Eastern China is the country's boom-belt and its heart is the Pearl of the Orient, Shanghai, a city which was recently wonderfully described to me as "Hong Kong on steroids.” Shanghai is the country's most modern city, but manages to retain both its Chinese and European history and its economic development is also helping a renaissance in culture and the arts, along with a shopping and nightlife scene matched only by Beijing and Hong Kong. Around Shanghai, the Water Towns have picturesque canals lined with classic Ming architecture and can make for great day trips, and a little further out, the city of Suzhou offers more of the same, albeit on a larger scale, along with some of the country's finest gardens and the opportunity for some serious silk shopping. Nearly 100 miles south along the Grand Canal, the former Southern Song dynasty (1126-1279) capital of Hangzhou is set on pretty West Lake and is a prime tea-growing region. Away from the lake the city is much like any other Chinese city, but the surrounding countryside and its smattering of temples and tea villages make for some excellent bike rides. Some 110 miles west of Hangzhou, Huangshan is arguably the most beautiful of eastern China's mountains and offers the region's finest scenery and best hiking. The mountain's mist-shrouded, jagged peaks, lone pines and perched temples are straight from a watercolor and it's no wonder Huangshan attracts so many visitors. But fortunately there are enough paths to ensure you can always find yourself a quiet spot. Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Shanghai has endured a boom-bust cycle like no other city in China and is a must-see for a glimpse into the China of the future. It currently has some 20 million residents. A walk along the Bund on the banks of the Huangpu River offers a cityscape to rival Hong Kong's, taking in the glory of Shanghai's colonial past, while at the same time giving views across the river to the city of tomorrow, Pudong. Less than 20 years ago, this was just marshy farmland, but today it boasts countless skyscrapers, among them China's highest tower, the Pearl Oriental TV Tower, and loftiest lodgings, the 88-floor Grand Hyatt. Traditional Chinese sights are a little sparse due to Shanghai's comparative youth, but its colonial and revolutionary history over the past 150 years has left it with a series of significant political buildings. What is more, there are modern activities aplenty, reflecting the city's dynamic and modern heart – fine dining, nightlife, shopping and a kaleidoscope of exhibition centers and good museums await. This a highly detailed guide to everything you need to know about Shanghai and its surroundings - the places to stay, the restaurants, and what to see and do - along with an extensive introductory section on China as a whole. The author lives in China and has been a tour guide there full-time for close to 10 years. This guide is an excerpt from his much larger guide to all of China, also published by Hunter, which is 650 pages in the print edition.
- ISBN: 9781588437105 |
- Hardcover: 270 pages |
- Publisher: Hunter Publishing, Inc. |
- Publication date: Jan 2, 2014 |
- Language: English |
- Format: Ebook