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What to do and see in Shanghai
What to do and see in Shanghai

Shanghai is an important global city, and although it is not the capital of China, Shanghai is the largest city in the country - so, as you would expect, there is a huge array of things to see and do when visiting here.

Visiting Shanghai

Shanghai is home to two major airports, Shanghai Pudong International and Shanghai Hongqiao International. While the latter mainly deals with internal flights, both serve international routes. Both airports have two terminals that are easily travelled between via a free shuttle service.

No matter which airport you arrive into, both are a short distance from the vibrant centre of Shanghai. If you choose to take the train, bus or taxi, you will be in the heart of the city in less than half an hour.

As for getting around town, it is worth noting before you arrive that Shanghai is vast. While you will be able to walk to nearby attractions, you will undoubtedly have to look at other transport means during your stay in the city if you want to see it all! The Shanghai Jiaotong Card is a good option for that, as you will be able to use it across many metro, bus, and even some taxi routes, and avoid searching for change each time you board a vehicle.

If you want to escape the roads, you can even travel around part of Shanghai by ferry – you will find a service that runs from the Bund to Lujiazui, the financial district in Pudong. If you do want to get a little more familiar with the city while exploring, you could even hire an electric scooter to help you zip from one place to the next. In short, there are plenty of options for getting around!

Of course, in such a vast, buzzing city, it is essential you give yourself some space to relax, too. Both the Grand Kempinski Hotel Shanghai and THE ONE Executive Suites Shanghai (managed by Kempinski) are both perfectly situated in the city, and offer stunning views over the sprawling metropolis.

Historic Shanghai

Today, Shanghai is made up of towering skyscrapers and glittering modernity at every turn, however there are still some wonderful ancient parts of the city too. They might be unexpected if you have not researched Shanghai before your arrival, but they are very much worth exploring.

From the Jade Buddha Temple to the Old City, there are curious pockets of architectural culture within this great city, and if you are around at the right time, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of a traditional festival, too. Our top tip is to head to Shanghai over the Lunar New Year - usually between 19th January and 20th February - and watch the city bloom with colour and celebration.

Shanghai's cuisine

It is a well-known fact within China that those in Shanghai tend to have a sweeter tooth than other Chinese cities - but that doesn't mean there aren't some delectable savoury dishes to try too.

Seafood is big in Shanghai, and Steamed Crab, or Da Zha Xie, is a much-loved winter treat when served up with lots of vinegar. Away from river-sourced food, Roast Duck is another firm favourite in the city, and is served crispy on the outside, yet soft and tender on the inside. Paired with steamed pancakes, it is a culinary treat that many would love to sample.


Whether you want to embrace all of the history that is soon to be on offer, or if you want to indulge in the modern world of Shanghai, there is plenty to see and do on a visit to this seemingly infinite city.

Old City

Though the surrounding city wall is no longer in place in its entirety, there is a definite distinction between old and new when you arrive at this part of the city. Within Old City, you will find the City God Temple of Shanghai, the Yuyuan Garden, and the Dajing Ge Pavilion, along with many little boutiques and cafes on the outskirts. It is a lovely way to explore the Shanghai that once was.

Jade Buddha Temple

Sadly, the original temple was destroyed during the Chinese Revolution - but today, you can see a brilliant restoration effort that was completed in 1928. Although the walls are not the original, you can still get a feel for how the temple would have looked, and explore the statues that remain from the Qing Dynasty.

The Bund

Sitting alongside the Huangpu River, which eventually meets the Yangtze, the Bund is a waterside development that offers visitors incredible views across the city. The Bund wasn't always this way - in fact, at one time it was quite industrial - but now, the area is home to some stunning architecture and artistic sculptures.

Xin Tian Di

The rapid growth and development of Shanghai meant that many were worried that the city's history and old charm would be lost. That is where Xin Tian Di comes in. This new complex takes on the architectural characteristics of older buildings, and offers modern restaurants, bars and high-end shops to visitors. A perfect place in which to spend an afternoon!

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