Shanghai Noon

By Gareth Chappell, a Travel Enthusiast

Read more on Shanghai.

Overall rating:4.0 out of 5 (based on 3 votes)
Recommended for:
Cultural, Short Break, Adventure, Mid-range

Explore new and ancient locations hidden within the chaotic and fascinating metropolis that is China's Shanghai

Shanghai is a city that really can assault the senses after a long flight and so it proved this time. Straight off the plane I was hit by the utter chaos of this fascinating place. I would advise anyone travelling here to get to your hotel and just take a minute to breathe.

The other thing you must do is pick up a map which is written in both English and Chinese. That way if you get lost you need only hail one of the many taxis and show the driver the location you are trying to get to.

Shanghai is a real Russian doll of a city with wonders hidden inside wonders. It is also a very friendly place, even walking the streets late at night there was never any feeling that I was in any danger.

I was staying at the Zhao An Hotel, which is near the financial centre. The hotel represents good value for money with prices ranging from around fifty pounds a night for a standard room with breakfast added for as little as four pounds.

The staff were very helpful and more than happy to assist me. A tunnel to the metro line is located right next door, but I found the easiest way to get around was by using the very reasonably-priced taxis, which the staff will order if you ask.

Recovered from the flight I felt far better equipped to take on the city. Visibility was poor so I headed down to the famous Nanjing Road, which is walking distance from the Bund River and acts as Shanghai’s equivalent of London’s Oxford Street.

The next day I was craving something a little more cultural and headed for the wonderful Jade Buddha Temple, which is hidden deep within the skyscrapers of the city. Fully in use, the temple was busy with worshippers and filled with unique smells of burning scent.

This was the kind of place I was hoping still existed in China. Finding such delicate beauty within the Shanghai sprawl was a welcome sight. Its unique architecture and atmosphere should be explored by everyone and it remains a remarkably calm location in a such a busy city.

Continuing my search for the ancient I headed to the Old Street area. Much of Shanghai looks European having been owned by various nations over the years but Old Street is irrepressibly Chinese.

Amid the trees filled with red wishes and lanterns, street musicians provided a suitable movie soundtrack. It was still raining but there’s something about water and Chinese style roofs that go together. I stood and watched as the rain drops fall from the ornate rooftops in the way they can only do in the East.

Hidden inside the Old Street area is the lovely Yu Garden. Reached by crossing a zig-zagging bridge that passes by an ancient tea house, the garden is made of many different sections. The theory behind it is that evil spirits can only travel in straight lines and dividing up the garden safeguards against them. It also allows for observers to take in and appreciate each small area.

The Yu Garden really is a master work and the use of stone, water, buildings and plants create something incredibly delicate, peaceful and subtle, yet painstakingly detailed and enthused with an essence that could only be Chinese. Chinese gardens are unlike any others in the world and the Yu Garden is one of the best examples.

As the sun set the rain stopped and for the first time I was able to take in Shanghai without my hood up. The rain had also cleared the smog and it seemed a perfect opportunity to take in the city by night.

The best place to see the city lit up is from the Jin Mao Observation Tower. The tower is one of the tallest buildings in the world and offers perfect views. To get into the tower you need only turn up and buy a ticket on the ground floor.

Make sure you check before heading for the tower that the lights are on. Due to the electrical drain the skyscrapers have on the power grid, the lights are only turned on at weekends and specific days. They are also turned off at around 10pm.

At the top of the tower the neon stretched far into the distance and left me awestruck at the scale of it. With the air now much clearer I decided to head down to The Bund for an alternative view of Shanghai’s lit up financial district.

The next day is was time to leave. Instead of getting a taxi to the airport I took the Maglev Train. This is no ordinary train and reaches 433 Kilometres an hour at top speed. Understandably, it didn’t take long to reach the airport.

If you feel you need a little help exploring China I would recommend going on one of Travelsphere’s ( excellent guided tours of the country. They are a class apart when it comes to these tours and excellent value for money. The first time I went to China I went with them.

Save money on booking

flightshotelscar hire

by following our money-saving guides. They are written by our Simonseeks team of travel gurus.

More information on Shanghai Noon :

Gareth Chappell
Traveller type:
Travel Enthusiast
Guide rating:
Average: 4 (3 votes)
Total views:
First uploaded:
30 October 2009
Last updated:
5 years 12 weeks 4 days 13 hours 28 min ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Adventure, Cultural, Short Break
Budget level:
Free tags / Keywords:
adventure, oriental, ancient, chinese culture, hidden gem

Gareth recommends


Price from Rating
(out of 5)
1. Zhao An Hotel

What do you think of this guide?

Did it tell you what you needed to know?
Do you agree with the writer's recommendations?

Share your views by leaving a comment on this page.

Community comments (3)

0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

This gave the information I was looking for in a short guide to the essentials of visiting Shanghai.

Was this comment useful?
1 of 1 people found the following comment helpful.

I enjoyed this guide, especially the practical suggetions about navigating Shangai. Like many Westerners, I'd love to explore China, but feel a bit unsure about my ability to find my way around the country. I appreciate this author's efforts to make the city more navigable even while he included colourful details, such as description of the Buddhist temple.

Was this comment useful?
0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

This guide has been published unedited. Shanghai is a fascinating destination but I don't feel you've really captured it Gareth. You say in your intro that Shanghai assaults the senses. You're right, it absolutely does. But your explanation of exactly how the city assaulted the senses would enhance the read. A good guide recreates the experience for the reader. While you've delivered a nicely-rounded guide about the city - with moments of real flair and personality - you've only scratched the surface of such a vast destination. I'd like to know where you ate, where you drank, where you found the best dumplings...
Can any readers offer any suggestions on places to go in Shanghai?

Was this comment useful?