Shanghai

Blogger: Fiona & Glenn

Located on the Yangtze River delta, Shanghai was a major trade town for centuries. Following the establishment of the Shanghai International Settlement and the French Concession the city flourished as a center of commerce between east and west. Some of Shanghai’s most renowned tourist sites include the Bund and the Yuyuan Gardens.

The Bund, Shanghai’s famous waterfront, is an architectural exhibition with 26 buildings of different styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance located on the west side of the Bund. An evening stroll along the Bund is a must. Time it correctly and you’ll capture day and night photos!

The Yuyuan Gardens located in the centre of Shanghai’s old city. Believed to be over 400 years old the exquisite layout and beautiful scenery have made the garden one of the highlights of Shanghai. Located on the lake is the oldest tea house in China. The Huxinting Tea House is a beautiful building which comes to life after dark with hundreds of LEDs. Step inside for a cup of Chinese tea, but be warned, it’s costly!! Located next to the gardens is the Yuyuan Market, your one stop shop for every trinket you could imagine. Be sure to check out this Shanghai highlight.

For something a little less touristy check out the match making in the People’s Park every weekend. Internet dating in China hasn’t hit western popularity highs, with young and old still favouring traditional means. Certainly worth a look to gain an insight into Chinese cultures and customs.

If Huxinting Teahouse wasn’t enough tea for you, an hour outside of Shanghai is the lakeside town of Hangzhou. Most renowned for the scenic West Lake our visit focused on the terraced Tea Plantation in the hills above Hangzhou. In the Meijiawu village the green tea leaves are harvested over a ten day period each year so our visit was well timed. This particular variety of tea plant benefits from higher altitude as it relies on spring water streams for nutrient rich natural irrigation so the fresher the better. Once picked, these Longjing leaves are pan roasted within 1-2 hours for 30 minutes to keep the flavour fresh. They also give some nice extra flavour to a bowl of prawns! If you fancy a visit, organising a private guide is your best option as buses and taxis are incredibly difficult to catch from the village. When in China, you have to visit a tea plantation!!

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