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Shanghai

Shanghai is one of the four municipalities under the direct jurisdiction of the central government. A leader in finance, industry and trade, Shanghai boasts the largest population - approximately 15 million - in all of China. Shanghai's history of revolution and culture attract tourists home and abroad. Being regarded as "Paris of China" and as the paradise for shopping, Shanghai has become an ideal city for tourism

Shanghai is situated in the middle of China's east coastal line and borders Jiangsu to the north and Zhejiang to the south. Shanghai covers an area of over 5,800 square kilos and has a population of over 13 million.

The metropolitan of Shanghai is China's financial center and is now undergoing one of the fastest economic expansions that the world has ever seen. The center of the city is divided into two areas by the Huangpu River. Pudong, to the east, is a new business district, classified as a "tariff free zone", is growing rapidly.

The most impressive street of Shanghai is the Bund. It is in every sense old Shanghai's commercial heart, with the river on one side, the offices of the leading banks and trading houses on the other. Nanjing Road is the center for theatres and cinemas as well as one of the most crowded shopping streets in the world. Besides, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Huangcheng Miao and Yuyuan Garden are also a must in Shanghai.

Recommended Scenic Spots

Oriental Pearl TV Tower

The sky-piercing Oriental Pearl TV Tower is an awesome sight when you look at it from underneath. With a giddy height of 468 metres, the tower is Shanghai's new landmark and a big magnet for tourists. Every day, a constant stream of visitors files in and out of this magnificent building.

Oriental Pearl is the world's third tallest TV tower after the 553-metre CN Tower in Toronto and the 535-metre Moscow TV tower. It has eight globes lining vertically in a design that reminds one of a Tang Dynasty poem that compares sounds played on a plucked instrument to "a string of pearls dropping onto a jade plate."

The globes are for sightseeing, dining and hotel accommodations. The 20-room Space Hotel is located in the five small balls between two large globes, 140 to 230 metres above the ground. It does give people a feeling of being on a spaceship. Up here, guests can sit in sofas and enjoy a bird's-eye-view of the city aloft from the bustling life in the streets.

Each ball has a suite and three standard rooms on two levels connected by a winding stairway. The suite has a private lounge overlooking the Huangpu River and a booming Pudong. Three other rooms share two lounges facing the main section of the Bund and the city's old districts.

If you decide to stay, make sure to rent a telescope at the reception desk so you can zoom in on the city's interesting spots.

Starting from the east, you see the Yangpu Bridge, the longest cable-stayed suspension bridge in China, then a cluster of modern buildings in Lujiazui area, the 88-storey Jin Mao Building and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Lying in the middle is the 100,000-sqm Central Green with a contoured pool and a jet of water shooting skyward. Near your feet is the subway station for Metro Line Ⅱ, now still under construction.

In the south looms the Nanpu Bridge. Looking west, 31 colonial-era buildings along the Bund pop into your view. These buildings look splendid at night when all lights are turned on. If there is no haze, you can find the Yuyuan Garden, People's Square and other landmark buildings downtown.

The Bund ends with the Waibaidu Bridge. Around the bend of the river is the International Passenger Port where luxury liners from Japan and Hong Kong dock. The northern districts of Shanghai are crowded with factories and warehouses. On a fine clear day, you can see the Chongming Island, China's third largest island, in the Yangtze River.

Apart from great views, the hotel offers all the conveniences of a four-star hotel. The only drawback is that it has no restaurant.

Due to fire-control restrictions, the tower has no kitchen, Guests can go to a buffet restaurant below or dine out. The food in the buffet restaurant is cooked on the ground and delivered by elevator. Yet you still can have room service for breakfast or night snack, which hotel staff prepares downstairs and delivers to your room piping hot.

Guests also have the privilege of a reserved elevator. It can whisk you up to your floor in less than one minute. However, you need to call the operator before leaving your room.

Despite its unique location, the Space Hotel is not as expensive as most would think. The price for a suite is only 1,568 Yuan (2,280 Yuan for the deluxe suite) and for a standard room 838 Yuan.

Because sightseers must pay 50 Yuan to enter the tower, each hotel guest can bring in only two visitors, but with the room card, he or she has free access to any part of the tower, except a playground in the basement and a supporting trunk.

Every Saturday evening, an open-air performance is held on the terrace under the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. The programme offers mostly acrobatics, singing and dancing.

The Bund at Night

The Bund (Waitan), an Anglo-Indian term for the embankment of a muddy waterfront, facing the river with its magnificent collection of European and Japanese colonial architecture, runs along the Huangpu River and there are plenty of street performers, peddlers and food. The Bund is most spectacular with one side of the boulevard lined up with buildings of "Old-fashioned American big city" style. These used to house banks, trading houses and exclusive clubs.

Site of the 1st National Congress of the Communist Party

The Site of the 1st National Congress of the Communist Party is located in the quiet leafy roads of Shanghai's former French Concession.

On July 23, 1921, 13 delegates from Marxist, Socialist and Communist groups from throughout China along with 2 Russian advisors met to found the Chinese Communist Party. In attendance was its most famous junior member Mao Zedong. This group met for 8 days in this unassuming brick house, until discovered by the French police. The delegates fled and adjourned to a boat on Nanhu Lake in Zhejiang province to conclude their discussions.

As well as a faithful recreation of how the house looked in 1921, the site is also attached to a museum. Providing plenty of background to the early history of the Party, the museum also features a lifelike waxwork recreation of the momentous meetings.

Yuyuan Garden

Yuyuan Garden, maybe the most celebrated classical Chinese garden in Shanghai, is located in the northeast of the old town with an area of fives acres. In 1559, a Ming official named Pan Yunduan launched the construction of this private garden for his father's pleasure. The construction lasted for 19 years. Later, due to the decline of the Pan family, the garden gradually fell into oblivion. Furthermore, several civil conflicts in the mid-19th century caused great damage to it. After several large-scale re-constructions since 1949, Yuyuan was finally opened to the public in 1961. The garden each year attracts countless visitors at home and abroad.

Built in a style that Suzhou gardens often take, Yuyuan garden is characterized by exquisite layout, beautiful scenery and the artistic architecture. Each pavilion, hall, stone and stream in the garden can express the quintessence of South China landscape design from Ming and Qing dynasties.

The bounding wall in the garden, decorated with dragon's heads and paved by scale-like tiles on top, looks like a huge wandering dragon. People named it Five-dragon Wall. More interesting is that each dragon in this wall only has four claws. Legend goes that when the wall was first completed in the Qing dynasty, like the dragon in royal palaces, they all have four claws. The feudal ruler, regarding it as a sign of irreverence and rebellion, then cut one of the claws of each dragon.

There are totally 30 scenic spots scatter in this garden. Five-dragon-wall subdivide the garden into six spots including Grand Rockery, Ten-Thousand-Flower Pavilion, Hall of Heralding Spring, Hall of Jade Magnificence, Inner Garden, and Lotus Pool.

The garden is acknowledged as "an architectural miracle in the region south of Yangtze River".

Nanjing Road in Shanghai

Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road), the busiest shopping street in China, enjoying the reputation of "China's No.1 Street", runs through the heart of downtown Shanghai. Once supreme, it's looking a bit frayed and has slipped a few notches to the emerging luxury option of Huaihai Lu, but laden shoppers still traipse past its cathedrals of commerce, gawped at by gaggles of out-of-towners.

Even back in the past dull era (and let's face it, that's long gone), Nanijing Donglu had a distinctly 'shop 'til you drop' feel about it. Nowadays, Esprit, Benetton and McDonald's have shouldered Marx and Mao into the draughty halls of little visited museums - which was where the capitalist state was meant to end up.

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