"Pearl of the orient" Shanghai by maria_hz
Shanghai Travel Guide: 3,044 reviews and 8,029 photos
I often visited Shanghai, as it is so close to Hangzhou where I used to live. Being an international metropolis, Shangai receives millions of visitors each year.
Shanghai is an ancient port town, and through history has played a part in bringing foreign products and thinking into China, and exporting Chinese culture and goods. In the 1800s, some foreign powers had their own concessions in Shanghai, where you can to this day see Russian, French and other European influences in architecture. In the early 20th century, Shanghai was a bustling, but dangerous city. Later developments have made the city safe again, and current economic booming means that Shanghai is changing fast.
Shanghai is traversed by the Huang Pu river, which meets the sea some 20 miles further east. The historical sites are all located on the West side of the city, Pu Xi, and most new developments happen on the east side, Pu Dong. Consequently, most of what I would call the old Shanghai atmosphere is clearly felt on the Pu Xi side, but Pu Dong is definitely worth a visit or two for the "futuristic" landscape.
To many international travellers, Shanghai feels like any cosmopolitan city, and the international feel of the place is visible on the streets (lots of foreigners) and in the wide choice of restaurants.
Like many people who have stayed in China for a bit, to me Shanghai comes across like the least Chinese city. This is because of its international past, present and future. Thanks to this, Shanghai is undoubtedly the business capital, along with modern office blocks, trendy residential areas, spacey malls and futuristic Pu Dong business district. There are neon lights bonanza at night and crowded streets by day, cosy cafés and local noodle shops, market stalls and 5 star hotels all within a few blocks.
But scratch a bit on the surface, and you will see real Shanghai with real people; walk the back streets of the busy tourist venues, venture past the sights and see how people used to live in the 20th Century and some still do.
Shanghai does offer more in terms of shopping than sightseeing, and in my view, unless you are there solely for business or shopping, you will have seen the most interesting sights in 3 days. But make no mistake, Shanghai is not representative of China, but probably the trend setter of things to come elsewhere.
You're welcome to have a look at my tips to get an idea of what to do, but also check out other VTers' pages to get a feel of what Shanghai is, was and will be!
For all of you who have heard of the huge Xiangyang market in Shanghai, I am sorry to disappoint, but it was closed at the end of June 2006. There are some other markets on the Pu Xi side and Pu Dong to be enjoyed, one is Ya Tai Sheng Hui. Check out this tip by fellow VTer Honestjohn.
- Pros:Big international city with all that big cities can offer
- Cons:Big international city with lots of traffic and maybe not so endemic Chinese feel
- In a nutshell:A Chinese metropolis
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