"Sex and the city... so to speak." Top 5 Page for this destination Shanghai by cheezecake_deli

Shanghai Travel Guide: 3,079 reviews and 8,150 photos

On the sea...

Shanghai is modern China's largest metropolis and one of the greatest cities of the 21st century. Like any great city, it is many things to many people - c.f. its old nicknames "Paris of the East" and "Whore of the Orient". A young city in Chinese terms, you won't find it on any map of antiquity - simply because the land which Shanghai occupies, just south of the mouth of the mighty Yangtze river, was below sea level two thousand years ago! A sleepy fishing village for hundreds of years, Shanghai really took off after the First Opium War in the mid 1800s, when it was opened to foreign trade as a treaty port. The British, American and French, and later the Japanese, came and settled in their respective concessions, and commerce boomed. As a free city, Shanghai provided shelter to fleeing white Russians in the late 1910s and persecuted Jews in the 1930s, becoming one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. In the 1920s and 1930s, the city became a magnet for tycoons, gangsters, opportunists and dreamers. Fortune magazine, in 1935, called it the inheritor of ancient Baghdad, pre-War Constantinople, 19th century London and 20th century Manhattan - high praise indeed. The party was halted in 1949, when the Communists took control (an event which, incidentally, triggered the largest capital flight in the world; its beneficiary: Hong Kong). In Maoist China, Shanghai had to play second fiddle to Beijing, but even then it occasionally occupied centre stage in shaping the course of modern Chinese history. The notorious Gang of Four, for example, operated out of the city. Shanghai missed out during the early liberalisation of the Chinese economy post-Mao, when attention was concentrated on the southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian. Since the 1990s, however, Shanghai is rising again. A whole new city of skyscrapers has been built in its Pudong district. The Shanghainese are the most dynamic of Chinese and they provide the largest tax contribution to central government. And the foreigners - from other parts of Asia, Europe and America - are pouring in to catch a slice of the action, creating an intoxicating atmosphere of energy and possibility.

Fasten your seat belts...

Shanghai is one of my favourite cities in the world and certainly my favourite Asian city. Yes - like any megacity - it can be crowded and noisy and polluted, but it remains the most cosmopolitan, sophisticated and progressive city in mainland China. Shanghai is a good place to visit if you want to catch a feel/glimpse of the future of China. Other than a few sightseeing highlights, the main draws are eating/drinking, shopping and people watching - similar to highlights of a visit to, say, New York or London. It is also a good base to explore the more rural and classical sights of nearby Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. Don't come to Shanghai expecting a thoroughly "Chinese" experience (whatever that may be) - this is, after all, the most "Westernised" of mainland cities. Do come, however, and let yourself be sucked into its pulsating energy...

Some ideas for sightseeing and things to do...

Top 5 sights:
1. The Bund
2. Shanghai Museum
3. Yu Garden and Bazaar
4. Oriental Pearl TV Tower
5. Jing'an Temple

Favourite things to do:
1. Hanging out in Xintiandi
2. Browsing for gifts in Yu Bazaar and Dongtai Lu Market
3. A stroll (with some shopping!) along Nanjing Dong Lu at night
4. A cruise along Huangpu river to the Yangtze
5. Drinks with a view in the Park Hyatt or Grand Hyatt.

My next trip: April 2014

  • Last visit to Shanghai: Aug 2013
  • Intro Updated Jan 23, 2014
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Reviews (78)

Comments (13)

  • cal6060's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2014 at 2:16 AM

    Nice page of Shanghai! Very informative!

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Great page

  • paulhanson's Profile Photo
    Oct 17, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    Work hard, play hard - I think that sums up Shanghai

  • MarvintheMartian's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    Just checked out your off the beaten path tips and they're a great set of ideas. Nice one. By the way if you like amazing Japanese or Korean food next time you visit, let me know... I've a few bar suggestions too!

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Apr 25, 2009 at 4:06 AM

    I had no idea that Shanghai was as beautiful as the pages here have described it. Thank you for the great tips and photos. We'll spend some time there on the way through. Looks a lot like Seoul

  • MichaelRees's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2009 at 8:47 AM

    Sex and the city? I always thought Shanghai was a serious city.

  • Aug 30, 2008 at 4:21 AM

    Shanghai is one of my favorite cities in the world! Nice page!

  • CliffClaven's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2008 at 1:21 AM

    Lots of information and intelligent comment

  • Helenbb's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2008 at 7:57 AM

    love yr shanghai page. very deserving a top 5 memeber .. .. Fangbang road... not many people know this road.. i think..but i always hear my father talks about this road.. he spent his childhood there .... lots lovely memories... :))

  • madamx's Profile Photo
    Sep 23, 2007 at 12:56 PM

    Excellent and informative tips. Thanks so much for all your hard work; this page will soon be in the top 5 ~ Helen

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