What are the tourist attractions in Shanghai

Shanghai attractions: you have to see these 9 beautiful places

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You have to see these places in Shanghai

With Lufthansa it took just under ten hours from Frankfurt to the Chinese metropolis Shanghai. My idea: total chaos, smog and crowds. But then everything turns out differently. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to explore Shanghai. Nevertheless, in a few hours I saw as much of the city as many others in several days. This article is aimed at everyone who only has one day in Shanghai, for example because they will then fly to Australia or New Zealand. You can really get a great impression of this pulsating metropolis in a few hours.

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Shanghai - the first impression

At the Shanghai Pudong International Airport everything is progressing quickly. On the plane you have to fill out an entry form with information such as name, birthday, passport number, visa number, issuing country and address in Shanghai or in China. So better take a pen with you on the plane. Upon entry, the visa will be examined very carefully and you will be given an outline. Please do not lose it and keep it in your passport - you will need this piece of paper again when you leave the country. (As of April 2017)

From Pudong Airport to the city center

From Pudong Airport in Shanghai's city center, it takes 45 to two hours by car, depending on the traffic situation. It costs about 200 yuan by taxi. You don't have to worry about the taxi driver taking extra detours. However, you should have the address of your hotel given to you in Chinese characters before you leave. Even in Shanghai it is difficult to get on with English and Latin characters like ours are a book with seven seals for many Chinese. An alternative is the subway line 2 (here is my subway guide for Shanghai), which takes a good hour to the city center, or the Transrapid (Maglev), which reaches Longyang Road in eight minutes Costs 50 yuan. You can change to metro lines 2 and 7 on Longyang Road.

By car you can take the motorway to the city center. The Chinese don't think much of speed limits and distance, that becomes immediately clear. The motorway winds past seemingly endless high-rise estates. Gray dominates in gray and the sky is darkly colored by the haze and smog. The sun can be seen in the sky, but it doesn't really come out.

The motorway runs through the whole city on stilts. At some point the driver turns and plunges us into the fray on Shanghai's streets. How the traffic actually works so smoothly is not really clear to me. Traffic cops stand on the streets gesticulating wildly and trying to bring some order to the chaos. No, it's not quite as bad as it sounds. It is obvious that the right of the stronger applies here. Electric scooter riders and cyclists don't care about pedestrians and motorists about nothing. As a pedestrian you should take a good look around and never blindly trust a green traffic light or a zebra crossing.

To my great surprise, at least downtown Shanghai is really clean and much greener than expected. Street trees and parks define the cityscape and the garbage actually ends up in the garbage cans almost without exception. Once these are full, the rubbish is neatly stacked next to it. Tartan tracks criss-cross the many green spaces and the Shanghai residents make good use of them.

In addition to high-rise buildings, there are also many old streets with clotheslines spanning the street and rusty bicycles and scooters. These small microcosms are often guarded by a security guard - who is usually more interested in his smartphone than in me. On my little trips to old Shanghai, I am neither viewed with suspicion nor addressed. What is also noticeable are the many rental bicycles in the city. And vending machines where you can buy fresh vegetables immediately catch my eye.

You have to be extremely careful about the many electric scooters that are shot out of nowhere. Overall, at first glance, Shanghai is much quieter and more relaxed than expected. Crime is also rather a foreign word in Shanghai. Getting mugged on the street is unlikely. On the one hand, it hardly fits the mood of the Shanghai people. On the other hand, the city is teeming with security forces and surveillance cameras. Unlike in the USA, for example, the military and police appear anything but martial. The majority of the policemen manage without firearms - at least I can't see any visible weapons and the soldiers stand around in uniform and unarmed. But I assume that the Chinese security forces are very well trained in hand-to-hand combat. So it's better to stay in the flow and not trample over lawns that are often closed to pedestrians.

Top attractions in Shanghai: People‘s Square

I start my sightseeing tour on People‘s Square, the cultural and political center of Shanghai. To explore Shanghai, I clearly recommend the subway. People's Square can be reached with subway lines 1, 2 and 8. A tour of the huge park in the middle of Shanghai is worthwhile. People’s Square can be compared a little with Central Park in New York, the Tiergarten in Berlin or the English Garden in Munich.

Many Shanghai people use their lunch break to take a nap under the trees and palm trees in the shade. You can admire the Xishan waterfall in People’s Square, which unfortunately did not run when I visited. The flower garden shone in full splendor. A little further there is even an area for children with rides such as a roller coaster. The whole park is really wonderfully laid out and invites you to relax on one of the many shady benches. Nobody has to pee behind the tree - of course there are public and very clean toilets, which are also free of charge.

About the history of People’s Square: Before the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, People’s Square was a horse racing track. Gambling and horse betting were banned in the new China, and so the racecourse became People's Square.

Top attractions in Shanghai: South Yunnan Road

It's not very far from People's Square to South Yunnan Road. If you want to experience the original flair of Shanghai, this is the right place for you. In the South Yunnan Road there is one small shop next to the other. Baked ducks hang in the shop windows and all kinds of meat dishes are prepared in small street kitchens. Vegetarians have a hard time on South Yunnan Road, especially since you can usually not make it clear to the sellers that you don't want meat. For a stroll, South Yunnan Road is definitely worth a detour.

Top sights in Shanghai: the counterfeiters around the Yu Garden

My next goal is Yu Garden - one of the top attractions in Shanghai. The cityscape is already changing in the immediate vicinity. The streets are partially closed to car traffic - but watch out for the electric scooters - and junk shops determine the scenery. The 10 yuan shops - the equivalent of around 1.40 euros - are a hit. Every shopkeeper wants to drown out his neighbors with gruesome techno music from the 90s, it seems. In the shops, where many things cost more than ten yuan, you can find the finest junk goods. Anyone looking for absolutely cheap and useless stuff, for example to “give presents” to an unpopular relative, is guaranteed to find it here.

But they also cavort around the Yu Garden Counterfeiters. Of course, you won't find any counterfeit luxury bags in the shop windows and small shops. But it feels like a seedy person is standing on every corner with a catalog for handbags and expensive watches. I am curious and follow one of the salespeople into a warehouse. Now it's getting really exciting. There are small junk shops downstairs and there is quite a hustle and bustle. I take the elevator to the sixth floor with the little Chinese. What it says on the filthy signs - I don't know, it's all Chinese. Now, of course, I am not naive and extremely vigilant. Physically, I'm far superior to the guy with the luxury catalog - but who knows who's waiting up there. I have a strange feeling. On the sixth floor, the little man leads me deeper and deeper into a labyrinth of corridors. But at least there are a few other storage rooms here where someone can be seen every now and then.

The seller stops in a dark corridor. He dials a number on the smartphone and tells me to wait. I'm curious what happens. Two figures appear in the pale light - they are two elderly women who let me into the forgery paradise. I'll let the three go ahead - you never know. But they're really only after my money and not my organs. Hundreds of counterfeit luxury bags and fine watches are stored in the small windowless room. I show interest and look around. A small handbag should be around 200 euros. That is of course the basis for the negotiation. I don't know how far the price can be pushed. 20 to 30 percent for sure, but I don't know whether there is 50 percent or more in it.

For a layman like me, the bags on offer are indistinguishable from the original. Only the certificate of authenticity in poor English and German clearly indicates a fake product. The bags themselves are made of leather and are really well made. No comparison to the crap that is otherwise offered on Mallorca on the beach.

I put the three traders off and go my way. But it should be said: once bitten, the dealers do not want to let the fish go so easily, i.e. the potential customers, and some dealers can certainly also become aggressive. One or the other may feel compelled to buy something - just as a hint. I do not care. If there is no other way - just run, they'll understand that.

Top sights in Shanghai: Yu Garden

I am approaching that Yu garden. And immediately I have another conversation partner who knows Matthäus, Beckenbauer and the Hofbräuhaus. I'll get rid of the elderly gentlemen in the Yu Garden - it's 40 yuan entry. I don't know what the guy actually wanted from me. Maybe he just wanted to speak a little English or it was about women - but more on that below.

The entry to the Yu Garden is really worth it. Beautifully laid out paths run through the entire complex. There are always large Chinese-style pavilions between ponds to marvel at. You can also take a look at many of the pavilions. The Yu Garden is a huge area with countless branches. Whenever I think I'm halfway through now, I discover a new junction and a new area. You should plan at least one to two hours to explore the Yu Garden halfway. The nice thing is that the complex itself is not as crowded as it was before and that you have peace and quiet from the annoying sellers with their watches and bags.