Shanghai, China: Facts, Travel and Points of Interest

Written by Kanchana Rao |
Published on:

Shanghai is China’s pride. This metropolis is situated on the Yangtze River bank, which accounts for the glorious financial, economic and international trade it enjoys. Added to this, it is the primary cultural center of Eastern China and a hub of fashion, design, and art. No wonder this star city attracts travelers by the millions every year!  

5 Interesting Facts about Shanghai

1. Shanghai is the largest city in the world.

With a population of over 24 million people as per the last statistics, Shanghai is easily the world’s largest city. But what makes this astounding is the fact that this enterprising city is equipped to handle this vast number and that too comfortably. Segregated into many districts, extensive metro services, expanding trade, business, and job opportunities are some of the many facilities that make Shanghai a popular city to live in despite the huge population.

2. Shanghai has the largest metro system in the world.

With 365 miles of tunnels and track, the largest metro system in the world is laid out below Shanghai city. What’s more, there are 364 stations throughout the city offering connectivity to major points of interest. Travelers can independently travel and enjoy the sights of the city thanks to the convenience of this wonderful metro system. Shanghai also holds the distinction of having the fastest train in the world.

3. Shanghai is the most popular city of expats in China

As of 2015, Shanghai has over 170,000 expats making the city their home. The metropolis has both a favorable living environment and foreign policies which explains the reason for this figure.

4. Shanghai offers a 144-hour Visa-free visit

For travelers from countries like USA, Australia, Great Britain, Canada and a few others, Shanghai has a 144-hour or 6-day visa-free option. In addition to Shanghai, travelers granted this visa can also travel to Jiangsu and Zhejiang, Shanghai’s neighboring cities.

5. Foreign concessions of Shanghai have turned to foreign attractions

Shanghai has a history of gifting many sections of its land to foreign countries as concessions. These sections were designed by foreign architects who left their signature mark giving the city an international flavor. One such concession which is the most preserved and well known is the French Concession. It exhibits European architecture and the art style is a huge attraction for expats and travelers.  

Best Time to Travel to Shanghai

Shanghai is not for a summer vacation or a winter one. With extreme temperatures that range from 32 + degree Celsius to minus, the best time to visit is either in autumn or in spring. Temperatures are milder and the air is fresh and invigorating. During these seasons, the city also presents its greener side with the colorful blooms in the flower gardens and the green of lawns and trees showing up more than the concrete jungle of the city.

Points of Interest

With all the modern trends Shanghai boasts of today, it has its fair share of history as well. The old and the new combine to present an impressive list of attractions to visit in Shanghai city. Ten of them are listed here:

1. The Bund

The Bund

Set on the western side of the Huangpu River, the Bund is a boulevard running for a 1.5 kilometer stretch from Jinling Road to Waibaidu Bridge. Famous for the views of the river and the ‘World Architecture Fair’ The Bund is best visited at night to enjoy the city’s modern nightscape. You get to see across the river, the Bank of China Building, Customs Building, HSBC Banks Building and the Peace Hotel. These buildings are fondly grouped as the ‘World Architecture Fair’ as they showcase different styles of architecture like the Gothic style, Roman style, Renaissance style, Baroque style, Classical style and a combination of Western and Chinese styles.

2. Oriental Pearl Tower

Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu) (Shanghai)
Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu) (Shanghai)

This 468-meter high tower is the third highest in the world and the highest in Asia. It faces The Bund and offers stunning views of Huangpu River. It has eleven spheres in various sizes which appear to hang from the sky and touch the green grass on the land. The many attractions of the Oriental Pearl Tower include the Science Fantasy World, a revolving restaurant, Shanghai Municipal History Museum and a glass-bottomed corridor for a 360-degree view of Shanghai.

3. Yuyuan Garden

Established in the Ming Dynasty by Pan Yunduan, the Yuyuan Garden enjoys a history of over 400 years. The garden acted as a base for many uprisings against foreign imperialists in Shanghai and Xiamen in the 19th century. Today a vast number of weapons like daggers and swords, as well as, home-made coins are on display here. Attractions at the Yuyuan Garden include Sansui Hall, Grand Rockery, the exquisite Jade Rock and the Stone City.

4. Shanghai World Financial Center

Designed mainly by Japanese architects with inputs from over 40 other corporations, the Shanghai World Financial Center stands at a height of 492 meters with 104 floors including three underground. It is the second highest building in Shanghai. Highlights of the building include a high-speed elevator which takes about only a minute to reach from the first to the 95th floor and underground floors with parking, shopping, and dining. Other attractions are the observatory decks located on the 94th floor through the 100th. Sky arenas and skywalks with a glass roof simulate an experience of being and walking in the clouds.

5. Jade Buddha Monastery

Particularly popular during the Chinese New Year, Jade Buddha Monastery is one among the most famous Buddha temples. Initially built in 1882, the monastery has two jade Buddhist statues. One is a seated Buddha which is two meters tall and is decorated with semi-precious stones. The other statue is of a reclining Buddha and is about one meter long. The monastery also has many artifacts like impressive paintings, Buddhist scriptures on walls and porcelain Buddha statues.

6. Zhujiajiao Water Town

Zhujiajiao Water Village
Zhujiajiao Water Village

Compared to Venice of Italy, Zhujiajiao, with its enchanting bridges and boat rides offers you a Chinese version. The town has several waterways and 36 ancient bridges and some buildings dating back to the Qing Dynasty. Strolling in the streets or cruising in the waters on boats or gondolas are pleasant ways to experience this quaint town.

7. Shanghai Disneyland Park

Disneyland Park enthralls people of all ages with its themed attractions of the familiar Disney world. In sync with the traditional Disneyland, Shanghai has also its own share of variations and innovations with attractions like Mickey Avenue, Treasure Cove, Enchanted Storybook Castle, Fantasia-inspired carousel and many more. The six themed lands of the park take you on a trip of such adventure, excitement, and fun, that you would never want to call it a day.

8. Shanghai Chenghuang Temple

Ancient China had at least one temple devoted to the spirit or guard of the city. Shanghai Chenghuang Temple is the city God shrine of Shanghai and is devoted to the spirit of Jinshan or ‘Gold Mountain’. Also called Yi Temple, it covers an area of over 10,000 square meters. It has two gardens and the Shanghai Huang Miao which is famous as the food road of Shanghai with several restaurants offering delectable and traditional dishes of China like dim sun and Babao rice. The temple celebrates many religious festivals and is especially popular during the Sanxun festival when devotees come over to burn incense and all the shops are decorated with red lanterns.

9. Mr. X Puzzle House

If detective stories and mystery books are right up your alley, Mr. X Puzzle House in Shanghai is not to be missed. The Gothic décor, strange ambiance and quirky artifacts strike fear and excitement. Visitors to the house are given unique puzzles in five different rooms to solve. The puzzle can be solved by a group and themes revolve around Sci-Fi, lasers or vaults. The time allotted is one hour which visitors vouch can be the most thrilling one of their lives.

10. Shanghai Zoo

Home to around 6000 wild animals of over 620 rare species, Shanghai Zoo combines landscape gardens and recreation activities. It is a great way for the entire family to spend a day. In addition to Chinese animals like Panda, Golden Monkey, South China Tiger and blossom peacock, you get to sight the African Chimpanzee, Australian Kangaroo and North Pole Penguin among others. Beast training shows are a huge attraction at the zoo as are the wide stretches of lawn areas and entertainment facilities.

Shanghai of China offers the best of both, a modern metropolis and an ancient heritage. Clear your calendar for a few days to enjoy this mix.

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Author: Kanchana Rao
A bibliophile and travel buff, I love reading as much as writing. Take a special interest in keying travel blogs and children's stories. Maybe that accounts for why every trip is taken with a childlike enthusiasm! 


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