Shanghai is China’s wealthiest city and it has been undergoing a staggering economic expansion. However, despite all of the recent development, it has retained its colonial past and is a fascinating city to visit.
Most international flights arrive at the modern Pudong International Airport. There is also another airport, Hongqiao, which handles domestic flights and a small number of flights arriving from other Asian cities. There are regular shuttle buses to the city and between the two airports, and taxis are easy to find. The international airport also boasts having the world’s first maglev train that connects to the city at speeds of up to 270 miles per hour.
Shanghai has some spectacular architecture, ranging from 19th and early 20th century buildings along the Bund to the maze of Art Deco masterpieces in the French concession. There is plenty to see in the city, from museums, street markets and temples to some lovely gardens, parks and spectacular modern buildings. The Shanghai Museum has over 120,000 pieces and some impressive collections. Shoppers will be kept happy at the huge department stores found on Huaihai Lu.
If you have the time, it’s worth exploring some of the surrounding area. The Buddhist island of Putuoshan can easily be reached by boat from Shanghai, while Suzhou has some amazing gardens and is great for a day trip. Hangzhou is a little farther away and has some famous scenery including the West Lake, and the former capital of Imperial and Nationalist China, Nanjing, is also worth a visit.
Exercise is an important part of the Chinese culture and you will see many groups of people gathering before and after work in the parks to take part in aerobics and tai chi. Dragon boat racing is very popular, so check to see if there are any local events planned for when you visit. For the less energetic, Shanghai has a wide range of cultural entertainment, from theater productions to chic eateries and a lively clubbing scene.