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The Overview of Shanghai

【Location】Shanghai City
【Type】Modern City
【Highlights】The Oriental Pearl TV Tower,The Bund, Yu Garden
【Recommended Time to stay】3--5 Days

When Shanghai first began from its humble beginning, it was far from obvious that the world would one day hear its roar. Since then, Shanghai has seen dramatic changes, spinning between the far extremes of Fortune's wheel.

The financial go-go capital of China, Shanghai, which means "go to the sea" in Chinese, is a city of 16 million that remembers its hallucinating history. Divided in half by the Huangpu River into Puxi and Pudong, Shanghai's story is one of millions made and mirages lost. Pried open by British guns in the First Opium War, this once sleepy fishing and weaving village gained notoriety as the "Paris of the East" as a colonial city of commerce, vice, money and political intrigue. More recently, Shanghai has benefited the most from China's economic reforms, rapidly rising as the shining" Pearl of the Orient."

Dynamic is the best word to describe today's Shanghai. Since the 1990 opening of the Pudong Special Economic Zone, the city has found itself with more building cranes than all of North America, towers of galss and steel sprout up amidst ivy covered colonial villas and old Chinese homes. Displaying all the contrasts of modern China, teeming neighborhoods and birch trees are woven together by elevated highways and modern Skyscrapers. Worldly travellers brush elbows with migrant workers; students and artists mingle as they pursue their dreams of wealth.

★ Main Scenic Spots in Shanghai

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower is located in Pudong Park in Lujiazui, Shanghai. Surrounded by the Yangpu Bridge in the northeast and the Nanpu Bridge in the southwest, it creates a picture of 'twin dragons playing with pearls'. The entire scene is a photographic jewel that excites the imagination and attracts thousands of visitors year-round.This 468 meters (1,536 feet) high  tower is the world's sixth and China's second tallest TV and radio tower. However, even more alluring than its height is the unique architectural design that makes it one of the most attractive places anywhere. Its base is supported by three seven-meter wide slanting stanchions. Surrounding the eleven steel spheres that are 'strung' vertically through the center are three nine-meter wide columns.

Of all the sights evocative of the splendor and decadence of old Shanghai, none is singularly more impressive the Bund. Getting its name from an Anglo-Indian word meaning" muddy embankment," the Bund rolls down a million dollar mile along the west bank of Shanghai's most essential waterway, the Huangpu River. It's on this swampy riverbank where Shanghai's previous taipans erected these monuments of wealth. The Bund still remains Shanghai's number one tourist site and with all the things to see in Shanghai, this is the one that can not be missed. Running the length of the Bund is Zhongshan East Road, a major thoroughfare than can be crossed by tunnels or pedestrian bridges.

Yu Garden a modern version of an old bustling market - with the added kick the Shanghainese throw into making money. Different snacks and trinkets are available. Tasty goodies include sweet sticky rice candies, grilled sausages and assorted fried kebabs. Shanghai is known for its steamed meat dumplings and the most famous in Shanghai are found in the Yu Garden shopping complex. Just off the central pond, this vendor is hard to miss, just look for the long line of salivatinge people. The dumplings are made on the spot and steamed to juicy perfection in a few minutes.

Shanghai is a key hub with daily connections by air and rail to thousands of destinations in China and beyond. Transportation options within the city itself are plentiful. Though most international flights are now through Pudong International Airport, some are still operated from Hongqiao Airport, so be sure of which airport you need to go to.

Hongqiao Airport
Hongqiao Airport is located in the eastern edge of central Shanghai and is easily reached by private hotel shuttles and taxis. This airport handles all domestic flights throughout mainland China and Hainan Island and some international flights.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Located roughly 35km from the heart of the Shanghai City, this newly opened airport is Shanghai's door to the world. Departures are on the upper floor and arrivals on the bottom floor. Departing passengers on international flights.

By Train
Nearly all trains coming into and leaving Shanghai go through the Shanghai Train Station located in the northern part of the city. Some trains however operates from the South Train Station. Shanghai is well-connected to the rest of China. Comfortable trains go to Suzhou and Hangzhou. Tickets can be bought at the station, but it's far more convenient to go through your hotel or travel agent.

Shanghai climate is generally mild and moist, with four distinctive seasons - a pleasant warm spring, a hot rainy summer, a comfortable cool autumn, and an overcast cold winter. The weather of Shanghai in July and August is the hottest, with more than 10 days' high temperatures above 35 C (95 F). The coldest period is from late January to early February. The location at the estuary of the Yangtze River to the East China Sea makes the city so wet that it rains for about one third of the year.

Earliest regional settlement dates back to 5900BC. Shanghai became a key cotton exporter under the Song dynasty. The silting of the Wusong River shifted the regional capital to Shanghai in the 13th century. Growing richer, the town needed to defend itself against marauding Japanese pirates. A 6km long wall with six gates and 20 arrow towers was erected in 1553 during the Ming dynasty. Although meteoric development would later engulf this area, it continues to stand as the Old Chinese City. To increase trade, a customs house was erected in 1685 to sell silk and tea. Its population swelled to 50, 000, giving birth to many noted Chinese scholars. One particularly important personage was Xu Guangqi, friend and pupil of the Jessuit missionary and early Western explorer, Matteo Ricci. However, despite such promising international beginnings, in the end, it was by far less diplomatic means that Shanghai finally opened up to the West.

Throughout China, Shanghainese cuisine is known for being sweet and oily. For a true Shanghai specialty, try the hairy crab, a fresh water crab that becomes mature in fall - the crab roe is delectable. Another popular dish is the drunken shrimp - live shrimps are marinated in an alcohol - based marinade. They're a bit hard to eat because they squirm and jump in your hands, but they're delicious. A variation on this is drunken crab, where raw pieces of crab are marinated in a similar sauce. For street food, Shanghai's most famous contributions are the steamed buns or fried meat dumplings. Dining options are numerous in Shanghai. Because of Shanghai's large ex-pat community, cuisines from all over  the world are available, delicate Japanese sushi to tender Brazilian barbecue. Choices are unlimited and so are the prices, from dining to jumping stall to stall eating street food, it's all deliciously available.

In Shanghai, nothing approaches the status of shopping. The Shanghainese are consummate shoppers with some of the best eyes for fashion and bargains in all of Asia. The city is literally filled with places where you can spend your money.The major shopping districts are found in the Old French Concession near the Shaanxi South Road metro station, the Huangpi South Road metro station, in the Old International Settlement on Nanjing West Road, and near the Bund along the Nanjing East Road Pedestrain Mall.

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