Week in the Clouds: Exploring Shanghai

American Flagship Lounge New York, American Business Class New York to San Francisco
American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles, American Business Class Los Angeles to Shanghai
Park Hyatt Shanghai
Exploring Shanghai
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge Shanghai, American Business Class Shanghai to Los Angeles

Prior to this trip I hadn’t been to Shanghai in years, so I was curious to see how it changed. For whatever reason I wasn’t a huge fan of Shanghai the last time I visited. I far preferred Beijing, which has lots more to see.

Anyway, I actually really liked Shanghai this time around. It has really transformed into being the New York of China (not that it wasn’t before, but it has grown into the part even more). The fact that I visited in January was awful in terms of weather, since it was freezing and just about raining the entire time. So in terms of weather it sucked. The nice thing was that I visited right after the Chinese New Year, so a lot of the decorations were still up, which are beautiful.

One of my favorite areas of Shanghai is Xintiandi, an entertainment district with plenty of shopping and outdoor cafes. During my last visit to Shanghai in summer it was one of the highlights for me, though unfortunately this time around just about everything was closed given how cold it was.

I then visited the Bund, which boasts amazing views of the Shanghai skyline. In the picture below you can see the World Financial Center which houses the Park Hyatt. It’s the building that looks a bit like a bottle opener.

I also visited Shanghai Old Street, which apparently isn’t all that old. This is where I met my new best friend, who happened to get me a great deal on pearls.

Of course despite the traditional look they still managed to have a Dairy Queen and Starbucks. 😉

I then visited Yuyuan Garden, a Chinese garden right by the Old City.

The highlight, of course, was the Tower Of Containing Watery Jade! 😀

Adjacent to the People’s Square is the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center which I wanted to visit.

Unfortunately it’s “close” on Mondays.

Anyway, I had a fantastic time in Shanghai. I still think Beijing is a better place to visit if you’re into culture and historical sites, though Shanghai is incredibly metropolitan and exciting as well. I’ll probably be back in Shanghai soon given that American doesn’t have all that many destinations in Asia, though next time want to make  side trip to the new Park Hyatt Ningbo, just a couple of hours outside of Shanghai.

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Filed Under: Travel, Trip Reports
  1. Do you do any advance prep on the places you’re going to visit (history, culture, politics, etc.) or do you just drop in cold?

  2. @ JetAway — Depends where I’m going. For city trips, like this one, I usually don’t do all that much advance prep. When I have a few days I usually literally randomly wander the first day without any plans, and then have a more structured plan for the next couple of days with the help of the concierge and Google.

  3. Next time, check out the Tianzifang district in the French Concession on Taikang Lu. It’s like Xintiandi but less touristy and more interesting (it’s where the real expats go). Full of cafes, restaurants, and small art shops. There’s plenty of history and culture in Shanghai, it’s just not as tourist-friendly as Beijing’s.

    If you go to Ningbo, be sure to stop in Hangzhou as well.

  4. Lucky – really enjoy your reports on exploring cities. While some of us can’t fly first or business all the time due to lack of travel, we can certainly explore all the sites you do and I find it extremely valuable. Please keep the city reports coming!

  5. Michael is spot on re: Taikang Lu. It is more rustic with people still living in the area, laundry on the line, electrical lines handing across alleys, etc.

    You can get turned around in a matter of two blocks which is, in itself, a possible sign of authenticty in China.

  6. Aman hotel anywhere in Asia. Bhutan, river cruise in Burma or just Burma but prices are skyrocketing. Bali is back but a villa or Aman Hotel. New Qantas route Santiago-Sydney you can burn your miles QF and Lan. Bangkok has great 6 star hotel deals at the moment. Though the hottest in Asia is really Burma. Though not many hotels to redeem points in, New Park Hyatt Sydney is just about to open but heard no award rooms for first year. Remember AA code shares on a lot of QF flights down under and in Asia.

  7. hello,

    can someone comment if they have recently visited Manhattan bar there? i hear there are some good selection for ladies of the night

  8. Hey Tom – do you have any sense of humor at all? Or are you just one of these morally superior dead fish who likes to “judge” others? It’s meant as a chuckle! Geez!

  9. What do you mean by you still ‘thing’ Beijing is a better place to visit. Don’t/didn’t you mean ‘think’

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