Visit China: Things to do in Shanghai

For anyone looking to spend some time in the largest city in China, check out some of the things you should try out when visiting Shanghai.

Image credit to wikipedia
On our third trip to the market on Nanjing road East, in downtown Shanghai, the sales men and women heralded us with 'Australian, hello!! Thanks for coming back!' as we perused the four floors of stalls. Quite daunting to first timers, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and end up buying something you don't really want, or paying too much for the things you have chosen. My goal, as a starting point, was to buy a suitcase, five winter jackets, a pair of shoes and gifts for about 6 friends back home. Of course I came away with that and more, but I was happy with my purchases!

The reason we made three trips to this particular market was due to our limited time. I don't like being bullied into a sale, which can sometimes happen to the unsuspecting tourist, so I took two visits to look around the market, and on the third trip, I bought what I wanted. I am a bit of a market nut for all of those souvenirs and presents that I want to bring back home with me, and these markets had everything I wanted, and more. I also find it enjoyable to barter with the smiling sales people who will pitch their sale in Chinese, English, Spanish or Russian. “I do not understand”, is not an option.

Another pleasure in Shanghai is dining. I recommend you find Yangs Fried Dumplings. Almost a hole-in-the-wall food stall it boasts the best Chinese dumplings I've ever tasted. Take time to sit down though (or squat as the locals do) because you can't eat these flavorsome, juicy delicacies whilst you walk! For a more substantial meal we ignored all of the westernized restaurants on the tourist strip and walked along one of the back streets, dodging scooters and bicycles, past what seemed like hundreds of restaurants. Going with gut instinct we chose a clean-looking shop that was populated by locals and two waitresses ready with a smile.
Most restaurants have an English menu available if you ask for it, or do as we did and just order from the pictures! If you feel adventurous try one of the local specialties. Chicken foot soup is very good for your health and jellyfish has an amusing crunch to it! Wash it down as the locals do with a cold Tsing Tao or two. We also ate from the many street vendors late at night. Always choose the one with the hottest grill plate and the freshest looking meat. The smells that came from those stalls are mouthwatering and the flavours varied from good to outstanding!
With a reliable rail network, it has become a popular destination for those looking for a good launching point to see China. For example, board a train to Xi'an and see the famous Terracotta Warriors or take the comfortable high speed train to Beijing and explore parts of the Great Wall from there.