The word on the street is that Mao Ming Lu will soon be closing: ex-president Jiang Zemin wants to settle down nearby for his retirement and doesn’t want a noisy bar scene on his doorstep. Nevertheless, it is still the epicentre of Shanghai’s nightlife. More alive than Heng Shan Lu and more natural than the recently-built substitute Tongren Lu, there’s something here for just about everyone. Windows Bar gets jammed full of dancers after midnight: The Blue Frog has a fine ambience: Judy’s is a meat market with a lethal all-you-can-drink happy hour. It's often dead but when it gets going Mao Ming Lu is a taste of the decadent party spirit that never quite escaped from Shanghai.
Mao Ming Lu, of course; the bars are at the south end near Yongjia Lu. Nearest Metro is Shanxi Nan Lu (Metro Line 1)
Brass dragons, Mah Jong sets, wood carvings, posters from the cultural revolution: a lot of the ‘antiques’ in this open-air market that lines Dong Tai Lu admittedly look the same. As if they’re mass produced, perhaps. On the other hand, this is a good place to find some real bargains and some interesting Chinese wares for gifts and souvenirs. Haggle hard and watch out for the dross and the obvious factory fakes, and you’ll have an interesting afternoon regardless of whether you take anything home.
Dong Tai Lu, near Xintiandi. Huangpi Nan Lu station (Metro Line 1)
There's quite a few international restuarants in Shanghai, but for a more authentic experience head for the nearest backstreet and sit yourself down somewhere that looks busyish. Most places won't have an English menu (though eateries near business areas and universities often do) so make sure you have your phrasebook handy. Then get chomping on those chicken feet and beef tendons. Yummy!
"Welcome to Pudong International Airport SHANG! Haaaaaaiiii..." The excitable voice over the tannoy really makes sure you know how to pronounce the name of the place you've just landed in. The airport is yet another marvel of modern architecture: it looks like it's held up by ten-foot poles nailed through the roof. Then again, once you've checked in it's little better than a provincial bus station. There's not a lot to do or buy. A fanciful new Maglev train whisks passengers back and forth from Pudong proper, but it's cheaper and more convenient to take one of the city buses numbered 1 to 4.
Set at the very centre of the city, this is the place to come and people-watch. Canoodling couples, exercising elders and gawping tourists everywhere, watched over by the resident flock of strangely pristine white doves.
People's Square Metro (Lines 1 and 2)
At the heart of People's Square, this is possibly the best museum of Chinese artifacts anywhere in the world. There's several floors consisting of rows and rows of coins, brass, ceramics and paintings: comprehensive, if a little dry. The building itself is an architectual wonder too - designed in the shape of a traditional Chinese urn with the symbolism of circle and square.
People's Square Metro Station (Line 1 and 2). www.shanghaimuseum.net/en/index.asp
Follow the smoke and you'll soon find one - a man with a basic charcoal grill turning over a bunch of sticks with cubed lamb. A staple street food it's cheap and safe, if a little fatty. A lot of the vendors are ethnic Uyghurs from the far west of China, who seem to have cornered the market in this trade.
Anywhere. Follow your nose.
More all-you-can-eat action from the Punjabi's 75RMB buffet menu. And free beer. That's right, free beer. OK, so you don't get a LOT of free beer, but who's arguing? The Indian cuisine is excellent too. You can't go wrong.
102 Xiang Yang Lu, Tel +86 21 6472 5464. Walk from Shanxi Nan Lu station (Metro Line 1)
Steak on a stick. For 75RMB, about £5, you get a non-stop flow of barbequed flesh delivered to you at your very table. Die-hard meat afficionados starve themselves for a whole day preparing themselves for a night at the Brazilian. There is an extensive salad bar but frankly, if you're a vegetarian then stay away. This is for carnivores only.
Right outside Jing An Temple station (Metro Line 2) - 1649 Nanjing Xi Lu. Tel +86 21 6255 9898 - Wise to book
A converted patch of the old French Concession area full of swanky restaurants and bars, Xintiandi could almost be a corner of a cosmopolitan city tucked into the centre of Asia's hottest boomtown. It's expensive. Very expensive. But there's no better place to experience the cafe culture that was swinging hardest during Shanghai's golden age back in the 30s.
Get off at Huang Pi Nan Lu (Metro Line 1) and follow the Gucci.
They want to build the tallest building in the world here; they already have one of the top five in the shape of the Jin Mao tower, standing 88 stories high. But most striking of all, Pudong harbours the symbol of modern Shanghai, the space-age spheres and spike of the simply bizarre Oriental Pearl Tower. Love it or hate it, it's hard to ignore it.
Jump off Metro Line 2 at Liu Jia Zui. You can visit the Jin Mao and the Oriental Pearl towers for a price - 50RMB at least.
Shanghai is a city where East meets West, and nowhere more so that on the waterfront. On the westside, Puxi, stands a row of grand colonial buildings that still have the power to dominate the view despite the skyscrapers surrounding them. Check out the ceiling inside the dome of the HSBC building - they clearly had the Sistine Chapel in mind.
Ask a taxi driver for 'Waitan' or else get off Metro Line 2 at Henan Zhong Lu and walk east down Nanjing Lu.
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