Shanghai Chronicles: A Solo Expedition through Skyscrapers, Temples, and Culinary Delights

July 02, 2011 Travel

I visited Shanghai primarily to experience the World Expo, dedicating a few days to acquaint myself with the city as it was my first time there.

Throughout most of my solo journey, I was struck by the awe-inspiring skyscrapers, captivating art deco buildings, and serene temples.

At times, I felt a bit out of place in the midst of the world's most populous city, bustling with thousands of individuals all vying for attention. Language barriers added to the challenge, making me feel constantly lost in translation. Nevertheless, I persevered and continued wandering through Shanghai's captivating streets.

Here are some of my favorite spots:

The City God Temple

Also known as Shanghai Chenghuang Miao, The City God Temple stands at the heart of old Shanghai, showcasing a beautiful fusion of the ancient and modern. I witnessed children peering into holes to catch a puppet show, and the presence of a Starbucks Cafe and Victoria's Secret shop felt seamlessly integrated. Souvenirs adorned every corner. What remains etched in my memory from this place is the delightful experience of trying my first Xiao Long Bao.

The French Concession

Often referred to as the Paris of the East, The French Concession is incredibly charming with its tree-lined avenues (a feature I particularly adore about Shanghai), delightful shopping opportunities, and stunning architecture. Once the foreign concession of France in Shanghai, this district exudes the glamour and decadence of that era.

We also visited a museum that offered a glimpse into the home and lifestyle of a lady who lunches and her family.

The Bund

Situated along the banks of the Huangpu River, The Bund serves as a showcase for Shanghai's diverse collection of architectural styles. To gain a unique perspective of Shanghai's skyline, I traversed The Bund through a pedestrian transit tunnel adorned with captivating light effects, allowing me to appreciate the cityscape from both sides of this iconic waterfront area.

The Shanghai Sculpture Place

During a meticulously designed tour of Shanghai by my friend JR, my first stop was the Shanghai Sculpture Place, conveniently located within a five-minute walk from his place. This attraction boasts a sculpture park, cafes, shops, and offices, all accessible to the public with free admission.

    The Jing'an Temple (Temple of Peace and Tranquility)

    Following JR's itinerary, my next stop was the Jing'an Temple, accessible via Metro Line 2. The entrance fee at that time was 20 RMB. Visiting a temple was a cultural imperative for me in China, and what fascinated me most was how this ancient sanctuary flourished in the heart of modern Shanghai.

    Tian Zi Feng

    Located along Taikang Lu Road, Tian Zi Feng seamlessly blends the old and the new. The second floor houses residences, and homeowners can be seen sitting in the alleys, observing tourists exploring its modern shops. This charming area stands out as one of my favorite places in Shanghai.

    Sampling Shanghai Cuisine

    My culinary journey in Shanghai took a delightful turn when JR introduced me to his favorite restaurants and street food stalls. It was a game-changer to experience Chinese cuisine with JR, who was the perfect companion.

    My Shanghai food adventure kicked off with a visit to Nanxiang Bun Shop, renowned for its authentic Xiaolongbao or steamed buns. This was suggested by my friend Sasa. The queue was worth the wait as I indulged in these delectable delights.

    JR also led me to savor hand-pulled noodles and more Xiaolongbao near his place, claiming it to be even better than the famous Nanxiang Bun Shop.

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