What to do in Shanghai?
Shanghai is the largest city in China with over 20 milion inhabitants. It is the center of the automotive industry, so you have a lot of German and American expatriates working here for car manufacturers. Shanghai is a modern and international city (Europeans have been living in the French Concession since the 19th century). So, don’t worry if you can not speak Chinese as here the majority of young people can speak (or at least understand) English. Even taxi driver can speak some words English.
The most interesting things to see (but this is of course my point of view) are:
– The fake markets (probably Shanghai’s favorite attraction). where you can buy bags, watches, ipod and even computers for a reduced price… of course you won’t get any garantee…; there is an unofficial list of prices to use in these markets (e.g. for a t-shirt you shouldn’t pay more than 25 yuan – 2,5 Euro, for a pair of jeans no more than 100 yuan – 10 Euro, for a pearl necklace 40 yuan – 4 Euro… I have seen a similar necklace in a bijou shop last time I was in Europe and it costed 80 Euros).
- Tao Bao Cheng
- Shanghai yatai shenghui mianliao shichang
- Shanghai qipu lu fuzhuang shichang
- Shanghai south bund soft-spinning material market
Here you will need some determination to get the right price. But don’t worry, after a couple of trials you will also be able to do it!
– The city it self and the numerous open construction sites. During the last 10 years Shanghai has changed a lot. The small popular (and poorly build) houses have been replaced with huge skyscrapers and the government is still investing a lot of money to make Shanghai the nicest and the most important city in the world. As the taxis are very cheap in China, I would suggest you to spend a good time travelling all around to get an idea of the dimensions of the city. Particular interesting is the Expo Construction site which will host the Expo 2010 (it stretches for some square-kilometres on the right side of the river).
– Museums: Of course there are a lot of museums in the city worth visiting.
- Shanghai Museum (different section, from ceramic to calligraphy to running expositions of traditional art)
- Shanghai Art Museum (modern art)
- MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art (modern art, very nice bar at the top of the building)
- ShanghArt (very nice gallery showing pieces of art of young Chinese artists, I liked this place)
– Temples (I will write something about this soon. I must say that I am not really interested in temples also because the majority of them seems to have been built just a couple of years ago… probably I am just ignorant about this topic…).
– Parks: Considering that Shanghai is an ocean of cement, full of smog and people, you will probably feel like to go for a walk in a park during your staying in Shanghai. Parks is one of the most beautiful experience in Shanghai as there you will find a lot of people practicing their favourite sport (e.g. Taichi, Qigong, Chinese ballets and other activities). A visit in the park will fill you with joy and fresh air. The nicest and biggest park in Shanghai is Zhong Shan Gong Yuan (and I live just in front of it). Other parks are Chang Feng Gong Yuan (it is next to my uni campus, the Eastern China Normal University), the Century Gong Yuan (in Pudong, pretty far away from where I live and also in a place that I really do not like a lot). Then there are other small parks in the city but I think that these parks are the most worth for a visit. In the south of the city Shanghai has also a Botanic Garden, which is everything but an interesting place as it is organised as a flower shop and have the same plants you can cultivate at home.
– High quality tailor (well, I found a very good tailor in Shanghai that uses Italian fabrics. One man suits+3 shirts will cost 350 Euro, which is a real bargain considering that more than 80 Euros is the cost of the fabrics). We have made a very nice suit for Francesco. It is simply a dream, something that you will pay surely 800 Euro (only the suit) in an Italian shop.
– Good restaurants:
- Bukhara (Indian Restaurant) – my favourite *****
- Coconut (Thai Restaurant) ***
- Maccalle (Italian Restaurant) ***
- HotPot King (Chinese Restaurant, hot pot)****
- Merrylin (Chinese Restaurant, franchising) ****
The best Chinese 5 Stars Restaurants according to Graham Earnshaw, owner of the entertainment park Fuxing:
- 1221 The Dining Room
- Ren Jian
- Gong de Lin
- Mandarin Sky
– Tea Houses (I will write something about this in the coming days…)