I visited Shanghai as part of a two-week trip to China and Singapore. China is huge and has a lot to see, but we visited only in two big cities- Shanghai and Beijing, which are very different from each other, so I will devote a separate post to each.
Shanghai is a stunning city, big, modern and European. We devoted three full days to the city, and I would definitely recommend adding another day or two. For all the fashionistas out there- Shanghai’s women have a cool and luxurious style, so just from walking down the streets you can run into bold and unique fashion you wouldn’t see anywhere else. It’s fun to walk around and draw inspiration from all the original outfits which are (unfortunately) less common in Western countries.
We spent the night at The Ritz Carlton Portman, which is perfectly located on the central shopping street Nanjing. This is a very luxurious and pampering hotel, where a rich breakfast buffet is included.
On the first day we took a guided tour (in Hebrew) with a guide named Ofer, who has a travel company in China with guides in Hebrew and English. Ofer told us about the history of the city, the British rule, and the upheavals that have taken place over the years. Although I am usually not a fan of guided tours, this tour was insanely interesting and made us understand the culture in Shanghai and China in a deeper way. We drove in a private car that Ofer arranged for us, and we visited the People’s Square, the French Quarter, the American Quarter, the British Zone, the Nanjing shopping street and the Bund- a riverfront promenade.
We ate lunch at L’atalier De Joel Robuchon Shanghai– a French restaurant originated in France. We ate a cheese, mushrooms and spinach quiche, and a chocolate crepe. For dinner we ate at Lost Heaven, a recommended Chinese restaurant in the cool French Quarter. We took crab cakes and a stir-fried beef tenderloin in pepper sauce. There were only Chinese desserts or fruit in the restaurant, and we wanted to spend our calories on something a little more interesting, so we went into an Italian restaurant next door called Chartres. We took Chocolate Lava Cake with raspberry sauce and a nutty chocolate dessert- both were excellent.
We devoted the second day in Shanghai for shopping. We went to a mall very close to our hotel called Crystal Galleria. My favorite store in the mall and in China in general is Monki, a cool and inexpensive chain with high-quality clothes inspired by the Chinese girl’s style– which is amazingly beautiful and unique. I bought overalls, flared pants, dresses and super cool colorful socks. Then we continued our shopping trip at Nanjing shopping street, where you can find all the popular chains- Uniqlo, H&M, Adidas, Nike, Forever 21, Sephora, etc.
We had lunch at Din Tai Fung restaurant located right in our hotel complex. I loved this restaurant from my previous visits to Hong Kong and Singapore, where the restaurant has more branches. This is a very high-quality chain serving dim sum, Chinese bun, Wonton and a variety of Chinese pastry dishes. All of it is of great quality- so much so that they received a Michelin star. We took dim sum filled with pork and truffles and a wonton stuffed with shrimps and pork in spicy sauce. Both dishes were light and tasty.
In the evening, we went to eat at Hakkassan, a prestigious (and expensive) restaurant that can be found in New York, London, Las Vegas, Dubai and more. This is an Asian restaurant that also has a Michelin star. We shared fried shrimp, cubes of Australian steak in pepper sauce and a plate of 3 kinds of mushrooms with nuts, and then an amazing lemon desser. I would Recommend this restaurant for anyone who wants to feel the New York vibe all the way in Shanghai.
On the third day, we had an English-speaking guide named Kathy (as well as a private driver and a car) and she took us to some amazing, unique places.
First, she took us to a public park called Fuxing Park that Chinese people, especially elderly, come to when they want to sing, dance, engage in acrobatics or do Tai Chi. I have never seen a park so special and full of life. Each time we approached a group of dancers, one of the Chinese women pulled me in to dance with them. It was an amazing cultural experience. Then we went to visit a Buddhist temple called Jade Buddha Temple, which was also very impressive. We took a half hour tour. After the temple, the guide took us to the Old Shanghai– a beautiful pedestrian mall with shops and restaurants designed in authentic Chinese style. In the same complex, there is also an ancient garden – a charming garden with lakes, vegetation and colorful Chinese structures.
We had lunch in another restaurant at the hotel – Beef And Liberty. We shared fried mac and cheese balls and crispy crab sandwich, which were great for a restaurant with a fast-food atmosphere. This place specializes in burgers, and we wished we had had another day to come and taste one of them.
That evening we went to a circus show that I highly recommend called ERA. We bought tickets in advance. I’ve seen a lot of musicals and shows, but this show was breathtaking in the acrobatics and flexibility of the participants. An unforgettable experience that sums up 3 busy but great days in magical Shanghai.