Shanghai financial district by night by Sjekster
Why should you choose Shanghai for your year abroad?Shanghai is London on steroids, and that’s all you need to know. Where else can you find a golden Buddhist temple in the middle of a busy main road (Jing An Temple)? Where else can you find the glaringly gorgeous skyline of The Bund? Or China’s take on New York City’s ‘Times Square’? Shanghai, as the financial and entertainment centre of China, boasts the brash and the beautiful, and the two come together in the most giddy and flamboyant fashion.Shopping? You got it – Nanjing Road has all the well-known brands, and a bustling Apple store to boot. Xintiandi and its shikumen – Chinese houses that have European influences on their design - has a more gentrified atmosphere, and up-market brands you’ve never even heard of reside there. A well-guarded secret is Tianzifang, almost like Shanghai’s version of hutongs where you can find all sorts of bric-a-brac (and a kooky authentic Indian restaurant). If you venture out of the city, some of the most beautiful water villages, such as Zhujiajiao, can be found, along with the locals’ welcoming hospitality. Often just an hour’s bus ride away, these are not to be missed if you want to get out of the frantic streets of Shanghai. Food-wise, juicy xiaolongbao dumplings are to be tasted and adored, along with fun-sized pumpkin fritters!
Shanghai is not known as the ‘Paris of the East’ for no reason. It exudes class, a financial clout to be reckoned with and a robust Shanghai state of mind all of its own. Just don’t get the locals started on whether Shanghai or Beijing is better…