Shanghai, China

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Shanghai Guide – Spend Less, Do More

Shanghai skylineYou've marvelled at the classical architecture along the Bund as you drink in the lights and night time river views, taking a cruise along the Huangpu River with a horde of excited tourists jostling for a position on the railing. For some east-west fusion, you wandered Xin Tian Di, discovered the shikumen architectural style and shopped at the high-end malls in the area. For a taste of the old days, you ventured into the heart of Shanghai's Old City to Yu Yuan Garden where you watched the koi swim amongst the peaked rooves of the pavilions. Finally, you had to check out the Oriental Pearl Tower, a steady fixture in every Shanghai panoramic skyline photo you had ever seen throughout your life, even enjoyed a meal at its revolving restaurant. However, Shanghai has so much more to offer beyond the typical tourist haunts.

For those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle...

Visit Century Park; a 143 hectare oasis and the largest park in Shanghai. With your spare change, hire a bike or a deluxe tandem bike for two, one of the best ways to get around as you explore the expansive grounds. If you have more than two people, hire a leisure quadra-vehicle – the novelty of your transport will greatly contribute to a fun day at the park. You can even ride a paddle boat and a hot air balloon, all in the same park on the same day! Within many of the parks in Shanghai, you can visit one of the calligraphers who set up stalls, for a treasured souvenir – for a couple of dollars, they will write your name using Chinese calligraphy, but crafting birds and flowers into each brush stroke.

Interested in Chinese history?

Visit the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre. The collections offer a glimpse into life in China under Mao Zedong during the twentieth century – from the saga of tumultuous struggle and triumphant victories to the hardships the people faced day to day, you will leave with a newfound understanding of that period of Chinese history. The posters change through the years from cold war influences to the red-art style during the Cultural Revolution.

Shanghai Skyline Refections DawnAlternatively, take a self-guided stroll through the former Shanghai French Concession, a legacy of the European influences between 1849 and 1946. An oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city, you'll find hole-in-the-wall food vendors, cute street-side cafes, leafy tree-lined streets and Tudor –style houses hidden in picturesque gardens . Relax in the calm serene atmosphere as you take it all in and enjoy a languid late lunch – no cars will honk at you here.

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So treat yourself to the best international buffet spread in Shanghai at the Yi Cafe at the Pudong Shangri-La. It is a considerable walk from one end of the restaurant to the other – so you know you are simultaneously burning off what you are eating. That is a testament to the sheer size of the restaurant, stalls ordered by nationality of the cuisine, with dessert having several separate stands. From Chinese buns to Indian roti to French delicacies, you will be absolutely stuffed by the time you even get to the cotton candy, spectacular gummy lolly display and chocolate fondue. Not only is the food diverse, it is beautifully presented. You will not regret a visit, and for your money, the restaurant definitely delivers on their end of the bargain.

If you have some time on your hands, hire a car and take a day trip, or even stay a couple of days in nearby Suzhou. Do the standard garden tours, canal boat rides and silk museum, or scope out some alternatives such as Pingjiang Jie and the Suzhou Kunqu Opera Museum. If you must see a water town, travel 30km southeast of Suzhou to Zhouzhuang.

Spend Less, Do More

Your Cheaperthanhotels Team

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