Destination Guide: Shanghai, China

If you want to feel the dynamism, decadence and momentum of contemporary China in all its thrilling, maddening, exciting and overcrowded style, Shanghai won’t disappoint.

Must do's

There is so much to do in Shanghai. Ultra-modern towers, malls and gargantuan restaurants contrast with neighbourhood temples, street-corner eateries and shady avenues from Shanghai’s early days as a colonial trading city.

  • Yu Garden - Yu means ‘pleasing’ in Chinese and with traditional pavilions, halls, rockeries, carp ponds and cloisters to explore, this classical garden is sure to delight visitors.

  • The Bund - call it the Bund or by its street name, Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, this famous waterfront area is an iconic symbol of Shanghai.

  • Cycle around the city - Shanghai is very flat, making cycling a good option. Avoid the heavily trafficked main roads and stick to side streets, many of which have cycle lanes.

Where to eat

Shanghai is known as the best city in the country for working up an appetite, with plenty of modestly priced restaurants and terrific street food. 

  • Shanghai Uncle - find modern versions of Shanghai classics  with Asian and Western influences mixed in. Try the superlative crispy pork, traditional smoked fish, handmade noodles and, for astronomical prices, fresh lobster dishes.

  • Whampoa Club - chef Jeremy Leung reinvigorates local cuisine with his contemporary takes on abalone, smoked fish and braised pork, with a tea sommelier on hand to match the dishes with a choice of 50 top-quality brews.

  • Jesse - hairy crab, considered a delicacy, is a true passion of the Shanghainese, usually eaten steamed and dipped in ginger, soy sauce and vinegar. Some say the best is served at Jesse so reservations are essential.

Shopping hotspots

Shanghai is packed with a temptation of department stores, shopping malls, fashion boutiques, souvenir shops and street markets where you can purchase just about everything.

  • Nanjing Lu - China’s most famous shopping drag, Nanjing Lu offers big shops at the eastern end and high-end boutiques, electronics stores and handicraft stores towards its western end.

  • Hauhai Zhong Lu – shop amongst locals who flock to Hauhai Zhong Lu for better prices and more interesting fashions.

  • Tianzifang – Shanghai’s hip and fashionable crowd is flocking to Tianzifang right now, a vibrant art district full of trendy boutiques and stylish hole-in-the-wall cafes.

Where to stay

Shanghai has an enormous variety of hotels, ranging from modest lodges and budget retreats to serviced apartments and some of Asia’s best luxury establishments.

  • Sofitel Shanghai Hyland - located in the heart of the city's commercial hub on China's most famous pedestrian shopping street, Nanjing Road. The hotel is within walking distance of People's Square, the Bund and Grand Theatre, and adjacent metro stations - Nanjing Road East and People's Square.

  • Park Hyatt Shanghai - the 5-star luxury hotel boasts a spa and wellness centre, gourmet cuisine across eight dining options and modern Chinese-style rooms with sweeping views of the city skyline and Huangpu River.

  • The Langham Xintiandi - in Shanghai, all roads lead to Xintiandi, a collection of glamorous stores, international restaurants, historic sites, hip clubs and home to The Langham Xintiandi.

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Did you know... The Maglev, which operates between Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport and its terminus in Pudong district, is the world’s first commercially-operated, high-speed magnetic levitation train.