China Travel: What to Do in Shanghai in 48 HoursChina, City Travel, Solo Travel, Traveling Solo & Together — By Meghann F on September 3, 2010 at 6:00 am
LG Deputy Editor Meghann Foye finds time is on her side as she explores China’s fast-paced business and cultural capital.
When exploring a city’s sights, I’m usually after quality, not quantity. In Paris, for example, I’d rather spend the day wandering around one exhibit at the Musée d’Orsay than try to pack in the whole Louvre. But in China, a country of 1.6 billion people all just trying eat, work, shop and get home at night amid millions of others trying to do the same, no one really “lingers.” So, on a recent trip to Shanghai, China’s center of commerce, I decided to suspend my usual travel m.o. for all-business itinerary, too. In the span of 48 hours, I was able to do the following, thanks to a friendly tour guide and driver and plenty of green tea:
10:00 a.m. Visit Old Town area. In Shanghai’s five-hundred-years-old downtown shopping area, I bargained for a silk cheongsam (traditional-style dress), toured the verdant courtyards and koi pools in the Yu Yuan Gardens and checked out the cool, flying-eave architecture on Huxinting, the oldest tea house in Shanghai.
12:30 p.m. Shopping at Tai-Kang Road. Wine bars, hand-made jewelry shops and modern art galleries have turned the formerly residential narrow lanes into a trendy and cute shopping district. I found a leather satchel bag for around 899 yuan ($100) at upscale boutique Yamado. For lunch, there were a number of cafes boasting ethnic food from Thailand, Tibet and Southeast Asia.
4:00 p.m. Shanghai Museum. We got close-up views of all famous Chinese art-forms, such as Ming- and Qing-era pottery, centuries-old calligraphy, brush-and-ink landscape drawings and hand-carved jade jewelry. The newly built museum has an easy-to-navigate four-floor building, and if you’re fast, it should only take you an hour. In fact, at exactly 4:55 p.m. we were amazed to see hundreds of guards pour out of the exhibition areas, herding people out, and at 5 p.m. the entire museum was locked shut, a testament to Chinese efficiency.
6:30 p.m. Drinks and light dinner in Xintiandi. In the past, Shanghai elite would come to this neighborhood in the French Concession to party and drink. Now, students and expats create the same exciting vibe at the outdoor terraces of its European-influenced eateries.
9 a.m. Shanghai World Expo. Since winning the bid in 2002, China’s spent almost half a billiondollars on new infrastructure for the miles-wide exhibition park which houses pavilions from all the countries of the world. Two to see: Britain, whose design includes seeds from all the world’s plants to Saudi Arabia’s million-dollar golden sand-dune-inspired structure. USA, whose pavilion resembled an oil tank and was heavily sponsored by brands, was less impressive.
1 p.m. Pit Stop. Shanghai soup-filled dumplings and Magnum ice-cream cones at the World Expo for lunch.
3 p.m. River-tour of the Bund/Pudong. On one side, you can see the high-rise hotels and commercial buildings that make up the Pudong, Shanghai’s financial center; on the other, there are views of the Bund, a stately street of old-colonial era buildings. During the day, the cruises aren’t packed, and it made for a nice, leisurely trip along the Huangpu river.
7 p.m. The Bund at night. Get here right at sundown, because hoards of people flock to this promenade at night, making it impossible to get a shot of the colorfully lit up Pudong. On the other side of the street, check out its grand, European-style hotels, including the newly revamped Peace Hotel, Shanghai’s most historic and prestigious hotel.
8 p.m. Cocktails at Lost Heaven. This dim and sexy restaurant with its outdoor rooftop terrace serves food from the Yunnan region in the South, which has a sweetness almost like Thai food and contains cheese, unlike most other Chinese food.
10 p.m. Music at MaoLivehouse. We caught local rock groups jamming out at this music venue, popular with expats. The LED screens behind the bands make for some hi-fi visual effects, but overall the vibe in the multilevel bar is pretty low-key.
Check out these related posts: