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Shanghai, China's largest city, offers many exciting sightseeing opportunities for those unconcerned with having to deal with large crowds. But despite having a population of more than 24 million, this fun city also offers quieter historic districts and attractions alongside its many newer tourist sites. One of the world's busiest container ports thanks to its position at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city also provides opportunities for exploration by water along the Chinese coast and its inland waterways. Highlights of a visit include a number of world-class museums and art galleries such as the Shanghai Museum and the China Art Museum, numerous lovely gardens and parks, and many fine old temples and traditional pagodas. Shanghai - famous as the birthplace of the Communist Party of China - also serves as an excellent jumping off point from which to explore other areas of China and boasts an excellent international airport, as well as a first-rate modern transit system, including high-speed rail connections to other major cities such as the nation's capital, Beijing.

  1. Shanghai's Promenade: The Bund - Best known by its Anglo-Indian name of Bund (Wàitān), the Zhongshan Lu is a lovely broad promenade running along the west bank of the Huangpujiang River. It's particularly popular among tourists as the area has retained a European feel (it was once the location of the city's International Settlement) that is particularly noticeable in the many old English and French buildings now serving as restaurants, boutique stores, galleries, and offices. Always bustling, it's a splendid place for a stroll as you take in the Bund's 52 unique buildings constructed in a variety of styles including Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, Neoclassical, and Renaissance influences, along with what amounts to one of the world's most impressive collections of Art Deco architecture. Moving from south to north, the dominant buildings are the former headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation with its splendid cupola, the harbor customs office with its bell tower, the old Peace Hotel, and the Bank of China. The Bund is also a great place from which to embark upon a sightseeing tour aboard a boat around the port and the confluence of the Huangpujiang and Yangtze rivers.
  2. Yu Garden -also known as the Garden of Happiness, covers an area of more than 20,000 square meters and consists of an outer and an inner garden. The best-known building is the Hall of Spring where the Company of the Little Swords (XiaodaoHui) had its headquarters between 1853 and 1855 when it ruled Shanghai. Of great historical importance are the artificial rocks in this part of the garden, the only work of the master garden designer Zhang Nanyang that has been preserved. The newer and much smaller Inner Garden dates from 1709 and includes features typical of a classical Chinese writer's garden: attractive little pavilions, decorative stones, and miniature mountain ranges, dividing walls and small ponds, and even a richly decorated theatrical stage.
  3. The Jade Buddha Temple- In the Anyuan Lu district of Shanghai, the beautiful Jade Buddha Templehouses two Shakyamuni statues, which the monk Huigen brought with him from Burma. The present building, erected in 1928 to replace the original temple built in 1882, is divided into three halls and two courtyards and includes the splendid Hall of the Kings of Heaven (Tian Wang Dian), notable for its statues of the four heavenly kings and two Shakyamuni sculptures. Carved from white jade, one of these impressive statues stands nearly two meters high in the Wentang Main hall, where a collection of Buddhist manuscripts is also kept (the smaller statue is in the west courtyard). Also of interest is the charming Hall of the Great Hero (DaxiongBaodian) with its Buddhas of the Three Ages, along with 18 Luohan figures. Another of Shanghai's many important Buddhist sites is the stunning Jing'an Temple on Nanjing West Road.
  4. The Shanghai Museum - Founded in 1952, the Shanghai Museum remains China's most important museum of classical Chinese art. In a modern building that's something of a work of art itself - its unique round top and square base encompasses traditional Chinese concepts of the earth - the museum's four floors include impressive displays of bronzes and ceramics from prehistoric cultures to the 19th Century, ink drawings, calligraphy and seals, as well as large collections of art from ethnic minorities. It's also home to large collections of jade, coins and furnishings from the Ming and Qing periods (1368-1912). Also worth a visit is the excellent Shanghai Natural History Museum, one of the largest museums of natural sciences in China.
  5. Longhua Temple and Pagoda- In a pleasant park in the southwest area of Shanghai, the splendid Longhua Temple remains one of the oldest religious sites in China. Built along with the nearby 40-meter-tall wood and brick pagoda around 242 AD, this important place of worship was destroyed and rebuilt many times through the centuries, with the present structure dating back to the 10th century. The site is still used for regular Buddhist ceremonies and consists of five large halls, including the Maitreya Hall (Mile Dian) with its large Buddha statue, the Heavenly King Hall (Tian Wang Dian) dedicated to the Four Heavenly Kings, and the Grand Hall of the Great Sage (DaxiongBaodian) with its fine statues and a 16th-century bell.
  6. The Oriental Pearl Tower - A must-visit while in Shanghai is the 468-meter-tall Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower (DōngfāngMíngzhūtǎ) in Pudong-Park on the east bank of the Huangpu River. In addition to its excellent views over the busy river and the new city, you'll be rewarded with superb views over the historic Bund promenade. Built in 1991, the tower takes its name from its 11 linked spheres of various sizes, the highest of which - the Space Module - contains an observation level at the 350 meter mark with a glass-floored outside deck. All told, the tower boasts 15 viewing areas, including the Sightseeing Floor and Space City, as well as a revolving restaurant with great views. Other highlights include a lower level shopping mall and the Space Hotel offering rooms with spectacular views.
  7. Shop 'til you Drop on Nanjing Road - Nanjing Road (NánjīngLù), Shanghai's principal pedestrian-friendly shopping street. You'll find every conceivable type of consumer good from street vendors selling Chinese-themed souvenirs, to expensive boutiques selling traditional arts and crafts, as well as a number of large shopping malls and department stores such as the iconic Yibai and Jiubai. It's also a busy entertainment district, home to many restaurants and cinemas, as well as a hub for street performances (it's especially fun to visit during major holidays such as Chinese New Year when the street becomes a focal point for festivities and fireworks).
  8. People's Square - Built on what was once the city's racecourse, the People's Square (RénmínGuǎngchǎng) has been transformed over the years into Shanghai's premier public space. Home to the new Shanghai City Hall, the Shanghai Museum, and the state-of-the-art Grand Theatre, it's a perfect spot from which to begin touring the city. Be sure to spend time visiting the excellent Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, where you'll find superb displays and models - even a 360-degree movie theater - showing both existing and planned-for buildings (be sure to view this massive scale-model from the upper galleries for a fascinating bird's-eye perspective of this modern metropolis).
  9. The French Connection: Tianzifang - In what was once Shanghai's French Concession, Tianzifang has been transformed into a fascinating arts and crafts destination. While much of the older homes and buildings have been replaced, the character of this old European district has been carefully preserved in its architecture and layout, with numerous small laneways and alleys just begging to be explored. In addition to its many shopping opportunities - it has many small galleries and craft shops rather than the bigger stores found elsewhere in the city - it's also a fun place to visit at night due to its many restaurants serving traditional fare, its numerous cafés and music joints, as well as artist's studios and workshops.
  10. Xujiahui Cathedral and the Sheshan Basilica - Built in 1911 in Neo-Romanesque style, Xujiahui Cathedral - also known as St. Ignatius Cathedral - is another splendid reminder of Shanghai's rich multi-national heritage. In the southern city district of Xujiahui, it's the largest place of Roman Catholic worship in Shanghai, and in addition to its splendid park-like setting is worth visiting for its twin 50-meter-high bell-towers and restored interior with fine stained glass windows. Another important religious site is the Sheshan Basilica (the National Shrine and Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Sheshan). This fine old Roman Catholic church stands on the western peak of the hill after which it's named. A highlight of a visit is following the 14 Stations of the Cross, which zigzag up the hill to the church, along with the many splendid views along the way.
  11. Shanghai Science and Technology Museum - the largest of its kind in China and one of the city's top draws with more than two million visitors each year. Opened in 2001, the museum includes numerous fun interactive multimedia exhibits, permanent exhibits, and state-of-the-art science theaters. Highlights include a large display of animals native to the region, scientific achievements, a fascinating exhibit on robotics, as well as exhibits focusing on space travel. Other fun attractions for families include the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, notable for its 120-meter tunnel that provides a close-up view of the region's diverse marine life, and the Shanghai Zoo, famous for its large collection of native species, including giant pandas and South China tigers.
  12. The China Art Museum - Also often referred to as the China Art Palace, the China Art Museum (ZhōnghuáYìshùGōng) - the largest art gallery in Asia - is home to the country's most important collections of modern art. Housed in the city's spectacular China Pavilion (the sole survivor of the city's Expo 2010 event and looking a little like an upside-down pyramid), highlights of a visit include fascinating collections of Chinese modern art, exhibits of prominent Chinese artists, as well as numerous works related to Shanghai's cultural development over the decades. Culture lovers should also invest a little time visiting the Oriental Art Center, one of the city's most important venues for performances of classical music, opera, and theatrical productions. Also of note is the splendid Shanghai Grand Theatre, well regarded for its regular roster of concerts, operas, ballet performances, and traditional theater.
  1. Bar Rouge - Open since 2004, Bar Rouge is the most famous club in Shanghai, and sets the standard for Bund nightlife with its terrace view, classy, sleek interiors and iconic French-Shanghai identity. Bar Rouge kicks off the weekend early with themed parties on Thursdays and always runs early in the morning on Friday and Saturday. A must-visit for out-of-towners sampling the high end of Shanghai’s nightlife. Music is generally house, and quite decent, but occasionally they have latin or hip hop for special events. Gets really busy on weekends, when they usually have a cover charge of around 100rmb (Pro tip: you can often use the password "Miss Rouge" to dodge the cover before midnight).

ADDRESS: Bund 18,7/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu,near Nanjing Dong Lu

PHONE:6339 1199,

  1. Barbarossa - Barbarossa is a Shanghai icon: a Moroccan-styled lounge, in the middle of a pond in the middle of People's Park. It attracts a steady crowd to its three floors for cocktails, hookahs, dinner, DJs, and its serene, oasis atmosphere.

ADDRESS:Inside People's Park,231 Nanjing Xi Lu,nearHuangpi Nan Lu

PHONE:6318 0220,

  1. M1NT- this is one of the poshest clubs in Shanghai. It's on the top floor of a skyscraper near the Bund and affords nice views of the city. Inside, there are shark tanks and lots of luxurious decor, plus a high-end restaurant, a club and a lounge area. Drinks are pricey (~100rmb). Music is commercial house, mash-up, some funky house in the week (they play more R&B and hip hop in the lounge). Clientele is mixed Chinese and foreign, lots of young people on the dance floor and older, dressy folk at tables. There's a door policy, so if you want to be assured of entrance, either get a membership card or phone ahead and reserve a table.

ADDRESS:24/F, 318 Fuzhou Lu,near Shandong Zhong Lu


  1. Lost Heaven (Bund)- This is the flagship location of Yunnan restaurant Lost Heaven. They do relatively authentic Yunaan food, and if you wanna do pre- or post-dinner drinks they have a really nice terrace on the roof. Prices are reasonable for the location and views.

ADDRESS:17 Yan'an Dong Lu,near Sichuan Nan Lu

PHONE:6330 0967,

  1. VUE (Bar) - VUE Bar atop the Hyatt on the Bund is a great place to sip on some after work cocktails, or lounge after a long Sunday Brunch. With amazing views of the Bund, wood interior and Jacuzzi on the outdoor terrace, it's a beautiful and equipped place to enjoy a mellow night out.

ADDRESS:Hyatt on the Bund, 32-33/F, 199 Huangpu Lu,nearWuchang Lu

PHONE:6393 1234 ext 6348,

  1. Zapata's- As one of Shanghai's most popular bars, Zapata's holds court over the entire Hengshan Lu nightlife scene from their outdoor terrace and multiple venue complex. Usually packed any given night of the week, especially their Wednesday ladies night, crowds groove to commercial rock, pop, and hip-hop hits while bartenders pour tequila shots into the mouths of anyone willing to dance on top of the bar. A Tex-Mex menu in its upstairs Hacienda restaurant rounds out the bar's theme.

ADDRESS:5 Hengshan Lu, near Dongping Lu

PHONE:6433 4104,

  1. Cotton's (Anting Lu) - Cotton's chilled-out villa atmosphere is also the place to go if you're not used to Chinese food and don't plan on becoming acclimated. They've done a good job of creating a pretty spot where foreigners can feel like they are in any city. The outdoor dining area recently became a covered patio. Sunday brunch.

ADDRESS:132 Anting Lu,nearJianguo Xi Lu

PHONE:6433 7995,

  1. The Spot - The Spot is a popular sports bar / restaurant catering to a diverse group of expats looking for food, drinks, bar games, and international sports on the TV. In terms of decor, it's slightly nicer and more spacious than other options for sports bars in Shanghai, and caters well to larger groups. With an emphasis on gastro fair, the dining options at The Spot meander between European and South East Asian cuisines, with the standouts being the German and Thai options. Watch for their weekly drinks specials and food deals.

ADDRESS:255 TongrenLu,near Beijing Xi Lu

PHONE:6247 3579,

  1. The Camel (Puxi) - The Camel joins the bustling bar street at Yueyang Lu, as that areas most massive sports bar.Australian management makes sure there's an Australian bent to the sport shown on the various televisions therein (Australian Rules Football is shown on direct feed). After their renovation in late 2016, they've now got 4 TV walls and 11 70-inch TV screens, as well as a heated smoking area out on the patio. The inside is now strictly non-smoking. They've also installed 20 beer taps with a selection of craft beers, and the menu has added some higher-end fare to the standard nachos, burgers and parma.

ADDRESS: 1 YueyangLu,nearDongping Lu

PHONE:6437 9446,

  1. Dada- Dada is a classic Shanghai dive bar / small-club that has local DJs spinning house and underground dance music Thursday-Saturday. Situated in the middle of Xingfu Lu, it caters to a younger Chinese and expat crowd in a comfortable, pretentious-free environment. Drinks are cheap (30-40rmb), there's ample lounge seating, and music varies from night to night depending on whose playing. A Shanghai-based independent promoter, so expect the DJ/music crowd lounging therein manages the club. They've got deals on Vedett, Beer Lao, cheap Tiger drafts, cheap mixes, and changing drink specials. Friday and Saturday are always busy by midnight, whereas Thursdays are totally hit or miss.

ADDRESS:115 XingfuLu,nearFahuazhen Lu

PHONE:150 0018 2212

Metro - The Metro system is growing rapidly throughout the city in terms of its reach and connectivity. It's a new system so has smart,air-conditioned trains, clean walkways and will generally get you around the city faster than any other means. At peak times, although incredibly crowded - especially at the People's Square interchange -it is the quickest way to get from Pudong to Puxi.

The busiest times for the metro are 7am-10am and 5am-7.30pm. By purchasing prepaid 'Jiaotong' cards, you can save time and confusion.

The extra volume of travelers at this time is partly due to taxis being banned from using the road tunnel during rush hour times.

With most journeys costing just 3rmb and taking less than 20 minutes - the metro is usually the hands down winner.

The metro service starts early in the morning but stops before 12pm. Unlike other cities, traveling on the Shanghai metro is entirely safe for all to travel on, day or night. But remember to keep your bags closed at all times to prevent tempting opportunistic thieves.

All metro stations have English and Chinese signs and English announcements on the trains. The ticket machines have English directions and there will be at least one English-speaking ticket office staff member if you need help or advice.

Cycling - Hundreds of people on bikes, is one of the most enduring images of China. And, it usually doesn't take expats long to catch-on to the idea that the quickest, cheapest, healthiest and most pleasant way to get around is by bike. Cycles are extraordinarily cheap in Shanghai and, due to the large number of other cycle users and slowness of the traffic, especially in the former French concession (XuHui) area, it is really, quite safe.

The government has recently introduced laws banning cycles from using main roads in Shanghai, but the network of cycle lanes is vast. It's a little daunting at first, especially as car driving is so erratic, but once you have your routes worked out - you'll never look back.

Cycle theft is big business in Shanghai so opt for a cheaper bike that you can easily replace and spend as much on a lock as you can.

By law, you should register your cycle with the local police. You may need help in doing this, as policemen do not usually speak any English. If you don't register your cycle, you may get stopped at any time and issued with a (small) on the spot fine.

Maglev Train to Pudong International Airport - Forget the sluggish, old-fashioned Japanese bullet trains, Shanghai's Maglev lies claim to be the fastest, smoothest train in the world. Without a single pause for hesitation, it is the most superior, relaxed way to get to Pudong airport.

And, with a price tag of just 50rmb for a single journey, who could resist the opportunity to sit back in comfort and watch those led displays click on up and up and up to 420kmh (270mph).

Traveling just millimeters from the special track on a cushion of magnetic force, the Maglev arrives at the airport just eight minutes after leaving the Longyang Road metro station. Trains leave every 20 minutes and all signage is in English and Chinese.

Bus Transport - After being in Shanghai for a while, expats who are able to read and speak Chinese may start using popular bus routes as a means to get from A to B.

This can be particularly useful in farther-flung places that do not have many, or any, Metro stations. Fares are as low as 1rmb depending on whether the bus has comfortable seats and air conditioning.

The frequency of buses will depend entirely on the popularity of the route and the state of the traffic.

Taxis - Probably the most contact you will have with local Shanghaianese for the first few months will be with taxi drivers.

Despite speaking no English, they are usually always polite and helpful. So, in order to avoid potentially stressful situations involving multiple misunderstandings, always carry a card or piece of paper with your home address or destination written in Chinese characters.

Trains - Expats in Shanghai on business will doubtlessly need to use the railway network at some point to visit a client or supplier. China is a huge country and often, taking a train journey for 5 or 6 hours can be the fastest way to get to your destination. They are also useful for exploring famous local cities like Hangzhou, two and a half hours to the south of Shanghai.

Naturally, Shanghai is currently building a world beating railway station but at present, the main station, Shanghai South Railway Station at Zhaofeng Lu, has been renovated to make it more attractive. Taxi, buses or Metro Line 1 easily accesses this.

  1. Jade Buddha Temple

Address: 170 Anyuan Rd, Jing'an, China, 200060

Phone: +86 21 6266 3668, Website:

  1. Shanghai Museum

Address: 201 Renmin Ave, RenMinGuangChang, HuangpuQu, China, 200000

Phone: +86 21 6372 3500, Website:

  1. Longhua temple

Address: 2853 Longhua Rd, XuhuiQu, Shanghai Shi, China

Phone: +86 21 6456 6085

  1. City God Temple of Shanghai

Address: China, Shanghai Shi, Huangpu Qu, Ren Min Lu

  1. Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

Address: 2000 Century Ave, PudongXinqu, Shanghai Shi, China

Phone: +86 21 6854 2000, Website:

  1. Jing'an Temple

Address: 1686 Nanjing W Rd, JingAnSi, JinganQu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200040

Phone: +86 21 6256 6366, Website:

  1. Shanghai History Museum

Address: Lujiazui, Pudong, China, 200120

Phone: +86 21 5879 3003


  1. C. Y. Tung Maritime Museum

Address: 1954 Huashan Rd, JiaoTongDaXue, XuhuiQu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200030

Phone: +86 21 5474 0000, Website:

  1. Jewish Refugees Museum

Address: 62 Changyang Rd, HongkouQu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200082

Phone: +86 21 6512 6669


  1. Yuyuan Gardens

Address: 218 Anren St, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200010

Phone: +86 21 6326 0830, Website:

  1. Shanghai Botanical Garden

Address: 997 Longwu Rd, XuhuiQu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200232

Phone: +86 21 5435 2845, Website:

Entertainment centers/parks

1.Shanghai Ocean Aquarium

Address: 1388 Lujiazui Ring Rd, LuJiaZui, PudongXinqu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200120

Phone: +86 21 5877 9988, Website:

  1. Shanghai Disneyland Park

Address: 310 Huangzhao Rd, PudongXinqu, Shanghai Shi, China

Phone: +86 21 2099 8001


3.Jinjiang Action Park

Address: 201 Hongmei Rd, MinhangQu, Shanghai Shi, China, 201102

Phone: +86 21 5420 4956, Website:

4.Dongping National Forest Park

Address: China, Shanghai Shi, Chongming Xian

Phone: +86 21 5933 8028, Website:

  1. Happy Valley Shanghai

Address: 888 Linhu Rd, SongjiangQu, Shanghai Shi, China, 201602

Phone: +86 21 3779 2222, Website:

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