From a small seaside fishing village to becoming China’s largest city, Shanghai has turned into the undisputed financial capital of the country. More than 20 million Chinese consider Shanghai their home and this exciting, multicultural metropolis blends the modern and the traditional without any effort. Split into two parts by the meandering Huang Pu River, the city has maintained its importance in China for those seeking a slightly more cosmopolitan destination to travel to. Temples still play an integral part for its citizens, often overshadowed by modern architecture and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. Fast-paced, Shanghai still has some secrets that one simply cannot ignore.
The Best of Shanghai starts the way it should be: warmly welcomed by our guide and driver on this joint tour commences from one of the four centrally-located meeting points as you join other travelers for a day out and about in one of China’s ever-growing metropolises. We head early in the morning to the Yu Yuan Garden, the only fully restored classical Chinese garden in Shanghai. Although the Garden occupies less than five acres, demonstrates perfectly the sophisticated art of combining several different elements to create a world in miniature. Next, the Shanghai Museum is a large museum of ancient Chinese art with collection of over 120,000 items of cultural relics displayed on a floor space of 12,000 sq. The museum style and presentation surround visitors with artefacts demonstrating ancient wisdom and philosophy.
Just before we move on for lunch at a local restaurant, we stop at one of Shanghai’s finest silk museums. Temples are playing an essential role in the lives of Shanghai residents and the Jade Buddha Temple belongs to one of the most revered ones. This temple, with its Song Dynasty-style grounds, houses two priceless white jade Buddha brought from Burma in the 1870’s. Shanghai would not be the city it is now without the Bund, which will follow right after our temple stop. Also called Zhongshan Road, The Bund is truly Shanghai’s iconic waterfront and regarded as the symbol of the city for hundreds of years. A visit to Shanghai and not being able to have a souvenir is not possible and we include a quick stop at one that offers almost everything under the Shanghai sun before ending our day at Xintiandi. Shanghai Xintiandi's area was created by converting residential blocks into a multifunctional dining, retail and entertainment centre flowing with restaurants, boutiques, cafes and bars of an international standard. This district is truly a blend of old meeting new, where ‘yesterday meets tomorrow in Shanghai today’, and this district is often re-visited by our guests for dinner or a drink.
At the end of this amazing day, it is time to head back to the city centre, hoping that you and your travel companion(s) can look back in seeing Shanghai from a new perspective.