View of the Pearl Tower from the Bund

Shanghai is the modern China. A showcase for all that the government would like people to think of when it comes to China.

Things to See

Old City

The Old City is a fascinating place to visit with many small streets, markets and shops. The Chenghuang Miao is the busiest section of the old city as it has been massively re-developed and is quite “touristy”.

Huxin Ting Tea House

Chenghuang Miao is also famous for the Huxin Ting (Heart of Lake) Tea House which sits in the middle of a bridge that twists and turns it's way across an artificial pond (teeming with goldfish that tourists regularly feed). Tea at the tea house is surprisingly inexpensive (when they show you to the back room – basically the “chinese tea tasting” tourist trap area – insist you be given a seat in the front by a window or upstairs) and very, very good.

Feeding the Fish

There is a lot to see here and it is quite interesting to just walk around. Be aware that you will be hassled and it will be very busy – Why not stop in the tea house…? Or, visit Yu Yuan Gardens…

Chenghuang Miao

Yu Yuan Gardens

The Yu Yuan Garden is a classical Chinese garden having a number of rockeries, fish pools, interestingly shaped rocks, and the like. There is even an opera stage! Though perhaps not as impressive as some of the gardens in nearby Suzhou, Yu Yuan is definitely worth a visit.

One of the Dragons

It can be very busy but there are many surprises and you can spend a large amount of time just wandering around…

The Bund

The Bund

I do not find the Bund itself very interesting (it is a number of old colonial buildings on the water) but rather walking in Huangpu Park along the water and it's views of the modern Shanghai across the water. At night it is quite pretty. People watching here is also quite interesting…


Suzhou is a small town a short train ride away from Shanghai. It is a popular place to visit as it has large areas of the city that are quite traditional and the city itself has a network of canals as well as a number of very famous, and impressive, gardens throughout the city.

Tours offered in Suzhou itself are geared to the Chinese tourist so it is best that if you want a tour it is arranged in advance.

Canal River Cruise Boat

Of particular interest is the Humble Administrator's Garden which, unfortunately, I have not visited but I understand it to be very impressive and well worth a visit.

Oriental Pearl Tower

Oriental Pearl Tower at Night

The iconic Pearl Tower is very easy to visit (just a short walk from the Lujiazui subway station). There are various tickets available that include access to the three levels of the tower and the very good Shanghai Municipal History Museum in the mall at the base of the tower.

View from the Pearl Tower

Spectacular views of the city all around in the Pudong area (to the east of the city centre).

View from the Pearl Tower

View from the Pearl Tower

View from the Pearl Tower

Shanghai Municipal History Museum

Located at the base of the Oriental Pearl Tower the Shanghai Municipal History Museum has a number of very good exhibits talking about the history of the city. A number of dioramas, video and animatronics really bring the whole thing to life. Definitely worth a visit.

Shanghai Municipal History Museum

Eating Out

Shanghai is particularly well known for dumplings and in the Old City (Chenghuang Miao right near the tea house) there are regularly long line ups at Nan Xiang Restaurant. Ok, you could go up stairs into their small seated area but it is much more interesting with the locals in the line on the street (ignoring any rain). Yes, it is worth the wait…Deliciously tender and moist…wonderful with the sauce as well…Brave the queues!

How to Get Around

It is actually quite easy to get around in Shanghai. The preferred option is subway as taxis can get expensive very quickly. Do expect to walk a fair amount as the public transport does not always go directly to main tourist attractions (if that is where you are going…).


There are a number of subway lines that offer a very efficient method of getting around at an economical price. Tickets are purchased from vending machines where you specify your target station and pay the appropriate fee. A ticket is dispensed which you then use to get through the subway gates.


For short distances where you know where you are going taxis are a realistic option. Be sure to have the destination written in Chinese characters for the driver.

Further Information

For further information, please see: