China Travel Blog Part 3-Shanghai

Shanghai Trip
November 2, 2013

Shanghai Inspection Trip written by Educational Travel Consultant Ricky Behan

Shanghai Skyline

From the political heartland of China to its historic capital, there is no other way to finish a tour of China than by visiting the economic heartbeat of China- Shanghai. Best seen as an epilogue to your China experience, Shanghai epitomises modern China with its ambitious vision and towering skyscrapers that dominate the night sky with a plethora of neon signs and vibrant colours. Built on the trade of opium, silk and tea Shanghai has developed from its humble beginnings as a fishing village to become one of the world’s leading metropolitan cities. This rapid accent in stature is made no more apparent than when you gaze across from the Bund at Pudong which until the early 1990’s was nothing more than just farmland.

Beginning at the Bund is the best way to get acquainted with Shanghai as the buildings here mark the beginnings of Shanghai’s transformation from colonial trading port to colossal economic powerhouse. Situated on the estuary of the Yangtze River and originally a towpath for dragging barges of rice, the Bund is symbolic of colonial Shanghai and is where the city’s landmark hotels, banks and trading houses all established themselves from the mid-19th century. It is from the Bund where one can really experience and comprehend the meteoric rise of China as a global a superpower. Laid out in all its glory, the futuristic skyline of Pudong across from the Bund eclipses any skyline you have experienced before and is modern China personified.

Unlike Beijing and Xian, Shanghai in comparison is a relatively new city so lacks the same grandiose must see historical landmarks and ancient monuments like the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army. However what Shanghai lacks in history it certainly makes up for in style and the city is infused with a rich variety of colonial architecture and modern buildings that really make it stand out in one’s mind. Hidden away amongst these stylish buildings however are little historical pearls like the Jade Buddha Temple and the Yu Yuan Gardens which serve add to the charm of Shanghai by offering another side to the city in times gone by. Complete with a priceless collection of Jade statues from Burma the Jade Buddha Temple is a magnificent example of one of Shanghai’s few active Buddhist Monasteries and the Yu Yuan Gardens are a captivating experience for anyone looking to experience traditional Chinese culture in an enchanting environment.

For awe inspiring scenery Shanghai is second to none, combining an enticing blend of classical buildings against a futuristic skyline that soars into the night sky. Complete with traditional Chinese culture and exuding a style like no other Shanghai possesses a vibrancy that is infectious leaving you wanting more. It is the perfect conclusion to a tour of China as it completes the jigsaw puzzle that is China. Comprises of many different intricate pieces, China is a land rich in diversity and culture spanning boarders and different regions and Shanghai fits nicely into the puzzle as its economic heartbeat.