East and West

Shanghai marries together the East and West with its European past and its modern prosperity – from colonial Art Deco architecture to space-like skyscrapers.

Today it is the largest and most developed metropolis in Mainland China with a population of more than 23 million.


Pudong’s skyscrapers

Shanghai is divided into two parts by the Huangpu River. On the east side of the river is Pudong known for the new high-rise development of financial and commercial skyscrapers.

The most iconic building is The Oriental Pearl Tower which is the symbol of Shanghai. The gigantic red pearls on the needle-like structure are an awe-inspiring architectural feat. Visitors can admire the city from the observation deck and then educate themselves in the Shanghai History Museum on the ground floor.

For even more spectacular views, visit the observation deck of the Shanghai World Financial Center. The building is known for the rectangular hole on the upper portion of the skyscraper.

If you are interested in learning more about the city’s buildings, the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center at People’s Square should be included in your itinerary. The center details the urban planning and development of the city with impressive scale models.


The historical side of Shanghai

The west side of the Huangpu River is known as Puxi the older and central part of the city. The most famous area is The Bund, the colonial riverside of old Shanghai with dozens of historical buildings, such as foreign banks and trading houses, many of which show off classic Art Deco architecture.

Further west is the French Concession known as Xintiandi. This is the destination for boutique shopping in the city’s affluent neighborhood. The architecture is also classically European, and the city streets are admirably clean and well-maintained adding to the refinement of the area.


How to get around Sightseeing Shanghai

Aside from taxis, visitors can also easily utilize the city’s train system known as the Shanghai Metro. The kiosks and signs are conveniently bilingual to aid English-speaking commuters.

If you plan to cross the Huangpu River, try The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. The underground tram crosses the river from The Bund to the Pearl TV Tower. While is it touristy and pricier than other forms of transportation, the route is direct, quick, and entertaining.


The symbol of Shanghai. The Oriental Pearl Tower stands out during both the day and night in the city’s majestic skyline with its futuristically designed, massive red pearly structure
Pudong’s high rises. The modern city has an impressive number of record-breaking high skyscrapers, including the Oriental Pearl Tower and World Financial Center buildings
Welcome to the Oriental Pearl Tower. Visitors can admire the tower from afar, below, and inside. The ground floor houses the Shanghai History Museum and the top observation floors let guests admire 360-degree views of the city
The observation deck of the Oriental Pearl Tower. The slanted glass windows along the upper pearl ball allow visitors to see the city from afar and all the way down below. There are telescopes and maps that assist you in spotting the city’s landmarks
The view of The Bund from the Oriental Pearl Tower. The beautifully lit building below is The Peninsula Shanghai (read more about the hotel here)
The view from the other side of the observation deck towards Pudong’s gorgeous high rises, including the World Financial Center which sticks out from the pack with its modern architecture and record-breaking height
Foodicles Shanghai Sightseeing 5
View of the Oriental Pearl Tower from the World Financial Center. The views from both observation decks are worth the entrance fees, crowds, and time. Your pictures will be truly picturesque
The Shanghai History Museum on the ground floor of the Oriental Pearl Tower. The museum is deceivingly extensive with an impressive summary of the city’s history through maps and life-size dioramas
The history of the East and West in the city of Shanghai. The life-size dioramas provide a strong visual to the cultural influences and changing looks of the city as the years go by
The history includes all aspects from economic to agricultural to cultural events significant to the background of how Shanghai was and is today
The scale model of the massive city in the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center located next to the People’s Square. If you want to learn more about the city’s modern day city development, this museum shows how the modern city developed over recent years
The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. A touristy form of transportation that brings you between The Bund and the Pearl TV Tower. While it is touristy, it is actually pretty fun and worth the cost to get you directly across the Huangpu River. The best time to go is during rush hour on the roads
The greenery going up and down to the tunnel. The city proudly promotes greenery and landscaping throughout the streets and parks, and even here in this sightseeing tunnel
The tram. The small size tram lets visitors take a break from the crowds in the other forms of transportation
The tunnel for the tram goes across the Huangpu River with a light show along the rise. It can be likened to Disneyland’s Space Mountain without the screaming thrills of the roller coaster
The architectural history of The Bund. Along the old colonial buildings of The Bund, you will find plaques describing the significance of the buildings
The mile-long stretch of The Bund will enrich you with the European history of Shanghai, as well as physical exercise from the stroll
The French Concession is the district for boutique shopping. Xintiandi is a neighborhood within the French Concession with affluent apartments, boutique shops, and restaurants
Foodicles Shanghai Sightseeing 19
Xintiandi is another area in Shanghai that beautifully presents influences of the East and the West in its architecture and modern-day offerings
The neighborhood maintains its cleanliness and old structures, adding character and class to the affluent setting

The Peninsula Shanghai
No. 32 The Bund
32 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road
Shanghai, China
Book your stay via Agoda
Book your stay via Booking.com
Book your stay via Hotels.com
Book your stay via TripAdvisor


Sign up to my newsletter on the sidebar for blog updates and my travel insider tips!