Exploring Surprising Sophisticated Shanghai China: New Pudong
This fabled Chinese city has everything -- cosmopolitan Bund, the energetic modern Pudong, traditional neighborhoods, and even an area called Chinatown in China. A visit to Shanghai, a huge sprawling city of almost 14 million, will bust every stereotype and image. One place to start your explorations is in the high-tech, futuristic Pudong.
Shanghai is a traveler’s delight with attractions, hotels, and places to explore around every corner. The Huangpu River not only provides great views of both sides of the city, but creates a division between its older and newer parts.
PudongThe newest and most decidedly futuristic area is Pudong (which means “east of Huangpu”). As is the way of China – it’s bigger than life, like the predictions of the urban future with multi-use mega-skyscrappers interspersed with green areas.
Shanghai World Financial CenterThe vertically sprawling, sleekly contemporary Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC), the pagoda-inspired Jin Mao tower and the comparatively smaller but definitely futuristic Pearl Tower have all created a synergy of modern, sleek, high-tech in the new financial district. This part of the city vibrates with energy. And, between the SWFC and Jin Mao, there’s always fine food, shopping, and entertainment.
The newest building is also the tallest and the most elaborate. The Shanghai World Financial Center, completed in 2008, features 101 floors above ground level and soars to a height of 1614 feet. It is the world’s third tallest building (after Taipei 101 and the number one tallest, the Burj Dubai. It is a vertical city with office space, an observatory, offices, restaurants and shops, and the five-star luxury of the Park Hyatt Hotel.
Jin Mao BuildingJust down the road is the differently amazing Jin Mao Building. No tiny construction, it is the 8th tallest in the world at 1379 feet with offices, a deluxe 5-star hotel - the Grand Hyatt Shanghai, exhibition halls, banquet halls, an observation deck, and entertainment facilities. Although the pagoda elements are there, they appear transformed through an art-deco lens. The effect is oddly ethereal.
Jin Mao and SWFC are neighbors and the view of Jin Mao from SWFC is particularly striking.
Oriental Pearl TowerAlthough not as tall as the other buildings, the Pearl Tower (at 1,536 feet) offers its own futuristic architecture that reflects its function as a television and radio tower. Visitors can almost imagine power pulsing up and down the columns.
The base of the tower is supported by three slanting “leg” stanchions. Then, there are the eleven steel spheres that are strung vertically through the center of the tower.
There are several observation areas, restaurants and a shopping mall, and at the base of the Pearl Tower is the Shanghai historical museum. And it’s a wonderful place to visit. Tableaux depict scenes of history, and cobbled streets lead from one area to another. From the beginnings of the city through the opium dens that were part of the Opium wars and the British domination, to domestic scenes of restaurants, herb shops, and street life. Pieces of history flow by. Exhibits explain the story behind the colonial architecture - the buildings that enchant visitors come from the carving up of the city by the French and the British in earlier times. But this is not an indictment of the horrors of colonialism, it is instead an acknowledgment of the variegated history that has created the complexity of the city – its architecture, its story, and its people.
Lujiazui Central Green BeltThis is the green space that adds nature to the mix of mega-buildings. The green turf stays green most of the year, and is set off by the human-created lake and fountains. There’s art and strolling paths making it a green oasis in the bustling city.
Pudong Riverside PromenadeOne of the most popular areas to amble along, enjoying the view of the Bund - day or night. Walkers also enjoy a great view of Shanghai International Convention Center and its twin globes and the kiosks flanking the walkway. It’s a favored activity for both locals and visitors.
More of PudongIt’s easy to spend whole days just exploring this section of Shanghai - especially with the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Shanghai Natural Wild-Insect Kingdom, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, and Century Park (the largest park of the city of Shanghai).
For more information go to the official Shanghai travel website