On the banks of the Huangpu River, defiant Shanghai mixes together the two different sides to its personality. On the left bank the Bund has been exerting its power since the end of the 19th century, with the offices of the world’s biggest banks found in its Art Déco buildings. On the left bank, Pudong reaffirms its domination over South-East Asia. This breathtaking city is both an economic and a cultural hub.

Built on the banks of the river, the city boasts a unique charm. Enjoy a stroll along the Bund, “Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu” in Mandarin, to see for yourself. At one end of the promenade, boats travel along the Huangpu overlooked by the towers of Pudong. The pride of the locals for many years, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, designed by Jia Huan Cheng, blushes shyly next to the 492 metres of the “bottle opener”, home to the World Financial Center, and Jin Mao Tower, designed by American architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Soon the 632 metre tall Shanghai Tower will tower over them all. These modern-day cathedrals flirt with the clouds and almost disappear. From their rooftops, you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view encompassing the two hectares of Yu Garden, fiercely resisting the overwhelming urbanisation of the landscape. So, while the cricket market lives on, the bulldozers have just reduced Dongtai Road and its flea and antiques market to dust. The 16 million or so inhabitants of Shanghai seem to embrace this metamorphosis, more than happy, for example, to travel on the 14 unusually clean metro lines studded with shops.

What would the author of the Little Red Book have thought of the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the tennis tournament that attracts all the big international players, or the Formula 1 Grand Prix, until recently the most expensive circuit in the competition? He would no doubt have preferred the marathon, a popular challenge, attracting up to 10,000 competitors! Shanghai also celebrates sport with its many fans of Tai Chi who fill the parks at dawn; at the same time, Shanghai celebrates culture with a whole host of museums. The former Museum of Fine Arts, renamed the China Art Museum after the World’s Fair, boasts ten galleries housing priceless treasures. The Power Station of Art, a contemporary art museum opened in 2012 in a former electricity power station, is well worth a visit, both for its works of art and its futuristic buildings. Just as impressive are the Long Museum, the MOCA and the RAM, the Rockbund Art Museum on the northern Bund waterfront in an Art Déco building constructed in 1932 for the Royal Asiatic Society. Restored by British architect David Chipperfield, it is a melting pot of different cultures. And if you’re interested in what China has to say about science, head to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum where the past meets the future.
The dynamic city of Shanghai plays the perfect part of an avant-garde showcase of a China for which “The Great Leap Forward” is much more than just an empty slogan. This is demonstrated not least by the many festivals that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors. There’s the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), the only one in China recognised by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, alongside the likes of Cannes and Hollywood; the Shanghai Music Festival, in which musicians compete for the prestigious Magnolia Awards; and the Shanghai Tourism Festival, which attracts thousands of exhibitors and kicks off with a spectacular parade.
Shanghai, where Christmas is also now celebrated, remains faithful to its own traditions and pays tribute to its dead during the Qingming or Ching Ming Festival, otherwise known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, when the wealthier Shanghainese shop ‘til they drop in the luxury boutiques at the Shanghai IFC Mall, snapping up clothes worthy of their ancestors. And while they’re at it, they take the opportunity to touch the golden Bund Bull designed by Arturo Di Modica, the twin brother of the one on Wall Street, as it’s supposed to bring wealth to the city and its inhabitants.

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When to go

Shanghai is a great city to visit throughout the year due to its subtropical maritime monsoon climate at its four seasons. However, the flood season is during the summer and the temperatures can exceed 35°C in July and August. January is a cold month but it rarely snows. The best time to visit Shanghai is from March to May when the temperatures are mild.

Shanghai

  • Jan

    New Year Fireworks, January 1, 2016

  • Fev

    Chinese New Year, February 8, 2016

  • Mar

    Peach Festival of Flowers of Shanghai , March 27 to April 25, 2016

  • Apr

    Marathon of the Great Wall of China, May 21, 2016

  • May

    Shanghai World Travel Fair , show dedicated to travel , 19 to 22 May 2016

  • Jun

    International Festival of the Shanghai Film, 11 to 19 June 2016

  • Jul

    Summer Music in the Air , music festival , July-August 2016

  • Aug

    International Competition of Shanghai Ballet , 3 to 11 August 2016

  • Sep

    Tourism Festival Shanghai, September 9 to 13, 20166

  • Oct

    Masters Rolex Shanghai ATP Tennis Tournament , 8 to 16 October 2016

  • Nov

    International Marathon Shanghai, beginning November 2016

  • Dec

    Market and Christmas in Shanghai, December 2016

Transportation in Shanghai includes the following options: local taxis, private ​car services, metro, buses, trams and even ferry to travel through the Huangpu river. However, the best way to get around Shanghai is by taxi, metro and light railway network which are very convenient and cheap. However, avoid the rush hour when possible!
The Shanghai metro runs 14 lines, with another 4 under construction, and around 300 stations. The lines run from 6am to 11pm. Tickets can be purchased from machines at metro and onboard buses and the fares range from RMB3-15 depending on distance. There are also one-day cards available which can be purchased for RMB18 (24 hours valid after their first use). The most important metro lines are 1 and 2, going through People’s Square and the Bund district.

Taxi is the best option to get around Shanghai. There are approximately 45,000 taxis, operated by over 150 taxi companies. You can hail them in the street, find them in one of the taxi ranks or book one through one of the Shanghai taxi firms. The fare is RMB14 for the first 3 km, then RMB2.4 per km up to 10 km, and RMB3.5 per km after. Some additional charges may apply. The fare starts at RMB18 after 11PM. Keep in mind though that the majority of drivers do not speak English, so try to provide the address of your destination written in Chinese for the taxi driver.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport is the major international airport serving Shanghai. The Hongqiao Airport in the West side of the city mainly serves domestic flights. Shanghai Pudong International Airport is located 30km from the city center and the journey by taxi takes approximately 30 minutes and will cost you between RMB150 et RMB200.
A cheaper and exciting option is to take the fast speed Shanghai Maglev Train (SMT) which runs from Pudong International Airport to Longyang Rd. Station located in Pudong New Area. The whole journey takes only eight minutes and will cost you RMB50. Shanghai metro line 2 also links Pudong International Airport to Longyang Rd. It will be cheaper but also much longer.

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