If you're looking for a taste of old Taipei, then head for the Wan Hua district. Located on the Dan Shui River, Wan Hua was an important Chinese trading post and the prosperity of the period is reflected in its ornate temples, one of which is the Lungshan temple. Another historic part of the city is the Da Tong (Tatung) district. Among the winding alleys you will find European style colonial buildings standing beside intricate Chinese temples.
Take a stroll down Di Hua Street, which is lined with traditional shops selling all manner of potions and cure-alls! The Shi Lin (Shihlin) district is renowned for its bustling night market, whilst Taipei's vibrant night scene bumps and grinds until the early hours in nearby Da An (Ta An). In the bustle of modern Taipei, Zhong Shan (Chungshan) the former commercial centre is now known for its shops, bars and cultural sights, which include the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The current hub of commercial activities, Song Shan (Sungshan) is also one of the most cosmopolitan districts and packed with foreign restaurants. Zhong Zheng (Chungcheng), the political centre, is home to municipal parks and museums, of which the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is the most renowned.
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Shanghai's best-known street is impressive at any time of day, but it's at its most glam in the evening when floodlighting illuminates the colonial piles and the neon across the river in Pudong gaudily glitters. Take a stroll along the waterfront walkway and watch Shanghai go by.
Address: The Bund, Shanghai
It may sound a little weird, but this place is fascinating. There are photographic exhibitions of Shanghai old and new, but the pièce de résistance is a huge, fantastically detailed model of the way Shanghai will look in the decades to come.
Address: 100 Renmin Dadao, Shanghai
The Urban Planning Museum features the future, while the Shanghai Museum provides a glimpse into the past. Outstanding displays of 120,000 pieces including ancient Chinese ceramics, bronzes and paintings fill this five-storey space.
Address: 201 Renmin Avenue, Shanghai
Anyone of Shanghai's parks is worthy of a visit, but this one has the advantage of being central. The best time to visit is around 7 am when hundreds, perhaps thousands, of locals gather for their daily exercise. Solitary old men practice t'ai chi formations of well-coiffed women dance with fans or spin through a waltz or three. The energy pulses through aerobic routines or the flying leaps of a sword dance - while others simply sit around and watch their caged birds sing.
Address: Chongqing Road, Shanghai
Step back in time as you wander these rickety old lanes. Particularly vibrant is the wet market at Dajing Road where stallholders sit behind colourful piles of vegetables, knead dough for pastries and chop meat with mighty cleavers.
Address: Dajing Road, Shanghai
The Chinese like to eat, and Shanghai considers the tastebuds to be a body part of the utmost importance. From chic and elegant international restaurants to local dumpling joints, in this city you can eat your way around the globe. Whether you like your portions tiny but exquisitely arranged, or you prefer a tangled mountain of noodles, you'll find it here. A note on tipping: it's officially prohibited in China. While it has become usual to tip tour guides on organized outings, it is not common to tip taxi drivers or the staff of bars and restaurants.
Scrumptious dumplings and much else, this place serves some of the best Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisine. This chain restaurant offers a unique dining experience with exceptional food quality and good service.
Address: 2F-12A, Lane 123, Xinye Lu, South Block Xintiandi Plaza, Shanghai
Popular for its good-value, casual dining, it serves robust Hunanese flavours in rustic surroundings. The chef prepares the food with fresh ingredients and serves good portions. The ribs are recommended!
Address: 56 Mao Ming South Road, Shanghai
Since the company was founded in 2000, this restaurant chain has enjoyed tremendous success and popularity. It now has 19 branches serving fabulous, spicy Sichuan food in stylish surroundings.
Address: 829 Middle Yan An Road, Shanghai
This delicious restaurant is located at Hotel Indigo and offers a great view and an even better menu. They serve steak, sea food and delicious deserts.
Address: 585 Zhongshan Dong Er Road, Shanghai
Created by Australian restaurateur Michelle Garnaut. M on the Bund serves high-end Western food in classy surroundings. With its terrace overlooking the Bund, it has one of the best locations in town.
Address: 7F, 5 The Bund, Shanghai
If you like things made to measure, Shanghai is a shopping Mecca. The Fabric Market has recently been pulled up from its down-at-the-heel roots and relocated to 399 Lujiabang Road. Cashmere coats, silk dresses, work suits and shirts - all can be created just the way you like them. Some items are also sold off the peg if you're going for custom-made, it's a good idea to bring a garment for copying.
For knick-knacks and so-called antiques, head to Dongtai Road where several streets of stalls sell everything from Chairman Mao memorabilia to Buddhas, 1920s gramophones and Tibetan painted sideboards. For 'antique' furniture and other things decorative, head to Hongqiao Road in the west of the city.
Meanwhile, Tai Kang Road features more upscale boutiques selling jewellery, pottery and leatherwear, while Xintiandi has everything from clothes to cushions to cocktails. Shanghai's main shopping streets are the pedestrianized and neon-decorated Nanjing Road at the high-street end of the market (check out the wonderful chopsticks shop at number 387 if you need gifts to take home) and Huaihai Road where the designer labels hang out. And then, of course, there's the Bund. Try Three on the Bund for seven floors of glamour (including the Shanghai Gallery of Art).
As one of the most important business cities in China, finding a hotel is far from a problem. You will find everything from budget hotels to luxury hotels with five stars. It is recommended to do your booking in advance if you are on a budget.
Grand Hyatt is located in the prestigious Jin Mao Tower in Pudong, this hotel doesn't start till the 53rd floor. With its outlook over the river and the Bund, these are probably the best bedroom views in the city. Service is impeccable too.
Address: Jin Mao Tower, 88 Century Boulevard, Shanghai
In a central location on the Puxi side of the river, 88 is chic boutique hotel with Chinese tones. There's a pool, gym, squash court and so on, and the rooms have kitchen facilities.
Address: 380 Huangpi Road South, Shanghai
Surrounded by seven hectares of gardens, colonial-style villas and a number of good bars and restaurants, you can't beat the location. The estate was once home to the Morriss Family, who owned China's first English-language newspaper. The rooms are huge and it's in a good French Concession position. There are several buildings and their style differs: ask to take a look before you choose.
Address: 118 Ruijin No. 2 Road, Shanghai
It's backpacker basic and the location is unbeatable. Most of the rooms are dorms (with an intriguing maritime theme to the bunk beds), but there are also doubles and singles. Captain Hostel is affiliated to Youth Hostels International.
Address: 37 Fuzhou Road, Shanghai
Holiday Inn offers great service and a comfortable stay to a valuable price. They have a nice pool and is well recommended both for families and for business.
Address: 1088 Xiuyan Road, Shanghai
Shanghai has two airports one of them is the international airport in Pudong, 35 km from the city centre. From the Pudong Airport, the most enthralling way to travel is on the Maglev to Longyang Road in Pudong (RMB 50 for Economy, runs from 7 am to 9 pm and leaves every 15-20 minutes.) There's an underground station and a taxi rank at Longyang Road for onward travel. Metro Line 2 is available when departing or arriving Pudong International Airport. Operating Time 6 am 10 pm and leaves every 8.5 minutes. A taxi from Pudong Airport to the city centre takes up to an hour. Make sure you have your destination written in Chinese. The airport has regular shuttle buses to many areas in the city and the major hotels have desks at the airport and will arrange transfer.
Another airport called Hongqiao Airport, which handles domestic flights, 15 km from downtown. Both Metro and buses runs from this airport. A taxi from Hongquiao Airport will take 30-45 minutes. Make sure you have your destination written in Chinese. Hongqiao Airport has regular shuttle buses to many areas in the city the major hotels have desks at the airport and will arrange transfer.
One of the best ways to travel is by the rapidly expanding Metro network, which is reliable, good value and easy to negotiate (all directions are in English as well as Chinese).You can buy your ticket at the ticket office at the Metro station or the automatic ticket selling machine.
The traffic in Shanghai can be heavy, but taxis are easy to flag down. Be aware that most taxi drivers only speak Chinese and may not understand English. A great solution comes from a set-up called Guanxii: you text the English name of your destination to 885 074 and back it comes in Chinese characters. Just show your phone to your taxi driver.