The day after I arrived to China we headed out to do some real sightseeing. We visited quite a lot of different places but the main attraction points were: the Old Town with Yu Garden, the Bund, Nanjing rd and French Concession.
And if I had to describe Shanghai in only three words, I think these are the ones that suit the city the best:
- Westernised – Before even coming to China I was told that Shanghai is a modern city but I didn’t expect to find a city that looks so similar to any other Western city. Here, you can probably find any store you wanted (starting with Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabanna, Apple, and finishing with all the fast food restaurants) and the only thing that reminds you that your in China is the Chinese language. I am somehow even used to see so many Chinese people as well, probably because we have a lot of Chinese students at Nottingham University 🙂 Also, the western look makes more sense when you look at Shanghai’s history: for about a hundred of years different areas of the city (also called concessions) were occupied by British, American, French and even Russian people, which gives the city a specific/unique look.
- Clean – I certainly didn’t expect to find the city so clean! The majority of streets are cleaned three times a day and in the main areas you can’t see almost any rubbish. And I’d say that it’s much cleaner than some of the famous cities in Western Europe that I’ve been to.
- Huge – no other word than that! Population: ~23,000,000 (“Shanghai has an officially registered population of 14 million but, according to estimates, is also home to 9 million migrants”, compared to ~3,000,000 people living in the ENTIRE Lithuania), area: 7,000 km2 (which is more than 1/10 of Lithuania). It took us about an hour to reach the school where I work (driving by car on highways) but it’s still considered as Shanghai!