Shanghai offers a number of sights and highlights. These include the towers in Pudong, the dreamy Yu Garden and the Bund with its charm of the last century. Shanghai is one of the most modern cities in China and therefore has its finger on the pulse.
Shanghai is a world metropolis with a rapid pace of development. With a population of 23 million, the commercial city is the most populous city in China. Shanghai appears diverse and the city manages the balancing act between tradition and modernity. Thus, the largest port in the world is located in Shanghai, which also stands for the enormous development of the city. However, there are also enough cozy and relaxed places in Shanghai to escape the speed of everyday life.
Tip 1: The Bund
The Bund of Shanghai is a 2.6 km long waterfront promenade in the port city of Shanghai. It is located on the western bank of the Huangpu River opposite the Pudong Special Economic Zone. The promenade is part of a ring road and belongs to the Huangpu Municipality.
The Bund consists of a wide waterfront promenade, behind which stand 52 magnificent buildings of various types. Most of them are European colonial buildings, where companies, banks and consulates had their headquarters.
Impressive is the former British Consulate, which was built in 1873 and is the oldest building on the waterfront. The Peace Hotel, built in 1926, is also famous. A look into the hotel lobby is worthwhile and should be taken at least once.
In the 19th century, there was a British settlement on this waterfront. The beginning of Shanghai’s economic boom and the resulting construction boom caused the price of land to soar at the end of the 19th century. In order to save floor space, buildings were constructed higher and higher. This resulted in an impressive skyline that is unforgettable for travelers and offers perfect motifs for photography and painting.
The waterfront is a popular destination for many visitors during the day and also at night. From the Bund you have a beautiful view of the impressive skyline of the Pudong Special Economic Zone opposite.
Tip 2: Yu Yuan Garden
Right next to the old town in Anren Jie is the Yu Yuan Garden, the Garden of Satisfaction. It is an oasis in the middle of the big city and a great example of Chinese horticulture. Above the treetops and the red wooden houses decorated with carvings, you can see a skyscraper jutting out from time to time. Otherwise, it is wonderful to forget the city here…
The 2-hectare garden consists of six parts: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden. The garden was completed in 1577 by Pan Yunduan, a state official during the Ming Dynasty. The garden was intended for the peaceful retirement of his parents. Over the years, there were some changes in the Yu Yuan Garden and during the Opium Wars in the 19th century, it was severely damaged. It was restored in the 1950s and has been open to the public again since 1961.
The zigzag bridge in the Inner Garden is particularly famous: it runs across a lake with goldfish and turtles and connects the tea house in the middle to the shore. This is decorated with rich carvings. Wooden houses and pavilions also stand around the lake, forming courtyards. This is an excellent place for strolling and shopping: Porcelain, souvenirs, local sweets or have a drink in a cafe.
Another treasure in the garden is the large jade rock. It is one of the three famous stones of the southern region of the Yangtze River. The stone is 3.3 meters high and has numerous holes. If you light an incense stick under it, smoke will come out from all the holes of the stone. If you pour water on the stone, the water flows out of all the holes, like a well.
Tip 3: Shanghai Museum
The Shanghai Museum is located in the center of Shanghai, directly at the People’s Square. The building of the museum is very impressive, here modern architecture is combined with traditional elements.
In the Shanghai Museum you can admire classical Chinese art: Bronze, sculpture, painting and calligraphy, jade and antique furniture. One is particularly proud of the ceramics collection. There are more than 500 works of art from different dynasties on display. The descriptions of the works are consistently both Chinese and English, so you can visit the museum even without a guide or literature.
Anyone interested in Chinese art and culture should not miss a visit to the Shanghai Museum. For the four floors (eleven galleries and three exhibition halls) you should take enough time. There are also always special exhibitions.
Tip 4: Jade Buddha Temple
The Jade Buddha Temple is located in the Jing’an district in the northwest of Shanghai. It is probably one of the most important spiritual places in the modern metropolis. The Buddhist temple complex was founded during the reign of Emperor Guang Xu of the Qing Dynasty in 1882. The reason for this was two jade Buddha statues brought by the monk Hui Gen.
The monk Hui Gen from the holy Putuo Mountain had received five Buddha statues made of jade as a gift during a pilgrimage to Burma (Myanmar). He imported two of them to Shanghai. They are statues of high value. One seated and one reclining Buddha Shakyamuni made of white jade and decorated with precious stones.
The seated, more famous of the two Buddhas represents the historical Buddha Shakyamuni at the moment of his enlightenment. The figure has a height of 1.95 meters and weighs 3000 kilograms. The reclining Buddha is slightly smaller and represents the Buddha Shakyamuni’s entrance into Nirvana after experiencing Bodhi (“awakening” or “enlightenment”).
The site is now a Chan Buddhist monastery and is inhabited by about 70 Buddhist monks.
Tip 5: Shanghai Tower
Since the completion of the Shanghai Tower, Shanghai has one of the tallest buildings in the world with a height of 632 meters. Logically, this tower, which is used both for offices and apartments, is one of the sights par excellence in the city, which is truly not lacking in such. That is why a trip to Shanghai Tower is one of the most popular destinations during a visit to Shanghai.
The highest observation deck open to visitors is located at a height of 562 meters. On the one hand, the view of the surrounding numerous other skyscrapers of Shanghai is fascinating, on the other hand, of course, an incredibly impressive distant view is possible. The building, which was constructed in a modern style, has a facade mostly made of glass. This twists on the way up and also creates an architecturally extraordinary sight. In addition, there are numerous opportunities for shopping inside as well as several events in the immediate vicinity of the tower. Thus, the tower is virtually a must as a program item on a trip to Shanghai.