Must sees in Shanghai in 72 hours – Part 1
Shanghai may not be the capital of China, but it is certainly the largest city and the most metropolitan in this day and age. It is also arguably one of the most westernised cities in China.
It is clear to many people that when you think of Beijing you think of history and culture; in Shanghai, it is all about the modernisation of the city and the financial ground to be made in the CBD. But beyond this, what is there to see in a 72 hour stopover. Here’s the first of a two part post about the must sees in Shanghai in 72 hours.
Nanjing Road – 2/3 hours, depending on your shopping mood!
The place to go shopping in Shanghai, or just to hang out and watch everyone else go shopping; it’s one of the busiest shopping streets in the world. It’s mostly pedestrianised and includes Shanghai’s oldest and largest shopping malls. There is also the Central Market close by, a market specialising in electronic component and digital media, which is century-old.
Jingan Temple – 1 hour
Located near Nanjing Road, the “Temple of Peace and Tranquillity” could not seem more out of place in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a modern city such as Shanghai. It was first built in 247AD however the current appearance was created in the 1880s, with a few different areas of restoration. As with many Buddhist temples in China, there are many halls for you to peruse, each intricately carved, decorated and inscribed. There is also the largest jade Buddha in China located in the temple, as well as a 3.5 ton copper bell from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
Zhujiajiao ancient water village – half a day
Nicknamed the “Venice of Shanghai,” Zhujiajiao has over 1,700 years of history acquainted with its waterways and bridges. There are 36 bridges in all, made from wood, stone and marble. The largest is Fangsheng bridge, which has five openings in the bridge itself for boats to pass through. Each of the bridges is intricately decorated with carvings of lions, dragons and many other creatures.
There is also a street which shows reconstructed buildings from 1368-1912, showing all the historical detail in the architecture from those 600 years.
Being filled with waterways, you can also take a cruise around the town.
People’s Square – 1 hour
No-one does public squares as well as the Chinese, and the Shanghai People’s Square is no exception. Formerly a racecourse, it was closed in 1949 as gambling and horse racing were banned under the new Communist regime. Some of the racecourse relics remain: the Shanghai Art Museum is in the former clubhouse. There is the People’s Park to the north of the square, where, since 2004, marriage advertisements have been posted and the Shanghai Marriage Market happens every weekend. So if you fancy finding a wife or a husband on your 72 hour trip, you need to have it over the weekend!
The Bund, Shanghai – 2 hours
Situated on the western bank of the Huangpu River, in the centre of Shanghai, the Bund is a fascinating promenade with over 50 buildings in various European architectural styles including Neo-Classical, Gothic Revival and Renaissance Revival. Over the years, the Bund buildings have housed national bank headquarters, trade headquarters and consulate generals. Today, it still houses some of these, as well as flagship luxury goods stores, insurance companies and a wine cellar. It is a fascinating way to spend a couple of hours strolling alongside the Huangpu River in the centre of one of the largest cities in the world.
Check out the next Shanghai post for more visit tips!
China, notoriously difficult in its visa processes, has recently made itself more accessible to foreign tourists for 45 countries by offering 72 hour visa-free access to several cities throughout China when arriving by air.
Having started with Shanghai, this policy is now in place in 4 other major cities, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing; Dalian and Shenyang are 2 more cities who will soon be granted the policy early in 2014.
This series will give you ideas about what you can do in your 72 hours in each city and introduce China as a new stopover destination for anyone wishing to break up their long haul journey, as the flights are, for example, around 12 hours to London and 12 hours to New Zealand.
Are you interested in going to China? Plan your trip now with the China specialists.
The visa itself is still a transit visa, so those wishing to use it must have an onward ticket to a third country, declare their intentions to their airline and must not leave the particular city itself. For more information on the visa-free rules, check this page out.
Bennett from The Further Adventures of Bennett planned to spend 6 months teaching English in China and left 2 years later. She can currently be found residing in New Zealand, having swapped teaching children English for babysitting dogs and cats and you can follow her on Twitter.
To read more about Bennett’s Chinese experience, head over to Amazon “Add Your Brick to the Great Wall” which is a collection of experience and advice for anyone wanting to live, work or travel throughout China.