My first trip to Shanghai was in the in the 1980s and it was unexpected. While living in Japan after my graduation from Berkeley, I spent almost one year planning an extensive journey from Japan to Paris via the Trans-Siberian Railway. My trip was unique in that I wanted to stop along the way at such places as Lake Baikal and Omsk. During the Cold War this meant that I needed to receive permission and to have all logistical arrangements secured in advance with official guides meeting me at the station and escorting me at all times. After receiving all the necessary visas and authorizations from the Soviet Union, the trip never happened. A week before I was to depart, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster occurred and I was forced to cancel all of my plans.

Instead I decided to travel to China and Tibet and sailed from Kobe to Shanghai on a Chinese freighter. I will never forget sailing up the Huangpu River and disembarking without any fuss in a matter of minutes just south of the Bund. As a lone foreigner disembarking off the ship, I was immediately surrounded by what felt like millions of local Chinese in their Mao blue on their bicycles. I will never forget the sound of the bikes as they whooshed past me. There is a wonderful homage to this lost bicycle culture by Ai Weiwei in a towering stairwell along the Bund. This was long before the great economic expansion of the country as the Pudong District across the river from me was nothing more than a few warehouses and some farmland and the automobile was still a luxury item out of the reach of the masses. I enjoyed several days in Shanghai exploring the French and British Concessions of the old city and admiring the beautiful, yet dilapidated, architecture of old Shanghai. The buildings and the lovely tree lined streets recalled the glory days of old Shanghai which would soon return with the new economic reforms and opening to the West led by then leader Deng Xiaoping.

After about a week in Shanghai I secured my hard sleeper and traveled 2 days by train to Langzhou and the frontier region as my Chinese art history classes at Berkeley beckoned me see Dunhuang, Turpan and Tibet. I will save this story of my journey to the frontier regions for another time.

Shanghai is the largest city in China in terms of population and one of the largest urban areas in the world, with over 20 million people in its extended metropolitan area. The city is full of contrasts as you have futuristic Maglev train that whisk you from the Pudong International Airport to Shanghai in a matter of minutes to the ancient masters of Tai Chi that move in slow motion along the Huangpu River embankment during the early morning hours. You will find towering skyscrapers in the Pudong District and intimate two story walk-ups in the old concessions. The contrasts are endless and I encourage you to explore the city on foot and by subway during the day and by riverboat at night to see the dazzling lights above.



The Chinoise Story (Contemporary Chinese)
South Beauty (Chinese)
Lan Club
M on the Bund (European)
Hamilton House
The Door (Continental)
Dynasty (Cantonese)
Franck (French)
Itoya (Japanese)
Jade on 36 (Chinese)
Laris (Contemporary)
Lost Heaven (Yunnanese)
Meilongzhen (Chinese)
Mesa (Continental)
Nepali Kitchen (Nepali/Tibetan)
Paulaner Brauhaus (German/Austrian/Swiss)
T8 (Contemporary)
Vedas (Indian)
Wang Bao He (Chinese)
Ye Shanghai (Chinese)

- Strolling the Bund and the Promenade along the Huangpu River
- 1933: a former abattoir in the Hongkou District (art deco wonder) now turned art, shopping and eating complex
- Explore the old French Concession
- 50 Moganshan for Contemporary Art
- The People's Square: Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Grand Theatre and the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall
- Strolling Nanjing Road to see how locals shop till they drop
- The Jade Buddha Temple
- Yu Yuan Garden and the Old City Bazaar
- Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum
- Xintiandi Promenade for shopping, eating and even staying
- Day trip to Suzhou to see the Venice of China and the many UNESCO Gardens
- Overnight to Hangzhou to stay at the new Aman Resorts - Amanfayun
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