Shanghai Overview

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December 20th 2011
Published: July 16th 2012
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Once referred to as the Paris of the orient, Shanghai is a city that offers history, culture, modernity and sophistication all rolled into one. On the tip of the east coast of China, Shanghaihas been a strategic shipping port since the 18thcentury.

Shanghai was an interesting place to visit. Having been to the ultra modern, hip, Hong Kong, super cool Tokyoand bustling Mumbai, I was unsure about what to expect here.

Shanghai is most known for its futuristic skyline and iconic Pearl Tower. I am sure it is one of the most photographed skylines in the world. Like most cities, different districts reflect different periods of culture that helped shaped the city.

The French concession is an old area of the town surrounded by tree lined streets, boutique shops and European architecture. A sought after residential area, it has a distinctly European feel, an unexpected surprise to find in the middle of China.

The Bund area is a stunning boardwalk that offers you a dichotomy of old and new. On the Pudong side of the city is a modern, futuristic area which represents the new Shanghai. Full of huge department stores, up scale hotels and skyscrapers, including the Oriental Pearl Tower it’s a reflection of the direction China is heading into; development and expansion. On the Huangpu side… the Bund. Like the queen’s necklace in Mumbai, a curved waterfront area which represents historic Shanghai. Beautiful period buildings representing various decades of European influence that has helped shaped the city.

Shanghai also has wonderful, high end shopping areas. It’s like the Tokyo of China. I can only describe this as high end shopping (Channel, Prada,LV, YSL, etc) (West Nanjingroad) valet parking, gleaming windows, etc. As you walk eastwards you will end up at the People’s Park. A green space in the centre of the city there is a government building and nice architecture. As you continue to walk eastwards you will also come across a huge pedestrian walkway (Nanjing road east). The one thing to be aware of here is there are tons of locals who will come up to you asking if you want to buy a knock off purse, technology, etc. If you don’t look Asian, you will be continually asked, over and over again if you would like to buy something. After a while it got annoying, so beware of this.

Cuisine wise, Shanghai does not disappoint. There are a variety of French, Japanese, American, Italian, etc. to choose from. Since it is situated not too far from Beijing, there are varieties of regional Chinese cuisine to choose from. We went to the Pearl tower restaurant for dinner on Christmas day. The food was wonderful.

The best way to get aroundShanghaiis by subway. It’s fairly inexpensive to get around to all the major tourist attractions.

If you like the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, and serenity and magnificence of Beijing,…Shanghaii s the best of both worlds. You will love it. One of the best trips I ever went on.

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