4D3N in Shanghai – Endless Exciting Activities Which Makes You Want to Revisit This Amazing City
October 05, 2019
Situated on the estuary of Yangtze River, Shanghai serves as an economic hub, a financial hub, a hub for international trade and a cultural centre in East China. Although the city is now highly developed with towering skyscrapers and contemporary architecture, there are still traditional and historical neighbourhoods being preserved, and I love this marriage of old and new within one city. I was in Shanghai for 4 days 3 nights in May 2019 and hope this itinerary will be helpful to you.
Day 1 – Yu Yuan (豫园) and Jin Mao Tower (金茂大厦)
First established in 1559 as the private garden of Pan Yun Duan, a government official in the Ming Dynasty, Yu Yuan is the only fully restored classical Chinese garden in Shanghai. Subsequently, the garden was inherited by Zhang Zhao Lin, the husband of Pan Yun Duan’s grand-daughter, and then passed on to different owners. In 1982, Yu Garden was listed as an important national relic protection unit. The entire complex is beautifully made up of all the different elements that a classical Chinese garden should have.
Have lunch and shop at the nearby Yu Yuan Bazaar which houses hundreds of stores selling everything from silk, arts and crafts, antiques, souvenirs, to local street food, light bites, hearty Chinese cuisine, and more, before ascending one of Shanghai’s skyscrapers to view the sunset and get a panoramic view of the city.
Address: No. 137 Anren Street, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Direction by Subway:
Take Subway Line 10 and get off at Yu Yuan Station. It is just one stop from Nanjing Road to Yu Garden.
Direction by Bus:
Take Bus 11, 26, 64, 66, 736, 920, 926, or 930 and alight at Xinbeimen Station. You’ll have to walk along Anren Street to reach Yu Garden. The Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Line 1 also brings you to Yu Garden.
Opening Hours: March to October 8.30am to 5.30pm. November to February 8.30am to 5pm.
Admission Fee: April to October 40 yuan per person. November to March 30 yuan per person.
You can get an aerial view of Shanghai from either the Shanghai World Financial Center, the Oriental Pearl Tower or the Jin Mao Tower. After much consideration, I decided on the Jin Mao Tower as the observation deck on the 88th floor gives an unblocked view of the Oriental Pearl Tower. I managed to find a quiet corner and was very fortunate to have caught a brilliant sunset as the weather was clear on that particular day. I was in total awe when watching the city light up, especially when the Oriental Pearl Tower started illuminating in different colours. After that, it’ll be a good idea to end your night feasting at Haidilao Hot Pot.
Jin Mao Tower
Address: 88 Century Avenue, Lu Jia Zui, Pudong, China
Opening Hours: 8.30am to 8.30pm daily (observation deck)
Admission Fee: 50 yuan (adult) and 25 yuan (child)
Day 2 – Nanxiang Ancient Town (南翔镇) and Tianzifang (田子坊)
Being one of the four most well-known historical and cultural ancient towns in the city of Shanghai, Nanxiang Ancient Town dates back to approximately 1,500 years ago. It is a smaller water town as compared to Wuzhen Water Town. There are boutiques, souvenir shops and eateries lining the narrow streets of Nanxiang Ancient Town. It’s hard to escape the overwhelming scent of oily and spicy Chinese cuisine lingering in the air. The main attractions in this town are the Nanxiang Twin Pagodas, Hezuo Hill and Guyi Garden. Nanxiang Ancient Town is also the birthplace of the delicious, slurp-worthy xiaolongbao soup dumpling.
Directions: Ride the Metro Line 11 from Jiangsu Lu to Nanxiang directly (takes around 40 minutes). Walk for about 15 minutes along Huyi Gong Lu and carry on walking straight down Minzhu Jie and you’ll see Guyi Garden located on the left side of the road. An alternative route will be taking bus 517, 562, or 822 and getting off at Nanxiang Gu Zhen Station.
After spending half the day exploring Nanxiang Ancient Town, you can spend the remaining half of the day relaxing at Tianzifang. Commonly known as the former French Concession, Tianzifang is made up of a warren of narrow alleys, lined with souvenir stalls, quaint cafés, bars, design studios, boutiques and street food. The area has transformed itself from traditional residential architectures and factories into an artsy district, aesthetically-pleasing neighbourhood and tourist attraction.
Address: Lane 210, Taikang Road, Da Pu Qiao, Huangpu, China
Direction by Subway:
Take Subway Line 9 and get off at Da Pu Qiao Station. Exit 1 is the closest to Tianzifang.
Direction by Bus:
Take bus number 17, 24, or 304 and get off at Jianguo Zhonglu Ruijin Erlu Station or take bus number 41, 96, 104, 146, 301, 864 or 955 and get off at Ruijin Yiyuan (Ruijin Hospital) Station.
Day 3 – Qibao Ancient Town (七宝镇) and The Bund
Qibao Ancient Town is another water town that’s easily accessible in Shanghai. It has a history spanning over a thousand years, and the Qibao Temple is a prominent landmark in this town. The two unique characteristics of this town are the Cricket Museum and Shadow Play. The former is a special museum where you can see a display of crickets and watch a live cricket fighting show which used to be one of the most popular folk activities among the ancient Chinese people. The latter, on the other hand, is a performance based on widely-known historical events with the local dialect. It’s a great opportunity for you to learn about Shanghainese culture. Do remember to try the delightful array of snacks too!
Qibao Ancient Town
Address: Qingnian Road, Pedestrian Street, Minhang, Shanghai, China, 201101
Direction by Subway:
Take Subway Line 9 and get off at Qibao Station. Leave from Exit 2 and walk south for about 10 minutes to the old town.
Direction by Bus:
Take bus number 87, 91, 92, 92b, 186, 189, 196, 198, 709, 735, 748, 803, Hongqiao Hub Line 4, Nanjiang Line, Husong Line, Huchen Line or Minhang Line 33 and get off at Qibao Station.
When you’ve returned to the city centre of Shanghai, head to The Bund. Located in the the heart of Shanghai, along the Huangpu River, The Bund is the best place to take in the spectacular Shanghai cityscape. From across the river, you’ll see significant Shanghai landmarks such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Centre, and the Jinmao Tower. On the same side of The Bund, there are more than fifty different restored classical buildings in the Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, Chinese and western style which constitute the financial centre of old Shanghai. The Bund looks and feels different when you visit during different times of the day.
If you’re travelling with children, it’ll be exciting for them to experience the Sightseeing Tunnel. Stretching approximately 650 metres long, the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel is the first visitor tunnel under Huangpu River in China, and connects the Bund to Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone. The entire ride (one-way) takes less than 5 minutes and you’ll get to view interesting visual effects accompanied by a narrative and sound effects while crossing the river.
Directions: Take Subway Line 2 or Subway Line 10, get off at the East Nanjing Road Station and walk about 15 minutes to The Bund.
Opening Hours: The Bund is open 24 hours daily but the Sightseeing Tunnel is open from 8am to 10.30pm between May and October and 8am to 10pm between November and April.
Admission Fee: No fee is required for visiting The Bund but it costs 50 yuan for a one-way trip and 70 yuan for a round trip for the Sightseeing Tunnel.
Day 4 – Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street (南京路步行街)
I was more or less done with exploring the main attractions of Shanghai by the 4th day, so I decided to spend this final day doing what girls love best – shopping! Nanjing Road is China’s premier shopping street. This 5.5 kilometres long street begins at The Bund in the east and ends in the west at the junction of Jing’an Temple and West Yan’an Street. It’ll require an entire day to finish browsing all the traditional departmental stores and trendy, big fashion brands. There are numerous time-horned eateries, as well as, cafes and restaurants when you need to take a break from shopping.
If you’re planning to spend more time in Shanghai, you might want to check out the Zhujiajiao Water Town. I skipped this water town as I’ve already visited Wuzhen Water Town when I was in Hangzhou, and I wanted to spend my time wisely, experiencing more things besides water towns. I hope you’ll enjoy your trip to Shanghai!