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Introduction to Shanghai
Chief Sights and Attractions
Introduction to Lodgings
Top Hotels
Moderately Priced Hotels
Budget Hotels

Shanghai is a big and crowded city of more than 14 million people, five times the size of Los Angeles. It is also far more fun than Beijing, much more alive and cosmopolitan, and the food is several times better than the capital's. Some observers compare Beijing and Shanghai with Washington D.C. and New York, respectively, as to which I make no comment.
You come here to see the future of China, more so than in Beijing. Having been allowed a considerable degree of economic freedom by the rulers of China, Shanghai has become a boomtown, a massive financial center, a capital of commerce, larger in that respect--as surprising as this may seem--than the equivalent activities in Hong Kong.

Taking their mood from that development, the people of Shanghai have always felt themselves more sophisticated than the rest of the country. And more cosmopolitan, too, based on their long relationship with the various foreign "concessions" in their city, scattered areas of the city over which the British, French, and Germans held legal sway throughout most of the first half of this century. In Shanghai, you'll witness a remarkable outpouring of energy and optimism that hasn't its complete counterpart anywhere else in China.

Orientation and Getting Around
Arriving visitors at the airport can first search for shuttle buses operated by their hotels, and failing to find one, head for the taxi line. Be sure the meter is started anew when you enter the cab. Have your destination written down (by an airline staff member) and hand it to the driver. If you want him to wait at your destination, have those instructions also written down before you get in. Tipping is not expected.

"Tourist Shanghai" consists of an imaginary strip running from the old Bund (the waterfront along the Huangpu River containing many important, high-rise commercial buildings) due west towards the airport, the strip being about a mile wide. The center of the strip is the famed Nan Jing Lu (also spelled Nanjing or Nanking) Road. The Botanical Garden and Long Hua Pagoda are south of the strip, and the zoo is out by the airport. The former homes of Chou En Lai and Dr. Sun Yat Sen are just south of the strip, both near Fu Xing Park.

Most tourists confine their activities to that strip. The smartest among them resist all invitations to visit Pudong, a new industrial district the size of Rhode Island across the river from the Bund. In Pudong, all sorts of new factories are going up.

In central Shanghai, within the strip, you can simply walk from place to place, or take taxis. Some tourists even learn to use the subway. No one attempts the incomprehensible, Chinese-signs-only buses, despite the fact that they are incredibly cheap.

Chief Sights and Attractions

The major and indispensable sight is the Bund (Wai Tan in Chinese) along the riverfront, the center of old colonial Shanghai, and now the nightlife and entertainment hub of this sprawling city. You'll want to head there immediately after arrival, and walk its entire length; you won't be disappointed.
Then, you move on to Nan Jing Road, the main shopping street of the city and also home to many of the nation's biggest commercial enterprises. Make a special point of visiting the "Number One Department Store," the city's largest state-owned department store, for an exciting and absorbing view of exotic and familiar goods from all over China.

Third, visit the Temple of the City Gods (Cheng Huang Miao), which has a market in it, and proceed from there to the Jade Buddha Temple, with its six-foot-high white jade statue of Buddha.

Consider, too, the Old City and the Yu Yuan Gardens near it. Old Shanghai is rapidly disappearing under the onslaught of economic progress, so walk its narrow lanes while you can. The garden, a huge one, is famous for its five dragon walls and its many different types of natural scenery, drawn from all over China.

And finally, many visitors enjoy a three to four hour boat trip from the Bund to the mouth of the Wusong, about 40 miles, on the Huangpu and Shangjiang rivers. They dine aboard the boat.

The largest of the newer and more comfortable hotels of Shanghai are mainly found in the city's new business district, rather far away from the sites of touristic interest. Keep that in mind in selecting a hotel for your own stay. To remain close to what interests the non-business visitor usually requires one of the older hotels, and we've done our best to select the best of them in every price category. 

Top Hotels

Okura Garden Hotel Shanghai, 58 Maoming Nan Lu, Shanghai 200020, in its own seven-acre garden in the city center, phone 6415-1111, fax 6415-8866,
. Year-round rates are around US$250 single, around US$270 for a double or twin. Extra bed in room is US$20.
Many consider this to be Shanghai's best hotel, partly because of its skillful blending of old and new, a towering, 33-story, modern building (1989) incorporating the old French Club with its clever 1920s art deco look at its foot. There are 500 spacious rooms in the tower, and the complex is set in a 28,000 square foot garden once frequented by the foreigners who so dominated Shanghai in the years before World War II. Conveniently located midway in the tourist strip running from the old Bund on the Huangpu River in the east towards the airport in the west, the Garden retains a link with historic Shanghai while providing all the modern amenities you'd want. Facilities include Chinese, Japanese, and Western restaurants, indoor pool, gymnasium, outdoor tennis, business center, and the works.

Portman Shangri-La, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai 200040, in Shanghai Centre Complex, opposite Exhibition Centre, phone 6279-8888, fax 6279-8800,
. Year-round rates, single or double, are US$300 for a deluxe room, US$380 for a club room, US$480 for a junior suite. These rates are often discounted throughout the year. Extra bed in a deluxe room is US$30, and US$50 in a club room or junior suite.
Built for business travelers (the city's always-active Exhibition Centre is across the street), the Portman (completed in 1990) is also part of the extensive Shanghai Centre Complex, which is crammed with shops and theaters. A futuristic high-rise of three towers, it lacks for nothing, supplies everything known to the hotel art, including 564 state-of-the-art rooms with every amenity. The business center operates 24 hours daily, and there are travel agency and airline offices, a fully-equipped health club (with tai chi classes!), an indoor golf machine, tennis and squash courts, pools indoor and out, and Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and Western-style restaurants.

Shanghai JC Mandarin, 1225 Nan Jing Xi Lu, Shanghai 200040, next door to Exhibition Center and opposite Convention Center, phone 6279-1888, fax 6279-1822,
. Year-round rates are US$220 to US$270 per single, US$240 to US$270 per double room.
On Shanghai's most famous street, Nan Jing Road, and operated Meritus chain out of Singapore, the JC Mandarin (opened 1991) provides all the lavish facilities, elegant rooms, and total pampering for which its fellow, worldwide hotels are known. There are 600 rooms and 33 suites on the 30 floors of its innovative, skyscraper design, along with two restaurants, a pub, fitness center, indoor pool, tennis and squash courts, medical clinic, and business center.

Sofitel Hyland Hotel, 505 Nan Jing Road East, Shanghai 200001, the modern hotel closest to the riverfront, phone 6351-5888, fax 6351-4088. Year-round rates from US$150 single, US$170 double. All major credit cards accepted.

A 30-story tower and the best located modern hotel in Shanghai for visitors wishing to be near the old Bund, this hotel is a famous piece of riverfront property that typifies old Shanghai. The Sofitel Hyland is also on Shanghai's most famous street, Nan Jing Road. The 389 rooms (including 64 suites) are of average size, but well equipped and stylishly furnished. And the hotel's public amenities include two kinds of Chinese restaurants and a western brasserie, business center, and large fitness area. The Sky Lounge on the hotel's 30th floor affords a particularly good view of the city.

Sheraton Grand Tai Ping Yang Shanghai, 5 Zun Yi Nan Road, Shanghai 200336, near the airport in the southwest part of town, phone 6275-8888, fax 6275-5420,
. Year-round rates for a single room are US$220 for a deluxe room, US$240 for a premiere room, and US$260 for a grand room; for a double room, add US$20.
A stunningly attractive building in a towering, futuristic slab of some 27 floors built in 1986, the Westin's 496 rooms and 39 suites have the usual deluxe amenities, and there are Chinese, Japanese, and Italian restaurants and lounges, to mention only three of the ten available. Within the new business district near the airport, this is essentially a hotel for business travelers, but if you are into golf (and have time to use a nearby 18-hole course) or feel the same about Japanese-style hot tubs, this may be your choice. Location is in the Hongqiao Development Zone, a major international trade and commercial district. Amenities include an outdoor pool, gym, and business center. Rooms are as elegant and comfortable as in any modern hotel of London or New York.

Moderately Priced

Shanghai Mansions, 20 North Suzhou Road, Shanghai 200080, phone 324 6260, fax 326 9778,
. Year-round rates are US$116 to US$130 per standard room. Extra bed in room is $18.
Nineteen stories tall, yet built in 1934, the Shanghai Mansions' chief attributes are location and price: It is just across the Suzhou Creek from the Bund, that riverfront area of nightlife and shopping that is the target of every tourist coming to Shanghai. Rooms are big enough and equipped with private facilities and all else you'll need, and there are 248 of them, some with private kitchens. Many rooms have a nice view of the "Bund." A good choice, well known to many generations of travelers.

Jianguo Hotel Shanghai, 439 Cao Xi Road (N), Shanghai, phone 6439-9299, fax 6439-9433,
. Year-round rates of US$108 per single or double, breakfast included.
This hotel has 437 rooms on 23 floors of a non-dramatic, standard skyscraper (1991) with all the expected amenities, but in an operation designed to be moderately priced.

Budget Hotels

Baoshan Hotel, 1813 Mu Dan Jiang Road, Baoshan District, Shanghai 201900, phone 56698888, fax 56601924,
, e-mail: . Year-round rates of US$70 a night for a single room, US$80 to US$97 for a double room, and US$121 to $967 for a suite.
The Baoshan has 388 rooms and 56 suites. There are 8 restaurants, a coffee shop and a bar. Facilities include a gym, sauna/steam bath, massage room, and a swimming pool.