Visit the Bright lights of the Bund
The Bund is to Shanghai what the Marina is to Dubai and is the number one tourist spot in the city. The bright waterfront that winds 1,500 metres in length along Huangpu River has long been considered the symbol of Shanghai. Known as the ‘museum of buildings’ because of the many different styles of architecture, The Bund is stunning at any time, but we recommend going at night when it is lit up, especially the clock tower known as “big ching”. Designer Henry Holland recently made a whistle-stop visit to Shanghai and admitted that though he didn’t have time to see much of the city, he made sure he visited The Bund!
Stroll through the French Concession
As the name suggests, walk through this quaint and pretty area and you will feel as though you’re in the heart of Paris. Packed with shops, bars and restaurants, the tree-lined streets are a great place to spend the day wandering around in relative peace, compared to the rest of Shanghai’s hustle and bustle. Xin Tian Di is the shopping district of the French Concession and is packed with chic boutiques where you can pick up hidden gems. There’s a bunch of restaurants to choose from, but German restaurant Paulaner was so fab, we ate there for two days on the trot!
INFO: French Get some shut-eye at The Hilton
Get some shut-eye at The Hilton
The Hilton Shanghai hotel towers over The French Concession and is within comfortable walking distance of the main shopping street, Nanjing Road. Attractions like the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Jing’an Temple, Jing’an Park and The Bund are all just a short walk away. The Level 39 penthouse offers amazing views of the city’s dramatic skyline and there are eight restaurants and bars in the hotel.
INFO: Hilton Shanghai Hotel, 250 Hua Shan Road, Jing’an District, French Concession, Shanghai, +86-21-62480000, www.hilton.com. Book seven days in advance for a 20 per cent discount., Xuhui, Shanghai.
Discover Shanghai’s underground music scene
What better place to experience Shanghai’s clubbing than a disused bomb shelter? The underground venue may not be quite to everyone’s taste, but The Shelter is undoubtedly a prime spot of the city’s night scene.
INFO: The Shelter, 5 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu, Shanghai. If you’re taking the metro, hop off at the nearby Shanghai Library stop.
Go specs-crazy at Glasses City
Glasses City is the place to go if you fancy getting some Ray-Bans at wholesale price. Four floors of vendors offer access to literally every type of frame imaginable, so go wild and unleash your inner Elton John. An eye test and a new prescription are usually included in the price, which can really drive down low if you are bold enough to haggle with the vendor.
INFO: International Glasses City, near the Railway Station North Plaza, Zhongxing Lu, near Henfeng Lu, Shanghai.
Shop at the Fabric market
Ever wish you had your favourite dress in every colour? Or fancy having a suit made in 24 hours? Then the Fabric Market is the place for you. Stalls line this tailoring heaven where you can browse through lookbooks to pick the exact style and material of the dress you want, or get creative and design yourself a one-off creation! Make sure you get measured correctly so it fits you properly, and shop around for the best price. There’s no nearby metro stop, so it’s best to get a taxi.
INFO: Fabric Market, Lu Jia Bang Road, Huangpu, Shanghai.
Check out the room with a view at the Radisson Sky Bar
Shanghai’s famous skyline rivals that of our very own Dubai, so a visit to somewhere high with a view is a must. The Radisson Hotel in People’s Park Area has a rooftop sky bar that is a perfect mix of cocktails and city viewing. In the shape of a glass dome, it offers an amazing 360-degree view of the city – and best of all, it’s free!
INFO: Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World, 88 Nanjing Road West, Shanghai, +86 21 6359 9999, www.radissonblu.com/newworldhotel-shanghai.
BEFORE YOU GO, YOU SHOULD KNOW…
Getting there: Flight time to Pudong Airport is about eight hours from the UAE.
Visa: Tourist visas are compulsory. The Chinese consulate opens on weekdays only and there are no appointments, so take your documentation and queue in line. Allow for up to a week for the visa to be processed, then return to collect it.INFO: Villa 14, Street 8, Safa 2 (behind Spinneys), 04 394 4733, www.dubai.chineseconsulate.org.
Currency: Chinese Yuan Renminbi is the currency and is written as RMB or CNY and generally referred to as Yuan. RMB1 is equal to 59 fils.
Getting around: The metro is the cheapest way to travel and is fairly easy to navigate. If you take a taxi it’s a wise idea to show the driver the address written in Chinese, as the most drivers can’t read or speak English. Also, don’t forget to ask your hotel for an address card in case you get lost!