Shanghai, China. Hitting 305km/h we raced south on the Chinese version of the bullet train headed for China’s financial capital and the second most populated city in the World. Even at these speeds Beijing isn’t exactly next door and the journey still takes around 5 hours which got us there just before the sun was beginning to set. We got checked in to our hotel and got straight back out to explore our new surroundings, first impressions were wow! The city absolutely comes alive at night, it’s hard to know what direction to look in. The skyline is vast, horizontally and vertically with light shows every couple of minutes, it’s quite something and could easily be compared with the likes of Hong Kong and Singapore.
There are many sides to Shanghai, a massive effort to keep the city clean and tidy is evident with a road sweeper literally on every corner so the streets are immaculate. A lot seems to be geared towards tourism too, they even have a tourist tunnel to link both sides of the river, it’s incredibly tacky, overpriced and over the top but the lights can capture some interesting photos if nothing else.
When you venture a bit further off the tourist trail you get residential districts that stretch for miles in every direction, lots appear quite run down and grubby and homeless people on the side of the street become more frequent. But the most noticable thing around the city in general is the seemless mix between the traditional and the modern with countless examples of ancient temples nestled amoungst glass skyscrapers and old style timber houses alongside grey concrete blocks.
The time for Shanghai however is when the sun goes down! Even some of the oldest buildings in the city are given a new lease of life, drapped head to toe in glowing lights. Shanghai has the second tallest building in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which provides unobscured panoramic views as far as the eye can see.
Shanghai has nearby ancient water towns just to add another element to the mix, we had time to see just one and watched an amazing sunset on a bridge in Qibao.
On our last night we spent some time in the downtown area, there’s elevated highways running above the streets to bypass the busy traffic, we managed to get a great vantage point on the 19th floor of a residential block above one of the highway’s intersections where a maze of winding roads makes for quite a spectacle especially on the weekend when they illuminate it in multicoloured lights.
Next stop Japan!
See all my photos from Shanghai below