Shanghai City Guide – Lonely Planet – review

Shanghai City Guide - Lonely Planet Lonely Planet produces some of the most relied-upon and trusted guides around. The company started in a small way in 1972. Tony and Maureen Wheeler published the first Lonely Planet guide to meet the needs of an increasingly mobile and ever-curious population. Lonely Planet is now the largest independent travel publisher in the world. These books have been used and abused by travellers who choose the less travelled road and those who want to get the best out of the journey.

Shanghai is a unique city that has embodied elements of both East and West for centuries. It had a reputation in the 1930s as a den of vice with gang warfare, drugs, jazz and prostitution. Things have changed and Shanghai is now a mecca for those looking for business opportunities in the newly prosperous China. There are still a few ladies of the night if you look for them… and I am sure you’ll do no such thing!

There is plenty to keep you occupied in Shanghai and Lonely Planet’s Shanghai City Guide offers a handy Itinerary Builder. This allows you, at a glance, to find sights, shopping, eating, drinking and entertainment in any of the eight neighbourhoods showcased. The Bund offers The Shanghai Museum; West Nanjing Road finds the Jade Buddha Temple; Pudong has the China Sex Culture Museum (I only went in to ask directions to the opticians, Mum). If you can’t spend much time in the city then this table will give a good overview.

Streets devoted to restaurants

Any city can be exhausting so it’s good to consider out-of-town excursions, and Lonely Planet suggests four. Hangzhou has West Lake with walks and boat trips to calm you after days of pounding the pavements. Suzhou will tempt you with the shade of its gardens and the Silk Museum. The Canal Towns are picturesque with some original Ming and Qing architecture with those bridges that you’ll no doubt remember from your Granny’s willow pattern plates. Moganshan is forested with iconic bamboo, pine and juniper and is always cooler than the city.

Shopping is a major part of any trip and there will be plenty of retail therapy opportunities. Good buys include silk and tailored clothes. Pearls can be reasonable but you have to be able to spot the fake. (Don’t the real ones dissolve in Coke? But the test is a bit counterproductive.)  There are bargains to be had in home furnishings in most department stores…and IKEA!

Finding food in Shanghai will never be a problem. Eating is a popular pastime and there are several streets devoted to restaurants. Shopping Malls have food halls and you shouldn’t be a snob by avoiding chain restaurants as they are good value and used by tourists and locals alike.

Lonely Planet’s Shanghai City Guide is one of the best Shanghai guides available, and the pull-out map will fit nicely in your pocket. This book will direct you to a bed, a meal, a bar, some fun and hopefully new friends and long-lasting memories of a fascinating city.

Shanghai City Guide
Published by: Lonely Planet
Price: £12.99
ISBN 978-1-74104-668-7


Travel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018


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