After several days in Nanjing and Shanghai on business I had three days to see what Shanghai really had to offer the tourist. My wife flew in from Melbourne and we did three Shanghai Pathways tours.
Booking the tours and confirming our requirements was easy, being met at our hotel was convenient and communication was efficient.
The first was "The Best of Shanghai" where were escorted by Ashaki, a very pleasant young lady with a good command of English. We enjoyed an informed commentary that made much of what we saw fascinating beyond their apparent commonality or normality. The Best of Shanghai covers most of the important tourist locations and a few that are difficult to find. We saw from the ground what “Skyfall” showed from the air at night.
The second tour was “Lost and Forgotten Shanghai”. We toured the areas selected by Janny with 8 or 9 other people, some of whom lived and worked in Shanghai, that had no idea that these areas existed. We saw many sights and sounds that are not really part of the standard tourist track. Whilst we understand why it is both lost and forgotten, it offered a glimpse into the past that only a knowledgeable tour guide would be capable of transforming from mundane to mesmerising. This is an absolute must-do tour of Shanghai.
For the third tour we went and experienced the Zhujiajiao water town, again with Ashaki. This is a most interesting area that is criss-crossed by canals and gondolas. The market areas show a side to local cuisine that, to western tastes, should probably remain pretty much exactly where it is! This is a place where Made in China really means it. The taxi trip back was an exercise in patience as taxis are hard to flag down in the dark many kilometres away from the centre of Shanghai.
Over the course of three tours we were able to see gardens, temples, houses, courtyards, laneways and canals that showcase China’s rich heritage and culture in a very small corner of a vast country. We ate where locals dined and travelled how locals travel, it was a huge experience crammed into a necessarily short period. We highly recommend Shanghai Pathways to anyone wanting to see Shanghai.
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