Shanghai – Jewel of the Orient

Think about the Far East and you’d normally think of a long break to make the twelve-hour-plus flights worthwhile. However, it is equally possible to enjoy somewhere like Shanghai in just four short days.

Shanghai has grown rapidly since the colonial days of the 1800s and is a city of two halves… the Bund–the waterfront of the old side—is a living, breathing museum of those colonial days. In contrast, on the other side of the Huangpu River, lies Pudong, the ultra-modern business hub with the 632m Shanghai Tower. Currently the world’s second highest building, the tower also boasts the world’s fastest elevator and some breathtaking views over a cityscape that looks more like a model from that height.

Pudong also boasts some of the world’s best hotels—the Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton and Shangri-La to name a few—and drinks on one of their roof-top bars is a must-do! (The “Top of the Ritz” is an unforgettable experience, with a wonderful view of the iconic Pearl Tower…)

Back to the Bund, you’ll find all kinds of drinking and dining experiences hiding amongst the back streets and at the top of unassuming elevators found through small doorways . Do your research and you’ll be guaranteed a treat!

While the public transport system is excellent, you’ll get the best experience of this bustling city—a city that never sleeps—on foot.

Yu Gardens

For a spot of time-out, how about the five-acre Yu Gardens with picturesque bridges zig-zagging over abundantly filled koi ponds. Beautiful wooden buildings  delight the eyes, while Pudong looms in the background to remind you that you are, indeed, still in the city.

For the adventurous—if you have nerves of steel and an iron stomach, you could try the “Wet Market” with such culinary delights as “Salt and Pepper Snake”, or fried frogs. The hygiene standards here leave a lot to be desired (they would probably score negative by UK health and safety standards!) but it’s worth a visit for the tacky neon lights and the spectacle of the place even if you’re not planning to put anything in your mouth!

Outside the city, a more serene pace of life is easily accessible. There are small villages with tea plantations where Westerners are very uncommon (expect the locals to want photos with you!) and the way of life is extremely simple. It’s a huge contrast to the busy, modern life of Shanghai, and a very humbling, and hospitable experience; you may even be invited in for tea!

There’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy a short trip to Shanghai, especially if you’re good at sleeping on flights! There’s plenty of relaxation, plenty of spectacle, and plenty of opportunity for business to be done.  So if the Far East is on your wishlist for your next event, you know where we are!

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