The most dynamic city in the world’s fastest- changing nation, Shanghai is an exhilarating, ever-morphing metropolis that isn’t just living China’s dream, but is setting the pace for the rest of the world.
Once a playground for foreign adventurers and socialites, Shanghai is now where home-grown tycoons build soaring monuments to capitalism and the locals party all night. But despite a past as evocative as it is notorious, the city has dispensed with the rear-view mirror, pushed the pedal to the floor and is roaring towards its imagined future so fast that keeping up is almost impossible. New developments spring up weekly, while the rapidly growing middle classes work seven days a week in the hope of graduating to the big-time.
Shanghai is much more Hong Kong than Beijing; there are no dusty imperial palaces here. Instead, European-style cityscapes and tempting, tree-lined neighbourhoods rub shoulders with the sci-fi skyline of Pudong. Shanghai was where China first met the West and it’s still a frontier town, obsessed with the latest fads, fashions and technology.
But tucked between the shopping malls and the eye-popping modern architecture is the old Shanghai, where temples nestle down alleys, along with street markets and classical Chinese gardens. Shanghai is a city of stunning contrasts, where visitors can go from sipping a cocktail in a designer bar overlooking the Bund, to eating dumplings at a street stall, or gazing at a 10th-century Buddhist monastery, in the space of a few hours. Summer is hot and humid, winter can get cold, but Shanghai never stops.