Shifting Shanghai

By | Travel
Dynamic skyline at dusk, Credit@Leninersvia.Flickr

Whilst it may be one of the most easterly municipalities of China, Shanghai itself may be the most populated city in China, aiming to welcome in travellers and home seekers from around the world each year. Meaning ‘above the sea’ in Chinese, Shanghai sits along the Huangpu river, along which the world’s 3rd largest river, the Yangtze, empties into the East China Sea.

During the winter, the weather in the city may indeed reach chillier temperatures than throughout the rest of the year, however this may pose a beneficial opportunity for those aiming to travel to Shanghai, as the rates of travel may become more viable. In addition to this, travellers may be enabled to experience the metropolitan lifestyle of Shanghai in its essence as the tourist season passes.

One of the benefits of travelling to a city as potentially metropolitan as Shanghai, may be the amalgamation of cultures, including those recognisable to Western travellers. Along the skyline, travellers may see towering new skyscrapers such as the Shanghai Tower (632m) or the Jin Mao Tower (420.5m) from the shelter of the traditional Shikumen residences which permeate the city. One other way in which this metropolitanism manifests in everyday life in the city may be through the weekly events available to the locals and travellers alike, who may venture out to experience what the city may have to offer. One such opportunity may be the weekly Sunday brunches, which showcase the ways in which Western practice and trends have transgressed across to this Asiatic city. Every Sunday, restaurants such as el Willy and Mr & Mrs Bund provide a selection of traditional and fusion dishes for hungry patrons, aiming to offer a European dining experience for those far from home or unused to the concept.

Originating as American work music, travellers seeking a more Americanised Chinese experience may aim to attend one of the weekly live Blues, Funk and Soul nights at Cotton Club, which has aimed to bring Jazz to the city since the ‘90s. Alternatively, they may attend one of the Rooster’s trivia nights, which aims to draw from the traditional British pub quiz in providing a fun and stimulating night for guests on their ‘off-days’.

Shanghai nights from above,

Shanghai nights from above.

If experiencing the metropolitan blend of Shanghai is desirable, this season may be one of the most interesting times of year for travellers, as the city may be aglow with Christmas spirit despite its distance from the tradition. Although workers in Shanghai continue over Christmas, it may have become an increasingly popular holiday in the city over the past few years, meaning many events and attractions may be available to tourists this December.

An example of Christmas activities in Shanghai may be seen in some of the seasonal markets, such as SantaVille or Christkindlmarkt, a traditional German market. Shanghai natives and those from wider China may even be beginning to found their own traditions to the foreign holiday, particularly in how they eat ‘peace apples’ as a seasonal dedication due to the closeness of the words ‘Christmas Eve’ (平安夜/Ping’an Ye/) and ‘apple’ (苹果/píngguǒ) in Chinese.

With the weather shifting towards wintery temperatures and seasonal celebrations around the corner, there may be an opportunity for travellers to Shanghai to experience new and intriguing aspects of the city on a more feasible budget. Through immersing themselves in Shanghainese culture, metropolitanism and tradition, travellers may find they have a lot to write home about this December!

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