Shanghai, one of the largest four municipalities of China, is known as the country’s ‘Oriental Paris’ and that too, for a justified reason. Not only it has beautiful and historical landmarks, but also the mesmerising skylines. One of the best districts of Shanghai, nestled by the east of Huang Pu river, is the lively and bustling Pudong. It was, less than three decades ago, just a marshland, filled with industries and fishing communities. However, civilisation has touched it like magic, because it is now a proper urban centre, home to some of the largest things and places in the whole world, filled with sky-touching towers, huge shopping malls and so much more.
Situated in Lujiazui area of Pudong is the structure of Shanghai Tower, scaling the skies with its height of 2,073 feet. It is, in fact, the tallest building in Asia and second-tallest in the whole world, as for now. The tower has some elegant, swift elevators, which can literally take you to the 119th floor in less than a minute, operating at 67 ft/s. It is designed in a futuristic, modern architecture and provides you with an amazingly breath-taking view of the neighbourhood as well as the entirety of the city. It has starred in many movies, becoming an alluring backdrop to important scenes or to show the cities of the future.
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
If one goes on to list the largest aquariums in the world, Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is definitely in the top five of that list. It is situated right beside the popular Oriental Pearl Tower and Jin Mao Tower. Two pyramid-like structures form the aquarium, which covers a whopping 20,500 square meters. Along with the exhibition area, there is a beautiful gift shop and a large restaurant, which claims to seat around 300 people at a time. The aquarium also owns the world’s longest submarine viewing tunnel, which spreads up to 170 yards in length. There is a dedicated section to show - and preserve in the process – endangered Chinese aquatic animals, called ‘China Zone’.
Oriental Pearl Tower
You wouldn’t know a thing about Shanghai particularly, but as for Oriental Pearl Tower, I can guarantee you that you have seen this massive structure at some point in your life. How so? From the movies, obviously. It is a landmark of the Pudong area, with the Yangpu Bridge on its northeast side and the Nanpu Bridge on its southwest. The tower stands at 1,536 feet and is the sixth tallest tower in China. Three large spheres come together to form the ‘space module’ while five smaller spheres and three decorative spheres complete the sphere. It is actually a TV and radio tower but has shops, restaurants and a whole floor designed as a circular, space capsule to gaze at the breathtaking sight in front of the building.
Lujiazui Central Green Space
The largest open lawn in Shanghai’s downtown area, Lujiazui Central Green Land is hailed as the ‘Green Lung of the Metropolis’. It was a small town before it got transformed into this beautiful lawn, so as to mark the opening of Lujiazui Financial and Trade Zone. It is filled with a number of fountains and beautiful trees dispersed all over the place. You can, therefore, see many people there, with DSLRs swinging by their necks – in fact, it is quite a hotspot for wedding photos and professional shoots. Since it is not way out of the urban setting, you can still get a wholesome glimpse of the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Centre; also, the reason why photographers are seen frequenting this place.
Bar Level 87
Situated on the 87th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Centre, Bar Level 87 is a unique place to get meals and drinks at a price your pocket can willingly handle. It is a much-visited bar and a restaurant, as the food is mouthwatering while the drinks and the cocktails are equally stimulating. The restaurant also offers a beautiful view of the metropolitan city at the foot of the centre. You can get a table by the glass and enjoy your food and beverages with the stunning city as a fancy background for your lunch. Try to visit there by the late evening; the scene would become even more ethereal, what with all the city twinkling with all the lights.
Binjiang Park, situated on the banks of the river Huang Pu, is a peaceful and a historical place. The park offers some beautiful and wholesome view of the ancient neoclassical structures, water-facing in the Bund area. The park becomes even more beautiful at night, as these buildings bathe in gentle golden light. The park in itself is a realistic rendering of the Chinese culture, which makes it a contrasting place from the place across the water. The Binjiang park, therefore, is a powerful landmark, but on a deeper level, is a living witness of the Chinese history and how it was changed by the Western and the native forces to what it is now today.
Jin Mao Building
Jin Mao Building is a beautifully symmetrical building, right in front of Oriental Pearl Tower and beside the Shanghai World Financial Center. Shanghai is home to some pretty tall skyscrapers and this is the third-highest skyscraper in Shanghai and twentieth in the list of tallest buildings around the globe. It stands proud at 420.5 meters. It took full five years, quite understandably, to build this structure. There are 88 floors, which houses offices, elite hotels, entertainment and shopping centres, among other facilities. The popular, most-visited places in it are Jinmao shopping centre and Jin Mao Grand Hyatt Hotel and Club Jin Mao.
Shanghai Oriental Art Center
Whenever one thinks of Art Centers – and an oriental one at that – one would definitely picture a nice and creative building, as ‘exotic’ as the contents inside the building. However, Pudong’s Shanghai Oriental Art Center goes a step forward – it is a creatively futuristic structure, complete with state-of-the-art facilities spread comfortably in five huge interconnected halls. These halls are shaped to resemble the pretty butterfly orchid when seen from above. The five halls are like petals, marking separate places, such as the entrance hall, performance hall, opera hall, concert hall and a beautiful exhibition gallery. Concerts, classical performances, operas are regularly conducted in this awesome, ‘blooming building, along with mesmerizing traditional Chinese performances.
Century Park feels like a patch of green and calm in the middle of all the cement and lights. Pudong has so much to offer, but this traipsing around would require a respite in between – and that is where Shanghai Century Park comes into play. The park, located on Jinxiu Road in Pudong, is a beautiful blend of Eastern and Western landscape architecture, specifically key points of Chinese, Japanese and English gardens and lawns. It is spread over 140 hectares, which is divided into seven main areas. There is a golf course, a lake, named Jingtian, or Mirror Sky Lake, Concert Stage, a mesmerizing fountain, bamboo forest and a place to observe birds and animals, among other numerous attractions. Century Park is a heavenly paradise in the middle of the urban area!
China Art Museum
China Art Museum, located on Shangnan Road in the Pudong New District, is a much-visited site in Shanghai. One of the largest museums in the whole of the Asian continent, it is spread over 39 acres, divided into beautiful twenty-seven exhibition halls. The artworks and exhibits showcased have themes of the Origin of Chinese Modern and Contemporary Art and Historical and Cultural Development of Shanghai along with Artworks by Noted Painters and Arts Development of this century. The exhibitions are changed as frequently as the artsy shows are conducted. Formerly the China Pavilion of Expo 2010, the unfiltered local culture is depicted in everything, from the contents inside to the alluring structure outside.
The River Mall
The river mall is located on Shangnan Road in Pudong area and is a beautiful, differently shaped mall. It was a permanent part of the Shanghai World Expo, before being transformed into a proper shopping mall. It stretches for full one kilometre, from Yaohua Road Station to China Art Palace Station and is comfortably divided into five huge areas, all having a different theme. Since it was an Expo earlier, some of the artistic influence is still visible in the nooks and crannies of the mall. Not only are there department and shopping stores, but there are entertainment, dining and leisure facilities also, catering to all your needs. It frequently conducts water fountain shows and is a proud home to a beautiful aquarium, a sky garden and other fun activities.
KFC, just like any other fast-food chains, do serve delicious food, but it can’t be said to be healthy. However, it is conscious enough of this problem, which led to the launch of a healthier version of KFC, by the name of K PRO. It was first launched in Pudong in the year 2018 and remains an absolute hit in the area, as it is appealing to the health-conscious crowd. The difference between KFC and K PRO is that the latter gets your order served on your table, as opposed to KFC’s usual arrangement, giving it vibes more of a café and less of a fast-food stop. And not to forget the difference between the food – the menu is still amazing and delicious, but a whole lot healthier.
Super Brand Mall
Super Brand Mall is located on Lujiazui street of Pudong area and happens to be one of the largest shopping centres in Asia. It goes up to 13 floors and has quality shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities. There are, in fact, more than 70 restaurants, serving dishes from a variety of cuisines and providing a conducive atmosphere for you to enjoy the food. China’s first Toys’R’us branch is housed in this mall, which has become an attractive place for children. As for shopping, this mall is filled with shops and world-renowned brands, right from Zara, Belano, Adidas Classic, Tissot to Calvin Klein, H&M, Nike 360 and many more. Along with this, you can find book bookstores, dental care and spa tucked away in the mall.
Shanghai Maglev is not a place or a building you can admire, but actually a train! You read that right – Shanghai Maglev Train, or SMT, is the first and only commercialized train line around the World. Maglev trains are highly unique, because of its mode of functioning; it doesn’t have wheels but uses magnetic levitation to move the passengers. You can just imagine the stir it would have caused in the world. SMT started functioning by the year 2002. The Shanghai Maglev connects Pudong International Airport to Longyang Rd. Station, which is the outskirts of the Central Pudong area. It is environmentally friendly and emits lesser noise pollution. The train is clean, efficient and comfortable, making you feel as if you are sliding on butter. It is a train ride you should experience at least once in your life.
Shanghai Qinci Yangdian Taoist Temple
This temple might not be the oldest in Shanghai, but it is surely the largest one. Qinci Yangdian Taoist Temple was established in the 3rd century when it was the era of the Three Kingdoms and has undergone many restorations and reformations till date, so as to maintain the temple in all its historical significance and ancient glory. There are halls which not only honours Taoist deities but also becomes a beautiful house for Taoist generals’ figurines and ancient scriptures. A faint scent of joss sticks fills the air as visitors are eager to light them up and pray to the dongyue gods. The temple is one of the most peaceful places you can find in the Pudong district and is a great resource to explore and learn about traditional Chinese culture.
Pudong is the perfect destination if you wish to experience the beautiful side of how rapid modernization can change an area. The malls and the gardens, the temples and the restaurants, but primarily, the amazingly large towers and skyscrapers – Pudong is a place where Chinese culture is visibly comfortably in the cloaks of urbanity.