Lee Abbamonte

How To Spend a Day in Shanghai

Friday, July 26, 2019
By Azamara

Shanghai, China is a great city and one that requires some time to see and some planning if you’re trying to see and do a lot in a short period of time. Shanghai is fast-paced, exciting, frenetic and visually stunning day or night. You can step back 1000 years in time or experience the ultra-modern. That’s what Shanghai is to me, an exciting city of contrasts that needs to be experienced to be believed!

Start your day on The Bund for incredible views of Shanghai new and old. Gaze down The Bund for views of what Shanghai looked like 80 years ago and then look across the river to Pudong for one of the greatest skylines on Earth. Make sure to come back at night to experience the Shanghai skyline as it’s meant to be seen-lit up!

The Bund waterfront with incredible views of Shanghai

The Shanghai skyline at night

Then head over to the Yu Garden for a real example of the contrasts of Shanghai. Here you have an ancient garden of temples and koi ponds surrounded by a modern market complete with McDonalds and Starbucks. This is modern day China to a tee!

I highly recommend doing a tea ceremony high above the Yu Garden. You will taste and learn more about tea than you ever knew existed. Even if you don’t drink tea regularly, you’ll be entertained and blown away by the history of tea and the knowledge of the tea master.

A tea ceremony above the Yu Garden in Shanghai

Be sure to head over to the Jade Buddha Temple to see the best temples in Shanghai. The Buddha’s are very interesting and great for photography. The only one you cannot photograph is the Jade Buddha itself but it’s an experience in and of itself watching the locals praying and interacting with the Buddhas. 

The Confucius Temple in Shanghai

The Confucius Temple is also worth a visit to see where the Chinese heroine is worshipped in Shanghai. The temple itself is very clean, well kept and beautiful - as you’d expect from anything Confucian. You’re also allowed to take photos here. This is in contrast to many Asian Buddhist countries, where you’re not allowed to photograph in many temples.

Check out the French Concession to see where modern Shanghai is going and has come from. There is an old and new part of the French Concession. The new area is something like you’d find in Europe or America and it had become a popular nightspot for young Chinese with popular restaurants and shops.

The old part of the French Concession is much more authentic and old school-so to speak! People still hang their clothes outside their apartments to dry and it's got some grime to it, but at the same time it has a lot of character and is worth a walk through.

Of course, you’re in Shanghai so don’t forget to eat amazing food. If you like dumplings, the best in town are at Nanxiang. It’s actually a chain in Shanghai but is very popular. The crab and pork steamed dumplings are to die for!

A variety of different delicious Shanghai dishes

Some other good restaurants on the fancier side are Cathay Room and Dragon Phoenix in the Fairmont Peace Hotel on The Bund. Also, if you’re lucky enough to spend the night in Shanghai, check out the Old Jazz Bar in the Peace Hotel to watch 80+ year old Chinese men playing jazz to a full house, as they’ve been doing for over fifty years! It’s a real experience and very Shanghai!

You can spend two days in Shangahi with Azamara® in March 2016, on this 16 Night Asian Cities and Waterways Voyage.

Featured Cruises

Recent Articles

Dubrovnik, Croatia at dusk

Seven Things to do in Croatia

Croatia has seen a sort of transformation recently, one that has taken it from a hidden gem of coastal delights to one of the hottest travel destinations in Europe. What makes this small Balkan nation so appealing? It could be the brilliant sapphire waters of the Adriatic and spectacular white beaches. Or maybe it’s the medieval architecture and walled towns steeped in history begging to be uncovered. Or perhaps it’s the friendly, welcoming people and unique folk culture.

aerial shoreline view

Highlights of the 2025 Azamara World Voyage

155 nights. 37 countries. Explore every corner of the globe on Azamara’s 2025 World Voyage. A leader in Destination Immersion® experiences, Azamara continues to bring guests to bucket-list destinations, providing immersive travel moments while delivering service excellence. 

shimmer background woman holding gift

2022 Holiday Gift Guide for Travel Lovers

Just like every snowflake is unique, so is every individual and their approach to travel. Some people value staying connected while they travel, while the fashionista in your life might prioritize wardrobe changes. The aspiring photographer might have a carry-on filled with camera equipment, and someone drawn to wellness may need their portable workout gear on every trip!