Shanghai Highlights – Spend a day in the Megapolis

When planning to travel in the Shanghai area, I was sure I wasn’t too interested in spending too much time in Shanghai itself, besides, the accommodation in Shanghai is very expensive. So I decided to stay in a hotel in Suzhou and do a day trip from there to the megapolis, which was the best decision.

We planned a trip on a Saturday and arrived to the Shanghai train station from Suzhou. Keep in mind that the trains from Suzhou also go to Shanghai Hongqiao, which is far from the city center, while the Shanghai station is quite central and you will end up at People’s square really fast by metro.

Shanghai metro has a huge network and it in itself is a sightseeing destination. I have seen metro systems in a number of cities, but this really was another level. The people’s square station had an underground square with people swarming in different directions. That also was the longest change between the lines ever, it took us ten minutes to walk 🙂

We got off at the Dashijie station in order to walk around the People’s square.

We passed the concert hall and the Shanghai museum. If you are in the city for longer time, you should definitely see this museum, which is I believe largest in China. The square has nice green areas with birds flying around, people relaxing.

If you are here on the weekend, you will also be able to witness the most fascinating thing I have seen in a while – the marriage market.

Strangely enough, this tradition started only in 2004. The square is full of people standing behind their umbrellas every weekend and trying to find a partner for their daughters and sons, granddaughters and grandsons. The sheets pinned on the umbrellas provide information about the age, height, weight, education and income of the people of “marriageable age”. It’s a truly strange experience walking around this place. See some more photos and videos here.

Passing the market, we ended up on the pedestrian road – East Nanjing road. This street is full of malls and shops the size of the malls. Crazy numbers of people move about with their shopping bags. If you need to buy something, I was told this is a good area, while West Nanjing road is more high-end and expensive. We didn’t buy anything, that wasn’t in our plans. We just wanted to watch people in this huge megapolis.

By following this road, you can reach the Bund, which is considered the heart of Shanghai and has truly beautiful views. If you want a clear view of the Pudong and want to get pictures without at least dozen other people in them, walk along the Bund to the left side. Views are the best from here and compared to the intersection with East Nanjing road, there are less people.

After that, you can walk southwards to enjoy the views and see the 20th century buildings lining the street. Here you will find buildings from the 20s and 50s, the banks, old hotels, etc. This map is the most comprehensive:


Walking down the Bund and enjoying the views is of course a must.

From here, you can take a river cruise. You will find tour boats at several spots, while walking on the Bund. Actually there is also a public ferry crossing over from Bund to Pudong. I had to look for the ferry stops for a while to find any information online. Here are the stops on both sides:

This ferry is the most convenient way to go across the river quickly and it costs only 2 yuans, however, it doesn’t give the feel of a boat ride. It is a closed space and the little windows doesn’t allow you to see much of anything during the short ride. So if you want to get the feel of a cruise, you don’t have another choice, but to find the tour boats.

When you go across the river, walk around Pudong and just marvel at the skyscrapers. I am normally not a huge fan of them, but well, when in Shanghai .. 🙂

As you may have heard, the Shanghai tower is a 128-story skyscraper, which is the world’s second highest building after Burj Khalifa. It also has the world’s second fastest elevator.

The other high buildings are Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai Financial Center. The Oriental Pearl tower is somewhat away from these three skyscrapers and stands closer to the river.

While walking around Pudong, we wondered in the fanciest mall, I have ever seen. You wouldn’t be able to find any mid-range shops here, I guess Dolce&Gabanna would be the cheapest among all the shiny shops 😀

It was a tough choice to decide, which of the towers to climb. We opted for climbing the Oriental pearl tower. You might prefer another one, depending on your preferences. Find out about your choices here.

We loved the glass floor, despite the fact that the queues were long and there were tons of people upstairs. We took hundreds of photos and spent a lot of time there.

After coming down, we visited the Yang’s Fried dumplings next to the tower. I read good reviews about the place, but I have no idea why people like it. The dumplings were extremely greasy and didn’t taste at all. We tasted a number of other dumplings in China and this was by far the worst. Oh, well, when you go to a place so close to the attractions, I guess that’s what happens most of the time 🙂

We ended our day with an evening stroll. You have several options for this, to walk across Bund again to take in the night views and the lights or to walk on East Nanjing road and do some shopping or watch people.

Visited 50 countries and counting, Lived in 3 cities and collected a lot of useful information to help fellow travel junkies out there.

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