Visiting Shanghai is an awesome experience. When you step out of the airport, you suddenly find yourslelf in an ultramodern, futuristic, and larger-than-life city. Shanghai is a city of contrasts with a cool mix of modern and traditional atmospheres. It is the most westernized of all the Chinese cities, but make no mistake - there is nowhere else in the world like it!
As China's pride and joy, Shanghai is the city that has gone through the most changes in the shortest period of time. The city is split into two main areas: Pudong and Puxi. In 1990, Pudong was still an uncultivated area. Now, only 20 years later, Pudong is a pulsating metropolis with towering skyscrapers. The Jin Mao Tower (one of the world's highest buildings), Ba Bai Ban (Asia's largest department store), the famous three legged TV tower, and a giant aquarium are all located in Pudong. You will be left breathless as you lean back to look up at the towering buildings, but nothing can compare to the views from the top.
Puxi has more variety when it comes to architecture and atmosphere. Imgine the full spectrum of colonial to super modern styles. Along the river that divides Pudong and Puxi lies the Bund/Waitan road. As the location of exclusive boutiques, restaurants, bars, night clubs, international buildings, and banks, this waterfront boulevard is really happening. The architecture here is quite impressive, as there is a mix of Baroque, Romantic, and Gothic styles. Next to the Bund is the Huangpuy Park, where you can see the older Shanghai residents practicing Tai Chi and Qigong during the early mornings. By contrast, the Bund lights up at night with amazing illuminations. If you do not visit the Bund, you will miss out on a large and important Shanghai experience. Other "musts" include wandering around the Peoples Park and the Yu Garden. This wonderful, 400-year-old garden has many traditional houses and buildings.
Shanghai's wide range of boutiques, shops, and markets will not disappoint. Chances are that even the most experienced shopaholics will stop dead in their tracks. There is so much to choose from and, if you are not careful, you can easily find yourself filling extra suitcases full of new purchases. You can find plenty of nice things in the classic shopping areas of Nanjiung Road and Huahi Road, though they come at a price. Therefore, you may want to head to an area called French Concession as an alternative. With its many small streets, you are guaranteed to find lots of great things. Taikan Road is another area with nice and interesting boutiques. Shanghai has loads of markets in general, so be prepared to bargain. The notorious “pirate” copy market of Xiangyan unfortunately closed in 2006, but some of the items can be found at Nazheng Plaza, 580, Nanjing Road.
During your visit to Shanghai, you can find every type of cuisine and eat really well. For authentic Shanghai Chinese food, visit 1221, located on Yanan Xi Lu 1221. There are quite a lot of tourists there, but the food is so good that it won’t matter. Remember to book a table in advance, as 1221 is quite a popular place. Another restaurant that is woth a visit is Hunan Xiangcun Fengwei. This restaurant, known for Hunan cuisine, is located on Wulumugig Street (in French Concession) and is a little chepaer that 1221. If there isn’t a table free at this little gem, then there are many other little “hole in the wall” restaurants on the same street. You might also want to visit South Beauty, an amazing luxury eatery with a cool design. This restaurant, which serves Sichuan cuisine, is located on Taojíang Lu street.
The nightlife in Shanghai is so diverse that there is something for everyone. The city is filled with laidback jazz bars, unpretentious pubs, hot and vibrating clubs, luxury lounges, and the list goes on. If you want to party on The Bund and dance to music mixed by international DJ’s, then Attica and La Coast are good options. Amazing views, multiple dance floors, live bands, and cool terraces are some good reasons for a visit. For something different, there is also the Barbarossa Lounge, which lies close to a rippling little lake in The Peoples Park. The Barbarossa Lounge is arguably the trendiest club in town, not only in design but also in atmosphere. The luxurious Arabian style makes you feel just like an exotic prince or princess as you move between sumptuous sitting areas, the terrace, the dance floor, and the bars. The Barbarossa Lounge is a must if you want to get a taste of the nightlife in Shanghai.
The best way to get around in Shanghai is via the underground metro. It’s cheap, fast, and efficient. If you are trying to get to some areas where the underground doesn’t go, then there is always a bus or a taxi. If you want to go between Pudong and Puxi, you can travel by bus, by boat, or walk through a tunnel. Another awesome alternative is to take the magnetic high speed MagLev. This train travels nbelievably fast, but note that there aren’t that many stations.
A trip to Shanghai is a journey into a futuristic global metropolis and it has so much to offer for both the traditionalist to the modernist alike.
Did you know that KILROY can also help organise your study tour to Shanghai? Read on to learn more about how we can plan your study trip with the right academic content and interesting study visits in the city of your choice.
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