Overview: This tour takes you to the heart of old Shanghai. On the way it provides good opportunities to stock up on souvenirs, whilst getting a... more »
This tour takes you to the heart of old Shanghai. On the way it provides good opportunities to stock up on souvenirs, whilst getting a... more » glimpse of traditional life. You will also get to sample some local Shanghainese style food.
Yes some of the areas are touristy and crowded but those hordes are here for a reason. The Yuyuan Gardens are well worth the admission. Duck down a side lane, though, and you come face to face with people living their everyday lives.
This is as traditional and old as Shanghai gets these days and makes a good contrast to the modern in your face new Shanghai.
How long you take largely depends on how long you spend at each stop but even at a fairly brisk pace you will need 4 hours. Linger for shopping, food or photos and the time will soon add up. less «
It is best to avoid this area at the weekend and during holidays as it gets very crowded.
The best starting point is at Yuyuan... more » Garden on Line 10 (mauve color) of the subway. Go out of exit 1 and follow the road along to the first road going off to the right. If there are crowds of people going in that direction you are heading the right way!
The nearest subway station to the Dongtai Lu Antique Market is Dashijie on Line 8 (dark blue). Head north along Xizang nanlu. Equally if you keep going you will come to People’s Square station on Lines 1, 2 and 8.
As you will be outside much of the time wear clothing appropriate for the season and comfortable shoes. less «
This is the quintessential view of the area. A path zigzags its way from the bazaar to the gardens over a pond full of brightly colored carp. Half way is the tea house.
It was originally built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as part of the gardens. What is seen today is largely the result of restoration in 1855 when it was turned into a... More teahouse.
If you choose to have tea here you’ll be in good company, it’s been visited by Queen Elizabeth II and Bill Clinton. To get the best view sit upstairs. There are sometimes performances of Chinese classical music.
Consider coming in the evening when the crowds melt away and the whole area takes on an altogether more peaceful feel.
Hours: Daily 8.30am - 9.30pm
Cost: Y68/person for tea. This includes some snacks.
Address: 257 Yuyuan Old Street (lao jie) 豫园老街257号
Phone 0086 021 6373 6950
Pick a quiet day and be transported from the bustle of the bazaar and to about as much tranquility as you can find in modern Shanghai! These gardens were constructed over the course of 18 years (1559-1577) by Pan Yunduan. As the administrative commissioner in the Ming government for Sichuan Province he built these private gardens for his parents... More.
The gardens were severely damaged in the Opium War (1842) and British officers were barracked here. Then during the Taiping Rebellion they took a battering from French troops. Largely what is seen today is thanks to much needed restoration that began in 1956 and culminated with their opening to the public in 1961.
The gardens cover an area of around 5 acres (2 hectares) and incorporate the rock and water features of classical Chinese gardens. Exquisite Jade Rock is the piece de resistance and is nearly 11 feet high (3.3 meters) and contains 72 holes. It is said that when an incense stick burns underneath smoke will waft from all the holes. Pan Yunduan is said to have been so fond of this rock that he built Yuhau Hall facing it so as to allow guests to sit and admire it.
Look out for features such as dragons snaking their way along the tops of walls and the beautiful woodwork in pavilions.
Avoid weekends if possible as the gardens get very crowded. Winter is a good time to visit.
Hours: 8.30am – 5.30 pm (last tickets 5.00).
Children and students: Y20 but requires student card (unlikely to be honored if in English)
Children under 6 years old or 1.3 meters in height free if accompanied by adult.
Seniors over 60: Y20 with ID.
Address: Yuyuan Garden. Old town. ShanghaiLess
This restaurant is famous for xialongbao 小笼包 - a small delicate steamed dumpling containing a meat-based filling and soup inside a thin wrapper. In China they are considered a bun rather than a dumpling. Shanghai style xiaolongbao originate from Nanxiang, a small town in suburban Jiading district, where this restaurant was originally established.
... More Located in the Bazaar area since 1900, it is usually easy to spot thanks to the hordes queuing for their fix. It overlooks the lake and teahouse and its entrance is near the start of the bridge, and is pretty well opposite the Starbucks.
There is a choice of pork dumplings or crab mixed in with pork. Be careful when eating or scalding hot liquid will shoot out in all directions. The correct way to eat them is bite a small hole and then suck the soup from them before devouring the rest.
You can either order take out from the side window – this is what most people are queuing for -- or go upstairs for trolley service and a view.
Hours: daily 7am-9pm
Cost: Take out Y20/box of 16
Address: 85 Yuyuan Old Street 豫园老街85号
Telephone: 0086 021 6355 4206Less
Whilst Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant is the most atmospheric place, the dumplings at Din Tai Fung are in most people’s opinion better. Located in a nearby shopping mall the Taiwanese chain may lack atmosphere but the New York Times in 1993 voted it one of the best ten restaurants in the world and some of the Hong Kong branches have received... More Michelin stars.
Hours: daily 9am-10pm
Address: Shanghai,Yu Garden Branch, 2F, Yu Fashion Garden, No.168, Fangbang Middle Road (zhong lu)
Telephone: 0086 021 6334 100Less
This is also sometimes known as the Old City God Temple as there used to be a newer one! Its use as the City God Temple dates back to 1403 when it was converted from an earlier temple.
This Taoist temple was dedicated to the spirit protector of the city. These types of temples were common in ancient China. The Shanghai temple is mainly dedicated... More to Qin Yubo (1295?-1373) a government official in both the Yuan and Ming Dynasties.
The temple has been destroyed by fire many times and most of what can be seen today largely dates back to 1926.
The term City God Temple is sometimes used to refer to the whole Yuyuan area.
Hours: Daily 8.30am-4.30pm
Cost: Y10/person – no discounts for children or seniors
Address: 249 Fangbang Middle Road (zhong lu)Less
Head down Anren Street (just beyond the City God Temple) and watch the crowds of tourists miraculously disappear. Head off into one of the laneways and see traditional Shanghai life with washing hung out on poles and people going about their daily lives.
With most people now live in high rises, this community way of living has all but... More disappeared in most parts of Shanghai.Less
Head west along Fangbang Middle Road (zhong lu) 方浜中路 (this is also known as Old Street) in the direction of Henan Nanlu 河南南路 and you will find a wealth of shops selling souvenirs. There are also shops on Fuyou Lu 福佑路 which runs parallel to this street. Shops on Fuyou Lu are good for picking up decorations for Chinese New Year.
Shops sell items... More such as artwork, Chinese traditional goods, and ‘antiques.’ You should bargain hard. True prices are likely to be one-quarter to one-third of original asking prices. It is highly unlikely that anything is genuinely old.
The whole bazaar area is also full of shops, particularly ones selling tea.Less
At one time old Shanghai was surrounded by a city wall nine miles long. It was built in 1553 to protect the area from Japanese pirate attacks. Most of the wall was torn down in 1912; only this 50m section remains today.
It is also the site of the Dajingguandi Taoist Temple which was first built between 1573 and 1620.
There is a display of... More pictures of old Shanghai. These are only labeled in Chinese but you can see pictures of the area including the Yuyuan Gardens as they were around a hundred years ago.
This is not a major site and can easily be missed.
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
Address: 259 Dajing lu 大境路259号 on the corner with Renmin lu 人民路Less
This is actually called the Flower and Bird Market 花鸟市场 (huaniaoshichang) but foreigners seem to know it by the longer name, Flower, Bird, Fish and Insect Market.
Duck inside and prepare for an assault on your senses. You will be bombarded by the sound of various birds, the chirping of crickets, and see many strange sights. Many types of animals... More, birds, and insects are on display, mainly for purchase as pets. Some of the crickets, however, are destined for illegal cricket fights.
Along with live pets, there are accessories for sale which might be worth a look if you have a pet. Of course trying to take a pet back with you is likely to cause a whole lot of trouble!
Hours: Daily but individual stores open at the whim of the owners. Most close early evening.
Address: It fills the block from Fangbang xilu to Kuaiji lu along Xizang Nanlu. The main entrance is at 417 Xizang Nanlu 西藏南路417号Less
The entrance is just opposite the Flower, Bird, Fish and Insect Market along Liuhe kou lu 浏河口路. It consists of a number of lanes with stalls selling ‘antiques.’
Some of the items are genuinely old. Others are mass produced and made to look old. Provenance with antiques is all important. You will find items such as Mao memorabilia, ‘old’ posters, ... Moreornaments, etc. As a general rule, if you see large numbers of items that look the same, they are mass produced new items. Haggle hard and expect to get things for well under half of the original asking price.
Hours: daily, by early evening most stores are likely to be closed
Address: stalls are along Liuhe lu浏河路and Dontai lu 东台路.Less