Food, Travel

Travel Guide: Shanghai, China

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shanghai-streets

Where to stay

If you’ve only got a few days in Shanghai, location is key. I stayed on Nanjing Rd, right on the pedestrian street section. The street is bustling with international shopping, ladies dancing and doing tai chi, and is easy walking distance to both People’s Square and East Nanjing Rd subway stations.

Luxe: Sofitel Shanghai Hyland, No.505 Nanjing East Road, Huangpu District – About AU$200/night
Budget: Jinjiang Inn Nanjing Road, No.680 Nanjing East Road, Huangpu District – About AU$70/night

What to do

The Bund

The Bund is Shanghai’s most iconic street, walk along it for views of the iconic Shanghai skyline across the Huangpu River and to marvel at the French-inspired architecture. It’s even better at night when everything is lit up!

shanghai-bund

shanghai-skyline

shanghai-night

People’s Park

The People’s Park is a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of downtown Shanghai, offering lush green space for you to walk around and watch children playing on equipment, the elderly playing Mahjong or a marriage market…. Wait, what was that last thing?! The Shanghai Marriage Market involves parents of unmarried adults displaying their children’s specs (such as age, height and career) on a placard attached to an umbrella every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is strange.

The Shanghai Museum is also located here, which is well worth a look if you have time.

marriage-market

Dongtai Lu Antique Market

The antique market is great for mementos and souvenirs, and a prime opportunity to practice your haggling skills (they suggest you start at 25-30% of the asking price and work your way up from there). The open market is located on a small street near Xintiandi, and whilst the authenticity of a lot of these “antiques” is questionable, it’s a great place to browse.

shanghai-temple

Get High

To enjoy a sweeping view of Shanghai from up above, pay a visit to the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, or for a cheaper option, The Jin Mao Tower (which means you can actually capture the Pearl Tower in your photo!).

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Check out the smog…
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Yu Yuan Garden

Also known as Yu Garden for short, it is an extensive Chinese garden which dates back to the Ming dynasty, located beside the City God Temple. It is surrounded by Shanghai’s bazaar, a huge number of small streets and lanes offering many shopping and eating options (though it’s very touristy). I highly suggest not going there on a weekend, as the crowds are insane.

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shanghai-yu-gardens

French Concession

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The French Concession is an area once dedicated to the French colonialists and consists of wide, tree-lined avenues, Tudor mansions and many upmarket shopping and dining options.

Nanjing Road

Stretching from The Bund to The People’s Park, Nanjing Road is the most bustling and prosperous street in Shanghai – often compared to the Champs Elysee in France. It’s full of big department stores and restaurants, and then randomly, crowds of ladies (with the occasional man) doing synchronised dance moves. Check out my video here. It is also a popular place to practice tai chi!

shanghai-tai-chi

Eating

Shanghai Street Breakfast

Turn off the main drag and go down any alley way between 6-9am to find an array of amazing breakfast foods. Jianbing are pancakes cooked on a hotplate, topped with an egg, hoisin sauce, chilli and coriander and then wrapped up ready to eat on the go. Another breakfast option is dà bǐng or shāo bing (bottom left of the photo) which are crispy and flaky sesame sprinkled breakfast pastries. Most vendors often sell a sweet and salty bing, try one of each!

shanghai-breakfast

Dumplings

You can’t go to Shanghai without trying a Xiaolongbao (soup dumpling). Try Din Tai Fung (yes it’s a chain, but their dumplings are amazing and they have several locations around Shanghai) or Jia Jia Xiao Long Bao (90 Huanghe Road, near the People’s Park).

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Another popular dumpling is Shengjianbao (pan fried pork dumpling). For Shengjianbao try Dan Hu Chun (71 Yunnan South Rd near Jinling East Rd).

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For classic steamed dumplings filled with pork and crab roe, try Nanxiang Steamed Buns located near Yu Gardens. They also offer giant crab dumplings that you drink with a straw!

shanghai-dumplings

And then just wander…. Shanghai is a food-lovers paradise and the back alleys are lined with small vendors selling different foods for you to taste.

shanghai-fruit-stand shanghai-street-night

Have you been to Shanghai before? Do you have any more tips to add?

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7 Comments

  • Reply Liz @ I Spy Plum Pie November 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Love it! My folks lived in the French Quarter so it brings back lots of memories! My one key recommendation for people visiting Shanghai is to try and find the Propaganda Museum. It’s fairly hard to locate (it’s in the basement of a random apartment building) but it has the most amazing collection of posters and other propaganda material from various time periods which is so fascinating to look at. I also love the Planning Museum but then I’m a planning nerd so it’s probably not going to be on everyone’s must-see list!

    • Reply Swah November 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Ooh great tip on the Propaganda Museum Liz, I actually wanted to go but couldn’t find it! Next time I need to take clearer instructions (or find a local to help!)

  • Reply Helen | Grab Your Fork November 27, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Stunning pics! Love that first shot especially. And have heard so much about the Marriage Market – I wonder what’s the success rate!

    • Reply Swah November 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Haha I am also very curious about the success rate of the market Helen! It’s a very strange concept…

  • Reply Travel Guide: Xitang, China January 7, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    […] experiencing the hustle and bustle of Shanghai I highly suggest you take a day to venture out to […]

  • Reply China travel guide | Travelguide January 26, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    […] Travel Guide: Shanghai, China – Love Swah http://loveswah.com/Where to stay. If you've only got a few days in Shanghai, location is key. I stayed on Nanjing Rd, right on the pedestrian street section. The street is bustling with international shopping, ladies dancing and doing tai chi, and is … […]

  • Reply China travel guide | Travelguide January 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    […] Travel Guide: Shanghai, China – Love Swah http://loveswah.com/Also known as Yu Garden for short, it is an extensive Chinese garden which dates back to the Ming dynasty, located beside the City God Temple. It is surrounded by Shanghai's bazaar, a huge number of small streets and … […]

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