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Shanghai, China's largest city, offers many exciting sightseeing opportunities for those unconcerned with having to deal with large crowds. But despite having a population of more than 24 million, this fun city also offers quieter historic districts and attractions alongside its many newer tourist sites. One of the world's busiest container ports thanks to its position at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city also provides opportunities for exploration by water along the Chinese coast and its inland waterways. Highlights of a visit include a number of world-class museums and art galleries such as the Shanghai Museum and the China Art Museum, numerous lovely gardens and parks, and many fine old temples and traditional pagodas. Shanghai - famous as the birthplace of the Communist Party of China - also serves as an excellent jumping off point from which to explore other areas of China and boasts an excellent international airport, as well as a first-rate modern transit system, including high-speed rail connections to other major cities such as the nation's capital, Beijing.
Shanghai is a paradox, both an anachronism and a look towards the future. The Pearl of the Orient has a rich history, replete with multiculturalism and international intrigue. After the Communist takeover, Shanghai hibernated, before beginning to reemerge in the past decade. Since Deng Xiaoping proclaimed Shanghai to be the head of the new Chinese dragon, the city has undergone a complete facelift, with a booming economy that accounts for nearly twenty percent of China's gross national product.
These happy days are reminiscent of Shanghai's past. The city was divided up into small, independent, autonomous concessions, with a British section, a French section, and an American section. While part of Shanghai remained Chinese, many locals chose to interact with the Westerners, and Shanghai became known as the Paris of the East. The Communist Party was born in Shanghai, and after it came to power in 1949, the city closed its doors to the outside world until recently.
Sixteen million people call Shanghai home today. The city is poised to become China's international face of the future, and a construction boom is fueling that feeling. The Pudong New Area is being transformed from farmland into the city's economic center. Shanghai's stock market is found here, along with some of the tallest buildings in the entire world. In just fifteen years, the number of high-rise office buildings has increased tenfold, and that number is still growing. This burgeoning economy has again attracted people from around the world, allowing the old spirit of Shanghai to re-infect people. The city has come full circle.
Where You are Dock
Large cruise ships now dock at Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal at Baoshan Port (opened 2011) approx 15 miles north of the city. Free shuttles have been known to drop off at two locations. Most recent is by Huangpu Park at the northern end of the Bund. Closest metro station is Nanjing East.
Shuttles previously dropped off at Waima Wharf Silk Museum (1029 South Zhongshan). It is close to Nanpu Bridge with the spiral onramp. You will need to hail a taxi or walk west towards bridge to find the Nanpu Bridge metro station on Line 4.
Large ships could also dock at Waigaoqiao 15 miles to the east which was used before Wusongkou was open.
Smaller ships that can sail up the Huangpu River may dock at Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal fairly close to the Bund.
Buses are generally overcrowded and stuffy in Shanghai. However, they are very efficient, and you should have no problems getting anywhere you need to go. Shanghai's subway system is in its infancy, but promises to be a very effective way to get around in the very near future. As is the case in most major cities, taxis remain the best way to get around the city. Call Friendship Taxi Company (021/6258-4584) for a cab. Many of Shanghai's best tourist attractions are concentrated in small areas, so exploring on foot is an option.
Local Transportation
Taxis are very cheap in China and in Shanghai, rates start at 14 Yuan for the first 3km. Shanghai taxis are color coded by company. Avoid the red taxis since these are independent operators and they have a reputation of ripping off tourists. Make sure they use the meter and give you a receipt. Most taxi drivers don't speak English so make sure you have your destination written out in Chinese.
You can also take the metro. It is cheap, fast and clean and destinations will be both in Chinese and English. Ticket machines can display English but accept coins only. Fares range from 3-6 Yuan with a day pass available for 18 Yuan. Staffed counters can give you change. The ticket machines issue a plastic card that you tap at the gates to enter. When exiting, insert the card into the slot at the gate where it gets returned
Hanging Around
The international port, situated in an attractive landscaped park with great views across The Bund, features a flexible corridor that connects cruise ships to the passenger hall. It offers ATM's, tourist information desks and places to eat. For passengers who prefer to walk rather than take a shuttle bus or organized tour, The Bund is about 15 minutes away, and the main Nanjing Road shopping area can be reached in 30 minutes. Shanghai Waigaoqiao Port features fewer facilities and no real reasons to hang around. All cruise ships offer shuttle buses that stop at The Bund and shopping districts.
Getting Around
On Foot: Although Shanghai can seem intimidating at first glance, it's a very walkable city once you reach your destination of choice: The Bund, Old Town, the elegant French Concession area and car-free Xintiandi district. It's a very clean city, and there are plenty of pedestrian crossings on busy streets.
By Taxi: Shanghai's taxis are incredibly cheap, and a couple of dollars will get you a very long way. The majority of drivers don't speak any English, so you'll need to have your destination written down in Chinese. This isn't as difficult as it sounds, as hotels provide cards with the names of all the main districts and attractions written in English on one side and Chinese on the other, or the concierge will write down the place you want to go. Taxis are metered, and drivers don't expect tips, so you might find them trying to give back gratuities.
By Metro: Shanghai's rapidly expanding Metro system is a fast and user-friendly way to get around, and you can pick up a detailed map at stations or find the main lines listed on tourist information guides available at hotel reception and concierge desks. Tickets are sold from bilingual vending machines, and the main stations are announced in Mandarin and English.
By Bus: Although very cheap, the public bus network is best avoided because it can be very difficult to understand where buses are going. A far better bet is one of the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tours with English-speaking commentary. Operators include Big Bus Tours Big Bus Tours and Spring Tour.
Shanghai's Promenade: The Bund
Best known by its Anglo-Indian name of Bund (Wàitan), the Zhongshan Lu is a lovely broad promenade running along the west bank of the Huangpujiang River. It's particularly popular among tourists as the area has retained a European feel (it was once the location of the city's International Settlement) that is particularly noticeable in the many old English and French buildings now serving as restaurants, boutique stores, galleries, and offices. Always bustling, it's a splendid place for a stroll as you take in the Bund's 52 unique buildings constructed in a variety of styles including Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, Neoclassical, and Renaissance influences, along with what amounts to one of the world's most impressive collections of Art Deco architecture. Moving from south to north, the dominant buildings are the former headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation with its splendid cupola, the harbor customs office with its bell tower, the old Peace Hotel, and the Bank of China. The Bund is also a great place from which to embark upon a sightseeing tour aboard a boat around the port and the confluence of the Huangpujiang and Yangtze rivers. Address: Zhongshan East 1st Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai
Yu Garden
To the northeast of the old town and laid out in 1559, the splendid Yu Garden (Yù Yuán), also known as the Garden of Happiness, covers an area of more than 20,000 square meters and consists of an outer and an inner garden. The oldest section is the Outer Garden with further changes being made in the 18th century when Sansui Tang, the park's main hall, was added (the building is notable for its lovely roof ornaments, figurative representations in bas-reliefs, and window openings, as well as its dragon-adorned walls). The best-known building is the Hall of Spring where the Company of the Little Swords (Xiaodao Hui) had its headquarters between 1853 and 1855 when it ruled Shanghai. Of great historical importance are the artificial rocks in this part of the garden, the only work of the master garden designer Zhang Nanyang that has been preserved. The newer and much smaller Inner Garden dates from 1709 and includes features typical of a classical Chinese writer's garden: attractive little pavilions, decorative stones, and miniature mountain ranges, dividing walls and small ponds, and even a richly decorated theatrical stage.
Address: 218 Anren St, Huangpu, Shanghai Shi
The Jade Buddha Temple
houses two Shakyamuni statues, which the monk Huigen brought with him from Burma. The present
building, erected in 1928 to replace the original temple built in 1882, is divided into three halls and two courtyards and includes the splendid Hall of the Kings of Heaven (Tian Wang Dian), notable for its statues of the four heavenly kings and two Shakyamuni sculptures. Carved from white jade, one of these impressive statues stands nearly two meters high in the Wentang Main hall, where a collection of Buddhist manuscripts is also kept (the smaller statue is in the west courtyard). Also of interest is the charming Hall of the Great Hero (Daxiong Baodian) with its Buddhas of the Three Ages, along with 18 Luohan figures. Another of Shanghai's many important Buddhist sites is the stunning Jing'an Temple on Nanjing West Road.
Address: 170 Anyuan Road, Jing'an, Shanghai
The Shanghai Museum
Founded in 1952, the Shanghai Museum remains China's most important museum of classical Chinese art. In a modern building that's something of a work of art itself - its unique round top and square base encompasses traditional Chinese concepts of the earth - the museum's four floors include impressive displays of bronzes and ceramics from prehistoric cultures to the 19th Century, ink drawings, calligraphy and seals, as well as large collections of art from ethnic minorities. It's also home to large collections of jade, coins and furnishings from the Ming and Qing periods (1368-1912). Also worth a visit is the excellent Shanghai Natural History Museum, one of the largest museums of natural sciences in China.
Address: 201 Renmin Avenue, China -- Official site: www.shanghaimuseum.net/en/index.jsp
Longhua Temple and Pagoda
In a pleasant park in the southwest area of Shanghai, the splendid Longhua Temple remains one of the oldest religious sites in China. Built along with the nearby 40-meter-tall wood and brick pagoda around 242 AD, this important place of worship was destroyed and rebuilt many times through the centuries, with the present structure dating back to the 10th century. The site is still used for regular Buddhist ceremonies and consists of five large halls, including the Maitreya Hall (Mile Dian) with its large Buddha statue, the Heavenly King Hall (Tian Wang Dian) dedicated to the Four Heavenly Kings, and the Grand Hall of the Great Sage (Daxiong Baodian) with its fine statues and a 16th-century bell. Other highlights include the Bell Tower with an even older, two-meter-tall, five-ton bell from 1382 that is still used on special occasions; the Library with its old manuscripts and ceremonial instruments; and the impressive sight of some 500 gold-painted Luohan Buddhas. Address: 2853 Longhua Rd, Xuhui, Shanghai
The Oriental Pearl Tower
A must-visit while in Shanghai is the 468-meter-tall Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower (Dongfang Míngzhuta) in Pudong-Park on the east bank of the Huangpu River. In addition to its excellent views over the busy river and the new city, you'll be rewarded with superb views over the historic Bund promenade. Built in 1991, the tower takes its name from its 11 linked spheres of various sizes, the highest of which - the Space Module - contains an observation level at the 350 meter mark with a glass-floored outside deck. All told, the tower boasts 15 viewing areas, including the Sightseeing Floor and Space City, as well as a revolving restaurant with great views. Other highlights include a lower level shopping mall and the Space Hotel offering rooms with spectacular views. Even if you can't make it up the tower, you'll enjoy viewing it at night when the whole structure is lit up as part of a fascinating light show. Address: 1 Century Ave, Pudong, Shanghai
Official site: www.orientalpearltower.com/en/
People's Square
Built on what was once the city's racecourse, the People's Square (Rénmín Guangchang) has been transformed over the years into Shanghai's premier public space. Home to the new Shanghai City Hall, the Shanghai Museum, and the state-of-the-art Grand Theatre, it's a perfect spot from which to begin touring the city. Be sure to spend time visiting the excellent Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, where you'll find superb displays and models - even a 360-degree movie theater - showing both existing and planned-for buildings (be sure to view this massive scale-model from the upper galleries for a fascinating bird's-eye perspective of this modern metropolis). Address: Wusheng Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai
The French Connection: Tianzifang
In what was once Shanghai's French Concession, Tianzifang has been transformed into a fascinating arts and crafts destination. While much of the older homes and buildings have been replaced, the character of this old European district has been carefully preserved in its architecture and layout, with numerous small laneways and alleys just begging to be explored. In addition to its many shopping opportunities - it has many small galleries and craft shops rather than the bigger stores found elsewhere in the city - it's also a fun place to visit at night due to its many restaurants serving traditional fare, its numerous cafés and music joints, as well as artist's studios and workshops.
Xujiahui Cathedral and the Sheshan Basilica
Built in 1911 in Neo-Romanesque style, Xujiahui Cathedral - also known as St. Ignatius Cathedral - is another splendid reminder of Shanghai's rich multi-national heritage. In the southern city district of Xujiahui, it's the largest place of Roman Catholic worship in Shanghai, and in addition to its splendid park-like setting is worth visiting for its twin 50-meter-high bell-towers and restored interior with fine stained glass windows. Another important religious site is the Sheshan Basilica (the National Shrine and Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Sheshan). This fine old Roman Catholic church stands on the western peak of the hill after which it's named. Like so many other religious sites, it was heavily damaged during the Chinese Cultural Revolution but in recent years has undergone extensive renovations and remains an important pilgrimage site. A highlight of a visit is following the 14 Stations of the Cross, which zigzag up the hill to the church, along with the many splendid views along the way.
Shanghai Science and Technology Museum
In keeping with its status as a world-class city, Shanghai is not without its fair share of top-notch museums. In addition to the splendid Shanghai Museum, the city is home to the huge Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, the largest of its kind in China and one of the city's top draws with more than two million visitors each year. Opened in 2001, the museum includes numerous fun interactive multimedia exhibits, permanent exhibits, and state-of-the-art science theaters. Highlights include a large display of animals native to the region, scientific achievements, a fascinating exhibit on robotics, as well as exhibits focusing on space travel. Other fun attractions for families include the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, notable for its 120-meter tunnel that provides a close-up view of the region's diverse marine life, and the Shanghai Zoo, famous for its large collection of native species, including giant pandas and South China tigers.
Address: 2000 Century Ave, Pudong, Shanghai
Official site: www.sstm.org.cn/kjg_Web/html/kjg_english/portal/index/index.htm
The China Art Museum
Also often referred to as the China Art Palace, the China Art Museum (Zhonghuá Yìshù Gong) - the largest art gallery in Asia - is home to the country's most important collections of modern art. Housed in the city's spectacular China Pavilion (the sole survivor of the city's Expo 2010 event and looking a little like an upside-down pyramid), highlights of a visit include fascinating collections of Chinese modern art, exhibits of prominent Chinese artists, as well as numerous works related to Shanghai's cultural development over the decades. Culture lovers should also invest a little time visiting the Oriental Art Center, one of the city's most important venues for performances of classical music, opera, and theatrical productions. Also of note is the splendid Shanghai Grand Theatre, well regarded for its regular roster of concerts, operas, ballet performances, and traditional theater.
Day Trips from Shanghai
If you're able to pull yourself away from the many exciting sights in Shanghai, the area around China's largest city offers many attractions worth visiting. One of the most popular day trips is the tiny village of Nanxiang, home to the lovely 16-acre Garden of Natural Beauty. Laid out in the 16th century, this splendid park is embellished with numerous pavilions, villas, pagodas, lakes, and flower beds, along with a collection of historic stone pillars from the Tang era (618-907 AD) with inscriptions from the Buddhist Sutra. Another park worth a visit is the Garden of Grand Scenery on the east bank of Dianshan Lake where you'll find a variety of historic buildings including the Aofeng Pagoda (the lake is also a popular public bathing area). Also of interest is Xingshengjiano si Ta Pagoda, the Four-cornered Pagoda, 30 kilometers southwest of Shanghai in the city of Songjiang. This fine 48-and-a-half-meter-high, nine-story pagoda was built during the rule of the Northern Song between 1068 and 1094 and is unusual due to its deliberate lean to the southeast and its longer canopies on the southeast façade, precautions taken by the builders against the region's notorious typhoons.
Watch Out For
China is notorious for counterfeit goods, and Shanghai has whole markets dedicated to fakes. Street hawkers can be annoying when they start following you around with armfuls of knock-off watches, bags, jade jewelry and assorted items and pester you to buy. If you're tempted, don't be surprised if that "Rolex" has stopped ticking by the time you get home. While individuals will have personal views on the rights and wrongs of fake products, anyone who buys them should be aware of the legal issues. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol allows travelers to bring back one article of each type of counterfeit product (one watch, one bag, etc.), provided they are for personal use and not for sale. It is illegal to sell counterfeit goods, and anyone caught bringing back several, or large numbers, of the same items will have them confiscated and could be subjected to a fine.
Don't Miss
The Bund, Shanghai's most memorable mile, is the place to see and be seen for visitors and locals alike. Walk along East Zhongshan No. 1 Road for close-up views of buildings that include the Art Deco Peace Hotel, towering Bank of China and Customs House that's topped by a clock face and bell modeled after London's Big Ben. Or check out the elevated promenade for the best views of the rocket-shaped Oriental Pearl and Jin Mao towers, once the highest buildings on the Pudong side of the river (until they were eclipsed by the Shanghai World Financial Center and then the Shanghai Tower). Although it's a magnet any time of day, the best time to go is at night when the neon-lit Pudong skyline is a nocturnal spectacle.
Flex the plastic in Nanjing Road, the main shopping street that stretches more than three miles from The Bund to People's Square. East Nanjing Road, closest to The Bund, is home to some of Shanghai's grand old department stores and leads into West Nanjing Road with its upmarket malls, designer shops and five-star hotels. And when you've shopped until you've dropped, there are plenty of places to take a break, from familiar fast-food chains to authentic Chinese restaurants.
Designed in the shape of a ding, an ancient circular Chinese cooking vessel, Shanghai Museum, near People's Square, displays a dazzling collection of bronze, sculptures, calligraphy, jade, coins and ceramics. It also has a colorful exhibition of clothing, arts and crafts of "Chinese minorities," the name given to ethnic groups. Admission to the museum is free, but, if time is tight, it's worth renting a handheld audio guide that covers the highlights. (201 Ren Min Da Dao; open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
The Old Town, in the southeastern part of the city, provides a tantalizing glimpse of 16th-century Shanghai. Behind the inevitable souvenir stands sit beautiful old buildings, temples and pagodas. The bustling bazaar is a fun place to watch locals queue up for dim sum and to wander through the narrow side streets. The area is bordered by the Renmin Lu and Zhonghua Lu roads that follow the line of the original walls built to keep Japanese pirates at bay.
No visit to the Old Town would be complete without taking in the Yuyuan Garden, just off the central square of the bazaar. Created in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty, the garden is split into six areas divided by dramatic dragon walls. Shady paths lead past pools filled with bright orange carp, serene pavilions, rockeries and a covered walkway originally designed for women to walk on one side and men on the other. (open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
Two priceless white jade Buddhas were transported from Burma to China in 1881 by a monk. Although the original temple built a year later no longer exists, the replacement Jade Buddha Temple constructed in 1928 in western Shanghai provides a beautiful backdrop for the pair of seated and reclining Buddhas. (170 Anyuan Road; open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
When it comes to a stylish and historic haunt for a cocktail, the Long Bar at the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on The Bund is hard to beat. Originally the site of the Shanghai Club, a gentleman's club and watering hole for British nationals, the bar opened in 1910. (At the time, the 111-foot-long bar was reputed to be the longest in the world.) It has since been restored to its former glory, with sumptuous leather chairs, marble columns, stained glass and archive photos that show what it was like in its heyday. (open from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Saturday and 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday)
Been There, Done That
The site of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921, the Xintiandi area has reinvented itself as a trendy district famous for its renovated old shikumen (stone-gated houses), relaxed cafe society and individual shops and galleries.
If you've seen The Bund from the ground, enjoy a completely different perspective of Shanghai with panoramic views from the 100th floor observation deck at the Shanghai World Financial Center, the tallest building in China that reaches the dizzying height of 1,555 feet. (100 Century Avenue in Pudong; open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.)
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is a modern complex next to the Oriental Pearl Tower. In addition to its collection of endangered aquatic species from China, you can also find more than 450 species of aquatic animals from other parts of the world. (1388 Luijiazui Ring Road; open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
The Propaganda Poster Art Center is a private museum and the only one of its kind in China. It provides a thought-provoking and powerful insight into social history through thousands of idealized posters dating from 1910 to 1990. (868 Huashan Road; open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Designed by English architect William Doyle and completed in 1910, St. Ignatius Cathedral was the first Western-style cathedral built in China. The vast building can accommodate up to 2,500 worshippers and is known as the grandest cathedral in the Far East. (158 Puxi Road; open daily 7:30 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m., with English mass every Sunday at noon)
Local Interests
Shanghai is ever-changing, and the list of things to see and do here expands seemingly every day. However, there are some landmarks in Shanghai that will remain forever unchanged. Here's an abbreviated list of Shanghai's best attractions.
Yuyuan (Old City) is one of the city's main centers. Yu Garden dates back to the 1700s, and it still stands as a social and economic meeting place. A throng of shops surrounds the area, catering mainly to tourists. You must pass through the shopping area to enter the gardens, but once there you will forget Shanghai's bustling pace while you enjoy the serenity that engulfs you.
Architecture fans will think they've arrived in their own personal nirvana when visiting Shanghai. Very few cities around the world offer the diversity that Shanghai does, and the seemingly seamless combination of old Art Deco-style buildings and today's mega-skyscrapers is enchanting. For a taste of old Shanghai, check out Heping Fandian (20 Nanjing Dong Lu, 021/6321-6888), one of two side-by-side hotels that evoke memories of the Shanghai of the early 20th Century. An old bank, Pudong Fazhan Yinhang (12 The Bund, 021/6329-6188), is home to a beautiful ceiling mosaic.
The Bund is an avenue that epitomizes the combination of old and new in Shanghai. Before the Communists took over, The Bund was a dynamic street, a center of international diversity, architecture, and trade. The Bund has experienced a renaissance of sorts in recent years, with locals flocking here to enjoy the riverfront ambience.
In the center of the city, Shanghai's signature museum, Shanghai Bowuguan (9 Pudong Dadao, 021/5878-8743), showcases the region's history. The huge art gallery houses one of the world's most impressive bronze collections, along with artifacts from ancient China. Jingan Gu Si (1686 Nanjing Xi Lu, 021/6256-6366) is a Buddhist temple dating back over fifteen hundred years, but it's a newer Buddhist temple that draws visitors from all over. The Yufo Si (170 Anyuan Lu, 021/6266-3668) is home to seventy monks, but more importantly, a bejeweled Buddha that sits over six feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds!
Dining & Nightlife
Xiao Yang Shengjian is one of the best local restaurants in Shanghai, and used to be the focal point of Wujiang Lu,  the best street snack road in Shanghai. Now though, thanks to a gentrification project it is one of the few remaining eateries left on the street, but thanks to its enduring popularity your are guaranteed to queue, rest assured though, it's worth it. They specialize in shengjian, a fried dumpling with a minced pork and broth filling. The big mistake people make is to try and eat the dumplings too quickly, but all you will end up with is a burnt mouth and amused attention from locals, so be careful.
Following the demise of Wujiang Lu, Yunnan Nan Lu has become Shanghai's premiere food street, and with no Western restaurants on it, Yunnan Nan Lu promises to be a truly local experience, providing you with a multitude of Chinese point-and-chose dining options. It is hard to talk about food in Shanghai without mentioning Din Tai Fung, whilst it caters towards more wealthy locals it is nonetheless a mainstay of the shanghai food scene. There are seven restaurants spread across Shanghai, famous for their xiaolongbao — thin skinned steamed dumplings with a meat and broth filling. Every time friends and family come to visit me Din Tai Fung is one of the first restaurants I take them to.
Din Tai Fung's success has been built on the two principles of good food and good service, and it's a reliable antidote to the jetlag and culture shock. Part of that is down to the fact that Din Tai Fung is a worldwide, Taiwanese owned chain found more often than not in shopping malls, so the setting rather neutral.
Din Tai Fung's success and popularity speaks for itself though so you will need to reserve a table if you can, otherwise be prepared to wait. Their headline xiaolongbao are ably supported by a range of tasty rice, noodle, or cold vegetable dishes, and for about 100RMB per person few come away with a bad word to day about it.
By this point in the day you should still have at least 30 RMB left for food for the rest of your evening, and in part two we'll show tell you just what a Shanghai local would do with that.
Shanghai's dining scene is diverse, with menu options ranging from the obvious Chinese restaurants to a smattering of world cuisine that befits a thriving metropolitan city. You will have plenty of excellent Chinese restaurants to choose from, but try not to miss the Peking Duck at Feng Zhe Lou (170 Nanjing Xi Lu, 021/6327-5225). Shanghai specialties are on the menu Big Fan (1440 Hongqiao Lu, 021/6275-9131 ext. 268).
You wouldn't expect to find Cajun food in China, but Bourbon Street (191 Hengshan Lu, 021/6445-7556) will do its best to take you back to New Orleans. M on the Bund (5 The Bund, 021/6350-9988) belongs to the same franchise that opened the more celebrated M on the Fringe in Hong Kong, but this branch is gaining fast in terms of dining reputation. If you know the right people, you can try and score the best seat in the house, a special table with a view of the entire street. Park 97 (2 Gaolan Lu, 021/5383-2328) and Dragon and Phoenix Room (20 Nanjing Dong Lu, 021/6321-6888) are two more excellent choices for dining in Shanghai. Japanese food in China is outstanding, and you'll find none better than Yamazoto (58 Maoming Nan Lu, 021/6415-1111) in the Garden Hotel, although you can expect to pay a heavy premium for the quality. For a more moderately priced Japanese meal, visit Itoya (1515 Nanjing Xi Lu, 021/5298-5777).
After dinner, head to Goya (359 Xinhua Lu, 021/6280-1256) for a martini. After knocking down a drink or two, dance the night away at Ying Yang (125 Nanchang Lu, 021/6431-2668) or MGM (141 Shaanxi Nan Lu, 021/6467-3353).
Shop 'til you Drop on Nanjing Road
Nanjing Road (Nánjing Lù), Shanghai's principal shopping street, was constructed in the second half of the 19th century and runs from the Zhongshan Lu for several miles towards the west. Along this largely pedestrian-friendly street, you'll find every conceivable type of consumer good from street vendors selling Chinese-themed souvenirs, to expensive boutiques selling traditional arts and crafts, as well as a number of large shopping malls and department stores such as the iconic Yibai and Jiubai. It's also a busy entertainment district, home to many restaurants and cinemas, as well as a hub for street performances (it's especially fun to visit during major holidays such as Chinese New Year when the street becomes a focal point for festivities and fireworks). Another dedicated shopping area to explore is Xintiandi, an affluent pedestrian zone that retains some of the ambience of the old city.
Shanghai trails only Hong Kong in Chinese sophistication, so you should have no problem finding exactly what you are looking for. Shrewd negotiators will find bargains, but if you hold your tongue, you'll pay through the nose!
Shanghai has tons of large shopping malls that sell everything you're looking for, plus some things you're not. Hongqiao Friendship Shopping Centre (6 Zunyi Lu, 021/6270-0000) is government regulated, while Babaiban Department Store (501 Zhangyang Lu, 021/5830-1111) is privately operated. Both stores have almost anything, from souvenirs to cosmetics to automobiles!
Shanghai antiques are popular, but make sure your antiques are not too antiquated. Chinese law prohibits artifacts that were made prior to 1797 from leaving the country. Off Xizang Lu, Dongtai Lu Market offers a wide selection of antiques, as does G-E-Tang Antique Company, Ltd. (8 Hu Qing Ping Gong Lu, 021/6384-6388, www.getang.com). To ensure authenticity, you can shop at the government run Shanghai Antique and Curio Store (192-246 Guangdong Lu, 021/6321-4697 ext. 301).

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