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Things to do in Shanghai

Explore the Oriental Pearl Tower

Be ready for an action-packed time inside the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower. Visitors can look down and get a full view of the Huangpu River through the glass-bottomed walkway, don a VR headset and enjoy a short (but trilling) indoor roller-coaster ride, or learn about the city in the Shanghai History Museum in the basesment.

Find some peace with a river cruise

For some serenity away from the city's gnarly traffic, take a cruise down the Huangpu River. With the Bund's concession architecture floating past and Pudong's skyscrapers towering above you on the other side, there's plenty to see. The Suzhou Creek open-top cruise will take you through the city centre.

Learn the force of yin and yang

Early in the morning, residents gather at numerous parks dotted across Shanghai to practice Tai Chi, a health-promoting exercise. Head to Fuxing Park on Fuxing Zhong Lu or the broad pavement on the Bund to join the locals who immerse themselves with the philosophy of yin and yang forces.

Let your hair down at a theme parks

For when the kids are showing signs of sightseeing mutiny, Shanghai has a couple of huge amusement parks. Three parks worth checking out are Happy Valley (http://sh.happyvalley.cn/) with rides and roller coasters, Shanghai Disney Resort (www.shanghaidisneyresort.com) and Dino Beach (www.dinobeach.com.cn), a water park with wave pool and slides.

The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel

Even when you jump into the automated car, nothing can quite prepare you for this brightly lit experience ahead. The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel takes visitors on a trance-inducing lightshow beneath Huangpu River; a marvellous, surreal trip.

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Featured Hotels

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Quintet

In the heart of the French Concession, the spotless rooms, great service and attention to detail at Quintet has been winning over visitors. As the name suggests, there are just five rooms, each individually designed to a standard you’d expect from pricier stays. The staff are super friendly too, with a wealth of knowledge about the area.

The Waterhouse at South Bund

Once a dockyard factory, The Waterhouse is now one of Shanghai’s sharpest boutique hotels. Lavish furnishings and the odd nod to the city’s shipping heritage offset its industrial chic. There are just 19 rooms, 11 of which are suites. Thanks to its location, views across the river to Pudong are stunning whichever one you bed up in.

Magnolia Bed & Breakfast

This cosy little bed and breakfast located in a 1930s French Concession home has art deco features as well as modern comfort and design. There are only five rooms so book well in advance.

Fairmont Peace Hotel

After more than three years of renovations, Shanghai’s definitive art deco building reopened in 2010 under the direction of the Fairmont group. The main challenge in modernising the building was balancing out the architectural integrity of its history with the need to upgrade a building that was not originally designed to be a hotel. Connoisseurs of old Shanghai will be pleased to know that the famous antediluvian jazz band is back in action.

Mansion Hotel

Combining historic charm and modern luxury like no other Shanghai hotel, this truly exceptional stay is housed in a beautiful 1930s building and was originally the residence and office of a trio of Shanghai gangsters. The lobby, corridors and even the rooms are filled with 20th-century memorabilia, but there's exquisite luxury too with super-soft carpets, beautifully upholstered wood furniture, big-screen satellite TVs, Wi-Fi and private Jacuzzis.

Pudi Boutique Hotel

This exquisite 52-room boutique hotel in Shanghai has trendy, ultra-modern rooms, professional staff and an elite, but accessible, atmosphere. The interior is super stylish and alluringly dark hued, while rooms are beautifully attired and spacious.