) The Oriental Pearl tower is China's version of Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty which is why Shanghai has been part of my bucket list aside from the Great Wall of China and the Terra Cotta Warriors (which we failed to visit because of time constraints). 

Shanghai, China is the largest Chinese city by population and the largest in the world. This is the metropolitan part of China and it is considered as the global financial center. It has also one of the busiest transport hub container port in the world. 

We were able to visit Shanghai as part of our China trip after Beijing. Our initial plan was to maximize 3 full days in Shanghai but we then realized there is not much to do in Shanghai compared to other cities. But there are definitely must do or must visit places in Shanghai which I recommend to all travelers going to Shanghai.

These are my 6 recommend places in Shanghai (in no particular order):

1. The Bund (Wai Tan)- a fascinating stroll along The Bund is a must! It's where you get to see the old and new Shanghai all at the same time--truly a piece of Shanghai's history whenever you walk along the 4km long waterfront boulevard. The cool breeze of the water and air is just so relaxing that gives contrast to the busy streets and subway of the city haha. There is no entrance fee here so it is perfect for budget travelers like me haha. We went to The Bund in the afternoon and spent time exploring the vicinity until early evening. It is best to have dinner somewhere near the area and have coffee and desserts right after :)

How to get there?
1. Ride the MRT Line 2 
2. Alight at East Nanjing Road and walk towards the Bund. It's about 10 min. walk.
3. If you wish to go cruising along the Huang Pu River for about an hour, look for the Shiliupu Ferry Terminal near the Bund. The cruise opens from 10am to 9pm and it will cost you about CNY 100 or Php 733 per person. Pls. research more about this in case rates and operation schedules have changed. We skipped the cruise part since we were on "tipid mode" haha :)
It doesn't feel like you're in China when you go to The Bund! It feels like you're in Europe haha. Look at those very beautiful buildings and lights! 

I read somewhere that there are 52 buildings in this area with different architectural styles such as Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Renaissance, and Chinese. Hence, The Bund is regarded as "The Museum of International Architecture".

2. The Oriental Pearl Tower and World Financial Center

The Oriental Pearl Tower- The iconic tower in Shanghai is best enjoyed with children or couples because you can go up the observatory deck and see Shanghai in 360 degrees bird's eye view. There's a space capsule sightseeing tour, transparent floor observatory, Shanghai history museum, and a revolving restaurant!

How to get there?
1. Ride the MRT Line 2
2. Alight at Dongchang Road Exit 4 and walk towards The Oriental Pearl Tower. Going to the World Financial Center is the same. It's just across each other.

Address: 1 Century Ave., Pudong, Shanghai, China
Operation hours: 8 am to 9:30 pm
World Financial Center- (left most building in the photo below) there are 3 observatory decks being offered in the World Financial Center--the 94th, 97th, and 100th floors. The 100th floor is the highest observatory in the world and similar to the Oriental Pearl Tower, it has a transparent glass-walled walkways.

Address: No. 100, Century Avenue, Pudong New Area, Shanghai China
Operation Hours: 8am - 11pm
Fees: CNY 180 for adults for all 3 floors and CNY 90 for children. If you wish to just visit the 94th floor, it will only cost you CNY 120 for adults and CNY 60 for kids.

We didn't go up the observatory decks for both buildings because we've realized in our previous visits in observatory decks in Taipei 101 and Namsan Tower that there is nothing special in visiting these places and spend only about 5-10 mins just to go around so we decided to skip this part in Shanghai. Many tourists also think it's nothing special in Shanghai because they couldn't see the entire city view due to air pollution.
3. Tianzifang or Taikang Lu- It's a quirky/ artsy area with lots of bars and restaurants situated in small alleys. The streets here are influenced by the French Concession which is why the look and feel is very different. Tourists are all over this place...mostly expats and youngsters because the energy in Tianzifang is so vibrant and cool :) I really like exploring the alleys here and not to mention shopping quirky stuff and eat street food!!

How to get there?
1. Ride the MRT Line 9 
2. Alight at Dapuqiao Station and Exit at #1
3. Get out of the mall (station) and walk across the street.
We saw the another branch of Modern Toilet Restaurant, Shanghai here! Brings back so many food memories and themed restaurants in Taiwan haha. 
4. Cheng Huang Miao (City Temple of Shanghai)- Is a temple located adjacent to Yu Yuan Garden. Personally, you may skip this part if you're not a fan of visiting temples since it will require you to pay CNY 30 per person.

How to get there?
1. Ride the MRT Line 10
2. Alight at Yuyuan Garden station Exit 1
3. It is inside the big complex of Yu Yuan Garden--where there are numerous shopping stalls, restaurants, and sight seeing.

Operation Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm 
At the exit of the temple, you can take your photos in Kodak wearing traditional old chinese clothes. Just be careful when dealing with the store owner as they can be very aggressive, bad tempered, and they may trick you regarding the cost of the photos. 

Always reiterate the package you want, the size, and the number of shots you want. We planned to take only 1 photo because the cost is 50 CNY or around 360 Php per photo. But after dressing up and taking the photo, they were directing us to different poses. After 2 poses, we asked them that it was enough and we realized later that each pose will count as 1 photo (we initially though we will choose the best photo) and they will charge you for each pose and photo. So we paid a total of 100 CNY or 740 Php for 2 photos, but it could easily have been more if we did not ask them to stop. 
5. Xintiandi- is the high-end shopping and dining area of Shanghai. It is similar to Orchard Road in Singapore

How to get there?
1. Ride the MRT Line 1
2. Alight at South Huangpi Road Exit 3 

6. Nanjing East Road- it is a shopping area similar to Xintiandi and Time Square in Hong Kong. Stores vary from local labels to international and high-end brands such as Tiffany & Co, Cartier, Burberry, Apple Store, and Chloe to name a few. Stores usually open from 10am to 10pm.

How to get there?
1. Ride the MRT Line 2
2. Alight at West Nanjing Road and you may exit anywhere since it is a huge shopping area! :) 

Shanghai is completely a different experience versus Beijing :) If you like "fusion" of different cultures and different times then it is best to visit Shanghai but if you like the old China, Beijing is still a must visit! :) 


  1. hi tin, great review! would just like to know which place would you recommend best, SH or HK?

  2. hi tin, great review! would just like to know which place would you recommend best, SH or HK?


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