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Shanghai tours and excursions

Shanghai tours

Boat tours

The Huangpu River Cruise is a classic Shanghai tour. Daily 50-minute cruises run from the Shiliupu Docks, south of the Bund (153 and 291 East Zhongshan No 2 Road), and take in views of the Bund itself as well as the impressive Pudong skyline. There's no need to book tickets, just turn up and pay.

Tel: +86 21 6651 1519.

Bus tours

Run by the same company that offers open-top bus tours of London, Shanghai's Big Bus Tour includes a double-decker bus tour of the city with English commentary, a river cruise and entrance to some sights. Tickets are hop-on, hop-off and are valid for 48 hours.

Tel: +86 21 6351 5988.
Website: http://eng.bigbustours.com/shanghai/home.html

Shanghai excursions

Hangzhou

Sat in the shadow of hills and tea plantations, and home to the wonderful West Lake, Hangzhou could easily lay claim to being the domestic tourist capital of China. West Lake has been immortalised in paintings and poetry, while its Lingyin Temple, with a 20m (66ft) camphor-wood Buddha, is a place of pilgrimage for innumerable tour groups. Other sights include the Six Harmonies Pagoda, once a lighthouse for river traffic. Express trains run regularly between Shanghai and Hangzhou (45 minutes), as do buses (2 hours 30 minutes), which leave from all the major long-distance bus stations in Shanghai.

Tel: +86 571 8792 8540.
Website: http://en.gotohz.com

Suzhou

Famed for its gardens, canals and silk production, Suzhou is a major stop on the domestic tourism trail. Nevertheless, if you time your visit well (avoid weekends), this small, manageable city can make a rewarding break. You won't fall for its 'Venice-of-the-East' claims, but Suzhou still offers pockets of canal-side charm and a huge number of beautiful traditional Chinese gardens. Express trains run regularly from Shanghai to Suzhou (25 minutes). Regular buses to Suzhou (1 hour 50 minutes) run from all of Shanghai's main long-distance bus stations.

Unesco: Yes

Tel: +86 512 6530 5887.
Website: http://en.visitsz.com

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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.

URBN

China's first carbon neutral hotel has open-plan rooms that are beautifully designed with low furniture and sunken living areas exuding space. Bathtubs are in the bedroom rather than the bathroom, while grey slate tiling gives this excellent boutique hotel an urban vibe.

Yueyang Hotel

A decent budget option in the French Concession area of Shanghai, Yueyang Hotel has smart, spacious rooms with big double beds, desk and chair, TV, kettle and free broadband. Shower rooms are clean and modern, although, annoyingly, the hot water isn't always piping hot. English is minimal.