Pudong Complex, Shanghai, China

Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou

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.

Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai, China
Shanghai, China

Old Shanghai

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 handicrafts 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.

Maglev Train Shanghai
Maglev Train, Shanghai, China

What's nearby?

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.

Buddha in the Bamboo Forest, Hangzhou Park, China
Hangzhou, China

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 unusually 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.


What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Huangshan in Fog, Huangshan, China

Huang Shan Mountains

Take a side trip to the mountains, hot springs and rural scenery of Huang Shan; explore on foot or by cable car.

Shanghai Xintiandi and Shikumen building

Explore Xintiandi

Visit the Xintiandi district of Shanghai, an area of converted residential blocks, now home to restaurants, boutiques, cafes and bars.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Bund, Shanghai, China

Stay on The Bund

Stay in one of the historic Bund hotels, whose waterfront locations have welcomed guests such as Charlie Chaplin.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Maglev Train Shanghai

Board the Maglev Train

Travel from the airport on board the Maglev train; the journey on a high speed magnetic levitation line takes just over seven minutes to travel 30 kilometres.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Zhujiajiao Water Town, Shangai, China

Visit a Water Town

Take a day trip from Shanghai to one of the nearby water towns; known for the ancient art of silk weaving and peppered with pretty canals, stone bridges, traditional gardens and temples.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Alleys of Shanghai, China

Shanghai by Bike

Join the locals on two wheels and take a bicycle tour through the hidden alleys of Shanghai.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China

Shanghai Museum

Stroll through the fabulous exhibits at the Shanghai museum.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Aerial View of Lujiazui Financial District in Shanghai, Shanghai, China

Shanghai Sunset River Cruise

Cruise Shanghai’s Huangpu River at sunset and see the neon lights of the city skyline.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Amanfayun £££££

  • China

Hidden in a picturesque valley, a short drive from Hangzhou, Amanfayun is surrounded by tea fields, natural forest, quaint villages and a pilgrimage circuit of five significant Buddhist temples. Many of the 47 rooms, suites, and villas date back more than a century and once housed villagers who worked in the nearby tea fields. Simple and elegant in style, most rooms open onto private or semi-private courtyards with informal outdoor dining and lounging areas. The Fayun Pathway, once the villages’ main thoroughfare, runs through the resort and provides access to the various restaurants, the Aman spa, and heated pool.

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Alila Anji £££££

  • China

Alila Anji is tucked away in a little know area of China, south west of the buzzing city of Shanghai. The peaceful lakeside setting, surrounded by mountains, tea plantations and bamboo forests is an area dedicated to preserving the natural environment. The hotel fuses traditional and elegant styles with contemporary comforts and has been designed to resemble a traditional Chinese village. Most of the 74 villas and rooms have a private balcony or terrace offering wonderfully elevated views across the lake to the hills and mountains beyond.

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Banyan Tree Hangzhou £££££

  • China

Banyan Tree Hangzhou sits within China’s first wetland reserve, home to a wealth of plant and bird life. The 72 rooms and villas are designed like a Jiangnan-style town, with slate grey tiled roofs and are surrounded by lakes and waterways. Oriental interiors are themed around the colours of the four seasons and some have indoor hot tubs, outdoor jet pools and spacious balconies with water views. The lush gardens house the spa with the indoor swimming pool close by.

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Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao £££££

  • China
  • Boutique

This renovated building houses a 600-year-old Ming Dynasty courthouse as the hotel lobby and a theatre from the Qing Dynasty at the heart of the building. Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao is certainly not lacking in history or character. The 35 villas each have a private courtyard and garden plus four villas have their own heated outdoor swimming pool.

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Peninsula Hotel Shanghai £££££

  • China
  • City

The Peninsula Shanghai occupies a splendid location, with direct frontage on the historic Bund. The interior design combines contemporary and Art Deco styles and some of the 235 rooms offer wonderful city views. Faultless service is combined with fine dining, an indoor swimming pool and spa for an extremely comfortable stay.

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Amanyangyun £££££

  • China

In a bold project, the creators of Amanyangyun have saved a slice of Chinese history by relocating and rebuilding 50 Ming and Qing dynasty villas and turning them into a peaceful retreat a short distance from Shanghai. The 24 courtyard suites and 13 antique villas are set amidst more than 10,000 camphor trees, also rescued and relocated when their original home was threatened by the construction of a reservoir.

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Need Inspiration?
Browse our China holiday ideas.

Our China experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.

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  • 01285 880 980

Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

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  • 01285 880 980

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