A city of contrasts, Shanghai has two distinctly different faces, one old and one new, and is evolving at a rapid pace. It is a dynamic place with an extremely exhilarating pace and lifestyle.
Appearing to have leapt straight from its 19th century splendour of merchant's offices, banks and hotels that were built along the famous Bund, to the glass skyscrapers now appearing on the newly reclaimed land of Pudong on the opposite river bank.
The old parts of the city are worth a visit where beautifully designed hidden gardens such as the Yu garden, a typical Chinese courtyard style garden, are tucked away down the many side alleys and traditional street markets still occur where locals trade fresh produce and handcrafts among other more tourist orientated items.
Old and new seem to blend effortlessly in Shanghai, and a day’s travel can include sampling traditional Chinese dumplings from a small street stall to gazing at one of the many magnificent skyscrapers from an opulent restaurant.
Shanghai is a vibrant city with a fabulous museum, ancient temples and gardens, good nightlife and international cuisine including Shanghai's own famed seafood making the city a firm favourite for all who visit. Shanghai is a city that never sleeps.
Close by and easily visited for the day are numerous pretty water towns, crisscrossed with intricate canals and attractive stone bridges. Suzhou is famed for its silk weaving trade and is also home to a number of beautiful traditional gardens. Other water towns include Hangzhou with its tranquil west lake and lavish temples, Zhouzhuang, one of the oldest in the country and Luzhi, often less visited and home to around 41 well preserved ancient stone bridges of different style and size.
The newly introduced Shanghai – Kumming High Speed railway has been newly introduced since 2017. A total journey time of 12 hours, passing through four provincial capitals.
Take a side trip to Huang Shan
Reached by air and rail from Shanghai or overland from Hangzhou, Huang Shan or Yellow Mountain is well worth a visit. The Huang Shan mountain range is made up of 72 peaks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pine trees jut from unusual shaped granite rocks and towering mountains rise above seas of cloud giving the whole area a truly ethereal feel. There are some wonderful walking trails or cable cars ascending the mountains. Hot springs are also abundant in the region and nearby traditional villages give a taste of rural Chinese life.
When to go to SHANGHAI, HANGZHOU & SUZHOU
Visit when the weather is at its best, either mid-March to mid-June or September to November.
The mountains of Huang Shan change with the seasons offering rape flowers in spring, atmospheric mountain fog in summer, Chrysanthemum blossom in autumn and frost flowers and seas of cloud in winter.