Shanghai

 If you’re looking for a taste of old Taipei, then head for the Wan Hua district. Located on the Dan Shui River, Wan Hua was an important Chinese trading post and the prosperity of the period is reflected in its ornate temples, one of which is the Lungshan temple. Another historic part of the city is the Da Tong (Tatung) district. Among the winding alleys you will find European style colonial buildings standing beside intricate Chinese temples.

Take a stroll down Di Hua Street, which is lined with traditional shops selling all manner of potions and cure-alls! The Shi Lin (Shihlin) district is renowned for its bustling night market, whilst Taipei’s vibrant night scene bumps and grinds until the early hours in nearby Da An (Ta An). In the bustle of modern Taipei, Zhong Shan (Chungshan) the former commercial centre is now known for its shops, bars and cultural sights, which include the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The current hub of commercial activities, Song Shan (Sungshan) is also one of the most cosmopolitan districts and packed with foreign restaurants. Zhong Zheng (Chungcheng), the political centre, is home to municipal parks and museums, of which the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is the most renowned.

Scenic spot

1. The Bund

Shanghai’s best-known street is impressive at any time of day, but it’s at its most glam in the evening when floodlighting illuminates the colonial piles and the neon across the river in Pudong gaudily glitters. Take a stroll along the waterfront walkway and watch Shanghai go by.

Address: The Bund, Shanghai

2. Urban Planning Museum

It may sound a little weird, but this place is fascinating. There are photographic exhibitions of Shanghai old and new, but the pièce de résistance is a huge, fantastically detailed model of the way Shanghai will look in the decades to come.

Address: 100 Renmin Dadao, Shanghai

3. Shanghai Museum

The Urban Planning Museum features the future, while the Shanghai Museum provides a glimpse into the past. Outstanding displays of 120,000 pieces including ancient Chinese ceramics, bronzes and paintings fill this five-storey space.

Address: 201 Renmin Avenue, Shanghai

Shopping

If you like things made to measure, Shanghai is a shopping Mecca. The Fabric Market has recently been pulled up from its down-at-the-heel roots and relocated to 399 Lujiabang Road. Cashmere coats, silk dresses, work suits and shirts – all can be created just the way you like them. Some items are also sold off the peg if you’re going for custom-made, it’s a good idea to bring a garment for copying.

For knick-knacks and so-called antiques, head to Dongtai Road where several streets of stalls sell everything from Chairman Mao memorabilia to Buddhas, 1920s gramophones and Tibetan painted sideboards. For ‘antique’ furniture and other things decorative, head to Hongqiao Road in the west of the city.

Meanwhile, Tai Kang Road features more upscale boutiques selling jewellery, pottery and leatherwear, while Xintiandi has everything from clothes to cushions to cocktails. Shanghai’s main shopping streets are the pedestrianized and neon-decorated Nanjing Road at the high-street end of the market (check out the wonderful chopsticks shop at number 387 if you need gifts to take home) and Huaihai Road where the designer labels hang out. And then, of course, there’s the Bund. Try Three on the Bund for seven floors of glamour (including the Shanghai Gallery of Art).  Call 00843 825 2684 to be AVAIGO consultation.

(CT)