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Getting Amongst It in Shanghai

Shanghai park and skyscrapers Copyright silver-john

Getting Amongst It in Shanghai

story by: Mike Williams

Shanghai is a city best experienced by getting in amongst it rather than just working through a checklist. It’s a fascinating city; undeniably global, the busiest container port in the world, a major financial centre, not to mention the historic economic gateway between East and West. It’s also the most populous city proper in the world. This all makes for an eclectic set of qualities, the combination of which is truly fascinating to experience. While proudly a Chinese city, Western influence permeates through the architecture and culture of Shanghai.

The concept of ‘East meets West’ may sound clichéd, but the juxtaposition truly needs to be experienced to be believed. In one day, you can go from a morning watching locals practise tai chi or ballroom dancing in the park to meandering through the back alleys in the French Concession area. Then enjoy a spot of lunch at the least dodgy street vendor you can find, an afternoon of bartering for antiques and cell phones, choose between dumpling soup or fillet mignon for dinner, and then finish the evening sipping a mojito at the top of the Shanghai World Financial Center.

Shanghai still has its share of historic landmarks and must-see attractions. At the top of the list is ‘The Bund’, the iconic waterfront cityscape that runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River. Take a walk down one of the busiest shopping streets in the world, Nanjing Road. A trip up the elevator at the aforementioned Shanghai World Financial Center is an experience in itself. The 100th floor has transparent glass-walled walkways and see-through floor panels. Other must-sees include the City God Temple of Shanghai and People's Square.

Of course, no trip to Shanghai is complete without a bit of shopping! There’s Nanjing Road, XuJiahui, which has two large electronic malls, Dongtai Lu antiques market, Qipu Lu clothing market, and that’s not even scratching the surface. The great thing about shopping in Shanghai is that it gets you interacting with the locals and can take you to less touristy parts of the city, which is what experiencing Shanghai is all about.

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