City Visit: Getting into Shanghai, China

The bustling metropolis of Shanghai, China has always been high on my list as one of the world’s places to explore. It’s got historic waterfront mixed with contemporary towers amid advanced technology. The city turned out to be an excellent stopover, instead being the sole focus of your international trip.

This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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City Visit: Shanghai, China

“A spectacular city steeped in history with the glamorous Bund, that is desperately lacking personality as compared to its colonial cousin Hong Kong”

During our stay in Shanghai, we explored the city for 3 days and saw some great sights. Overall, Shanghai had some cosmopolitan glamour but was desperately lacking the personality of its other colonial cousin Hong Kong. While you’ll never mix up the two, Shanghai makes for an interesting stop over and we were glad we were able to spend a few days in town.

Touring the Yu Yan Gardens:

Close to the hotel, the touristy Yu Yan Gardens offered a bazaar of shopping sights amid traditionally decorated structures. It’s a bit touristy but what you’d expect for the epicentre of “traditional china”

Yu Yan Gardens
Yu Yan Gardens
Yu Yan Gardens

Capitalism meets communism.

Capitalism meets Communism at the Yu Yan Gardens

Walking “The Bund”:

The Bund reminded me of the Avenue of the Stars in Kowloon, Hong Kong. However, Shanghai did not have the personality of Hong Kong and it was my impression that it was trying desperately hard to get one. It’s a pretty impressive sight by day with the river boats passing by and the walk was wide enough that we were able to come back for a morning run or two.

The historic Bund

Shanghai Skyline
The Shanghai Skyline
The Historic Bund Buildings

Hanging out in The French Concession:

The French Concession was both mixed in age (Xianzifang) and modernized restaurants (Xiantandi). Xiantandi seemed slick and missing a soul. The cool elegance of Xiantandi and it’s immaculate streets. 

The leafy French Concession
The French Concession
The French Concession

Stopping for drinks at the Hyatt Regency.

The Hyatt Regency Patio
Stopping for a Martini at the Hyatt Regency

The lights of Shanghai by night:

The buildings of Shanghai were impressive by day, but as new Shanghai met old Shanghai at sun fall, the city is very nicely decorated and illuminated in an impressive glow of color.

Yuyan Gardens By Night

The Yu Yan Gardens by Night

The Bund by Night:

The fabulous Bund by night. It was truly a treat to be able to walk here at night, and even better to take it in on a run in the morning. The memory of the cityscape view was seared into my mind. It was sort of like seeing Table Mountain in Capetown South Africa – you never forget the square block of that mountain. 

The Bund is spectacular at night
The Bund’s lights
The Bund Skyline by Night
The Bund Skyline by Night


Visiting Shanghai was a good experience that allowed us to take in a lot of sights. Most impressive was the Bund lit up at night. While there were not many attractions other than the sky line to visit, we made the most of our time here.

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