Located in the Yangtze River Delta in eastern China, Shanghai has a population of over 24 million people, making it the most populated city in China and its size also makes it the largest city in the world. Previously a fishing and textiles town, Shanghai gained prominence in the 19th century as a result of its strategic port location. It was one of the few cities opened to foreign trade by the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. The city then flourished as a center of commerce between east and west, and became the undisputed financial hub of the Asia Pacific in the 1930s. Today this global city is a major financial center and is also known for its commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology and transport. In addition, Shanghai is also a popular destination for tourists, especially in the last two decades where the number of visitors have been steadily increasing. Here are some things to do and attractions to visit when you are in Shanghai.
This photo of Yuyuan Garden is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Yuyuan Garden – Start the day by visiting one of the most lavish and finest Chinese gardens in the country. Located in the center of the Old City next to the Chenghuang Miao area, Yuyuan Garden is a famous five acre classical garden built in 1559 by Pan Yunduan, the garden was constructed to please his father Pan En, a high-ranking Ming official. In its 400 years history, Yuyuan Garden had undergone many changes. During the late Ming Dynasty, with the decline of the Pan family, the garden became very dilapidated. In 1760, some rich merchants bought Yuyuan Garden and spent more than 20 years reconstructing the buildings. However during the Opium War of the 19th century, Yuyuan Garden was severely damaged, and again during the Taiping Rebellion. Finally restored over a period of five years by the Chinese government, the garden was declared a national monument in 1982. There are six main scenic areas in the garden: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden. Upon entering the garden, visitors will come upon the Great Rockery. Standing at 14 meters, it is the largest and oldest rockery south of the Yangtze River. From the peak, visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the garden. Wandering in the area of Yule Pavilion and Wanhua Chamber, visitors will find water streams, pavilions, courtyards as well as many other natural features. Wanhua Chamber is a delicately chased building surrounded by derious cloisters and spring bamboos. In front of Wanhua Chamber, there are two old trees. One is a maidenhair tree which is 21 meters tall and tt is said that the tree was planted by the Pan En 400 years ago. The key attraction of Yuyuan Garden is the Exquisite Jade Rock which can be found across from Yuhua Hall. The rock is 3.3 meters in height and has 72 holes. Interesting fact: if you burn a joss stick just below the rock, the smoke floats out from all the holes. Similarly, when you pour water into the rock from top, the water will flow out from each hole creating a spectacular sight to see!
Opening hours: Everyday from 8:30-17:30 (tickets unavailable after 17:00)
This photo of Jade Buddha Temple is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Jade Buddha Temple – This is one of the most famous temples in Shanghai. Founded in 1882, the temple had two jade Buddha statues which had been brought from Burma by a monk named Huigen. These two precious jade Buddhist statues (Sitting Buddha and Recumbent Buddha) are not only rare cultural relics but also porcelain artworks. Carved with whole white jade, the sparkling and crystal-clear white jade gives the Buddhas the beauty of sanctity and make them more vivid. The Sitting Buddha is 190 centimeters high captures the Buddha at the moment of his meditation and enlightenment, and is encrusted by agate and emerald. The Recumbent Buddha is 96 centimeters long, lying on the right side with the right hand supporting the head and the left hand placing on the left leg. There is also another Recumbent Buddha made of marble, which is four meters long and was brought from Singapore by the tenth abbot of the temple in 1989. In addition there are many other ancient paintings and Buddhist scriptures distributed in the different halls of the temple.
Opening hours: 8:00-17:00 everyday and 5:30-17:00 (Lunar New Year’s Day, the 1st and the 15th day of every lunar month)
This photo of New Spot (Xintiandi) is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Xin Tian Di – For lunch, head to the Xin Tian Di. Located in the center of Shanghai City south of Huaihai Zhong Lu, Xin Tian Di is a shopping, eating and entertainment district. This fashionable pedestrian street is a combination of old and modern architecture. While retaining the antique walls, tiles and exterior of the Shikumen (stone gate) housing of old Shanghai, its interior embodies a totally different world of stores, galleries, bars and cafes, boutiques and restaurants. In the early 1900’s, the residential buildings were designed according to the Shikumen style but with rapid development, the Shikumen housing could no longer satisfy people’s demands of residence. In 1997, developers decided to use the Shikumen residential buildings for commercial purposes. Xin Tian Di is divided into two parts: the South Block and the North Block.
South Block: Designated as the complex for shopping, entertainment and leisure, the South Block covers 6.2 acres and was opened in 2002. This modern glass wall building is home to restaurants from all over the world, boutiques, fashionable ornament shops, food courts, cinemas and gyms. North Block: Featuring antique Shikumen buildings with inner modern design, decoration and equipment, the North Block has upscale stores and restaurants with cuisine from different countries such as France, Brazil, America, Japan, Germany, Italy etc.
This photo of Huangpu River is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Huangpu River – After lunch and some leisurely shopping, make your way to Huangpu river. This 82.5 kilometres long river flows through Shanghai and is the last significant tributary of the Yangtze river before it empties into the East China Sea. This yellow river is 114 kilometers long and 400 meters wide with an average depth of nine meters. In Shanghai, the Huangpu River cruise is a traditional tourist program. Cruises are available everyday, visitors can choose between the shorter cruises (navigating the main waterfront area between the Yangpu Bridge and the Nanpu Bridge) and the complete cruises (traveling eastward along the golden waterway, over a distance of 60 kilometers). The cruise is the perfect time to see the differences of architecture between the east bank and the west bank. On the west bank, a lot of western-style buildings can be seen, full of exotic flavor, while the skyline of the east bank is punctured with rows of towering skyscrapers. Fraser Suites Top Glory Shanghai is located in the CBD financial district along the romantic Huangpu river! Fraser Suites Shanghai offers unrivalled luxury living with a spell-binding panoramic views of the Bund and the city.
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