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Exploring Shanghai

Posted: 17th December 2014 17:03

Situated on the Yangtze River, China’s largest city blends the modern and the traditional right before your eyes in a way that makes for a memorable Asian experience.   For centuries a major administrative, shipping, and trading town, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th Century due to European recognition of its port location and economic potential.  Today it’s the most developed metropolis in Mainland China, attracting tourists from all over the world. 

This is one place that’s almost impossible to get bored with.  Shanghai offers a diverse urban jungle with influences from Asian and Western countries that give a cosmopolitan feel to it.  Witness all types of architectural styles from classic Parisian style, to English Tudor style buildings and 1930s buildings that add an American flair to the mix.  Get around at full-throttle using the high-speed transport links and spend your days seeing the sights.  Learn about the city’s history at Shanghai Museum or head down to The Bund; a thriving waterfront full of shops, restaurants and tons of touristy treats.  With so much to choose from, here are our picks of the sights to see in Shanghai.

Shanghai Museum

While in Shanghai it’s important to learn about the rich history behind the Chinese Art which is commonly paraded on buildings throughout the city – and there’s no better place to do that than the national museum.  Regularly dubbed the best museum in China, Shanghai Museum boasts 11 galleries and three exhibition halls packed with over 120,000 historic artefacts.  The building’s dome-like exterior is easily recognisable on People’s Square so you can’t miss it.  Take a tour around the popular Stone Sculpture Gallery and Bronze gallery featuring ancient collections dating back to the 18th Century B.C.  Understand the bronze ware of the Shang and Zhou dynasties which has had a massive influence on modern day Shanghai.  Take a look at ancient paintings from a variety of famous artists and view interactive guides on the history behind Chinese ceramics, calligraphy, jades, coins and plenty more. 

The Bund

Located on the West bank of Huangpu River from the Waibaidu Bridge to Nanpu Bridge, this world famous waterfront has been the beating heart of Shanghai since the mid-1800s.  The top tourist spot houses 52 buildings of various architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance.  In one place you can see the ancient historical landmarks as well as the shiny, new 21st Century Skylines.  The Bund can get extremely busy during the day so it might be best to go along early morning when the locals practice Tai-Chi.  Even better, take a relaxing stroll there at night with your camera to snap some stunning photos under the neon glow of all the buildings.  There are also loads of great bars and nightclubs to discover in the area where you can buy everything from bog-standard pints to cheap local liquor – whatever you choose we guarantee a night you’ll never forget (obviously, dependent upon how much baijiu you drink!).   

Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe

You can’t go to Shanghai without seeing the internationally acclaimed Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe at the Shanghai Centre Theatre.  With tickets priced at just £25, the high-octane display is worth every penny.  Take your camera long and witness incredible talents at the peak of their powers, including everything from balancing acts, contortionists, plate-spinning and complex juggling just to name a few.  The 2 hour performance intertwines traditional Chinese acrobatics with modern, extreme feats that you’ll struggle to fathom on the ride home.  It’s not just a bunch of flips and kicks; this is an authentic theatrical performance.  It features a captivating storyline to follow for all ages, aided by music, costumes, effects and an orchestrated light show.  This is certainly one of the best acrobatic displays to you will see this side of the continent.  

To discover more about Asia, don't forget to check out the brand new iGap Travel Guide: Asia & Australasia 2015!

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