While Hong Kong may be the capital of China, Shanghai remains the country’s most populated and developed city, a title it has held since the 1930s. It also boasts an impressive mix of East and Western architecture, thanks to its large immigrant population and Western influence. Buildings resembling those found in cities like Paris and New York are right at home here, along with some breathtakingly modern buildings.
What started out as a village during the time of the Song Dynasty more than 1,000 years ago is still an important economic and cultural hub today, and tourism plays an important role in Shanghai’s economy.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport is the main gateway for foreign travelers arriving by air. Roughly 20 miles to the east of the city, this enormous – and beautifully designed – airport has two terminals, T1 and T2.
Travelers departing from North American airports will find flights operated by Air Canada, Air China, AeroMexico, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines, Delta, Eva Air, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airlines and United/Continental. All of these arrive at Pudong Terminal 2.
Shanghai Hongqiao International also serves several international routes, though operations here tend to be more focused on domestic and inter-Asia flights.
Your River Cruise Ship Docks…
Shanghai is typically offered as a pre-and-post cruise port on itineraries exploring China.
When in Shanghai…
There’s plenty to do in this sprawling Chinese city; so much so that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to see and do it all. Some of the best ways to spend your time here:
- The Bund – one of the most popular tourist destinations in Shanghai, The Bund is a famous area situated along the Huangpu River. Within this area are 52 distinctly different styles of architecture, resulting in some amazing photographic opportunities, and boasts one of the largest gatherings of Art Deco structures in the world. A must-see for any visitor to this city.
- Tea Houses– Shanghai is renowned for its tea houses, most of which serve up a number of traditional teas accompanied by traditional Chinese delicacies.
- Nanjing Road – the main shopping street in Shanghai, Nanjing Road is also known as one of the busiest shopping districts in the world. Five-star hotels, upscale shops, and a plethora of local and foreign eateries are present in this cosmopolitan district.
- City of God Temple – Located near the People’s Square and the Bund district, the City of God temple refers both to the famous temple that bears its name, as well as to the surrounding district. Many shops and eateries are located here, many within buildings that are centuries old. The temple itself was made popular during the Qing Dynasty, as residents journeyed from far and wide to pay their respects at the temple, praying for good fortune and peace. Between 2005 and 2006, the temple was completely restored.
River Cruisers Should Know!
- The currency in China is the Yuan.
- Shanghai is generally a very safe city, but it pays to exercise the same amount of caution you would in any unfamiliar place. The usual pickpocket scams can be found here, and sexual harassment can sometimes be a problem on the
- Be sure to purchase bottled water or boil your own; it’s not safe to drink the raw tap water unless it’s been put through a filtration system. Most large hotels catering to travelers should have this in place.
- Technically, foreigners can be asked to produce their passports at any time. Consult with your hotel, travel agent or tour guide to discuss the logistics of safely carrying your passport on your person.