48 Hours In Shanghai

Shanghai is a city of immense magnitude with a consummate desire to be bigger, better, faster and newer. Beyond this grand obsession lies a fascinating city with pulsating energy, a rich history and unparalleled charm. In the global spotlight following the 2010 World Expo, Shanghai has rolled-out the red carpet for the world to see.  

DAY 1 9am: Land in the city’s multi-billion dollar Pudong Airport, a grand promise of the city that lies ahead. Travel at a jaw-dropping speed on the Maglev into the heart of Pudong.

10am: Check-in and enjoy breakfast on the 91st floor of the Park Hyatt (the world’s third tallest building), a testament to China’s ambition and Shanghai’s prowess.

Noon: Cross the river to Puxi; one of the few remnants of Shanghai’s traditional past. Glazed ceramic roofs and a network curio shops mark this area that has been a fixture on the travel map since 1872 when Thomas Cook first brought tourists here.

1pm: Grab a box of xiao long bao (Shanghainese ). Stroll through the Ming-style Yu Garden, sift through faux antiques, visit the City God Temple and complete this ‘Old China’ experience with a pot of lu cha at the acclaimed Huxingting Tea House.

2:30pm: Head to the Lujiabang Lu Fabric Market and get a custom-stitched silk qipao or Mao linen suit in under 24 hours by a nifty set of tailors.

4pm: Visit the museums of Urban Planning and Contemporary Art at People’s Square. Walk through People’s Park and discover veterans waltzing to an old radio or playing mahjong.

6pm: Enjoy sundowners and a sheesha at Barbarossa, an alluring Moroccan inspired island bar inside the People's Park.

8pm: Savour exceptional Yunnan folk cuisine at the enchanting Lost Heaven by the Bund.

10pm: Walk over to the Bund—the quintessence of Shanghai with its iconic view and elegant 19th century waterfront buildings that have been restored to house some of the city’s swankiest spots. Begin the “Bund Crawl” with some old-fashioned jazz at the Waldorf Astoria’s Long Bar. Then head over to the retro-Chinese Glamour Bar at Bund 5. Drop in at the Dolce & Gabbana Martini Bar for some fashionable hobnobbing and end the evening at Bund 18’s Bar Rouge. Party here with the city’s F1-set until the sun rises over the Pudong skyline.

DAY 2 8am: Early risers head to see Tai Chi practitioners at Fuxing Park, famous also for its waterside pavilions and Karl Marx’s statue.

9.30am: Grab breakfast at Xintiandi, an award-winning restoration project of shikumen (traditional stone-gate homes) and an example of Shanghai’s effort at development without tears.

11am: Stroll through the old French Concession, recognised by its sycamore lined streets and beautiful villas. Visit the former residences of Sun Yat-Sen and Zhou Enlai, and discover quaint boutiques at Xinle Lu, Maoming Lu and Le Passage at Fuxing Lu.

1pm: Lunch at the gorgeously restored art deco compound of Ferguson Lane or Sinan Mansions.

2.30pm: For a pulse on the city’s art scene head north to M50 at Moganshan Lu. This former factory area is Shanghai’s art nucleus with the country’s most reputed galleries and studios. Visit Art Scene Warehouse, Eastlink, ShanghArt and H-Space.

5pm: A taxi-ride away is Taikang Lu, another revitalised arts and craft enclave with a whimsical network of lifestyle stores, coffee shops and galleries. Don’t miss Deke Erh’s Art Centre, lifestyle hub Platane and the eclectic shop Nest.

9pm: Dine in colonial splendour at 881 South Beauty, one of the city’s best Sichuan restaurants.

11pm: Gain speed and head to the über-exclusive nightspot M1NT with its exotic shark tank and panoramic view. Swing to the beats of Shanghai’s best DJs alongside its most fashionable set.

1am: Shift-gear and retreat to Green Massage at Xintiandi. End your day in the true Shanghainese way with a heavenly acupressure.

 

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Nishita Mehta-Jasani