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China Holidays - Shanghai City Holiday Deals

Shanghai Holidays

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Shanghai Holidays

Shanghai, home to about 24 million people, is China's largest city and is situated in the centre of the coastline where the Yangtze River flows through its delta into the East China Sea. The name of the city means 'on the sea', and most of it (including Chongming Island) is only a few metres above sea level, crisscrossed by a maze of picturesque natural waterways.

Shanghai is China's industrial and commercial capital. It is a busy seaport, a science and technology centre, and has a vibrant business community. Visitors don't generally come to Shanghai for its scenic beauty or history but those who arrive on business can find plenty of off-duty entertainment and relaxation, and the city is drawing increasing numbers of tourists with its neon cityscape, exotic nightlife and booming shopping scene. Just walking the busy streets and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere is worthwhile, and there are some temples and gardens to visit along with a handful of excellent museums.

Shanghai is a major international port which is known in China for its enthusiastic embrace of consumerism, making it unsurprising that the shopping is fantastic.

The Nanjing Lu Pedestrian Mall is a fascinating blend of western and eastern shopping, and Huaihai Zhong Street has a great selection of Chinese silk, which is a popular souvenir. The Old Town Bazaar has a variety of crafts and antiques, including popular Shanghai souvenirs like jade bracelets, cloisonné jewellery and vases, lacquerware and porcelain items, and vintage Cultural Revolution books and posters.

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Detailed City Overview

Shanghai in Detail

Shanghai is China's largest city and is situated in the centre of the coastline where the Yangtze River flows through its delta into the East China Sea. The name of the city means 'on the sea', and most of it (including Chongming Island) is only a few metres above sea level, crisscrossed by a maze of picturesque natural waterways.

This great cosmopolitan metropolis has a colourful colonial background, which has had the edge rubbed off of it during half a century of Communist rule. It was the first Chinese coastal port to be opened to Western trade in 1843, resulting in an influx of British, French and American diplomats and business interests, each of which established their own independent enclaves. The World Financial Centre, completed in 2008, is one of the tallest buildings on Earth.

Getting Around in Shanghai

Taxis are the preferred mode of transport for visitors in Shanghai. The metered Volkswagen cabs in primary colours are easy to identify and plentiful. The smaller, older cars are generally cheaper. All can be hailed on the street or booked by telephone.

The Shanghai subway, costing just a few cents a ride, is perfect for covering long distances, as it covers the entire downtown area and connects to the airports.

Many visitors opt to join the city's millions of cyclists and rent bicycles from their hotels or one of the numerous hire shops in the city. Shanghai is also a good city to explore on foot and sometimes the best way to get around in the city is just to walk.

Nightlife in Shanghai

The Bund has recently been given new life as a nighttime destination, with dilapidated buildings demolished to make way for neon-lit jazz clubs, cocktail lounges and restaurants. Bustling bar and restaurant areas in Shanghai include the pedestrianised Nanjing Road, Hengshan Road and Maoming South Road, which is popular with expats.

Shanghai is a major concert destination in Asia, and travellers will find large international concerts on the calendar along with a number of local Mando-pop or Canto-pop acts. There are also a number of good jazz clubs on Fuxing Lu.

If classical entertainment is what visitors are after, Shanghai has a number of options, including the Shanghai Philharmonic Society or the Shanghai Yueju Opera Group. They can also see acrobatic performances and touring productions of major Broadway shows, as well as touring ballet companies.

Shopping in Shanghai

Shanghai is a major international port which is known in China for its enthusiastic embrace of consumerism, making it unsurprising that the shopping is fantastic.

The Nanjing Lu Pedestrian Mall is a fascinating blend of western and eastern shopping, and Huaihai Zhong Street has a great selection of Chinese silk, which is a popular souvenir. The Old Town Bazaar has a variety of crafts and antiques, including popular Shanghai souvenirs like jade bracelets, cloisonné jewellery and vases, lacquerware and porcelain items, and vintage Cultural Revolution books and posters.

Other shopping districts in Shanghai include Parkson Shopping Centre, and the 'four cities': Yuyuan Shopping City, Xujiahui Shopping City, New Shanghai Shopping City and Jiali Sleepless City. Fuzhou Road is a great place to find cultural items like music, art and books.

Travellers should flex their bargaining muscles at street shops and markets, but the prices in formal stores and hotels are generally fixed. They should remember to keep smiling and draw the shopkeeper away from other customers for the best deals.

Sightseeing in Shanghai

Shanghai is a slick modern city with millennia of rich Chinese cultural history to draw on. Travellers can float along the Huangpu River on a scenic boat cruise, get lost in the maze-like Yu Garden, or have a drink in a traditional tea house. Shanghai is a great place to start a trip to China, as the blend of western and eastern culture makes for a pleasant combination between the familiar and the exotic.

No vacation in Shanghai is complete without a stroll along the Bund. The waterfront embankment affords visitors a great view of the city's most spectacular buildings by night and day, and while it is generally crowded with tourists and vendors during the daytime, the mornings and evenings offer great opportunities for photography.

Shanghai has a number of museums worth a visit, including the Shanghai Museum - which houses about 120,000 historical artefacts - and the Bund History Museum. Travellers can also see many beautiful temples and pagodas, like the Jade Buddha Temple, Longhua Temple and the magnificent Jinshan Donglin Temple.

Jinshan City Beach is a nice break from the city on sunny days. There are plenty of opportunities for water sports and other activities, including boating, bungee jumping and other fun activities. The beach also hosts annual international volleyball and kite-flying competitions.

Eating Out in Shanghai

While Shanghai doesn't really have a celebrated cuisine of its own, local chefs and restaurants have taken the opportunity to combine the best China has to offer with smatterings of international inspiration; indeed, dining in Shanghai is a great opportunity for visitors to sample Chinese food of all kinds as well as interesting fusion cuisine.

Traditional Shanghai cuisine is known as benbang cai and tends to be sweeter than food from other Chinese regions, flavoured with sugar, vinegar, ginger and soy for a distinctive flavour. Whether dining in style at a chic hotel restaurant or indulging at a roadside cart, tourists are spoiled for choice with delectable treats like xiao long bao (steamed soup-filled buns) and Shanghai hairy crab. The city's location at the mouth of the Huangpu River means fresh seafood is abundant, and the soy fields of the region provide the city's distinctive 'stinky tofu'.

Shanghai's food streets, some of the best of which are Huang He Lu, Yunnan Lu and Zhapu Lu, boast a variety of cheap eateries, while flashier districts like the Bund and Luwan offer pricier fine-dining restaurants. Shanghai's major shopping malls all have food courts with many vendors offering everything from stir-fries to dim sum for low prices, which is a great way to sample a variety of dishes.

Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city, and visitors will find a number of good international restaurants serving Thai, Japanese, French, Italian and other world cuisines. There are also a number of new international chain restaurants.

The more expensive restaurants in Shanghai generally accept credit cards, but street vendors and takeaway joints usually expect cash. While hotel restaurants sometimes include a 10 to 15 percent service charge, tipping is not generally practised in Shanghai.

Top 5 Things to do in Shanghai

The Bund or Waitan is a waterfront area in central Shanghai.
Oriental Pearl Tower - Futuristic TV tower (468-meters tall) offering city vistas, a history museum & revolving restaurant.
Yu Garden or Yuyuan Garden is an extensive Chinese garden located beside the City God Temple in the northeast of the Old City of Shanghai.
The Shanghai World Financial Center is a supertall skyscraper located in the Pudong district of Shanghai.
The Jade Buddha Temple is a Buddhist temple in Shanghai.

Location

When to Visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Currency The currency used is the Renminbi.
  • Flying time from the UK London to Shanghai is around 11 hours 30 minutes.
  • Primary Language Mandarin
  • Passport & Visas British nationals need a visa to enter mainland China, you must get a visa prior to arrival.