The bright lights of Shanghai

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Shanghai is the fastest growing city in the world and the poster child for China’s staggering economic development. It is unlike anywhere else in China as it seems to be as familiar with New York as it is with Beijing.

The Bund is Shanghai’s centrepiece – a strip of 19th century colonial skyscrapers that sit on the bank of the Huangpu River.  It is now dwarfed by the skyscrapers on the other side of the river in Pudong, where some of the world’s tallest buildings stand. Locals call the view from the Bund ‘the best night-view in the world’ and it is easy to see why when Pudong’s skyscrapers are illuminated.

For westerners Shanghai is about cosmopolitan dining, trendy bars and modern art – Chinese style.  However wherever you go you can find pockets of traditional charm. The Yuyuan Bazaar and the Taikang Arts Centre show tourists Shanghai’s shy yet endearing side. But for the truly bizarre then take the underwater Bund Sightseeing Tunnel across the river, which is like something from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

If you’re prone to culture shock, then Shanghai is a great gateway into China. It’s easy to navigate and there is so much to see and do there. Like London and New York it is truly an international city, but one that belongs to the 21st century and one with a unique Chinese character.

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