Shanghai – The Two-Faced City

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Your travels can take you all over the world and you’d still remember the time you spent at each destination. Your travel memories can last you a long time and that’s the ultimate beauty of travelling.

With your bags all packed and tickets in hand, you can feel the freedom as you whisk off to another corner of the world. And when you’re looking for something charming that is the perfect combo of tradition and modern, Shanghai is the best place to be.

To most people, Shanghai is known as the western inspired Metropolis. It is the face of modern China and over the course of the past few years, it has undergone some radical transformations. But that’s not the only thing there is to the city. Also known as the two-faced city, Shanghai has a traditional side to it too. And it is the perfect co-existence of traditional and modern that makes the city a hub for tourists. Why spend money on two vacations when you can get the best experiences in one place?

Traditional Shanghai

Shanghai is the perfect destination to get the best of both worlds. The two opposite sides of Shanghai lie across the Huangpu River. The scenes on the two sides of the river actually look like the past and future.

On the west side of the river you can see the old side of the city, graying buildings, temples, and a stream of office headquarters. But that’s not the only beauty to the west side of the river. The Chinese architecture and culture also graces this side of the river. The old streets and inner city locations are the perfect example of Chinese culture. As you stroll down the streets, you can take a trip into the past, get an inkling of the old ways of Shanghai and also get the true feel of the city.

Here are a few places that can make you feel connected to the old ways of the city.   

·       Yu Garden

Located in the centre of the old Shanghai, Yu garden is one of the most popular tourist destinations on this side of the river. The garden was built in the Ming Dynasty by a man who wanted his parents to live their old age in peace and happiness. However, don’t be fooled by the name as this is more than just a garden. Water features, pavilions, rockeries and the ever famous zigzag bridge are also a part of Yu garden. If you want an exhilarating experience, this is the place to be.

·       Shanghai Old Street

Experience the true feeling of living in traditional Shanghai. Stroll down Shanghai Old Street and marvel at the surrounding Chinese architecture. This was the earliest business street in the city and is home to the oldest bank and other businesses in the city. Now it has a combination of tourist attractions, traditional and cultural exhibits and shops. With over 225 stores along the street, you’re likely to find everything you need from souvenirs to expensive jewellery.

Modern Shanghai      

Compare it to the east side of the river and you’d realize the huge difference. This side is marked by a skyline of skyscrapers and monuments of modern architecture whilst iconic buildings such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower grace this side of the river. Known for its artistic design, the building once used to be the tallest structure in China before it was surpassed by the Shanghai World Financial Centre. You also get to marvel at the elegant 88-storey Jin Mao Building, which has the honor of being the tallest building in mainland China. Just looking around the area you’d find it hard to believe that it was all foiled with fishermen’s hut just a few years ago. This is a true example of rapid modernization of a city.

·       Jin Mao Tower

Want be amazed by the marvelous modern architecture of the east side of the river. Jin Mao Tower is the art deco style that seems to be the blueprint for this side. The tower is designed by the renowned architect, Fazlur Khan and has a 33-floor atrium. The building is house to the Shanghai Grand Hotel and a number of offices too.

It’s the incredible exterior of the building that had made it so famous. Covered in aluminum alloy frame, the building is encased in a wall of glass and stainless steel. The elegant stacking of the sections and the dramatic conclusion at the top gives Jin Mao Tower a spectacular image. There’s an observation deck at the top from where you can enjoy the breathtaking skyline of the city. Watch the city light up all around you as the sky darkens. You’d definitely love your visit to the building as it’s something you wouldn’t want to miss.

·       Shanghai Oriental Sports Center    

Want to add some adventure to your trip? Shanghai Oriental Sports Center is along the Huangpu River and comprises of three main buildings. The sports complex has an indoor stadium, which is definitely worth seeing. If the arena football club Shanghai Skywalkers are playing during your trip, do go down there for an enjoyable time. The sports complex is also used for hosting various events such as martial arts, swimming, basketball, figure skating etc.

Water is the connecting theme for the sports complex. The three building stand on raised platforms in specially constructed lakes. The Natorium contains four pools and is a spectacular structure of concrete. The roof is made of structural steel girders which give the rectangular ground plan a more open look.  There’s an outdoor pool is based on an artificial island and looks magnificent to say the least.

There’s no doubt that Shanghai is making the whole country proud. With its perfect balance of traditional and modern feel, Shanghai is definitely a place you’d love to visit. So pack those bags and prepare for a thrilling adventure!

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