Shanghai is a city of many contrasts. In one neighbourhood, you’ll be able to explore the classic Chinese culture, food and atmosphere, and as you walk down one block you’ll find yourself in a Parislike area, with beautiful, old houses, and amazing fancy restaurants. Over the years, Shanghai has been influenced by so many different cultures and traditions, which without doubt has left a very unique mark on the city. And this is without doubt what I love the most about Shanghai. You’ll never know what you’ll find around the corner.
During our China travels back in August, I wanted to make sure that Ollie got to experience as much as possible of China, since it was his very first time visiting the country. Therefor we decided to only spend two days in Shanghai – one day in the city and one day in one of the ancient water towns 30 minutes from Shanghai. Although we without doubt could’ve spend much more time in the city than we did, we still managed to check off a few things on our bucket list in just one day – even without having to rush through everything.
Where to stay
We decided to stay at Narada Boutique (affiliate link) just five minutes walk from the Old Street and Yu Garden, and also very close to People’s Square and the Bund. The hotel is a bit on the pricier side, but they usually have some good deals, and you definitely get great value for your money. Their breakfast buffet is awesome!
PS: The hotel is so much better than it actually looks on the pictures that you can find online. 🙂
What to see & do
Take a walk along the Bund
See the city from up high from the Oriental Pearl TV Tower
Take a stroll in Yu Garden
Explore the Old Town
Visit one of the many parks in the city, where many elderly will go to do their morning workout, afternoon nap, or play mahjong
What to eat & drink
You definitely have to try out the Xiao Long Bao – small soup dumplings. You can find these all over town, but we decided to visit an old restaurant near People’s Square, named Jiajia Tang Bao. Very small, local and some knowledge in Mandarin is a plus, as the menu isn’t in English. But these are hands down the best soup dumplings in town! You gotta arrive there early in order to have the most choices as they sell out quickly though.
Good to know
The best way to get around Shanghai is either with the metro system, or by taxi which is incredibly cheap and also ended up being our preferred transportation during our visit.
For a day trip away from the madness of Shanghai, there are several ancient water towns in the area that are definitely worth exploring. Some are more commercialized than other, but our favourite turned out to be Suzhou, which I’ll write a guide for very soon!