Shanghai, population 24 million, is the biggest city in China. By some measurements, it's the biggest city in the world. I live in Beijing, with “only” 21 million people. So it's probably not a surprise that when I research travel destinations, an even bigger city isn't very high on my list.
Nevertheless, I've visited Shanghai three times since moving to China, two years ago. The city feels really different than Beijing. Whereas Beijing is full of temples, museums and emperors' playgrounds, Shanghai is all business. The Pudong district, on the far side of the Huangpu River, is full of skyscrapers, including the Shanghai Tower, the second-tallest building in the world. The French Concession has beautiful broad avenues and boutique shops. Even in “old” places such as the Yuyuan gardens, shopping is the name of the game.
Shanghai isn't my favorite place in China, but I've managed to have fun with each visit. If you're planning a trip to China, I think it's worth checking out Shanghai, even if you're not into shopping. If nothing else, you'll be dazzled by the tall buildings, and you'll get a first-hand look at how 24 million people can call the same place home.
Katie admires the Pudong.
A friendly officer guards the Huangpu River.
Friends take a stroll on the Bund.
This girl was practicing her violin skills on the Bund.
Many sanitary workers are employed to keep the Bund clean.
Delicious fruit smoothies for sale at an outdoor market.
The Yuyuan (豫园) bazaar is a popular garden and shopping district. At night it really comes alive.
The buildings in Yuyuan have a traditional style, with modern lighting.
Another traditional building.
No elephants allowed.
Bamboo is everywhere in the city. Here, in a disgusting display of cannibalism, they use bamboo to hold up bamboo.
Here's a typical old street in Shanghai.
At the City of God temple, they still use an abacus. It's a Taoist temple built 700 years ago during the Ming Dynasty.
Damn kids and their iPhones!
On the outskirts of the city, the buildings are encroaching on the farm fields.
Soon, maybe this will be a new housing compound.
Katie relaxes with a micro brew after a long day of sightseeing.
Here is my full set of photos from Shanghai.