Home to more than 23m people, Shanghai is China’s largest city. An evocative reminder of the country’s decadent past, as well as a dazzling beacon leading it into the future, Shanghai is a fascinating and essential place to visit and one of the biggest highlights of any tour to China. The Classic Western architecture of the Bund and the French Concession will transport you to the heady days of 1920s/30s Shanghai and mark the city as distinct from others on mainland China. While the Yuyuan Gardens of the Old City remind you of Shanghai’s existence long before foreign money arrived here. Hop across the river and marvel at the skyscrapers of Pudong with its giant shopping malls and panoramic views of old Shanghai.
China may not be known for its beaches but the Jinshan City Beach in Shanghai is a genuine delight and a breath of fresh air away from the sprawling metropolis. Situated on the north bank of Hangzhou in the Jinshan district, the beach is an ideal spot for bathing and sailing and regularly hosts events such as kite flying competitions and music festivals on its 120,000m2 of sand.
Shanghai was essentially built on a muddy bog and between 1920 and 1965 the city sank several feet. The foundations of many of its high-rise buildings are built on concrete rafts to prevent the city befalling the same fate as Venice.