Shanghai is the perfect starting place for any journey through China or a great stopover on the way to your final Destination.
While other cities in China will drop you straight into the different culture, Shanghai eases you in. It lets you adept to it instead of drowning you in new experiences.
One might say it isn’t really China…I say it is a mix out of western cultures and chinese. It has something for everytaste and one will have a hard time being bored.
While there isn’t so much of sightseeing, it is more a city to be felt. There is a certain vibe. Everybody dreams big, it is a place of new discoveries and change. The city never stays still. One area might look completely different in a year, your favorite shop might be simply gone the next day or a new one will suddenly open next door.
These things are hard to witness if you just have limited time.
But there are still a couple of places you have to see when in Shanghai. These just shouldn’t be missed. They will bring you as close as possible to the Shanghai Vibe.
Let’s discover the city together shall we? Here is my 24h Guide of Shanghai!
11 am, Shanghai : Start your discovery of the City with a stroll along the Bund. To get there get off at East Nanjing Rd and follow the crowds 😉 it is just a 5-10 min. walk until you reach the river promenade, with the stunning view across to the Skyscrapers of Pudong Area.
This is my absolute favorite place in Shanghai. Here I feel like I came home. The sight is especially nice when it rained and the whole place is empty or at night between 8pm-10pm, when everything is lit up. I also like to come later at night, because there are no more people around. Somehow that place makes me feel so small and insignificant and I just love to see what we are able to create , plus I just have a thing for rivers ^^
Insider Tip: If you want/can go there at around 5-7 am in the morning and watch the locals doing Tai Chi, or head to the next park in your area to train with them, they are usually quite happy to let you join in =)
If you come out of the East Nanjing Rd turn left at the Bund and follow it to it’s end. There you will reach a Communist statue and also a Bridge, cross the road over the Bridge (not the Bridge) and you will get to a small park along a smaller river. If you follow it a bit you’ll pass a gas Station and get to another Bridge, turn left again into Sichuan Road.
12 o’clock – It is Lunchtime and on the Road you are on now, at your left hand side should be a very charming little restaurant. It is wooden and has red lampions hanging in front of the door. Very hard to miss. This is where you can have your lunch. The Kungfu Restaurant.
The staff will be dressed in traditional clothes, they will scream around like in the old movies, beer gets drunk out of a flat bowl and there are weapons on the wall. In short a very great atmosphere. There is an English Menu and the Food really is pretty good =)
This was one of my favorite places to go to while living in Shanghai, so if you are in the mood for something special, that’s where you’ll want to go.
Insider Tip: Order the fried chicken which I quote one of my friends: Is the best chicken he ever ate. It is a whole chicken, nicely fried and a kind of spiced salt to dip the meat it. And if you like alcohol try out their rice wine. I usually do not like it, but the bottles they serve it with and the whole atmosphere makes it a great experience =)
Ok from there you can head back to East Nanjing Road. Soak in all the people and shopping places. I wouldn’t really go shopping there, but this road is a Symbol of Chinas rapid growth and consumerism. Shanghai really is not a poor city, you will be surprised by how much money some locals spent on their shopping trips.
This road is part of what China is trying to be and whether one now loves it or hates it, it still should be experienced.
Soak in the noise and the hustle and please ignore all the street tugs. DO NOT BUY FROM THEM. First lesson to learn in China, do not buy from People bugging you when you walk along the street, they will rip you off…it might sound like a good deal, but for the quality you are getting and local standarts they make a freaking fortune with stupid foreigners falling for the trap.
In the end you will arrive at People Square. A little park in the middle of the City. If you feel like it, head into the Chinese Museum, which is also located there and lets 1000 of years of history and art flow around you.
From there I leave it up to you, stroll through some streets. That’s how you usually find all the great stuff and that is what I am usually doing in every new city I arrive in. The easiest way to discover is to get a bit lost and away from the main roads.
If that is too much for you, head over to Yuyuan Garden instead. A charming chinese garden with a fun bazar for souvenir shopping. (I will soon publish a detailed article about that area).
18 o’clock- Time for Dinner. Remember the Chinese eat early. After 8 pm some Restaurants might not serve you anymore, because they are out of food.
If you want some really great Chinese Food, which is actually really cheap head to “Grandma’s” which is a restaurant chain.
They usually look super expensive, but prices are really cheap and gosh that food is super good. Depending on which one you go to they might have a picture menu or not and maybe (very rarely) an English Menu.
What helps if you let the People in your Hostel /Hotel write down some stuff you would like to eat or they recommend and then show that to the waiter.
21 o’clock – If you haven’t noticed yet. Shanghai is all about the Nightlife. There are endless places to choose from and a night out here shouldn’t be missed. Just remember if you want to go clubbing you will need some decent clothes. Most Clubs won’t let you enter in sneakers and shorts. Ladies time to dress up, no City it is this easy to feel unredressed 😉
Insider Tips: Yonkang Lu for some relaxed drinks in great bars. Prices are middle to high, but they have great deals usually from 7pm to 9 pm.
More for a crazy crowd and fun Music, head over to any Perry’s or Windows, which are Student Bars, which means cheap drinks and a crazy crowd (anybody likes a Hip-Hop Battle?! ).
Bar Rouge is pricy but offers a great view over the Bund and Unico thrumbs with hot latin rhythms. All Clubs are really pricy, but if you do it right you might drink for free. Check out the Lady Nights or ask in your Hostel, they often work together with Promotors or know somebody, who knows somebody, who can get you free entry and free Drinks.
2.30 am – While some Clubs are hot until the early hours, others empty out after 2 am. Time to hit the streets and grab a late night snack.
One can’t miss the street food and it is the perfect hangover food. Oily, salty and absolutely yumm.
Fried Noodles shouldn’t be more than 7-15 depending if you take them with extra stuff like sausages or meat. The Barbeque sticks are usually 1-2 for the Veggie& Tofu ones. 2-3 for chicken, squid and pork. 5 for chicken wings or Beef and I think 7 Rmb for the whole fish (which i wouldn’t recommend, careful with fish, expecially if it is warm outside, food poisening is easy to get on the streets.) Dumpling soup is usually around 8-10 Rmb.
Time to go to sleep 🙂
Insider Tip : Don’t take a Red Taxi /Cab, they always try to rip you off…I haven’t gotten one decent guy yet. The others usually will but the Meter on either when you ask or straight away.
9am – Well we do not want to waste your time sleeping?! Get up and grab something to eat on the go and head over to the French Concession.
To be more precise, go to Tianzifang. Follow the crowd or the signs and if you are a bit slow like we where and you walked once around the square and couldn’t find anything interesting, that is because it is all Happening inside of the square. So head down one of the alleys and you should be in the middle of small souvenir and art stores, selling the most adorable stuff, with loads of small bars, restauarants and other great food places. There are many tiny alleys to discover, just dive in and enjoy the last bits of the time when Shanghai still was a colony. I just love the buzz and the
Insider Tip: Cheese Panda Cakes are absolutely yummy and adorable 😀
You have spent 24h in Shanghai and I hope you enjoyed it, maybe even fell in love with it a bit ? 😉
Well that’s at least what happened to me. Now Shanghai feels like home for me and I am always looking forward to strolling through my favorite Areas and to enjoy the huzzle.
Once Chinas got you, it just won’t let you go that easily again 😛
If you are wondering why I haven’t mentioned famous sights like the Pearl Tower, Jinan Temple or the Expo Area, it is because I think they are mostly overpriced and overrated. But then this here is just a Suggestion, feel free to change it up to your liking =)
If you liked this feel free to share it with your friends or just let me know, I’d appreciate it 😉
Happy travels and see you on the Road ^^