What it is:
Shanghai is most certainly a testament to China’s future as a country. The jagged Shanghai skyline, as witnessed from the banks of the Bund, is in itself a sight worth travelling for. The city, after all, is dotted with soaring skyscrapers that seem entirely distinct from the ancient architecture that China is best known for. This arresting urban sprawl is a perfect backdrop for the discovery of a thriving and modern China.
That said, Shanghai is certainly not devoid of ancient charm with many beautiful relics of Shanghai’s past life. Travelling from glittering downtown to the ancient heart of its traditional districts is the perfect way to explore the ever-evolving identity of China.
To get a taste of Shanghai’s modern, business-oriented culture, pay a visit to Suzhou. This major economic city is one of most important commercial hubs of China and boasts an impressive waterside skyline against Yangtze River. Or, head to the Bund, a famed riverside walkway, to enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Visit Yuyuan Garden, otherwise known as the ‘Garden of Happiness’, to see architecture and flora laid out in classic Suzhou style. The beauty of the area is not only skin-deep, with its history dating back to the 16th Century.
For an alternative view of Shanghai, head to the outskirts to see Zhujiajiao Water Town. This unusual town is established across a network of rivers and 36 stone bridges. Here you’ll find many historical buildings, including a Qing dynasty post office and Kezhi Garden.
How to get there:
Shanghai is home to two international airports, Pudong International Airport and Hongqiao International Airport. Together, the two airports accommodate approximately 1,000 flights from all over the world. And, both airports offer convenient airport shuttle buses which take approximately one hour to get into the city centre.
Shanghai can be reached by almost anywhere in China by bus, with over 1,000 routes served by 40 long-distance bus stations.
A number of high-speed railways connect to Shanghai’s three main train stations, Shanghai Railway Station, South Railway Station and Hongqiao Railway Station. The city can be reached from major cities, such as Beijing, Nanjing and Hangzhou, as well as number of more remote destinations.
Shanghai is home to China’s largest port where a number of cargo ships and passenger ships make stops. These ships travel from as far as Europe, the Americas and Australia, as well as many other destinations along the way. The trips are often a holiday in themselves as they can take weeks to reach Shanghai, depending on where you are travelling from. Organising one of these journeys is a little more difficult than other forms of transport as they may need to be booked in advance by a specialist travel agency, but they are definitely a unique, memorable and social way to reach China.