Archive for the ‘Shanghai Attractions’ Category

Shanghai’s Top 10 Iconic Landmarks

Thursday, December 27th, 2018
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Each city has its own iconic landmarks which have been lingering in people’s minds either due to their greatness or intriguing stories behind them. Shanghai is a fish-village-turned-metropolitan city dating back to China’s Spring and Autumn period (771 to 476 BC ).

Shanghai architectural landmarks mainly epitomize the colonial buildings set up in the early 1900s and the modern and futuristic architectures constructed in late 1900s and early 2000s, the two main periods for the massive city construction in Shanghai. My Top 10 List largely reflects the best architectural landmarks in these two periods. Hopefully it could serve as a simple guide to your Shanghai tour.

1. The Bund ( Mid-1800s – 1930s )
The word “Bund” comes from an old Hindi word which means “embankment” and was used by a British company which opened an office there in 1846.

The original buildings along the Bund were the warehouses first built by the opium traders who flocked to China in Mid-nineteenth century to make their money.

The original buildings along the Bund

From Mid-1800s to 1933s, about 50 various buildings of different architectural styles were successively constructed including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance between the Bund and the present East Zhong Shan Road.

The clock tower of the old waterfront Customs House, built in 1925, is modeled on Big Ben in London, striking the hour with Chairman Mao’s favorite tune.

2. Shanghai The Paramount 1933
Shanghai The Paramount was a three-story building designed by the architect architect S. J. Young ( 1899-1978) was completed in 1933. The building was once home to the most popular ballrooms for the wealthy elite in Shanghai.

The structure’s façade adopted America’s modern Avant-garde architectural style, and was regarded as the most trendy architectural design in China and around the world as well, and the “No.01 Oriental Musical Palace” in 1930s.

Shanghai The Paramount

Shanghai The Paramount

Today Shanghai The Paramount is besieged by contemporary high-rise buildings, but it still stands out a nostalgic reminder of Shanghai’ glamorous past. Its address: 218 Yuyuan Road in Jing’an, Shanghai (静安区愚园路218号).

3. Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower ( 1991 – 1994 )
Oriental Pear Tower is a TV Tower and an iconic landmark in Shanghai, and located by the side of the west bank of Huangpu River, opposite to the Bund.

It is one of the most photographed building on the Pudong Skyline, viewed from the Bund. The construction began in 1991, and the tower was completed in 1994.

Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower

With a height of 468 m, the tower has fifteen observatory levels. The lower level at 263 m is the Sightseeing Floor. There is a revolving restaurant at the 267 m level. The tower also houses exhibition facilities, restaurants and a shopping mall.

4. Shanghai World Financial Center (2008)
The Shanghai World Financial Center is the second highest building in mainland China with a total height of 492 m (1,614 ft). The skyscraper is located in the Pudong district, an essential structure on the spectacular Pudong Skyline.

It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. The tower’s foundation stone was laid on 27 August 1997 and it was declared complete on 17 July 2008.

Shanghai World Financial Center

The supertall building comprises offices, hotels, conference rooms, observation decks, and ground-floor shopping malls. The tower features three separate observation decks -lowest at the 94th floor at 423 m ; the second, on the 97th floor at a height of 439 m ; and the highest, on the 100th floor at 474 m (1,555 ft) high.

5. Jin Mao Tower (1999)
The Jin Mao Tower is located next to Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center and Shanghai Tower ( the highest ) in the Lujiazui area of the Pudong district in Shanghai.

It is composed of offices and the Shanghai Grand Hyatt Hotel. It is one of the centerpieces of the Pudong skyline at the height of 420.5m. It was designed by the Chicago firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). The tower was fully operational in 1999.

Jin Mao Tower

Jin Mao Building has four entrances, two for the offices, one for the lobby, the last one for the entrance to the 88-floor observation – the skywalk, a 1,520 m2 indoor observation deck with a capacity of over 1,000 people. It offers the panoramic views of Shanghai as well as a topside view below of the atrium of Shanghai Grand Hyatt Hotel inside Jin Mao Tower( occupying the floors from 53 to 87).

The 88-storey observation deck is open from 8:30am to 10:00pm. It’s better to have the tower tour on a bright clear day or one a fine evening. You will enjoy different views visiting Jin Mao Tower in the daytime or in the evening.

6. Shanghai Tower (2008 – 2015)
The Shanghai Tower is a megatall skyscraper in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai. It is designed by Gensler and owned by a consortium of Chinese state-owned companies.

It is the tallest building in China accompanied by the other three supertall buildings in Pudong – the Jin Mao Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Center and Oriental Pearl TV Tower. The megatall structure is 632 metres high with128 stories.

The 632-meter high Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower is currently the tallest building in China and the second-tallest in the world, surpassed only by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. However, Shenzhen’s 660-metre Ping An Finance Centre will beat the Shanghai Tower as China’s tallest building when it is completed in 2016.

7. China Pavilion at Expo 2010 ( 2010)
The magnificent building of the China Pavilion is the legacy of Expo 2010, officially the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, which was held on both banks of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, from 1 May to 31 October 2010.

Known as Oriental Crown, it was the largest national pavilion in the Shanghai Expo and largest on the history of the World Expo. Add: at Pudong New District ( take subway line 8 and get off at the station of China Art Museum (中华艺术宫) and exit from Exit 1 or 3.

China Pavilion

China Pavilion

After the end of the Expo 2010, the building was converted to a museum. Now it houses the China Art Museum, the largest art museum in Asia. The building features the dougong as well as the Chinese ding vessel.

The dougong is a traditional wooden bracket used to support large overhanging eaves dating as back as nearly 2,000 years. The ding is a vessel used by Chinese emperors to make offerings to the gods. It symbolizes the union between heaven and earth.

8. Shanghai Museum (1996)
The Shanghai Museum is located on the People’s Square in the Huangpu District of Shanghai. The current building of Shanghai Museum was rebuilt in 1996 though Shanghai Museum’s history can be traced back to 1952 when it was established.

It known as one of China’s first world-class modern museums with a wide collection of over 120,000 pieces, including bronze, ceramics, calligraphy, furniture, jades, ancient coins, paintings, seals, sculptures, minority art and foreign art.

Shanghai Museum

Shanghai Museum

The main building is designed by the local architect Xing Tonghe. It features the shape of an ancient bronze cooking vessel known as a ding. Ding is a vessel used by emperors, reflecting the idea of “round sky, square earth” as you can find the building has a round top and a square base, a union of Heaven and Earth.

9. Nanpu Bridge (1991)
The Nanpu Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge, a sister bridge to the Yangpu Bridge, which also spans over Huangpu River connecting Puxi and Pudong in Shanghai.

It was designed by Chinese architects. It has a main span of 846 meters with an extended bridge over 7500 meters.

Shanghai Grand Theatre

Shanghai Grand Theatre

The bridge has two towers with one on each side and each of them has 22 couple of iron cables to link the main bridge in the shape of a fan. A ship of 50000 tons can pass under the bridge. The bridge accommodates 7 drive lanes – 4 lanes from Puxi to Pudong and 3 lanes from Puxi to Pudong.

10. Shanghai Grand Theatre (1998)
Completed in 1998, the Shanghai Grand Theatre is listed as one of the largest and best-equipped automatic stages in the world.

The theatre stages the performances of operas, symphonies, chamber music concerts, musicals, ballets, spoken dramas and various Chinese operas. It is located in the northern part of the People’s Square in Huangpu District, Shanghai.

Shanghai Grand Theatre

Shanghai Grand Theatre

Grand Theatre building is one of Shanghai’s iconic landmark with an area of 2.1 hectares and a total construction area of 70,000 sq. meters.

The building was designed by ARTE Charpentier, a famous architecture design company founded by French architect Jean-Marie Charpentier. When the night falls, the lights around the building transforms its exterior into a crystal palace.

Add-on:
Top 10 Photo Spots in Shanghai
Top 10 Attractions in Shanghai

Tip:  Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself bus route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:

Shanghai Highlight Day Tour from US$ 65
Afternoon Ambling & Evening Brilliant Cruise Day Tour from US$ 55
Historic Shanghai and Ancient Water Town Day Tour from US$ 59
Shanghai 2 Day Tour Package from US$ 145
Shanghai 3 Day Tour Pacakge from US$ 199

Further Readings


Top 10 Attraction in Shanghai
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do at night in Shanghai
Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Zhujiajiao Water Town

Monday, October 8th, 2018
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Zhujiajiao Water Town. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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Plan your Shanghai tour? While fascinated by Shanghai’s  futuristic buildings and fast developments, but if you are keenly looking for something old Shanghai, a kind of the old world charming, a half day trip can bring you to the old water town of Zhujiajiao. It is located on Yangtze River, about 30km in the west of Shanghai.

It belongs to Qingpu District under the Shanghai Municipality.The villages and towns on Yangtze River Delta have long used the water and canals for irrigation and transportation.

So there are many villages and towns constructed on canal systems.  Modern transportation and infrastructure have mostly taken place of old canals, but these villages and old towns have still kept using the water system for hundreds of years.  The most famous water towns around Shanghai include Zhouzhuang Water Town and Tongli Water Town.

If you don’t have enough time to visit Zhouzhuang Water Town and Tongli Water Town that are a bit far from Shanghai, Zhujiajiao Water Town is a good substitute to immerse yourself in an old town with a history of over 1700 years. Zhujiajiao Town was once a trading hub for the surrounding countryside.

Its buildings can date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties ( 1368-1911).  In the past, goods and people were carried by small boats on the narrow canals from house to house, passing under numerous ancient stone bridges. Some of the canals and stone bridges are still used by the local people and now tourists as well.

Zhujiajiao Water Town boasts many old historical buildings and sites of historic interest, such as banks, rice shops,  spice stores and even a Qing Dynasty Post Office, Fangsheng Bridge, Kezhi Garden and the Yuanjin Buddhist Temple. The alleys in Zhujiajiao are teemed with numerous vendors selling souvenirs, snacks, and locals cuisine.

Latest Update from Phil:
One major update on the directions on how to get to Zhujiajiao. Since December 30, 2017, there is a new metro line, 17 (an extension of line 2), that has a station at Zhujiajiao. It cost me 8 RMB for the metro from Puxi to Zhujiajiao and it took about 80 minutes; only a little longer than it would by taxi, but much cheaper.

Once you get to the Zhujiajiao station, go out the exit that is the bridge over the road and take the stairs down to your right. From here you can either walk (about 1 km – 15 minutes), take a bus, or take a taxi to get to the tourist areas of town (I walked). To walk turn left at the road in front of you (Zhuxi road), then take the first major right turn (Xiangningbang Road) and then take the second MAJOR left (Xinfeng Rd).

The tourist information office is a couple hundred meters down Xinfeng road on the right. On the return to the train station, we took one of the pedicabs from Xinfeng road which was 15RMB.

This place is definitely worth a visit. It is a mini Venice with an Asian flair. The boat ride is now 80RMB for up to 6 people for a 10 – 15 minute trip. Also, there are MANY bars, restaurants, and tea shops along the river. Don’t eat before you get here.

This place is good fun!

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If you only want to spend about 1-2 hours to stroll along the old streets, see the old houses and bridges, you don’t have to pay. If you are interested in the sites of interests and historical sites, you are kindly requested to buy a thorough tickets to cover the 8 inside sites in Zhujiaojiao Water Town.

The ticketing  office ( served as Tourist Information Center as well ) just north of the KFC. Ask for an English map of Zhujiajiao from the informtion center. Many people would visit Zhujiajiao free of charge by just walking around the old town.

At the northern tip of Xinfeng Road (新风路) is a T-junction where you will see a direction sign, confused? You just turn right and start your Zhujiaojiao exploration. You may come back on the same route or have a loop tour and return on the other side.

a T-junction where you will see a diretion sign, you just turn right.

You will first come across Fangsheng Bridge, the largest 5-arch stone bridge in the Yangte River Delta. It is one of the over-30 stone bridges in Zhujiajiao. Standing on the bridge, you have a beautiful view of the surrounding waterfront houses and rowing boats.

Fangsheng Bridge, the largest 5-arch stone bridge in the Yangte River Delta

Fangsheng Bridge, the largest 5-arch stone bridge in the Yangte River Delta

Standing on the bridge, you have a beautiful view of the surrounding waterfront houses and rowing boats.

Standing on the bridge

Standing on the bridge

Walking down the Fangsheng Bridge, you turn left side to explore one of the old alleys in Zhujiajiao.

Walking down the Fangsheng Bridge

Walking down the Fangsheng Bridge

The narrow lane is rife with snack stalls and souvenirs stores.

The narrow lane is rife with snack stalls and souvernir stores.

The narrow lane is rife with snack stalls and souvenirs stores.

At the end of the narrow alley, you will see a canal flanked by two waterfront streets named the same name of  Xijing Street (西井街). Three bridges span the canal with the first bridge named, Dragon Head Bridge, Dragon Body Bridge and Dragon Tail Bridge. You walk through the Dragon Head Bridge, then walk along the other side of the street, continue to come cross the third Dragon Bridge, return on the same Xijing Bridge.

Here is the typical water town views – boats, waterfront houses, and trees, constituting an impressive scroll of Chinese traditional painting. You may take a break drinking coffee or tea in the waterfront bars.  The narrow canal is connected to the bigger canal.

The first bridge – Dragon Head Bridge ( Yong’an Bridge ) on Xijing Street.

Walk across the first bridge and stroll on the other side of Xijing Street. You will see the old water town life – rowing boats, local residents chatting,water front house and wharfs.

You may pay RMB 65 to rent a 4-6 people boat to cruise on the canals in Zhujiajiao.

You may pay RMB 65 to rent a 4-6 people boat to cruise on the canals in Zhujiajiao.

You may pay RMB 65 to rent a 4-6 people boat to cruise on the canals in Zhujiajiao.

Zhujiajiao Water Town is still inhabited by the local residents doing routine life.

Zhujiajiao Water Town is still inhabitted by the local residents doing routine life.

Zhujiajiao Water Town is still inhabited by the local residents doing routine life.

The old stone paved streets and simple stone steps used for wharfs and washing clothes and vegetables.

The old stone paved streets and simple stone steps used for wharfs

The old stone paved streets and simple stone steps used for wharfs

The second bridge Dragon Body Bridge (Zhonglong Bridge) 中龙桥

 

Enjoy boating on the canal

Enjoy boating on the canal

 

The last bridge on the canal by Xijing Street – Dragon Tail Bridge

 

The last bridge on the canal by Xijing Street - Dragon Tail Bridge

The last bridge on the canal by Xijing Street – Dragon Tail Bridge

 

This is Ao Restaurant & Bar.

This is Ao Restaurant & Bar.

This is Ao Restaurant & Bar.

 

 

 Yuanjin Buddhist Temple

Yuanjin Buddhist Temple

 

 

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 1

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 1

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 1

 

 

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 2

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 2

 

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 4

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 4

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 5

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 4

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 5

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 6

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 6

More pictures taken from North Street ( Beidajie ) and its side lanes 6

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:

Shanghai Highlight Day Tour from US$ 60
Afternoon Ambling & Evening Brilliant Cruise Day Tour from US$ 55
Shanghai Ancient Water Town Day Tour from US$ 65
Shanghai Suzhou Zhouzhuang Day Tour from US$ 95

Shanghai 2 Day Tour Package from US$ 145
Shanghai 3 Day Tour Pacakge from US$ 199
Shanghai 4 Day Tour Package from US$ 265 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attraction in Shanghai
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do at night in Shanghai
Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai

Any questions, just drop line.

The Old World Charm in Shanghai

Sunday, October 7th, 2018
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When you arrive in Pudong Airport and move further into to the city center of the megacity of Shanghai, you will be bombarded with trendy and futuristic skyscrapers  as well as amazed by the old world charms of the colonial buildings and traditional Chinese alleys and elegant architectures.

Shanghai has many superlatives which you won’t miss on your first trip to Shanghai – the fastest maglev train in the world, the tallest observation deck, the highest hotel and the list could be longer.

If you are an old world charm enthusiast, you will be definitely excited by what the fish-village-turned metropolitan Shanghai can offer.  The surviving old town area, mainly inclusive of Yuyuan Garden, Yuyuan Bazaar and Town God Temple will catch your imagination of the old world charm in Shanghai.

Though a bit gone through some gentrification, the old town area still largely keeps its old Chinese buildings,  charming private gardens, Chinese temples, street-front shops; tea house, silk, Shanghai cuisines, snacks and local products.

For more information on How to get to the Old Town in Shanghai, please check out How to Visit Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar.

If you have enough time in traveling the old world in Shanghai,  sit down in a tea house which is located in the heart of the Nine-Bend Bridge and Pond. The Nine-Bend Bridge and the Pond is the core of the bustling area of the old town. The tea house is known as “Huxinting Tea House” , literally “Mid-Lake Pavilion Tea house”.

Huxinting Tea House  is an old wooden two-story house with up-turned eaves perched on the pond.  The two flags with the big character “茶” ( Tea ) are fluttering in the wind, an old way to attract visitors to come for a sip of Chinese tea and sit above a bit distant cacophony of noise and motion.

Huxinting Teahouse perched on the pond

I walk up the ladder to the second floor and order a cup of green tea and some snacks which costs me about 10 US dollars.

You have a quite variety of tea choices with some being very expensive. So be vigilant about your tea selection.

I walk up the ladder to the second floor and order a cup of green tip of Chinese tea

Two qipao-clad Chinese girls are playing pipa, a traditional Chinese string instrument.

Two qipao-clad Chinese girls are playing pipa

Sitting leisurely and sipping Chinese tea, talking, laughing and enjoying the quietness in the middle of noise and human motion below.

Sitting leisurely and sipping Chinese tea,

You can have a better view overlooking the old world charm below with people moving against the traditional Chinese buildings, zigzag bridges, alleys and people to people watch.

You can have a better view overlooking the old world charm below

On the first floor in the teahouse, you will have an opportunity to watch people how to manually make green tea, by frying the tea on a big wok.

Watch people how to manually make green tea

Walk around the hustling area,  have a peep show accompanied by singing commentary, an old recreational performance.

A peep show accompanied by singing commentary,

Waiting in line to buy watering steamed buns with pork or other delicious fillings.

Sipping the soup in the bun by using a plastic tube.

 

A chic Starbucks housed in a traditional architecture

Planning your Shanghai tour? No matter you like it or not, a side trip to the old town in Shanghai is worth your valuable time

Tip:  Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself bus route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:

Shanghai Highlight Day Tour from US$ 65
Afternoon Ambling & Evening Brilliant Cruise Day Tour from US$ 55
Historic Shanghai and Ancient Water Town Day Tour from US$ 59
Shanghai 2 Day Tour Package from US$ 145
Shanghai 3 Day Tour package from US$ 199

Further Readings


Top 10 Attraction in Shanghai
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do at night in Shanghai
Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai

Any questions, just drop a line.