ELSE­WHERE…

WHEN­EVER I TELL SOME­ONE THAT SHANG­HAI IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE CITIES IN THE WORLD, I’M USU­ALLY MET WITH A QUES­TION­ING LOOK, FOL­LOWED BY A, “RE­ALLY? WHY?”. IT’S BUSY AND CHAOTIC, SURE, AND IT OF­TEN HAS A VIS­I­BLE LAYER OF POL­LUTED AIR HANG­ING ABOVE ITS SKYSC

Scout Magazine - - Welcome... - Words: Anas­ta­sia White

Maybe it’s just the shopa­holic in me – Shang­hai is hands-down one of the best places in the world for fake de­signer good­ies and quirky one-off pieces (more on that later). But be­tween the rooftop bars, the his­toric ar­chi­tec­ture and the street food stands that send smoke bil­low­ing into the air, I re­ally do be­lieve that Shang­hai has some­thing for ev­ery­one. With re­mark­able build­ings, gor­geous parks, butt-loads of his­tory and, of course, the shop­ping, it’s lit­tle won­der Shang­hai is called ‘the Paris of the East’ (okay, so it’s vy­ing for the ti­tle with more than 20 other cities, but still…).

The Sights

Per­haps Shang­hai’s most recog­nis­able des­ti­na­tion is The Bund, a river­side walk­way dot­ted with enor­mous old build­ings that of­fers a spec­tac­u­lar view of the more mod­ern Pudong dis­trict on the south side of the Huangpu River. It was once a hub for in­ter­na­tional trade, but these days The Bund has ev­ery­thing from rooftop bars – Bar Rouge is a per­sonal favourite – to mu­se­ums and a weird laser light tun­nel ride that takes you un­der­neath the river. If there’s one place you must visit along The Bund, it’s the Fair­mont Peace Ho­tel - stun­ning in­side and out and the set­ting of part of Steven Spiel­berg’s World War II film, ‘Em­pire of the Sun’, there’s no bet­ter place to play ‘ladies and gen­tle­men’, even if it’s just while you walk in and out of the front doors. En­joy some evening drinks, a bite to eat, then an evening stroll ap­pre­ci­at­ing all of the weird and won­der­ful build­ings Shang­hai has to of­fer. From the Shang­hai World Fi­nan­cial Cen­tre – known to lo­cals as the ‘Bot­tle Opener’ – and the neigh­bour­ing Shang­hai Tower, the world’s sec­ond tallest build­ing, to the fa­mous Ori­en­tal Pearl Tower and the Globe Build­ing, it’s hard to find a bet­ter sky­line than the one vis­i­ble from The Bund.

Imag­ine Times Square and the Champs El­y­sees had a baby, and that baby packed up and moved to China – that’s Nan­jing Lu. Shang­hai’s pre­miere shop­ping street, Nan­jing Lu (‘lu’ means road in Man­darin) stretches from The Bund to Jing’an Tem­ple, of­fer­ing 5km of ho­tels, at­trac­tions and multi-level shop­ping cen­tres. It was cre­ated dur­ing the Qing Dy­nasty (China’s last and long­est dy­nasty) and some of the orig­i­nal shops still stand

to­day. Iron­i­cally, just 2km away, you can visit the res­i­dence of the man re­spon­si­ble for over­throw­ing the Qing Dy­nasty and form­ing the Repub­lic of China, as we know it to­day. The for­mer res­i­dence of Sun Yat-sen, who is con­sid­ered to be the fore­run­ner of ‘demo­cratic’ rev­o­lu­tion in China, has been turned into a mu­seum, filled with arte­facts and in­for­ma­tion about the for­mer pres­i­dent’s life. Af­ter pok­ing around there, it’s def­i­nitely worth tak­ing a walk through the sur­round­ing French Con­ces­sion area. Distinc­tively un-chi­nese in its ar­chi­tec­ture, the area is full of colo­nial brick build­ings and plane tree-lined streets and is ar­guably one of the most beau­ti­ful parts of the city – tied only with parks like Fux­ing, Gongqing and Xu­ji­ahui which are packed with flow­ers, sculp­tures and lo­cals prac­tic­ing tai chi and scream­ing at trees (se­ri­ously).

The Bites

Tucked away in the French Con­ces­sion area is Xin­tiandi, a restau­rant precinct of­fer­ing ev­ery­thing from tra­di­tional Chi­nese, to Mex­i­can, to Green and Safe – part gro­cery store, part restau­rant (with sur­pris­ingly good cock­tails). Xin­tiandi could eas­ily take you from break­fast right through to din­ner, and even dessert – Pree and Go­diva are two su­perb ice­cream stores in the area.

Just a few kilo­me­tres away is an­other restau­rant precinct that’s def­i­nitely worth check­ing out. Taikang Lu is a must-see, al­beit dif­fi­cult to find, labyrinth of al­ley­ways packed with restau­rants, cafes, tea shops and other nov­elty stores. Walk along the un­even cob­ble­stone path­ways and you’ll find quirky sun­glasses, poorly trans­lated sou­venir coin purses and the best hot choco­late ‘bomb’ you’ll ever taste at Kom­mune Café.

The Shops

I’d be ly­ing if I said that shop­ping wasn’t my main rea­son for trav­el­ling to Shang­hai – it’s truly spec­tac­u­lar. See­ing as the coun­try’s name fea­tures on more toys, clothes, bags, shoes and ac­ces­sories than prob­a­bly any other, there’s no bet­ter place to come for all of your cheap knock off and ‘I can’t be­lieve it’s not Ba­len­ci­aga’ needs. While po­lice have been crack­ing down on stores sell­ing fake wares in re­cent years, there are a few good mar­kets still stand­ing. My per­sonal favourite is the Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy mar­ket, lo­cated un­der­neath the Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Mu­seum in what’s es­sen­tially the sub­way sta­tion. This mar­ket is im­pos­si­bly huge, and has ev­ery­thing – se­ri­ously, you can buy Louis Vuit­ton lug­gage and crys­tal-em­bel­lished trucker hats from the same store. An­other mar­ket worth check­ing out is the Hongqiao Pearl Mar­ket. Whilst sig­nif­i­cantly smaller than it was in its hey­day, the Pearl Mar­ket will see you through if it’s a Tif­fany neck­lace or a Grey’s Anatomy box set (China’s video pi­rates haven’t ex­actly caught on to the whole Net­flix thing just yet). If I can of­fer one word of ad­vice for shop­ping in the mar­kets, though, it’s have your wits about you – rip­ping you off is the name of the stall­holder’s game, so of­fer half of what­ever price they orig­i­nally tell you and go from there.

In sharp con­trast to the ‘mar­kets of mass pro­duc­tion’ are the many one-off and cus­tom-made pieces you can score in Shang­hai. Changle Lu is Shang­hai’s ‘in­die’ area, lined with vin­tage and sec­ond-hand stores that can of­fer quite the bar­gain if you’re will­ing to spend some time there. You can’t al­ways be sure if the items are gen­uine or not, but you can cer­tainly walk away know­ing no one else will be wear­ing it back home. And for the ul­ti­mate one-off, head to the South Bund Fab­ric Mar­ket. It’s set up like all of Shang­hai’s multi-floor mar­kets, but the stores in the Fab­ric Mar­ket look sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent – they’re filled with fab­ric (go fig­ure) ready to be made into what­ever you de­sire. Prices here aren’t nec­es­sar­ily dirt cheap – a skirt will prob­a­bly cost you $20-$50, de­pend­ing on the style and ma­te­rial – but if you’ve got a favourite item that you want more of or a de­sign in mind, this is your one-stop shop.

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