Hotels in Shanghai, China
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Bright Lights, Busy City: Get lost in lively Shanghai
The bustling metropolis of Shanghai is a destination for those in the mood for fast-paced streets, bright city lights, an endless variety of attractions and cultural events to check out, and food available at all hours of the night. With an estimated population of over 24.1 million residents as of 2016, Shanghai is the largest city by population in the world. Its coastal position at the mouth of the Yangtze makes Shanghai an ideal centre of trade, and it is therefore home to the busiest container port in the world.
Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta
Shanghai is almost surrounded by water, with the Yangtze River, the Yellow Sea and Hangzhou Bay bordering the city from north to south. Man-made Huangpu River flows through downtown Shanghai from the Yangtze, and draws visitors with river cruise tours that often offer discounts for guests of the numerous hotels in the city centre. One of the most popular leisure areas in Shanghai is The Bund or Waitan, a waterfront area situated inside the Shanghai International Settlement, home to historical buildings, hotels, wharves, food vendors and parklands. The Bund can be found on Zhongshan Road in the Huangpu District, by Huangpu River.
Shanghai cuisine and street eats
China is such a vast, densely populated country that each region has its own culture, dialect and food. Though its history spans over 400 years, Shanghai – traditionally called Benbang cuisine – is the youngest of the 10 major Chinese cuisines. Typical Shanghai dishes to try include Drunken Chicken, Xiaolongbao, which you may have heard called Shanghai dumplings, and chicken and blood soup – a favourite in the area. According to local legend, Blood Soup makes those that eat it stronger given it is made with real solidified blood. Seafood is also a great option when in Shanghai, with many traditional dishes containing food fresh from the sea. Shanghai’s street food scene is just as diverse as its restaurant culture – and just as busy as the rest of the city, which means food trucks and vans pulled by nothing but superhuman strength on a bike are ready and waiting all over the place. Try the mysterious sticky rice balls called ci fan tuan for breakfast, pork and scallion pancakes cong you bing for lunch, and finish with gui hua lian’ou – lotus root cooked with sticky rice and osmanthus blossom syrup.
The French Concession
The river systems around Shanghai have meant it was always a major shipping and trading base, though it became the subject of additional attention during the 19th century when Britain, the United States and France all noticed the city’s immense prospects. Treaties enabled trade between Shanghai and these ‘western’ countries to flourish, and led to the creation of two unique parts of the city: the French Concession and the Shanghai International Settlement. Both were developed during the 19th century, and the French Concession grew to become a mini metropolis within the city of Shanghai, remaining today as one of the city’s most interesting neighbourhoods. The French Concession is a quiet oasis in the midst of busy Shanghai, with an impressive collection of restaurants and cafes offering outdoor and indoor dining, French architecture framed by the leafy trees that line every street, tasteful hotels, and boutique stores that make it a great place to get lost for at least a few hours.
Theme parks and other fun
Shanghai has some fantastic attractions that you will not be able to find anywhere else, such as Shanghai Circus World, where visitors are treated to acrobatic performances that astound, astonish, and keep people coming back for more. Architectural aficionados will love the Bund International Architecture Exhibition, while the Shanghai Museum, or ‘Shanghai Bowuguan’ in Chinese, has a diverse enough collection to please everyone.
Historical sites in Shanghai’s old city
After all the indoor excitement step into the fresh air for a visit to tranquil Yu Garden, where a manicured Chinese garden spread over five acres awaits. Adjacent to Yu Garden is the City God Temple, built in commemoration of Shanghai’s municipal status. Both historical sites lie within the walls that once formed Shanghai’s defence and were demolished in 1912. The area still forms the heart of the city, and is now home to a residential population, local markets that run day and night, upscale hotels, winding old streets, and a mix of dated and modern architecture.
Markets and malls
With hundreds of shopping malls and almost 150 markets, Shanghai is a shoppers’ paradise. The vast number of malls across the city mean all hotels are close to at least one, but for those that want to shop with a purpose, a major centre such as Shanghai IFC Mall or Metro City Plaza might be ideal. Popular markets include Yuyuan Old Street near Yu Garden, West Nanjing Road or, for something a little different, visit one of the colourful bird and flower markets.
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