Where the Past Meets the Future
Taking a trip to Shanghai is less like traveling in China than it is being transported into another world. While the glitzy shopping malls and high-rises attest to the city being one of China’s fastest growing modern metropolises, a visit to the French Quarter or the Bund, with its stone facades and grand architecture, takes you back an entire century. Turn the corner and pass the old residence of some famous leader or former diplomat. Hip cafes and trendy restaurants serving international cuisine line the blocks everywhere you go, but be sure to try the xiaolong bao – steamed buns filled with pork and a tasty, piping-hot broth. Take a turn in People’s Square, shop till you drop along Huaihai Lu, visit the Shanghai Museum (which holds one of China’s finest collections of classical art), then stroll down Nanjing Road and end the day wandering the Bund.
The Travelers: Chinese/Japanese couple Shiqiang Liu and Akiko Yamashita and their daughter Yoko (7).
Where to Stay: The family enjoyed Oriental Riverside Hotel, right on the Huangpu river (facing the Bund), which houses an indoor swimming pool, miniature golf and six-lane bowling alley (21 5037 0000).
Cruising the River: A Huangpu River cruise was one of the highlights of the trip, which Akiko booked with an agent on the river. The three-level vessel cruises to the Yangtze River and back, a journey of three hours (RMB 120).
Swim with the Fishes: The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is a comprehensive sea-fest, showcasing creatures from nine different world zones including Deep Sea, Antarctic and Southeast Asia (021 5877 9988)
Culture Vulture: The 400-year-old Yu Gardens feature gorgeous grounds surrounded by a bustling nest of old-style shops where you can bargain for toys and faux antiques. The Shanghai Museum has a marvelous range of Chinese artifacts, as does the Chinese Minority Art Gallery, which makes it a fascinating venue for older kids (021 6372 5300). For a spiritual experience, families can visit the divine Jade Buddha Temple – an active Zen Buddhist monastery.