• Cityscape Concrete, glass, neon
  • City life Flamboyant consumption

Skyscrapers, shopping and sensuality: this is Shanghai’s decade, and it wants to make sure you know it.

Celebrated in its Twenties’ heyday as the Paris of the East, Shanghai is now a dazzling showcase for 21st-century China. Despite its Communist legacy, this is a consumer society to the core, from the grand temples to Capitalism on the Bund to the bustling markets and endless restaurants. Refuel on delicious dim sum, stroll among Tai Chi enthusiasts at dawn or hit the extravagant bar and club scene – whatever path you choose, you’ll be electrified by this high-watt city.

Do go/Don’t go

Best times to visit are April to June, or September to November. Summer is hot and humid. Winters are wet and cold.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Shanghai is the only city in China with two international airports – but you’re likely to arrive in Pudong. Don’t pay more than 200RMB for a cab to get downtown.
  • Boats Strictly for sightseeing: a Huangpu River Cruise – sounds tacky but the views of Shanghai’s space age architecture overlooking the harbour are spectacular.
  • Trains The Maglev (magnetic suspension) train is an exhilarating way to enter Shanghai from the airport….even if it only hits its top speed of 400km/h for a few seconds. The subway system is crowded but thankfully air-conditioned in summer.
  • Automobiles Don’t hire a car unless you’re feeling daring: the concept of giving way doesn’t exist. Road signs are in Chinese and English. The Chinese drive on the right hand side of the road – most of the time.
  • Taxis Cheap and plentiful. Get your hotel to write down your destination - most drivers only speak Mandarin and Shanghainese. Shanghai streets are long so get the cross street too. Don’t try and exit from the driver’s side rear door.