Shanghai is the eighth largest city in the world and the largest populated city in China, with over 18 million people in the metropolitan area. We arrived in Shanghai on the afternoon of January 3rd. It was much warmer than Beijing, but still slightly chilly. Whilst Shanghai was like any other big modern city, with its bright lights and endless shopping, we had fun exploring the main sites and wandering the streets.
Our first afternoon in Shanghai was spent in the old city of Shanghai. The main attraction here is the City God Temple, which was unfortunately closed for restoration. However the area had plenty of entertainment, including markets, shops, restaurants and tea houses. We lined up for half an hour to sample the famous xiaolongbao or soup dumplings at the Nanxiang Bun Shop, which were very tasty.
Science and Technology Museum and Maglev Train
The next morning Travis and I visited the Science and Technology Museum. It was huge, with 12 elaborate exhibits on a number of different levels. We spent the most time in the Robotics and Information Technology area, playing games with robots and sending encoded messages to each other.
Later, we decided we would take a ride on the Maglev train, the world’s first high speed commercial Maglev train in the world. After deciding 80RMB was a little dear for a one way train to the airport, we opted to visit the Maglev Museum.
Nanjing Road and The Bund
By now, we had all become acquainted with the very handy MRT train system. It was a very economical way to travel in a city which has extremely heavy traffic. Travis and I took the MRT to the People’s Square with the aim of visiting Nanjing Road. This is the main shopping district of Shanghai, and its atmosphere was very much the Shanghai I had pictured. Plenty of big, coloured bright lights, hundreds of people and lots of traffic. We walked around the Nanjing district, completely stricken by how much of a huge city Shanghai is.
By some amazing miracle we also managed to unexpectedly bump into some of our friends who had visited the zoo that day. We literally walked into them.
We all then walked to The Bund, a strip of historial buildings lining the Huangpu River which once housed the major financial institutions in China (before Communist China). The buildings were influenced by the British and French settlements in Shanghai.
That night the boys went out on a “Boy’s Night” and so us girls thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a “Girl’s Night Out” ourselves. We took a taxi to a road famous for its bars, Xintiandi. After exploring a few of the small bars, we ended up having a boogie at a dance club located in a shopping mall, Club G+. It was a lot of fun!
Orient Pearl Tower and Pudong
The following morning, Travis and I decided to explore The Bund and Huanpu river by day and then catch a ferry over to the new Shanghai, Pudong area. It appeared there was some kind of “tourist tunnel” which allowed you to get to the other side so we thought we’d check that out. After parting with RMB40 per person, we were inside a small glass train (which fit no more than ten people) travelling through what looked to be some sort of underground rave tunnel. It was far from worthy of being one of Shanghai’s top ten must-sees, but it was good for a laugh.
We reached Pudong and decided to climb the Orient Pearl Tower to view of Shanghai from above. It is the highest building in Asia. Whilst we paid for tickets to ascend to the the highest level, it was rather pointless as the city is so smoggy that the extra few metres made little difference. From above however, the view clarified how large a city Shanghai is.