While Shanghai has enough to offer to keep you busy for the entire semester, you should not miss the chance to venture out and see more of this beautiful and fascinating country. Here’s some suggestions for a nice weekend of sightseeing:
Not to be missed, you will find that the country’s capital has a completely different ‘look and feel’ than Shanghai. Beijing is of course home to the grandiose Forbidden City, where Chinese emperors lived uninterruptedly for 800 years, and to numerous temples and museums. From Beijing, you must make a hike to the Great Wall of China, an experience you will not lightly forget. And a visit to Beijing is not complete without hanging out in Sanlitun, the city’s undisputed nightlife center.
Also called the Venice of China for its many canals and stone bridges, Suzhou’s history goes back 2.500 years. This walled city is full of ancient temples, palaces, pagoda and gardens that give you a glimpse of what China must have looked like in ancient times. And it is just 25 minutes by hi-speed from Shanghai.
Another historical city located one hour by train southwest of Shanghai, Hangzhou is situated at the renowned West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Boating on the lake against the backdrop of temples and pagodas, willow trees and bamboo forests and the famous Longjing Tea fields is a great way to relax ‘Chinese style’.
Set in China’s most famous mountain scenery, this is what Asia really looks like. Terraced rice paddies as far as the eye can see, buffaloes plowing through the fields, fishermen throwing out their nets from bamboo rafts on the Li River. And you passing by on your rental bike, on your way back to the country’s most famous backpackers hangout.
If you really want to hold and cuddle pandas, you must head to the Panda Conservation Park in Chengdu. The capital city of Sichuan province in southwest China is a pleasant city full of historical relics. The museum about the ancient Sanxingdui culture is particularly impressive. And don’t forget to sample Sichuan’s renowned spicy cuisine.
China has a surprisingly advanced transportation infrastructure, that make traveling to other parts of the country easy, comfortable and affordable. The country has an extensive system of ultra-modern and comfortable hi-speed trains that run up to 330 km/hour. The 1.100 kilometers from Shanghai to Beijing take less than 5 hours, departs every 20 minutes and costs 75 Euro.
For more remote or international destinations, you will have to head to one of Shanghai’s two airports, Hongqiao in the west (handling most domestic flight) and Pudong in the east of the city (handling most international destinations). Flying in China is safe and in most cases cheaper than in Europe. Train and air tickets can easily be purchased from online travel agents such as C Trip.
Tobias Torp Vistesen
“I have managed to do a lot of weekend travels including, Wuzhen, Hangzhou, Xi’an, Yellow Mountains, Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing during the semester and in the same semester several activities in Shanghai as well, such as Storm Festival, Rolex Masters (Tennis), rooftop parties and a lot more.”