Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Walking Tour: Shanghai

Okay, this isn't a proper walking tour, but Shanghai is such a beautiful city. I wanted to show it to you even though I don't know it well enough to take you on a tour.

At times it looks like Hong Kong...

...but I stayed in the beautiful Former French Concession.

It has tree-lined, bicycle-friendly streets...

...and lots of quirky restaurants.

When I was at the literary festival events, I got another look at the city.

I could see unique pockets from the Glamour Bar of M on the Bund.

The view from the Bund itself is pretty spectacular.

I didn't go up in the Pearl on this trip, but it's just an excuse to go back!

This city has a beautiful architectural history.

 It's a lovely place to walk through the crisp air.

We saw another side of Shanghai in the close, character-filled lanes of one of the few remaining hutongs.

This internet cafe was right in the middle of this humble housing area.

There are all sorts of hidden gems in the hutongs, such as an eclectic pigeon coop...

...and little businesses.

These cramped little neighborhoods are being systematically torn down.

We were lucky to see the remnants of humble Shanghai life before it is entirely replaced by high-rises.

I wonder if life in the new housing projects will be preferable to this.

It must be sad to leave behind the community feeling of the hutongs.

I was happy to see one of these special neighborhoods while I could.

Back on the main street, you can see pieces of old and new Shanghai side by side.

We made our way into a food market.

Here amongst the crowds...

We found food to rival a Hong Kong street market.

All the usual suspects were there...

...and more.

Some of the foods were familiar...

...and some appeared in new combinations.

I found a tub full of the biggest bullfrogs I've ever seen! I'm sure they're tasty.

We also met an adorable baby keeping an eye on the ginger.

Shanghai was full of unexpected pockets of color...

...and life.

I hope I'll be able to return to this beautiful city soon.


  1. This is so interesting. I never realised Shanghai was so varied. It looks like a lot of different cities in one.

    I think it is a mistake to move people into the sky without paying more attention to the environment. The hutongs although uncomfortable and old fashioned, probably give more human warmth.

    1. Thank you Jenny. I definitely got a feeling of warmth from these neighborhoods. I think you have far more opportunities to interact with people in a place like this than you would if you were stuck in a tiny apartment all day. On the other hand, I'm sure it's nice to live in a place where you have a real toilet instead of a bucket that you share with a dozen other people. I hope that when the people are moved they at least get to stay in the same area as their neighbors.

  2. Thanks, Shannon, for the pictures from Shanghai. The kid watching the garlic is so cute. Do you know what the woman is eating in picture #21? ( the Chinese woman in black coat eating something red or orange on a stick). Thanks.

    1. I believe she was eating a little grilled octopus. I've tried it in HK, but I didn't have any this time :).

  3. Fabulous photos! I haven't been to Shanghai in 17 years, but much of what you saw in these photos seems very similar. I'll never get tired of the Bund and the beautiful architecture, including the Peace Hotel (where I stayed in 1995 before it was remodeled a couple times since then). I also stayed in a dorm in the old French Concession, so I'm glad you had a chance to hang out in that area. It's also lovely.

  4. Great photos! Did Shanghai have a very different "feel" to you, compared to Hong Kong?

  5. I haven't been to China since 2005 and I can't wait to go back. I've never been to Shanghai before and had no idea it looked like this. I think this city has just shot to the top of the list!

  6. What a great post! It makes me want to visit Shanghai! I really love the photos taken in the streets and back allies. Did you eat any of the interesting foods you saw??

  7. Beautiful pictures.. I like to visit China one day. Which the best first place to visit in China?


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