Back in Shanghai, the city is a cosmopolitan mix of old and new, classical and modern. On the opposite side of the Huangpu River from the Bund, is the fairly new, ultra-modern glass skyscraper business district of Pudong. As soon as you step out of the metro station, you feel as if you are in a futuristic metropolis somewhere between The Jetsons and the city-planet Coruscant in Star Wars.
The Oriental Pearl TV Tower dominates the skyline, day or night. The 88-story Jinmao Tower is China’s tallest building. But it seems more are going up to rival it.
From the riverfront, nice views of the Bund can be seen. Especially at sunset when the sun falls behind the building line and the lights come on to illuminate the Bund’s classical façade.
To remind you of Shanghai and China’s long history, the must-see Shanghai Museum is undoubtedly China’s best history museum. The long pages of history are here to see, pleasantly displayed and interesting enough to keep you occupied for hours. Artifacts and information range across all dynasties with exquisite collections of ancient liquid vessels, bowls, ceramics, jade, sculptures, paintings, jewellery, seals, furniture and ethnic costumes. There is also a large coin collection with literally hundreds of Chinese and old foreign coins and banknotes to peruse.
Being tourists, we got sucked into heading out to one of Shanghai’s premier sights; Yuyuan Gardens in Old Town. Crowded with tourists, the main bazaar is a bunch of restaurants, souvenier and antique shops. The Yuyuan Gardens itself is a nice layout of pavilions, carp-filled ponds and stone.
For something slightly different, we went for a stroll in the French Concession. It is a residential and retail district with atmospheric tree-lined streets and preserved classical French building facades from a time long gone when Shanghai was filled with European and other foreigners due to its important trade port. The French are long gone, but wandering the streets and ducking down the side alleys nearly makes you think you could possibly be in Paris…perhaps.
Our last day in Shanghai and end of the first journey across China wouldn’t be complete without one final dance down the Bund at night.
Visited 2nd, 5th and 6th January 2014.