Shanghai has a healthy rivalry with Beijing in the competition to be China’s leading city. By population and trade it certainly wins the contest. For a country as old as China, Shanghai does not have the heritage of other ancient cities. Shanghai is situated on the Huangpu River, close to Yangzi River’s outflow to the sea, Shanghai was ideally situated to control the river trade into central China and quickly developed from a small Zhejiang fishing town in the 1840s (population 50,000) to be the huge metropolis it is today. It is one of the four municipal divisions of the China with equal standing to provinces. There are many buildings of historical interest including those on the world famous ‘Bund’.
Average temperature: 2ºC to 3.5ºC (35.6°F to 38.3°F) in January, 27ºC to 28ºC (80.6°F to 82.4°F) in July.
Places to visit
1. The YuYuan Garden which can be traced back to the past two feudal dynasties of Ming and Qing is renowned as “the best scenic spot in the south of the Yangtze River. Covering an area of only 20,000 square meters, the Garden has an exquisite designing, meticulous lay-out and artistic spacing, characterized by broadness of view in a small area and a distinctive style of the garden architecture of southern China. 40 or more scenes in the garden which are divided into seven scenic areas by five dragon walls, each bearing its unique characteristic.
2. Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai’s most famous temple is known for its white jade Buddha’s carved from a single slab of Burmese jade. Brought to Shanghai in 1881, the statues are housed in separate houses amongst beautiful jewels and stones. In addition there are also ancient carvings, paintings and precious Buddhist cultural relics.
3. The Bund, The famous waterfront has been Shanghai’s center since the mid-1800’s. It offers a taste of the past with the colonial structures along the promenade and a view of the future across the river in Pudong. The city’s historical landmarks as well as new 21st century structures can all be seen along the 1 mile walk. It can get extremely crowded during the day.
4. Huangpu River Cruises range from a quick 30 minutes to 4 hours. Along the way you will see the glory of Shanghai from a completely new perspective. The Bund, Jin Mao Tower, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Huangpu Park are just a few of the many sights to be seen. Some evening cruises also include dinner under the glittering lights of Shanghai’s skyscrapers.
5. The Pudong district was opened for development in 1999 and has grown very rapidly. Its most famous landmark is the emblematic Oriental Pearl TV Tower which offers stunning views over the whole city. For a good overview of the city, there is no better spot than the top of Shanghai World Financial Center in Pudong, with 101 floors above ground level and soaring to a height of 492m.