Shanghai – the new, modern China that is probably more “western” than any other place I visited.

Nites

Oh my gosh!  The Waterhouse on South Bund is amazing and I could easily have never left my room (beyond the fact that it faced the Pudong side of the river which was amazing).  If you’re looking for cookie-cutter hotels, this is not your place: there is exposed concrete, brick, and steel everywhere.  The only place I saw carpeting was in the hallways, which was odd, but I suspect because of the noise that concrete and steel can cause, this is for the benefit of guests.  But the “design” is unique and oddly comforting which is why I forced myself to leave daily!  (The Cool Docks are right across the street and although it didn’t really offer me much while I was there, I suspect that this, too, is going to be the “it” place to go in the very near future.

Bites

If you only have one night in Shanghai – heck only one night in China! – you must, must, go to Wujie on the Bund (22 Zhongshan East Road [as there is another Wujie that is more casual]).  The staff are attentive, without being intrusive, and the design – both of the space and the uniforms – is so well thought-out that I was blown away.  And the food is absolutely divine!  Predominantly mushroom based, I found the food flavourful, stunningly plated, and very filling.  There is a tasting menu available – that really doesn’t cost much more than the a la carte menu – but as this was my first time, I wanted to choose my meals.  Next time, I WILL be doing the chef’s tasting menu.  Know in advance that this is a vegetarian restaurant, but one that serves wine (thankfully) and, in one week’s time (as of this writing) may just earn its first Michelin Star

Sites

There are sites everywhere in Shanghai, no matter what corner you turn.  Like most people – locals and visitors alike – you can’t visit Shanghai without walking along the Bund: running along the Huangpu river, the sites across the river to the Pudong are stunning.  Likewise, some of the old “western-style” buildings across the road from the pedestrian walkway, are gorgeous as well.  But most stunning is at night: there is literally a light show on the buildings of the Pudong that will hold your gaze for hours (unless you’re at the Waterhouse in room 31 which has direct views to the light show!).

The Wujiang Road from the Bund is basically a pedestrian only walking street.  It’s cool and gives you a sense of an Eastern pedestrian only street which I quite enjoyed.  But reader beware: there are “hawkers” everywhere offering bags and watches and they are really persistent.  There is also an odd thing that happens, that I’m really not sure what’s happening, but it is without a doubt that you will be approached by a young woman – you’ll see her walk straight toward you – and when she gets close, she’ll say something, but I have no idea what it is.  Being the skeptic that I am, I suspect prostitution – I thought I heard one whisper “sex” – but, regardless, stay clear and be on your way and your trip will be amazing.

Shanghai is an amazing place, and one that I would certainly want to return to.  It’s arguably the most modern of China’s cities, if not the most western, but when taken in to consideration with the rest of China and what it has to offer, it really shouldn’t be missed!

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