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Shanghai Old Town

Tour of the old part of Shanghai. Great for general tourists and photographers. Ample opportunity for souvenir shopping.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.5 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  This tour takes you to the heart of old Shanghai. On the way it provides good opportunities to stock up on souvenirs, whilst getting a... more »

Tips:  It is best to avoid this area at the weekend and during holidays as it gets very crowded.

The best starting point is at Yuyuan... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Mid-lake Pavilion Teahouse 湖心亭(huxinting)

This is the quintessential view of the area. A path zigzags its way from the bazaar to the gardens over a pond full of brightly colored carp. Half way is the tea house.

It was originally built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as part of the gardens. What is seen today is largely the result of restoration in 1855 when it was turned into a... More

2. Yuyuan Gardens 豫园, Shanghai

Pick a quiet day and be transported from the bustle of the bazaar and to about as much tranquility as you can find in modern Shanghai! These gardens were constructed over the course of 18 years (1559-1577) by Pan Yunduan. As the administrative commissioner in the Ming government for Sichuan Province he built these private gardens for his parents... More

3. Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant Shanghai

This restaurant is famous for xialongbao 小笼包 - a small delicate steamed dumpling containing a meat-based filling and soup inside a thin wrapper. In China they are considered a bun rather than a dumpling. Shanghai style xiaolongbao originate from Nanxiang, a small town in suburban Jiading district, where this restaurant was originally established.

... More

4. Din Tai Fung, Shanghai, Yuyuan Garden Branch

Whilst Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant is the most atmospheric place, the dumplings at Din Tai Fung are in most people’s opinion better. Located in a nearby shopping mall the Taiwanese chain may lack atmosphere but the New York Times in 1993 voted it one of the best ten restaurants in the world and some of the Hong Kong branches have received... More

5. City God Temple 城隍庙 Chenghuangmiao

This is also sometimes known as the Old City God Temple as there used to be a newer one! Its use as the City God Temple dates back to 1403 when it was converted from an earlier temple.

This Taoist temple was dedicated to the spirit protector of the city. These types of temples were common in ancient China. The Shanghai temple is mainly dedicated... More

6. Anren Street (jie) 安仁街

Head down Anren Street (just beyond the City God Temple) and watch the crowds of tourists miraculously disappear. Head off into one of the laneways and see traditional Shanghai life with washing hung out on poles and people going about their daily lives.

With most people now live in high rises, this community way of living has all but... More

7. Old Street Souvenirs

Head west along Fangbang Middle Road (zhong lu) 方浜中路 (this is also known as Old Street) in the direction of Henan Nanlu 河南南路 and you will find a wealth of shops selling souvenirs. There are also shops on Fuyou Lu 福佑路 which runs parallel to this street. Shops on Fuyou Lu are good for picking up decorations for Chinese New Year.

Shops sell items... More

8. Ancient City Wall and Dajingguandi

At one time old Shanghai was surrounded by a city wall nine miles long. It was built in 1553 to protect the area from Japanese pirate attacks. Most of the wall was torn down in 1912; only this 50m section remains today.

It is also the site of the Dajingguandi Taoist Temple which was first built between 1573 and 1620.

There is a display of... More

9. Flower, Bird, Fish and Insect Market

This is actually called the Flower and Bird Market 花鸟市场 (huaniaoshichang) but foreigners seem to know it by the longer name, Flower, Bird, Fish and Insect Market.

Duck inside and prepare for an assault on your senses. You will be bombarded by the sound of various birds, the chirping of crickets, and see many strange sights. Many types of animals... More

The entrance is just opposite the Flower, Bird, Fish and Insect Market along Liuhe kou lu 浏河口路. It consists of a number of lanes with stalls selling ‘antiques.’

Some of the items are genuinely old. Others are mass produced and made to look old. Provenance with antiques is all important. You will find items such as Mao memorabilia, ‘old’ posters, ... More