24 Hours in Shanghai

Posted by Lisa Pagotto

Street food is Shanghai
Street food is Shanghai

Step into the pages of history as this vibrant yet traditional city encapsulates you from the moment you arrive. From the bustling bazaars to chic boutiques and swanky haunts. The cities imperial opulence showcases the classic infusion of old meets new and mega metropolis meets intricate alley ways.

1900: Arriving in the evening into the 'Paris of the East' is the perfect way to obtain your bearings. Take a long slow stroll along the Bund, home to Shanghai's world famous skyline. Come face to face with the awe inspiring view of China's commercial prosperity whilst humbly backed by historical colonial buildings. Electronically infused sky scrapers dance in the night sky as their vivid illuminations flash images boldly stating 'I heart Shanghai' and the infamous 'disco ball' pulsates methodically, the lights reflecting like a mirror perfectly on the Huangpu River.

Why not head to one of Shanghai's famed roof top bars whilst in the Bund precinct for a night cap while soaking up the atmosphere and of course the view. This is a great opportunity to experience some of the city's dynamic and lucrative nightlife.

0700: Interested in Tai Chi and meditation? Head to Fuxing Park to participate with the locals as they dutifully execute their synchronised movements. A great way to start the day and immerse yourself in the local culture.

0930: Head to the Old Town of Shanghai, known as Nan Shi with the Yu Yuan Gardens at its heart. Wander the Old Towns' Lilong neighbourhood lined by creaky and rickety Chinese homes which overcrowd the narrow alley ways. Washing hangs from bamboo poles, antiques and unusual coin stores fill the tight winding streets as tea houses dot each block. Very basic food stalls offer a vast variety of produce from fresh vegetables to local specialties such as Chou Doufu (stinky tofu). This lesser known and lesser explored side of Old Shanghai truly provides a wonderful and insightful glimpse into the daily traditional life of ordinary Chinese people. The Old Town bazaar provides fantastic opportunities to chat and bargain with the local merchants.

Follow the signs as you branch into lane-ways of dilapidated cramped housing and continue to the Bride of Nine Turnings (Jiu Qu Qiao). You will reach Huxingting Teahouse, a 200 year old Teahouse and the most famous in Shanghai. If time permits, why not enjoy a cup of hot tea in this historically traditional building.

1200: By now an appetite will be well built up as you make your way to the nearby Nanxiang Mantou Dian, a famous traditional dumpling house adorned by locals and tourists alike. Famed for its mouth watering soup dumplings - delicious pork floating in a hot salty broth encapsulated in delicately wrapped parcels - a sure way to make your taste buds scream.

1300: Feel like you can't move after your meal? Take a short stroll through the neighbouring Yu Yuan Gardens, China's finest Imperial Gardens, to walk off all those dumplings. Perfectly manicured with quiet reflective ponds, this revitalising sanctuary is a little piece of paradise in the heart of Shanghai's hustle and bustle.

1430: Take a short taxi ride to the historical French Concession where you can participate in a walking tour or opt to cycle. The French Concession as the name states, was formally owned by the French. With a rich secret history and a European style vibe, the tree lined streets present a quiet atmosphere with colonial architecture lining the boulevards. Traditional Nongtag residencies coupled with quaint villas from the 1900's, adjoin cobblestone laneways leading to French styled parks. The classic French character makes you feel as though you are strolling through a Parisian street. The hidden back alleys hold a unique French affection and provide a glimpse to small town Shanghai life.

1630: Continue on to the colourful and vibrantly creative area known as Tianzifang - located in the Soho area of the city. A maze of chic art galleries and design studios, brimming with local artists displaying their works with hidden enclaves around every corner. This former factory area screams atmosphere with nooks and crannies bursting with charming cafés, trendy hole-in-the-wall wine bars and microbreweries.

The perfect location to soak up the energetic atmosphere, kick back with a chilled beverage in hand and reflect on your 24 hours in Shanghai.

Old intertwined with new
Old intertwined with new

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