Day 16 - Shanghai (B)
In the morning we will head for the French Concession, a symbol of a time when Western powers were accorded many privileges. You will start your trip with a stroll through Fuxing Park where you will have the chance to watch the Chinese practicing their ritual of morning exercise. Especially worth watching are the tango dancers whose music fills every corner of the park.
Afterwards you will wander the surrounding roads, admiring the old colonial homes that have now been transformed into restaurants, bars and different boutiques. During colonial times the French Concession was a no-go zone for the police and was home to gangsters, mafia, opium traffickers, prostitutes and people looking for a good time. Shanghai earned itself the title of one of the world’s vice capitals.
Shanghai Triad by Zhang Yimou is a faithful depiction of the city in the 1930s.
You will continue on to Xintiandi, an entirely renovated area that is considered one of the liveliest parts of the city. You can end your walk at Tianzifang, a maze of animated alleyways full of restaurants, boutiques and small art galleries similar to those found in Xintiandi but much more authentic.
Back to the future with the visit of Pudong district! Not long ago, Pudong district was just a marsh where only farmers and water buffalo frequented. Now, the area has become one of the most important business centers in Asia with skyscrapers popping up like mushrooms next to old Shanghainese banks each year.
When you come to Shanghai, “dong” means “east” and “xi” means “west.” The Huangpu River separates the Puxi and Pudong areas. Puxi is the entire downtown region of the city west of the river while Pudong is the whole region of the city east of it.
You will converge on the nearby neighborhood of Lujiazui, the epicenter of some of the most famous buildings: the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower (where a shoe seller from Anhui Province and later Alain Robert, the famous urban climber, scaled the tower’s walls) and the never ending Shanghai World Financial Center (the tallest building in Shanghai), where you can admire the city from the highest panoramic terrace in the world.
Option: You can take a break at the 100 Century Avenue café and enjoy some refreshments when you arrive.
Shortly after, you will take the famous Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, a mini subway line, to cross the Huangpu River to reach Puxi in a couple of minutes.
Next you will discover the Bund, the city’s famous walkway along some of Puxi’s historical buildings. The area dates back to the 1930s, Shanghai’s rich culture and European influence.
Then you will explore the famous Nanjing Road with its colorful signs and crowd of locals and tourists corresponding perfectly with the image of a modern Asian capital.
If you feel the urge, please do not hesitate to stroll the neighboring streets animated by the sight of locals recycling materials from the public waste bins, the uncountable number of restaurants and the smells from the fruit stalls.
Once you are finished with your stroll of Nanjing Road, you will arrive at People’s Square, the former site of the Shanghai Racetrack (and the site of your next extensive visit), and be transported back to your hotel.
Overnight in Shanghai