Shanghai is a modern city with skyscrapers and a large shopping area. There are many places to eat and drink with a wonderful view of the city, many well-known places to shop and a variety of eateries serving some delicious food.
Is it a city ideal for a backpacker? No, I personally wouldn’t say that it is. Would I recommend visiting here on a trip to China? Sure, but only for a couple of days before heading to somewhere far more magnificent… Like Hangzhou.
Things to see and do:
Stroll to The Bund to see the skyline
Yuyuan garden (In summer)
Tian Zi Fang (little alleyways to get lost in)
Unfortunately, Shanghai wasn’t for me. It’s a big city, bustling with all things modern with a hint of traditional China thrown in, and after 2 days it was time for me to find somewhere else to explore.
“It is without a doubt the finest and most splendid city in the world.”- Marco Polo.
The city was a bustling market place with strong dependence on the waterways and fresh catch when Marco Polo visited, with people selling fresh fruit, fish and tea. However, modern Hangzhou is now more of a tourist destination, but don’t let that put you off as the place is spectacular.
…and If it’s good enough for Master Polo, it’s good enough for me. Hangzhou is stunning and only an hour away from Shanghai via a bullet train. (49 RMB each way)
The city has a beautiful lake right in the center called West Lake which is littered with boats and small vessels. You can also taste some of the most exquisite tea here which has been freshly picked in the hilly area less that 30 minutes away.
My suggestions would be to walk around the lake, admiring its beauty, hire a boat and just enjoy the scenery, head up to Longjing (Dragon well hill garden) to see the tea plantations.
You can visit Hangzhou as a day trip but I would recommend staying here for a couple of days to truly admire its beauty.
I fell in love with Hangzhou. The lake area was so calming and welcoming that I wished that I had stayed longer. I spent my time trying to imagine what the city was like when Marco polo had visited, how he would have been stared at just as I had been, I imagined him tasting the tea, ready to inform Kublai Khan of its delicious aromas and flavours… I wished that I could go back in time.