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Shanghai - China's Global Metropolis

Sitting at the mouth of the Yangtze River, Shanghai is China's most populous city with over 19 million inhabitants and is one of the world's major shipping ports.

Established more than 700 years ago at the tip of the Changjiang River Delta, by 1816, more than half a million people lived in Shanghai, and it became a thriving commercial centre.

Part of the old city can be visited at The Bund, one of the most popular tourist areas in Shanghai. Building heights are restricted in this area to help preserve it's character.

After 1990, economic reforms were introduced that resulted in an intense re-development of the city becoming once again the centre of finance and trade in new China.

Two of the world's tallest buildings are in Shanghai; the 421m Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center at 494m.

Mandarin is the local language, although being a global financial leader, the younger generation also speak near perfect English.

Top 5 things to do in Shanghai

City God Temple

The City God Temple or Chenghuang Miao in local Chinese, is part of the original old city of Shanghai.

The City God Temple in Shanghai originated as the Jinshan God Temple, dedicated to the spirit of Jinshan, or "Gold Mountain", an island off the coast of Shanghai. It was converted into a City God Temple in 1403.

The temple became popular during Quing Dynasty leading to many businesses being set up in the area turning the surrounding streets into a busy market place which still thrives in the present.

Today the completely restored City God Temple also refers to the district surrounding the temple complex.

Located at 247 Middle Fangbang Road the temple is open from 8.30am until 4pm. Tickets bought on entry.

Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai Museum was founded in 1952 and has a collection of over 120,000 pieces of ancient Chinese art including ancient coins, paintings, seals and sculptures.

The current building is the second incarnation of the museum having opened in 1996. The building's round top and a square base are meant to be symbolizing the ancient Chinese perception of the world as "round sky, square earth".

Entry is free although there is a daily cap of 5000 visitors per day and ID may be required. Open from 9am until 5pm.

Yu Yuan Garden

Sometimes abbreviated to Yu Garden, this lavish traditional Chinese garden can be found in the centre of the Old City.

First established as a private garden in 1559, founder Pan Yunduan spent 20 years creating it to please his father who was a high ranking official in the Ming Dynasty.

Over the years, Yu Garden fell into disrepair leading all the way up to WWII until they were repaired by the Shanghai government from 1956–1961, opened to the public in 1961, and declared a national monument in 1982.

Today the 2 hectare Yu Garden is divided into six general areas; Grand Rockery, Heralding Spring Hall, Inner Garden, Jade Magnificence, Lotus Pool and Ten Thousand-Flower Tower.

Open daily from 8.30am until 5.30pm. An entry fee is required and prices vary by seasons

Shangai Acrobatics

The Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe, established in 1951 is one of the best in China.

Their acrobatic show has become one of the most popular evening entertainments for tourists in Shanghai.

With regular world city tours you need to make sure they are "in town" if you want to go and watch their two-hour gravity-defying contortionism, juggling, unicycling, chair-stacking, and plate-spinning acts.

Performances are spread over two venues; Shanghai Center Theatre and Shanghai Circus World - Middle Theatre.

Nanjing Road

Located in the city centre, Nanjing Road is the main shopping street in Shanghai and one of the world's busiest shopping streets.

At over 6km in length, the shopping district attracts more than 1 million visitors a day in peak tourist season.

Nanjing Road runs east to west with more of the older, traditional shops located at eastern end and the newer malls and prestigious hotels towards the western end.

The street is also host to various holiday celebrations such as the Chinese New Year, New Year's Eve, Christmas and Easter where parades travel along the street to firework displays.

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