Arguably the most vibrant city in the world’s most populated nation, Shanghai is an invigorating, constantly evolving megalopolis. Historically regarded as a mystical, exotic destination for foreign adventurers and scholars, Shanghai is now home to Chinese tycoons and people who dream of making it big and it is expanding and growing so fast that keeping up becomes nearly impossible. There is always a new building, tower or skyscraper being built every week and the locals are said to work non-stop. Similar to Hong Kong, Shanghai is a fascinating blend of West and East. There are European-style cityscapes, modern chic architecture, and shopping malls but tucked between all that is the Old Shanghai, where visitors can find Chinese temples, street markets, and classical Chinese gardens. Located in the heart of the Luwan district, Fraser Residence Shanghai is just a block away from the famed Xintiandi. Obsessed with the latest fads, fashions and technology, some 6.8 million people flock to Xintiandi for shopping and entertainment every year. But there’s more to Shanghai than just shopping, the ‘New York’ of the Orient has plenty of other attractions that make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in China.
Shanghai Confucius Temple – Also known as Shanghai Wen Miao, this 604 year old temple was built to pay homage to Confucius who was a great thinker, educator, and founded Confucianism in China. Located at No. 215, Wenmiao Road, Confucius Temple is the only ancient architectural complex dedicated to Confucius in central Shanghai. Shanghai Confucius Temple consists of over 28 ancient buildings built with a large number of stone carvings, including Zunjing Pagoda, Dacheng Hall and Minlun Hall and has three courtyards. Jiexiao Hall, Minglun Hall and Panchi Pond make up the first hall and Kuiwen Tower in the second courtyard stores books bestowed by past emperors while Zunjing Tower stores scriptures. Located in the third courtyard is Dacheng Hall, where devotees come to worship Confucius. There is a huge bell (Dacheng Bell) weighing 1.5 tons in the southeast of the hall, the shoulders of the bell are engraved with dragon patterns synonymous with the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC), and four pairs of encircling dragons are depicted on the lower rim of the bell. It is said that the sound of Dacheng Bell can last up to three minutes. At the end of a year, a traditional temple fair is held in the temple. During which a bell tolling ceremony is held in front of the statue of Confucius in the temple, the bell is rung in the hope of encouraging students to study hard.
Opening hours: 09:00 to 16:30 everyday.
This photo of Sun Yat-sen’s Former Residence is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Former residence of Sun Yat-sen – Located at No.7 Xiangshan Road, this two-storey European-style building tucked away among the nearby high buildings and mansions is the former residence of Sun Yat-sen, the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, a strong advocate for democratic revolution and the first provisional president of the country. From 1918 to 1925 Sun Yat-sen and his wife, Mrs. Soong Ching Ling lived in this relatively modest looking house, which was donated by some patriotic overseas Canadian Chinese, in support of the Chinese revolution. It was here that Mr. Sun completed his renowned masterpieces such as Doctrines of Sun Wen, Plans of China’s Development, etc., formulated the plan of reforming China. In 1945, eight years after the Japanese occupation, Mrs. Soong donated the house to the state in memory of her husband. With her help, the house and its furnishings have been left exactly the way it was when they both were living there. On the anniversaries of Mr. Sun Yat-sen’s birth (Nov. 12) and his death (Mar. 12), people from all walks of life from municipal officials to relatives and friends lay flowers at the house honoring his memory and contributions.
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 everyday
Qibao Town – Ever wondered how an ancient Chinese town actually looks like? Now, it’s your chance to find out. Located approximately 15km south of Shanghai, in the center of Minhang District of Shanghai is Qibao Ancient Town. With a history going back over one thousand years, this is the only ancient town in greater Shanghai. Built during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1126), the town only really became prosperous during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911). It is said the name of the town originated from the Qibao Temple and is believed that the prosperity of the temple contributed to the growth of business and culture of the previously unknown town. Qibao is essentially a small town about two square kilometers in size which is crossed by two canals. Around the canals, a large number of traditional houses, shops and restaurants can be found.
This photo of Shanghai Qibao Town is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Cricket fighting was one of the most popular folk activities among the ancient Chinese and even till today remains a favorite with the locals. In fact there is a special museum where both cricket displays and live cricket fighting shows held. Apparently the fiercest species in Qibao town are called Iron Sand and Blue (respectively referring to the colors of their necks and feet)! Especially during the golden weeks (May 1-7 and Oct. 1-7) and the annual Festival of Cricket Culture, there are plenty of cricket fighting shows. While walking around the streets of the old town, be sure to sample the local fare. Visitors can try a great variety of colorful and appetizing snacks. From different flavoured cakes made from polished glutinous rice, dried bean curd wrapped in lotus leaves, roasted sweet potatoes, to smoked toads, and sugar coated haws on sticks, etc., there are all kinds of Chinese delicacies here.