If you wish to indulge in a fulfilling yet relaxing weekend getaway in the vibrant Chinese city of Shanghai, here is an itinerary that I would recommend.
Friday Afternoon – Arrive in Shanghai
Check into your accommodation at the Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World, which is part of the Club Carlson (Radisson) Hotels chain. This hotel is located in a very central area of Shanghai, in the shopping belt of the Bund.
After your long flight, you will be able to indulge at the hotel spa or swim a few relaxing laps in the hotel swimming pool. You’ll enjoy comfortable and spacious facilities including satellite TV and free high-speed Internet access and Wifi. So you should feel completely at home here.
Relax and unwind after your long flight, at the 208-metre high Revolving Restaurant and sky tower. You will be able to soak up beautiful city views, as well as indulge in a delicious Western or Cantonese dinner, depending on what you prefer.
Friday evening – Hotel Indigo, Char Bar
Char Bar on level 29 of Hotel Indigo has one of the best views of Huangpu River. A good area to chill without rowdy crowds; it oversees the ‘I Love Shanghai’ light display- a very romantic setting too. Be there in the evening before 10pm to oversee the Shanghai skyline; building lights along the bund are switched off from 10pm daily as part of an energy conservation initiative.
Saturday breakfast – Chamate @ Nanjing West Road 2-88 Xinshije Cheng Level 3
This eatery has plenty of delicious baos and traditional Chinese dishes that you can indulge in for a satisfying and fast Chinese breakfast. These include mixed dim sum and pineapple prawns, as well as stewed turnips with beef tendon.
Saturday morning – Tianma Shan
Tianma Shan is a hill near the more well-known She Shan. Head there for a highly manageable hike up to the hilltop and absorb the lovely view, albeit with some inevitable industrial sightings which are a critical driver of shanghai’s economy.
Saturday lunch – Picnic basket and dig fresh roots at Tianma Shan
Bring a picnic basket and mat to Tianma Shan. There are loads of grassy areas along the hiking route for a relaxing meal amidst colorful blooms and soothing greens. April will be the best time to catch the Sakura bloom. There is also an area where you pay a small fee to dig fresh bamboo shoots from the ground to stir fry for your lunch.
Saturday afternoon – Cab to Thames Town, Songjiang District
Cab to Thames Town, which is next to Songjiang University Town. While it is a fake town built to look old and modelled after the Cambridge and Oxford University towns in England, it is definitely a very pleasant setting for a stroll or cycling around interesting low-rise buildings, cosy boutique cafés with lovely outdoor seatings and an interestingly decorated/built bookstore that never fails to draw people in. If you want to sit down and relax, a mat will come in handy because this place has many grassy areas; the most popular spot is in front of a cathedral, where you will see couples taking their wedding photos.
Saturday mid afternoon – Tagliatelle
You can have some mid afternoon tea at Tagliatelle, at the Binjiang Avenue Board Walk, which serves fresh homemade pasta at the outdoor eating area, set in a backgarden, if you are hungry.
Saturday early evening – Binjiang Avenue Board Walk
A much quieter walk along the bund than the Nanjing East Road side. Head to the corner of Binjiang Avenue Board Walk near Starbucks from late afternoon to evening and listen to the longstanding buskers belting out Chinese and Cantonese ballads, while overlooking the Huangpu River and the classical European heritage buildings.
Saturday dinner – Xinjishi Shanghai Cuisine at 181 alley Taicang Road, South Xintiandi, Building 9.
Enjoy a scrumptious and filling Chinese-style dinner here, comprising of delicious and nourishing smoked chicken soup, followed by unusual dishes such as their coffee flavoured ribs and deep fried frogs in chilli and garlic. It is a meal that you will never forget – so it is no wonder that the restaurant usually gets pretty busy every night.
Saturday Night – Kabbs Pub
Near the Xinjishi Shanghai Cuisine restaurant, you can spend your Saturday night indulging in a few drinks after dinner here.
Sunday breakfast – Jia Jia tang bao on Huanghe Lu (Road).
This eatery is famous for its xiaolongbao and tangbao, which are popular soup dumplings around the world. These make a light, yet filling and satisfying meal. Their crab meat & roe dumplings are their specialty item though.
Sunday morning – People’s park to see matchmaking in action
Head to people’s park to see full-blown matchmaking in action. Take a drink break at Barbarossa in the park overseeing a large water lily pond amidst lush greeneries.
Sunday lunch – Barbarossa at People’s Park
A Shanghainese icon, this is a hip restaurant and lounge located within People’s Park and is a must-visit for tourists from all over the world.
For lunch, you can have delicious café-style items such as sandwiches, burgers and fries here, and wash it all down with scrumptious healthy smoothies.
Sunday afternoon – Shopping at the pedestrian shopping street of Nanjing East Road
This is a shopping belt with plenty of items, including electronics, mid-range branded clothes, Shanghai snacks and traditional biscuit/fashion accessories. You will be able to find some good souvenirs to bring home for family and friends.
Sunday late afternoon/evening – Bund Board Walk, Puxi side
This is within walking distance from Nanjing East Road. It is a great opportunity for some picture taking before you leave Shanghai, and the Bund Board Walk is definitely the place to go, if you want to spend some time chilling out and soaking up the Shanghai scenery.
Sunday dinner – You can have dinner at the Lost Heaven, a popular Yunnan food restaurant near the Bund
Specializing in Yunnan folk cuisine, this restaurant serves delicious food inspired by this ethnic minority.
Food dishes include Yunnan wild vegetable cakes, Dali-style chicken with chilli and green onions, pork ribs in black rose sauce and possibly the best Yunnan Black Truffle dishes in China. The menu selection is huge, so there is definitely something for everybody available here.
The restaurant is at: No. 17, Yan’an Dong Road, Shanghai
Sunday night – Peace hotel old Jazz bar
Head to the jazz bar for the live jazz band made up of old Shanghainese musicians who have been performing there for decades. The singer belting out Shanghai classics with a live band starts at 9.30pm until around midnight. Nothing beats good live music full of character to bring out the endorphins.
Early Monday Morning – Depart for Singapore
Check out of the Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World hotel and depart for Singapore.