Wednesday, 26 November 2014

My Ideal Weekend Getaway in Shanghai

 (in assoc. with Carlson Shanghai)

Club Carlson Shanghai got in touch with me to outline MY IDEAL WEEKEND IN SHANGHAI. I've lived in Shanghai for nearly three months now, and I am still discovering new parts of the city every week. I can only speak up til now, but I think I have  found some of the best highlights of the city, both the tourist attractions worth visiting and the best-kept secrets. I've separated it into days for easy reading.


Check-in to the Radisson Blu and get your first glimpse of the all-enticing Asian metropolis. If your room view isn't enough, try the 360 views in their restaurant. Head to nearby East Nanjing Road (or, even better, avoid the 'more Western' brands that you would find back home and walk parallel to it; Jiujiang Rd or Hankou Rd). 

Here you'll find independent coffee shops, Shanghai's Foreign Languages Bookstore, and, my personal favourite, the very individual postcard shop located in the lobby of Captain Hostel on Fuzhou Road. After spending anything from half an hour to two hours strolling through these streets, you'll arrive at the iconic Bund - the colonial architecture on the river front - which dramatically contrasts the skyline in Pudong.

If the street food wasn't enough - roasted chestnuts, fried dumplings, tofu, corn on the cob - then it's time to experience my all-time favourite way to eat in China: malatang (麻辣汤). Ask at the Radisson Blu front desk for your nearest, and dip your head as you walk into a restaurant filled with locals (when in Shanghai..., or, in Chinese, 入乡随俗!). There's a fridge full of baskets with raw vegetables, tofu, noodles and meat - pick the food that most appeals and it will be cooked for you on the spot in a broth. Alternatively, if you're looking for something a little more formal, check out spicy Sichuan Hot Pot.

For Friday night, as far as I am concerned the only place to be is Monkey Champagne for an amazing Hip Hop DJ set and an amazing vibe. It's located in the French Concession, so there are plenty of bars to check out before going into the club. If you're craving something sweet after dinner, don't miss Bistro Burger's milkshakes (or, for the adventurous, their Spiked Milkshakes).


After last night, it's time to have a healthy brunch wake up: head straight to Element Fresh. It's got an amazing brunch menu as well as deliciously filling salads, as well as some Chinese classics. 

If you're into shopping, West Nanjing Road has a good variety of high-end and high street, as well as some exclusively Chinese brands. The street is also a gorgeous place to stroll down. Alternatively, if you'd rather do something a little more concrete, Tianzifang 田子坊 is a maze of independent boutiques, stalls, eateries and much more. It's a great insight into all the weird and wonderful things China has to offer. 

In the afternoon, take a moment out of the hectic pace of Shanghai and relax into the peaceful Yu Gardens. They're traditional Chinese gardens dating back to Ming dynasty. (Around Yu Gardens there are also amazing shopping opportunities in the 'bazaar', from souvenirs to precious stones and everything in between). 

Head back to the French Concession in the evening and try out Dr. Wine. They've got the best wine list in Shanghai and the food is perfect for sharing; crusty pizzas, chicken skewers and cheese plates. It's very atmospheric.
(If you fancy going to a club again, Bar Rouge or M1NT on the Bund are surreal; cheap cover fee, and each with its own selling point: Bar Rouge is a roof top bar on the Bund, M1NT has a shark tank...)


Go for breakfast in Jing'An, an area with a genuine feel about it and good eating options. My favourite is Sumerian (the coffee, the cookies and the bagels are amazing). Get there earlyish as the tiny airy space fills up on weekends. 

Sunday is cultural day, and for this head straight to M50 (by Metro or by taxi). The area is a creative art district and is as exhilarating as it is fascinating. Spend as long or as little as you like here, but you can't visit Shanghai without seeing this individual part of the city. The Rockbund Art Museum is also a great option. 
Alternatively, check out a temple such as the gold Jing'An temple

The weekend getaway is coming to an end, so sample as much street food as you can and get ready to keep reliving moments from this weekend for a very long time.

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Ph. courtesy of me and here.

1 comment

  1. Love the photos and the commentry...can't wait to visit!


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