City Visit

Shanghai's Promenade: The Bund

Best known by its Anglo-Indian name of Bund (Wàitan), the Zhongshan Lu is a lovely broad promenade running along the west bank of the Huangpujiang River. It's particularly popular among tourists as the area has retained a European feel (it was once the location of the city's International Settlement) that is particularly noticeable in the many old English and French buildings now serving as restaurants, boutique stores, galleries, and offices. Always bustling, it's a splendid place for a stroll day or night as you take in the Bund's 52 unique buildings constructed in a variety of styles including Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, Neoclassical, and Renaissance influences, along with what amounts to one of the world's most impressive collections of Art Deco architecture.
Moving from south to north, the dominant buildings are the former headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation with its splendid cupola, the harbor customs office with its bell tower, the old Peace Hotel, and the Bank of China. Huangpu Park, located at the north end of The Bund, opened in 1886 and is famous as the country's oldest public park. It's a pleasant place to visit, and has an interesting museum dedicated to The Bund's history. The Bund is also a great place from which to embark upon a sightseeing tour aboard a boat around the port and the confluence of the Huangpujiang and Yangtze rivers.

Yu Garden

To the northeast of the old town and laid out in 1559, the splendid Yu Garden (Yù Yuán), also known as the Garden of Happiness, covers an area of more than 20,000 square meters and consists of an outer and an inner garden. The oldest section is the Outer Garden, with further changes being made in the 18th century when Sansui Tang, the park's main hall, was added (the building is notable for its lovely roof ornaments, figurative representations in bas-reliefs, and window openings, as well as its dragon-adorned walls).
The best-known building is the Hall of Spring where the Company of the Little Swords (Xiaodao Hui) had its headquarters between 1853 and 1855 when it ruled Shanghai. Of great historical importance are the artificial rocks in this part of the garden, the only work of the master garden designer Zhang Nanyang that has been preserved. The newer and much smaller Inner Garden dates from 1709 and includes features typical of a classical Chinese writer's garden: attractive little pavilions, decorative stones and miniature mountain ranges, dividing walls and small ponds, and even a richly decorated theatrical stage.

The Jade Buddha Temple

In the Anyuan Lu district of Shanghai, the beautiful Jade Buddha Temple houses two Shakyamuni statues, which the monk Huigen brought with him from Burma. The present building, erected in 1928 to replace the original temple built in 1882, is divided into three halls and two courtyards and includes the splendid Hall of the Kings of Heaven (Tian Wang Dian), notable for its statues of the four heavenly kings and two Shakyamuni sculptures. Carved from white jade, one of these impressive statues stands nearly two meters high in the Wentang Main hall, where a collection of Buddhist manuscripts is also kept (the smaller statue is in the west courtyard). Also of interest is the charming Hall of the Great Hero (Daxiong Baodian) with its Buddhas of the Three Ages, along with 18 Luohan figures. Another of Shanghai's many important Buddhist sites is the stunning Jing'an Temple on Nanjing West Road.

The Oriental Pearl Tower

A must-visit while in Shanghai is the 468-meter-tall Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower (Dongfang Míngzhuta) in Pudong-Park on the east bank of the Huangpu River. In addition to its excellent views over the busy river and the new city, you'll be rewarded with superb views over the historic Bund promenade. Built in 1991, the tower takes its name from its 11 linked spheres of various sizes, the highest of which - the Space Module - contains an observation level at the 350 meter mark with a glass-floored outside deck. All told, the tower boasts 15 viewing areas, including the Sightseeing Floor and Space City, as well as a revolving restaurant with great views. Other highlights include a lower level shopping mall, the Space Hotel offering rooms with spectacular views, and a fun virtual reality rollercoaster ride. Even if you can't make it up the tower, you'll enjoy viewing it at night when the whole structure is lit up as part of a fascinating light show.


Xujiahui Cathedral and the Sheshan Basilica

Built in 1911 in Neo-Romanesque style, Xujiahui Cathedral - also known as St. Ignatius Cathedral - is another splendid reminder of Shanghai's rich multi-national heritage. In the southern city district of Xujiahui, it's the largest place of Roman Catholic worship in Shanghai, and in addition to its splendid park-like setting is worth visiting for its twin 50-meter-high bell-towers and restored interior with fine stained glass windows. Another important religious site is the Sheshan Basilica (the National Shrine and Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Sheshan). This fine old Roman Catholic church stands on the western peak of the hill after which it's named. Like so many other religious sites, it was heavily damaged during the Chinese Cultural Revolution but in recent years has undergone extensive renovations and remains an important pilgrimage site. A highlight of a visit is following the 14 Stations of the Cross, which zigzag up the hill to the church, along with the many splendid views along the way.

Shanghai Disney Resort

Shanghai Disney Resort, China's second Disney venture after Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, opened to great fanfare and massive crowds in 2016 and shows every sign of being a massive success. In addition to its two themed hotels and the Disneytown entertainment and shopping district, this nearly 1,000-acre site in the city's Pudong district is home to the Shanghai Disneyland Park, the hub of all the action and the real reason some 10 million people visit the resort each year. And it's every inch the kind of Disney experience fans and families alike can't seem to get enough of. The fun starts on Mickey Avenue, with its character meet and greets and merchandise-cum-souvenir shops, before guests head off to their favorite part of the park, whether it be Gardens of Imagination, with its pleasant Chinese gardens and Dumbo carousel; Fantasyland, in many ways the parks "heart and soul" as it's here you'll find the Enchanted Storybook Castle... and hordes of mini wannabe princesses waiting to catch a glimpse of their favorite Disney royalty; or Treasure Cove, home to a thrilling Pirates of the Caribbean-inspired ride.
Official Site: https://www.shanghaidisneyresort.com/en/