Flights to Shanghai: China's bustling commercial capital

Experience Shanghai

The first thing you'll notice about Shanghai is how friendly the locals are. Shanghainese nod politely to the thousands of tourists sightseeing on The Bund, a curved embankment that parallels the Huangpu River. After returning the compliment, turn your gaze across the river to Pudong New Area’s ever-changing skyline, currently dominated by two giant skyscrapers, the Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower.

Eat and drink

Dumplings. Hot pot. Street food. The eating in Shanghai is so, so good. Drop in to any one of Din Tai Fung's several Shanghai locations where the famous soup dumplings will make you an instant believer. For something with a bit more zing, Qimin Organic Hot Pot on Shaanxi Road serves up a choice of spicy broths with fresh pork, veges, and seafood for dipping.

Get cultured

It’s tough to decide which to hit first during your holiday: Shanghai Museum's dazzling collections of Chinese artefacts or the Urban Planning Exhibition Center's vast scale model of the city, in People's Park. The art crowd flocks to the funky M50 district along Suzhou Creek, where dozens of galleries are housed in crumbling factory buildings and many local artists live on-site.

Free and cheap

After your flight to Shanghai, stretch your legs on a walk through the swarming city streets. Hawkers sell every conceivable item (Sunglasses? Roller skates? Kitchen sink?) Cobblers heal worn soles. Food stalls positively sizzle with the aromas of spicy Uyghur lamb kebabs and fish balls. You'll spot monks, street musicians, international businessmen and, of course, fellow tourists looking totally perplexed by it all. It’s life's rich pageant on parade, all day, every day – and it's completely free.

Fast facts

Getting about: Taxis are cheap and plentiful in Shanghai. Just make sure you can pronounce the name of your destination. Or get it written down. Otherwise, be prepared to have an adventure!

Population: In 2010, Shanghai became the world's largest 'city proper' (defined as a city excluding its suburbs), with over 23 million residents. That's five times the population of New Zealand!

Key dates: Shanghai’s status as a centre of international trade began with the Treaty of Nanking in 1842.

Did you know? More than 80 percent of Shanghai's skyscrapers have been constructed since 1990. At 1,614ft, the Shanghai World Financial Center is the city – and China's – tallest.

Shanghai Hotels

Our Shanghai hotel choices range from the posh Portman Ritz-Carlton, where visiting dignitaries stay, to old-world Ruijin in the heart of the French Concession. Go classic with The Bund’s Fairmont Peace Hotel or stay close to retail heaven at the Sofitel on Nanjing Road.

Shanghai Restaurants

Make a dumpling house one of your first Shanghai restaurant stops – trust us, you'll want to go back. Local champ Din Tai Fung has several locations on both sides of the river. For upscale Art Deco elegance and great seasonal choices, M On The Bund is where it’s at.

Shopping in Shanghai

It’s the city's famous markets where the real Shanghai shopping action goes down. Check out the Fuyou Antique Market or, for an off-the-beaten track choice, try the lovely little Taikang Lu complex, replete with small independent shops and open-air cafés.

Shanghai Nightlife

Whatever your tastes, Shanghai's nightlife can sate them. Catch acrobats at the Shanghai Centre Theatre, then settle down for some pints at German beer hall Paulaner Brauhaus. As the night wears on, hit the dance floor at Muse or glam with the jet set at Bar Rouge.

Shanghai Attractions

Our pick of Shanghai attractions is a mix of old and new. Sip tea at the 1784 Huxingting Teahouse in Old Town or take a high-speed elevator 88 floors up to Jin Mao Tower’s observation deck, for panoramic views of the bustling metropolis below.

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