If you are heading for Australia on honeymoon and want to avoid the obvious stopover destinations of Dubai, Hong Kong or Singapore, Shanghai is a great alternative and opens up the option for inexpensive flights through various Chinese airlines as well as direct flights to Sydney with Quantas.
If you are stopping over in Shanghai for less than 72 hours, and have your on-bound flight tickets, you don’t need a visa. However, this waiver only applies if you are flying in and out of the same airport, otherwise you are restricted to just 24 hours before you need to exit.
Where to stay
A lot of the big brand named hotels are in the Pudong area to the east of the river, and while some, including the Mandarin Oriental, are great choices for honeymoons, this is the business area in Shanghai and most tourists prefer to spend their time on the other side of the river.
The Shanghai tourist board encourage westerners to book hotels with a minimum of 3* grading and to aim for tourist hotels if you want to be offered western alternatives for breakfast. Be very selective if you are looking for a boutique hotel; some are great but many are in very low grade buildings.
If you ask anyone where to stay in Shanghai the answer is the same: the iconic art deco Fairmont Peace Hotel. This long established 5* hotel was renovated 5 years ago but still retains its traditional decor. Due to the proximity of other buildings most rooms have very limited views, but it is worth spending the extra for a Bund view suite if you can for views over the Bund to the Pudong area. Read our full review on the Fairmont Peace hotel here.
We loved the Banyan Tree – a modern hotel on the Bund with great views and a beautiful rooftop cocktail bar.
Other hotel options
Renaissance Shanghai Union – one of six hotels from this brand
Jing An Shangri La – a very new hotel from the Shangri La brand
4* Central Hotel – situated opposite the 5* Grand Central Hotel
5* Marriot City Centre which has great rates to differentiate it from the more exclusive 5* JW Marriot
Twelve on Heng Shan Road – a very stylish boutique hotel
4* Ambassador – a good safe budget hotel
4* New Century Puxi – another safe budget hotel
5* Sunrise on the Bund – great hotel, but not an ideal location.
Jin Jiang – great for its central location
Sightseeing in Shanghai
The wide river running through Shanghai – the Bund – is a great place to start and its buildings showcase the city’s colonial past. There is a sightseeing tunnel to get you to the Pudong side.
On a smog free day, get an idea of the area with a visit to the 100th floor of the World Finance Centre where you can enjoy the views below through the panoramic glass floor.
The Yu Yuan Garden in the Old Town area with the Yu Yuan Bazaar – a market with lots of small shops selling souvenirs, hand-made crafts, plus famous restaurants offering delicacies & dim sum.
Shanghai Museum in People’s Square is a museum of ancient Chinese art including ancient Chinese bronze, ceramics, paintings and calligraphy.
Xintiandi – is an interesting rebuilt pedestrian area with a mix of restored traditional Shikumen houses on narrow alleys, with a modern shopping mall and cinema, alongside book stores, coffee shops and restaurants.
The Jade Buddha Temple – with its two bright Jade Buddha statues.
Long Hua Temple & Pagoda just south of the city. The temple was built in 242 AD and is the largest in Shanghai city.
The art area of Taikang Road is a old Shanghai style neighborhood where old architecture is now mixed with new restaurants, bars, galleries and boutique shops.
Most tourists head straight to the Fake Market, a 4 storey building with several hundred stores selling the latest fakes; designer handbags, shoes, Beats headphones, phone covers and clothing are the most popular.
Shanghai is also known for its textiles and tailors and there are several markets specialising in fabrics for shirts, suits, wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses, any of which can be made to order for you with a 48 hour turnaround.
Weather in Shanghai is fairly similar to the UK, with temperatures dipping down towards freezing in December and January. The hottest time to visit is in July – August and the general advice is that March to May is the best time to visit.
Smog can be an issue throughout the year with hazy grey skylines being the norm.
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