In the morning, start the China Japan Tour today by a visit to the French Concession
, a symbol of a time when Western powers were accorded many privileges. Start the trip with a stroll through Fuxing Park
and have a chance to watch local Chinese practicing their ritual of morning exercise. Especially worth watching are the tango dancers whose music fills every corner of the park.
Afterwards, wander the surrounding roads, admiring the old colonial homes that have now been transformed into restaurants, bars, and different boutiques. During colonial times the French Concession was a no-go zone for the police and was home to gangsters, mafia, opium traffickers, prostitutes, and people looking for a good time. Shanghai earned itself the title of one of the world’s vice capitals.
Then continue on to Xintiandi
, an entirely renovated area that is considered one of the liveliest parts of the city. Afterwards, head to Tianzifang
, a maze of animated alleyways full of restaurants, boutiques, and small art galleries similar to those found in Xintiandi, but much more authentic.
The walk will end in Old Town
, which today has mostly been rebuilt but still has some of its old lilongs alive with the chatter of the Shanghainese and decorated with people’s washing strung out across the streets to dry. The Old Town also home to the famous Yu Yuan Gardens
, a superb example of the art of Chinese garden landscaping, which is particularly common in this region. Located in the old city centre, this sublime garden is a great example of classical Chinese design. Constructed 400 years ago in the Ming period, the colossal city of Shanghai has sprung around this older relative but left it to grow old peacefully, providing a tranquil respite from the modern pace of life.
Visit the local bazaar
, where visitors and locals come to haggle. It’s a perfect chance to buy some souvenirs before departure the following day, or take a rest at the Huxingting Tea House
, which is located at the centre of the lake opposite the Yu Yuan Park, and is one of the most famous in China.
Afterwards, head back to the hotel and tuck in early for the evening in preparation for a flight to Japan the following morning.
Overnight in Shanghai