Shanghai is everything China wants to be. It’s sleek, rich, modern and called home by many of China’s, and the world’s, elite.
Shanghai is becoming a major transport hub and many international flights are introducing layovers in the city. With relaxed visa regulations, it is easier than ever to slip in a cheeky 3 day visit to the city.
Here’s my list of things to do with your 72 hours in Shanghai:
The quickest/most terrifying way to get into the city from the airport.
The super speedy Maglev train rushes you to the centre in just 8 minutes, shaving an hour off a humble car journey.
How does it do this, I hear you ask? Well, it levitates obviously. YES LEVITATES AT 300KM/H!
Apparently magnets allow this witchcraft but it is still unnerving as the train appears to tilt quite violently when tackling corners.
I am assured that it is perfectly safe, and it is quite an experience to say the least!
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Hidden in the centre of the People’s Park (an interesting spot in its own right) is the MOCA.
Portraying the best of Chinese contemporary art, the MOCA may not be the best curated gallery in the world but the art it houses is fascinating.
To a Western art-lover, Eastern art offers a fresh perspective on our world and a fascinating insight to everyday Chinese life.
Beware of groups of Chinese ‘students’ who gather in the park. They may attempt to lure you into tea-houses or theatres and abandon you with a hefty bill.
Shanghai is famed for its shopping. Every street corner is dominated by a shopping mall. Head to the basements for bargain bites and cheaper shops. The designer and western shops can be found on the higher levels.
Many of the malls are beautiful in themselves, well worth a wander.
Jade Buddha Temple
Step into this spiritual oasis, hidden down the rusting alleys of Shanghai’s back streets. The welcoming smell of incense wafts throughout the temple which is studded with impressive jade Buddhas and populated by orange-robed monks.
A real find in this buzzing metropolis. Apparently the additional restaurant is a cheap treat too, just make sure you arrive early before it closes!
Described by a guidebook as ‘psychedelic’ and ‘garish’, it delivers on both counts. Surrounded by gaggles of Chinese tourists you will have to suppress hysterical laughter as your little capsule hurtles through ever changing light displays, accompanied by booming voice-overs declaring that you are entering ‘meteor showers’ and ‘heaven and hell’. So tacky yet so entertaining.
It is almost impossible to imagine that this site had been home to prostitutes, murderers and rice paddies as recently as the 90s. Now a glitzy, high-rise paradise, Padong reminded me of Hong Kong with its garish lights and towering architecture.
Marvel at China at its most sophisticated. This place really comes alive at night when the riverside bars and restaurants spill onto the streets and roof-top bars welcome their wealthy clientèle.
The most frequently visited and photographed location in Shanghai. With breathtaking views across to Pudong, it’s the photo opportunity everyone wants to squeeze in.
If you’re not of Chinese descent then you will feel like a celebrity here. Chinese tourists become like paparazzi, asking you for pictures or engaging you in broken conversation. Many of these Chinese tourists may have never seen another nationality in the flesh before and having your photo taken with them seems to make their day! (The ego boost doesn’t hurt either!)
Shanghai is a fascinating city with infinite opportunity for exploration. What do you think should be included on this list? I’d love to hear your suggestions!