In Shanghai, exploring old and new
bank of the Huangpu River. The
Bund provides panoramic views
augmented by the bustle of barges and pleasure craft passing by
on the river. At night, the illuminations are a visual wonderland.
On the eastern bank of the
river across from the Bund is the
1,535-foot-high Oriental Pearl
Tower. The views from the observation deck, especially on a clear
day, are stunning. While there,
don’t miss the Shanghai Historical
Museum in the basement, a wonderful evocation of life in Shanghai through the ages. Another
great view is from the observation
deck on the 88th floor of the Jin
Mao Tower, which also houses the
Grand Hyatt Shanghai.
Many of the buildings from
Shanghai’s 1930s heyday, when
Britain and France still held considerable influence over the city’s
commerce, remain close to the
Bund, although renaming and repurposing have made some hard
The Hong Kong and Shanghai
Bank was possibly the most important bank in Shanghai during
the early years of the 20th century. In 1996, the Shanghai Pudong
Development Bank took over the
building, restoring the marvelous
marble columns and interior, the
crystal mirrors and the frescoes
that represent the overseas offices
of the original owners and the
ceiling painted with the signs of
the Western zodiac.
The Peace Hotel situated on
the corner of Nanjing Road has
been superbly refurbished as the
Fairmont Peace Hotel, where
the Jazz Bar harkens back to the
1920s and ’30s with a European-inspired menu and a six-piece
band of veteran musicians.
Farther down Nanjing Road,
you come to People’s Square in
what was once a horse-
racing track. On one side is
the futuristic Grand The-
atre, built in 1998 and host
of performances including
opera, musicals and plays;
on the other is the superb Shang-
hai Museum, crammed with
priceless porcelain, pottery, jade,
furniture, calligraphy and other
traditional crafts. At least half a
day is required to even scratch the
surface of its treasures.
Centuries ago the center of
Shanghai was dominated by the
lovely Ming Dynasty Garden,
now called the Yuyuan Garden.
The approach to the entrance
is past the ornately decorated
Huxingting Teahouse, featuring
upswept eaves and red lacquer
paneling. Inside the gardens, built
between 1559 and 1577, is a tranquil oasis of bridges over small
pools, artificial mountains and
The gardens are surrounded by
myriad shops and restaurants; try
the city’s popular dumplings or
other selections from the stalls often operating in the open spaces.
The area is always packed at night.
You can visit the residence of
revolutionary hero Sun Yat-sen
and also the house where his wid-
ow, Soong Ching Ling, lived
after his death in 1924. In the ga-
rage of the latter are two old lim-
ousines, one presented to her by
Josef Stalin in 1952. These build-
ings are found in what was the
French Concession area of Shang-
hai, and some of the stylish origi-
nal buildings still exist.
The Jing’An Temple on Nanjing
Road West is the main Buddhist
temple in Shanghai. The nearby
gardens of the same name are a
green oasis in the heart of the city
and are packed daily with people
practicing tai chi or ballroom
dancing. I stayed at the Equatorial
Hotel ( shanghai.equatorial.com),
close to the temple and well positioned for exploring Shanghai.
Not to be missed is a performance by the amazing acrobats at
Shanghai Circus City, whose act
includes riding eight motorcycles
at one time within a large globe.
A great way to get to and from
Pudong Airport is by maglev train,
which makes the 19-mile trip in
about 7½ minutes for about $10.
Air-inclusive & land-only prices are based on per person, double occupancy (int’l air LAX/SFO departure - add $200 for JFK - ask about other gateways. Fuel surcharges, taxes and fees included in air-
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By Roger Allnutt
Tall, new buildings may dominate the skyline of China’s financial capital today, but you don’t have to go far to find the pulsing heart and history of
Early morning is the best time
to explore, especially the produce
markets with dazzling displays of
fresh vegetables, meat, fish and
delicacies such as crab and eels.
Whole shops are devoted to door
handles or bathroom taps.
The best shopping streets are
along and close to Nanjing Road,
A must for every visitor is a
stroll down the Bund, the famous
promenade along the western
The Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai, formerly called the
Ming Dynasty Garden, dates to the 16th century.
Below, a view of the east bank of Huangpu River.