Shanghai’s dynamism and progress is amazing when you consider that, up until 1842, the city was little more than a fishing village. Today, flights to Shanghai arrive at a diverse and multicultural destination, home to some of the most exciting restaurants, nightlife venues and hotels that China has to offer.
Shanghai is also the tallest city in mainland China (the 632m Shanghai Tower is the second tallest in the world), as well as its most populated. And, with the Shanghai Stock Exchange being one of the most influential in the world, this is China’s financial centre too.
If you’re looking for tranquillity in this city of 24 million, it pays to be an early riser. With a lot of popular sites, it’s best to get there early in the morning, when the crowds are lighter and the light makes for great photos. Set your alarm to check out the Yuyuan Gardens and the Jade Buddha Temple.
Shanghai’s architecture is an interesting mix of old and new – among all the space-age skyscrapers there are many examples of colonial architecture from the city’s boom time in the early 1900s. Travel to Shanghai’s fringes, to ancient water towns such as Zhujiajiao for example, and you’ll see historical architecture that dates back even further.
Shanghai’s neighbourhoods are as diverse as the architecture, and each one has something different to offer. For the liveliest nightlife, visitors and locals flock to neon-lit Lujiazui. But if what you're really interested in doing is spending your holiday budget, then shopaholic’s heaven Tianzifang is the place to go.
It’s hard to know where to start in a city that has so much, but that’s half the fun – whether you’re strolling down The Bund along the waterfront, bargaining for souvenirs in Dongtai Lu Antique Market or cycling through the French Concession, there’s always something to do in Shanghai.