Layovers are not always perfectly placed in time, I would even say that they are usually a challenge when it comes to time. Would it not be perfect to start at 8 am and have at least 12 hours in a new place? We all wish for ideal time frames that you can plan and modify as needed. Sometimes we come face to face with some difficult hours and need to make the best of it. Shanghai was that kind of challenge for us, we had one day, but it started at 3 pm. What is there to see in just a few hours regardless of time of day?
What to see and do during one day in Shanghai?
We landed at Pudong Airport at 2:50 pm and after we left our baggage in the airport storage lockers we took off for downtown. We rode the Maglev train and metro to the city and arrived around 5 pm. Taking under consideration the winter season and huge smog, it was almost dark outside even at 5pm. We checked into our hotel and immediately left for The Bund.
It is a 1.5 kilometers (almost 1 mile) long promenade alongside right side of Huangpu River. There you will find 52 colonial buildings and on the opposite side of the river, the Pudong skyline will amaze you. Pudong is an economical center with Shanghai’s architectural symbols, such as the: Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower or Shanghai World Financial Center.
Bund Sightseeing Tunnel
Located underneath the Huangpu River, the tunnel connects the Bund with Pudong. The distance between them is 650 meters (0.4 mile) which you cross in about 5 minutes riding in a glass trolley. During the ride you experience a multimedia show about the history of China including sound effects and beautiful changing scenery. You can use the tunnel everyday between 8 am and 10 pm and roundtrip ticket cost is 70 CNY (11 USD) per person.
Oriental Pearl Tower
The Oriental Pearl is a TV tower located in Pudong neighborhood. Until 2007 it was the highest building in China with a height of 468 meters (1535 feet). It has 15 observation levels with the highest deck named the Space Module at the 350-meter mark (1148 feet). Another attraction at this level is the 4 centimeter (1.5 inch) thick glass floor on the exterior walkway that gives you panoramic views of the city. Inside you will find a revolving restaurant, so if you are hungry that is a place to check out for sure. The tower, thanks to LED lights, changes its outside colors giving an amazing view for the people at night. Entrance fee is 160 CNY (25 USD).
If I may suggest something, even though I did not get a chance to go there, is the Yu Garden. It is a botanical garden that sits on 5 acres of land and was built during the reign of the Ming Dynasty in 1559. From all the materials that I have read it looks like it is a place really worth going. Besides the green scenery you will find multiple halls, bridges and pavilions; but the biggest attraction is apparently the 5-ton Jade Stone. This rare mineral has 72 holes drilled in it and the interesting part is when you pour water into it, the water will come out from all those holes at the same time, same goes with blowing smoke through it. The Yu Garden is located 1.5 kilometer (1 mile) from The Bund, to get there it should be about a 20-minute walk.
For tips on what you should know before arriving in Shanghai click here.