Shanghai is a city where it feels like there are an unlimited number of places to go, sites to see, stores to shop, restaurants to eat. So if you’re short on time, one place I would definitely recommend is Tianzifang outlet.
Sure, it’s kind of a touristy place, but it has all the things you would want — culture, quality restaurants and unique shops. You can easily spend a lazy morning or afternoon there, wandering the pedestrian-only narrow alleys that remind me of those old Chinese streets you see in movies. The place is set up like a little maze of these alleyways, each lined with shops and tasty restaurants with a variety of cuisines on both sides.
Some of these tiny shops sell interesting things, stuff you wouldn’t usually find elsewhere. Intricately made wallets and bags, hilarious Chinese communist propaganda goods, schmick household items and everything in between. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s cool just to take a look around.
But I did buy something. A samurai sword umbrella. Check it out. Pretty cool, huh? It was a bitch to bring it back though — had people asking to check it every couple of steps!
I also had lunch there at a nice Thai joint. Post coming shortly.
By the way, I bumped into a friend and former work colleague while I was there. We used to work in the same team, and he sat in the office next to mine before he moved to Hong Kong for the big bucks. We caught up when we were both in Taiwan on holidays at the same time and also when I went to HK last year (after India). But this meeting was completely coincidental. He was there sightseeing for the weekend Talk about a small world, huh?