- 6:30pm: Arrive in PVG (Pudong International Airport) in Shanghai. Upon passing through customs, go directly to the information kiosk and ask them to write the name of your hotel address on a piece of paper to give to the cab driver. For hotels on the Bund, a cab is ~ұ200 Yuan
Quick Tip: Google and Facebook are not accessible in China without a VPN (meaning, you need to download an application on your phone that will connect to a server in a foreign country). If you purchase ExpressVPN (the best in terms of speed and function for $12.95), you can access these sites.
- 7:30pm: Check into hotel. We stayed at Les Suites Orient on the Bund. This hotel was fantastic, ideal proximity to the Bund (The waterfront area in central Shanghai home several of the city’s top restaurants, hotels and historic buildings. From the promenade, you will have an excellent view of modern Shanghai, which is directly across the river). The hotel itself has a stunning view, free breakfast and tremendous service and cleanliness.
Quick Tip: For getting around, Google Maps is not reliable as the character translation is not perfect. Apple Maps is much better with regards to accuracy if you can find the destination you are looking for. The key to getting around will be having the hotel concierge write the name of your destination on a card for you to give to the cab driver.
- 9:30pm: Dinner at Mr. and Mrs. Bund. This is a modern, French influenced restaurant that is in the same location which houses Bar Rouge (one of the top nightclubs in Shanghai). The price, presentation and overall experience are exactly what you expect from a classy restaurant along the Bund. The food selection is meant to be shared, as each ‘Menu’ features 5-7 dishes. Overall food quality is moderate to good, and the restaurant has nice decor and views of the Bund. The price is egregious ($270 USD for two), as many of the restaurants are here, and it is full of Americans and Expats. We’d recommend skipping and going to a more local place.
- 8:30am: Walk 10 minutes from the hotel to the Yuyuan Garden. This is a garden oasis in the middle of central Shanghai, and features a lovely tea house in the center along with several shops, restaurants, etc. This place is touristy (gets busy), but if you arrive early enough, you can beat the crowd, especially on a week day. There is a Koi pond that had a maze of zig-zagging walkways with Huxinting Tea House in the middle. Grab yourself some tea and a table upstairs as you watch the fish and passer-by’s below. Tea is served with quail eggs and tea candies.
- 9:30am: Visit the City of God Temple in Shanghai while you are here. It is a traditional Taoist temple (admission is ¥10 per person). The temple features beautiful traditional Chinese architecture and you will be greeted by a strong scent of incense burning in the courtyard.
- 10:00am: Check out the Shanghai Museum, a museum of ancient Chinese art, situated right in People’s Square. It features four floors including exhibits featuring ancient Chinese dress, sculptures, metalwork, masks, artwork, etc. One cool room checking out is the Jade exhibit. Inside, you’ll find hundreds of traditional Jade carvings (swords, dress, ceramics) as there is a rich history as the Chinese people have been making Jade carvings for 8,000 years
- 11:00am: Take a walk through People’s Park. This actually used to be an old raceway in the 1950s that has been converted into a tree-lined park with Koi ponds, a few restaurants, wooden walkway bridges. Inside, you can see Chinese people practicing Tai Chi and the occasional dice and card gamblers.
- 3:00pm: Take a cab to Tianzifang (near French concession district). Tianzifang has become a major tourist attraction and has more than 200 diverse businesses such as cafes, bars, restaurants, art galleries, craft stores, design houses and studios, and even French bistros. It’s narrow, and as a result, can get busy, but it is definitely worth your while.
- 6:30pm: UnTour Food Tour. This is a Shanghai street food walking tour for $65 USD per person. This is an absolute must, and was certainly one of the highlights of our trip. You’ll kick off your evening at the night markets where you’ll make three unique stops (at three different restaurants / street vendors), eating and drinking your way through. The tour kicks off with a bang, as you watch (and later taste) the preparation of water snake. As “unique” as it looked in the beginning, tasted great and the first food stop was filled with crawfish, vegetable skewers, gluttonous rice, and 4 types of authentic shanghai desert. Not to mention, unlimited Chinese beers along the way! The second stop featured lamb kabobs, a goulash tasting rice dish and a delicious cucumber salad. The third and final stop was traditional long noodles which were beyond spicy! The tour was with 5 other people and a great way to have an authentic experience at restaurants you otherwise would never have seen (or considered going into). The mom & pop shops and restaurants are sadly starting to fade away with the modernization of Shanghai and this tour provided an amazing lens into Shanghai’s past. Finally, at the end our tour, our guide provided us with a list of places to check out during the rest of our trip, which was extremely helpful in navigating Shanghai over the course of the next few days!
- 9:45pm: Check out Speak Low (a Speakeasy in the French Concession neighborhood). It is a busy, upscale, secret speakeasy that requires you to push a bookcase to enter. It’s actually hidden in a bartending equipment shop on Fuxing Lu. It spans four floors, each with its own concept. Apparently you have to have a membership to even check out some of the upper floors! We only saw the first three. Cocktails are expensive one would expect, but it is a nice menu and awesome experience.
- 11:00pm: Check out Bar Rouge. One of the best nightclubs in Shanghai, features an indoor and outdoor bar with a wonderful view terrace view of the Bund, with classy, sleek interiors and an incredibly sexy ambience with costumed dancers. The cover to enter was ¥150 Yuan, and naturally drinks are expensive inside, but a must to kick off your night life right in Shanghai.
- 9:00am: Big Red Bus City Tour. It was rainy, so instead of walking around we figured we’d explore without getting lost. Tickets are ¥50 per person, included two day hop-on / hop-off privileges, including a free ferry pass to Pudong (other side of the Bund) which we later used to go to the Ritz.
- 10:00am: If you need to get across the Bund, one cool way besides the ferry is taking the underground “Sightseeing Tunnel”. For ¥50, you hop into a gondola-like train cart that travels through an artful, colorful Disneyland-type ride with a colorful light show. In 5 minutes you’ll be at the Pearl Tower.
- 11:30am: Check out the Propaganda Poster Museum. Here you can spend an hour walking through dozens of Chinese propaganda posters which highlight anti-American imperialism propaganda posters and messages inspiring Chinese nationalism. Modernization and growth at all costs are the recurring themes here, and one can see evidence of that in this city overall.
- 1:00pm: Lunch at Elixer Health Pot. Certainly one of the best hot pots in Shanghai, the presentation is extremely fancy, and there is no added salt / msg, etc. (hence the name “Health Pot”). We had two types of broth and the food was delicious, particularly the meat selection and yogurt sorbet desert at the end. The restaurant is also located in a great area, with plenty of nearby shops and bars.
- 2:30pm: Grab a coffee at Café del Volcán, a tiny coffee shop on a tree lined street. Inside you will find 3 small tables for seating.
- 3:30pm: Pay a visit to Spin Ceramics, a 4-story ceramics design house / store home to some really incredible pieces from mugs, pots to full sized artwork. It feels like you are walking into an up-scale, life-size Pinterest store.
- 4:30pm: Cheese and wine stop at Burdigala, a French Bordeaux influenced wine bar in the mall next to the Peninsula Hotel along the Bund. This is a solid spot for French wine and cheese, and relatively perfect for an afternoon snack. There is a full menu as well if you come here in the evening.
- 8:00pm: Take a walk along the Bund promenade and walk down Nangjing road, Shanghai’s largest shopping district full of top notch stores, malls etc. On the weekends with the amount of people it will feel like walking through Times Square in New York.
- 9:30pm: Dinner at Pop restaurant along the Bund. Tremendous view of Pudong and connected to the restaurant is a full outdoor bar / terrace.