5 TERRIFIC TIPS FOR SHANGHAI
I had the time of my life in China, and Shanghai was one of my favourite cities – it’s a cultural magnet with experiences and landmarks on every corner. Depending on how much time you have to explore and what you fancy, this Chinese province has something for everyone. Shanghai is a joy to visit, and here are just a handful of special experiences you can enjoy while there. – Janine
1. VISIT THE FRENCH QUARTER (AKA CONCESSION)
The French Quarter in Shanghai, established initially in 1849, then re-established later in 1946, boasts an incredible array of patio cafés, quaint architecture, bustling shopping district and exclusive food markets. Stop and photograph the Xintiandi – Fountain by PHKushlis for an exclusive photo opportunity, grab a bite on a beautiful patio surrounded by French-style 2-storey buildings and ivy-covered homes, and enjoy the cobbled stone walkways mirroring those in the beautiful Parisian alleys.
2. TRY A SOUP DUMPLING
Exclusively available in Shanghai, soup dumplings are a treat for the daring. A rather large dumpling, these delights are filled with piping hot broth and served with a straw. Carefully sip the soup before biting into the dumpling! Otherwise, you will have a large mess and burnt lips (yikes!). The broth is seafood-based and very light in flavour. They are truly delicious, and an entertaining experience.
3. TAKE A TEA DEMONSTRATION
Shanghai’s tea houses are famous for their tea and demonstrations. For a nominal fee, sit and enjoy a quick presentation with descriptions of each tea, their healing properties, composition of ingredients and their origins, and sample a shot-glass serving of each blend. Learning the history of tea and which varieties help relieve particular issues was not only educational, but also relaxing and enjoyable. As with any presentation, at the end, you have the opportunity to purchase those teas you sampled. I highly recommend the Romeo and Juliet blooming flower blends. They were worth every penny!
4. WALK THE HARBOUR – DAY AND NIGHT
Shanghai is famous for its beautiful harbour. The lights illuminate the water, characterizing this city line as the “Pearl of Asia.” Grab a coffee or tea and walk along the shore taking beautiful photographs of Shanghai’s notable skyscrapers and towers. For an alternative incredible experience, bring your night lens along and head to the harbour and take in the evening light show. Shanghai’s city line illuminates with lights dancing from building to building. The water’s aglow and the photos you can capture are simply breathtaking. Pro tip: bring a small sweater with you because it can get quite breezy! You may also fancy the 2-hour sunset cruises along the harbour. They leave daily and tickets can be bought ahead or at the dock.
5. VISIT THE SHANGHAI MUSEUM
The Shanghai Museum brings antiquities and artifacts dating all the way back to B.C. times. Explore the print gallery, showcasing centuries of Chinese calligraphy on a variety of media, marvel at the Ming dynasty’s most prized vases and sculptures, and gaze at the carvings made entirely of jade. The museum is open daily and offers a variety of shops, cafes, and art of all types for guests. All the galleries allow photography, except those featuring paper displays in order to protect them from flash-fading effects.
These are only a small list of highlighted experiences while in Shanghai. If the above suggestions don’t strike your fancy, there is so much more to do, including the Shanghai garden, outdoor markets, boutique shopping, and Chinese opera.
I hope you enjoy your time in Shanghai as much as I did! It is a gem in Asia and worth the time to explore and visit. I only hope I can go back to visit other areas I missed the first time!
Janine is a travel blogger who writes for Fill My Passport – Flavour for Travel. For more travel tips, tricks and further details on making the most of your time in China, be sure to head on over to her blog!