A stroll down the Bund, the famous
promenade along the Huangpu River in Shanghai, provides evidence of
the recent rapid changes in the vibrant Chinese city.
Pudong, the eastern riverbank, was farmland, but rice paddies have
now been replaced by futuristic skyscrapers, huge factories and
Oriental Pearl Television Tower and the 1,380-foot Jin Mao Tower,
which houses the Grand Hyatt Shanghai in its top 36 floors, are two
outstanding examples of these new Pudong landmarks.
On the western
bank of the river, there is also a lot of hustle and bustle, but
many of the older features that make Shanghai so charming still
bicycle is still the predominant form of transport, but taxis are
plentiful and inexpensive. The subway is another excellent way to
along the Bund provides panoramic views augmented by the bustle of
barges and pleasure craft. Families and couples stroll, pausing to
watch tai chi, shadow boxing or even a colorful fan dance. At
night, architectural illuminations make for a visual
buildings from Shanghai's 1930s heyday still remain, although name
changes and different uses sometimes make them hard to
For example, the
Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, possibly the most important bank in
the city in the early 20th century, became City Hall in 1949. In
1996, the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank took over the structure,
restoring the marvelous marble interior, crystal mirrors and
ceiling painted with the zodiac.
The Peace Hotel,
once called the Cathay, is still a favorite Nanjing Road venue; its
Jazz Bar is an institution.
Nanjing Road lies People's Square. The futuristic Grand Theater
holds court on one side, the superb Shanghai Museum on the other,
crammed with priceless porcelain, pottery, jade and other
the center of Shanghai was dominated by the lovely Ming Dynasty
Garden, now called the Yu Garden. Inside the garden, built between
1559 and 1577, is a tranquil oasis of bridges, pools, artificial
"mountains" and pavilions.
attraction is the Jade Buddha Temple, a symmetrical complex of
prayer halls and ornamental roofs. The centerpiece is a huge, white
Buddha, carved from a single piece of jade in 1882.
The new face of
Shanghai may consist of skyscraping new buildings, but visitors
don't have to go far to find the old heart of the city. Tucked away
in side streets close to many popular hotels, the daily life of
thousands of people living in huge housing complexes goes on as it
has for decades.
Early morning is
the best time to explore local haunts, especially the produce
markets. Entire shops are devoted to door handles or bathroom taps,
and the number of hairdressers, who include head and neck massages
as part of services, is staggering.
For more, see
Shanghai's official tourist Web site at http://lyw.sh.gov.cn/en/.
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