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Shanghai

Shanghai

Travel guide, tips & inspiration

Home to more than 20 million people, Shanghai is the largest city in China, so naturally you can expect a lot from it - and a lot you will get! The city houses a unique mixture between old-world (charming French Concession laneways and backstreets, Old Town markets and magnificent temples) and new world, as it's home to loads of chic bars and world-class restaurants.

Top things to do in Shanghai

  • The Bund
    Known as being 'the heart of Shanghai', this waterfront is one of the most recognisable landmarks of the city. It's lined with colonial-era buildings and gives a great view of the skyline.
  • Old Town markets
    Soak up the history and culture of Shanghai by heading to the Old Town and walking around the markets, which sell all sorts from antiques to street food.
  • French Concession
    Wind your way through the quaint backstreets of the former French Concession - dine in local cafes, go wine tasting, or browse art galleries and pop-ups.
  • Jade Buddha Temple
    Appreciate the classic architectural style of this Buddhist temple, which houses two rare and beautiful Buddha statues that are carved by whole white jade.
  • Yu Garden
    This Chinese garden is seriously impressive, with elaborate and intricate designs, pagodas and archways, it will transport you back to ancient China.
  • Oriental Pearl Tower
    Not only is this one of the best places to take photos of the rest of the city (it's in the top ten) this towering masterpiece also provides it's own epic photo due to it's completely unique look.

Shanghai Neighbourhoods

This culturally charming yet glamourous city has a lot to discover and experience within it's neighbourhoods. We've picked our top four below.
French Concession Shanghai
Former French Concession
This used to be a French Concession from 1849 to 1943, although it's still used today. Take some time out to wander along the tree-lined backstreets and laneways full of old-world charm, browse art galleries, sit outside cute little cafes, or go for a drink at a wine bar.
North Jing'an
North Jing'an
Jing'An is named after the Jing'An temple, which you can't miss when you visit the area - it's sandwiched in the middle of skyscrapers and modern shopping centres. This area is home to a lot of expats, due to it's central location and the fact it's popular for shopping. So if you're looking for a mix of international and authentic Chinese living - with lots of dining and nightlife options, this is the place to stay.
Old Town
Old Town
If you want to experience traditional China, then you need to check out Old Town. There is so much to see and do here to satisfy your wanderlust for China - from antique markets, street food stalls, temples, tea houses and gardens... and we haven't even scraped the surface here. It's vibrant, it's authentic and it's totally fascinating.
Xintiandi
Xin Tian Di
It's known as being the place where the young locals love the most, and this could be because of it's array of international restaurants, boutique shops, entertainment, which is mixed in perfectly with the history and culture of the city.

Tours and experiences in Shanghai

Shanghai
Shanghai Express
This short but sweet tour includes two nights' accommodation plus Shanghai's highlights - the famous YuYuan Gardens, the Pudong financial district, the French Quarter and the colonial riverfront (The Bund). Then you can ride the world's fastest train - The Maglev back to the airport!
Beijing to Shanghai
Beijing, Xi'An and Shanghai Adventure
Discover iconic Beijing, such as Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City, then head on out and hike the Great Wall and finish up by exploring local markets. Then it's onwards to Xi'an where you'll pay a visit to the Terracotta Army, before visiting Shanghai. You'll also get the chance to enjoy a kung fu show and watch fascinating acrobatics.
Classic Shanghai
Classic Shanghai to Hong Kong
On this epic trip you'll start in Shanghai, catch an overnight train to Guilin and transfer to Longji, where you'll experience rural China - with rice terraces, hiking, and local living. After you'll head to Yangshuo, which showcases more of Shanghai's amazing landscapes, where you can hop on a bike or hire a raft for the day. Then it's back to the hustle and bustle as you end your trip in vibrant Hong Kong.

When is the best time to visit Shanghai?

The time of year that travelers tend to go to Shanghai is between October to November, after the wettest month of September, which makes the temperature milder and drier. However, if you're looking for hot weather, then July is the time to go - with an average temperature of 84°F.

Looking for more inspiration? Then check out our STA Travel Blog!

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