Quick Guide to Shanghai, China

Today we’re sharing a quick guide to Shanghai written by fellow travel blogger Agness from eTramping.com. We have not yet visited Shanghai, but it’s high on our travel wish list. Agness is a big fan of China and offered to write this quick guide for us to share with you today. If you have questions about travel to Shanghai, leave a comment and we’ll do our best to get you answers. 


Quick Guide to Shanghai, China

If you are planning to visit the Land of China, and still can’t decide where to go first, look no further than Shanghai, a beautiful city that combines the ancient history of China with its forward motion into the modern world.

The city is split by the Huangpu River. In Puxi you will find more of Shanghai’s rich history, while in Pudong you can watch as history is being rewritten.


Agness walking down the streets of Shanghai and looking for hidden spots in the city.

Shanghai has a lot to offer for everyone who visit it. Whether you are a holiday maker, a backpacker or a luxury traveller, check out this list of the main areas you can’t miss while visiting Shanghai for the first time.


This commercial district features museums and shopping, and will probably be your first stop due to the bustling Pudong International Airport.  

The Bund

This classic colonial area boasts an incredible amount of history, and a beautiful walkway along the river.

French Concession

These gorgeous streets show the influence western culture and architecture, and make up a vibrant neighborhood with fantastic shops.


The center of activity for Shanghai, this area holds many well-known tourist attractions, such as the People’s Square, the Shanghai Museum, and more.  

The Old City

Located in the center of Huangpu, this area is a must-see with its many ancient buildings and memorials. It is the center of history in Shanghai.


Things to see in Shanghai

Classic Architecture

This can be seen in two areas: The Bund and the French Concession.  As a historic and lovely riverside area, The Bund is a fantastic place to see influences of Gothic and Art Deco styles, all the while being able to enjoy the modern buildings across the water in Pudong.  

The French Concession area was once ruled by the French after the Opium Wars, and while wandering these beautiful avenues and looking at the gorgeous homes, you may wonder if you’ve somehow crossed into Europe.  


Shanghai Museum

Sitting at the south side of the People’s Square, this impressive museum will give you deep insights into the culture and history of this ancient city.  You may be able to find a volunteer guide to show you around for free and explain some of the many artifacts to you.

Yuyuan Gardens

Found in the bustling Old Town, these beautiful gardens are a place to relax and escape from the noise of the city.  They were built originally during the Ming Dynasty, and although they were destroyed and recreated a few times, today they serve as a mirror into China’s past.


Ancient Temples

Temples abound in this beautiful and deeply religious area.  To explore more of the culture and beliefs of the local Shanghai people (both present and past), then take a look at some of these majestic places, such as the Jade Buddha Temple.

Zhujiajiao Water Town

This beautiful water town is a classic piece of Chinese history, and although it is a little bit outside the urban center of Shanghai it is absolutely worth a visit.  The beautiful canals and bridges will send you back to a much simpler time in history


Things to do in Shanghai

1) Take a Cruise Down the River

The beautiful Huangpu River affords you the best scenery possible on both sides.

2) Drink Tea in a Chinese Tea House

A traditionally Chinese thing to do, you really can’t leave without finding a tea house and drinking some of the best tea you will have ever tasted in your life.

3) A Day of Fun at the Theme Parks

There are an incredible amount of Theme Parks in Shanghai, including a newly constructed Disneyland, the European World Park, and Happy Valley.

4) Relax on the Beach

Yes, the beach is literally right next door!  Take some time to soak in the sun.

5) Stand at the Top of the Oriental Pearl Tower

This iconic figure that lights up the cityscape of the Pudong district affords you an incredible view from its observation deck.


There you have it, Agness’s top tips for Shanghai!

But really, this is only scratching the surface of all that there is to do in this incredible city. A few days or a week is not enough to really get to know it, but it’s a great place to start.  

To truly become a part of this incredible culture, why not start the dream you’ve been tossing around for years and try living abroad? Even if you don’t feel qualified to teach English, a TEFL certificate will give you enough experience and accreditation that you will be able to find a job easily. If you’re considering teaching English in China, you can check the job board I created on my personal blog.

Have you visited Shanghai? What did we miss?

Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below.


About Traveling Canucks

Cam and Nicole Wears are newbie parents living in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. A passion for travel and outdoor adventure has taken them to over 70 countries on 6 continents in the past 10 years. Learn more about their story here. Follow them on Instagram and subscribe to their monthly newsletter.