F1 Destination Guide: Shanghai

Helena Hicks
Contributor

Shanghai, China is the second instalment on the 2017 Formula 1 calendar. Shanghai’s International Circuit has hosted the Chinese Grand Prix since 2004, where Michael Schumacher holds the quickest lap-time around the track. With the rule and regulation changes this year, it could be subject to change.


At a Glance

Williams Martini Racing's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa takes a corner during the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 17, 2016. / AFP / GREG BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
Williams Martini Racing’s Brazilian driver Felipe Massa takes a corner during the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 17, 2016. / AFP / GREG BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)

Shanghai, or ‘Hu’ as it is known to the locals, is situated on the estuary Yangtze River. Consisting of a sprawl of skyscrapers and innovation centres, the mega-city is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. It, therefore, doesn’t come as a surprise that Shanghai is famed for its diversity, culture and modern architecture. Here, the modern meets the contemporary. The city’s multicultural flair endows it with a unique glamour, earning it a reputable name for the ultimate travel experience. Western customs and Chinese traditions intertwine to form the city’s unique culture, making a visitor’s stay nothing short of truly memorable.


Food

Home to some 23 million people, there is an array of choices when it comes to places to eat in the city. Whether you’re after a taste of the local cuisine or something a bit more familiar, there is something to get everyone’s taste buds tingling.

Street food musts:

Master chef of Canton 8 restaurant, Jie Ming Jian (R) cooks vegetables in the kitchen of the restaurant, which was awarded two Michelin stars on September 21, 2016. The storied food guide Michelin has launched its first edition in mainland China, awarding the highest three star rating to the Cantonese restaurant T'ang Court, it announced on September 21. The inaugural edition for mainland China covers the commercial hub of Shanghai and gives stars to 26 restaurants, including the world's least expensive two star restaurant, Canton 8. / AFP / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
Master chef of Canton 8 restaurant, Jie Ming Jian (R) cooks vegetables in the kitchen of the restaurant, which was awarded two Michelin stars on September 21, 2016.
The storied food guide Michelin has launched its first edition in mainland China, awarding the highest three star rating to the Cantonese restaurant T’ang Court, it announced on September 21. The inaugural edition for mainland China covers the commercial hub of Shanghai and gives stars to 26 restaurants, including the world’s least expensive two star restaurant, Canton 8.
/ AFP / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Fangbang Xi Lu- Fangbang Road has a big street food market in Shanghai’s old town section. It is relatively hidden away, but very popular with both tourists as well as locals. Around the corner from the famous Yu Yuan gardens, this place can pack quite a crowd. You can enjoy walking down the narrow lane, taking in all the smells, from tofu, crayfish, gigantic lobsters, steaming wontons, fried dumplings, to fried noodles. Behind the stalls, there are low-priced restaurants, serving up delicious regional food so you can immerse yourself in the local culture. This is a haven for those who are looking to find the backbone of Shanghai’s street food scene and comes thoroughly recommended by those who have visited.

Kangding Lu / Yanping Lu junction- These guys set up their ever-expanding stall after 10 pm and serve till 2:30–3:00 am. It’s run by a husband-wife duo, assisted by more family members, all of whom are very friendly and eager to share knowledge of their city with you. Happy and energetic, they would set up a tiny table-chair for you to sit and enjoy your quick meal. Try their skewered meats, especially the chicken and pork ones! And, if you fancy it, pair your dish with a few beers from the Family Mart right next to the stalls.

If you don’t fancy one of those, then Goodfellas specialises in Italian cuisine and is situated in an area of the city called The Bund – a tourist hot-spot.


Nightlife

Shanghai is the party city of China. The world’s fastest growing metropolitan boasts top-class bars and clubs right across the city.

Shangnight

The Geisha: This venue is by Collective Concepts and is a restaurant and club with 3 floors that offer different things. You can enjoy their Japanese restaurant, their club with a DJ, or their Sake lounge. In addition, there is a spectacular rooftop to accompany their formidable cocktail menu. However, do note they have a dress code – so go dressed for the occasion.

The Apartment: They say you haven’t partied in Shanghai if you haven’t partied here. This venue, also by Collective Concepts, is a hugely popular club. It is divided into two areas for hip-hop and house music. Note, this club tends to get very busy on weekends, an expat central.

Lola: This is the place where you can take off your tie, stay late, and let loose with a very cool European crowd. The nights here kick off relatively quietly in the tapas bar and lounge, but will gradually pick up pace throughout the night. By midnight, the lounge evolves into a packed nightclub, especially when Lola flies infamous DJs to crank up killer dance parties with their state-of-the-art sound system. They’ll be pulling out all the stops for the grand prix weekend!


Seeing the Sights

There is so much to do in Shanghai. One of the musts whilst you are there is to take in the sights along The Bund, a famous waterfront along the Huangpu River. Visit the 1,700-meter long flood-control wall (known as ‘the lovers’ wall’) located on the side of the Huangpu River from Huangpu Park to Xinkai River. It has been famed as the most romantic corner in Shanghai throughout the last century. However long your stay is, a walk down to the ‘museum of international architecture’ should be at the top of your list. The best time to visit is said to be night, where you’ll witness the city dazzling in lights, showboating the buildings even further. If you’re anything like me, then you’ll be taken back by the skyline.

A man walks over a bridge in front of the skyline of the Lujiazui Financial District in Pudong in Shanghai at dawn on December 1, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE / AFP / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks over a bridge in front of the skyline of the Lujiazui Financial District in Pudong in Shanghai at dawn on December 1, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE / AFP / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

If you’re after something a little more exciting, then head down to Shanghai Circus World. Tickets can be picked up for just 17 GBP per person if you book in advance and all seats have very good views of the acts. The show lasts around two hours, with a 10-minute interval halfway through. Performers include: encompassing acrobats, stunt motorbikes, live music and light shows. It promises an excellent evening out for all ages.

If just watching the action isn’t enough for you, test your head for heights at Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu). Ticket prices to the top are quite expensive but most people say that it’s worth every penny. If you can get over the dizzying drop down to firm ground. The tower is not for the faint-hearted – but well worth a visit! The views are stunning and you literally feel on top of the world, looking out over one of the most densely populated cities in the globe. If you want to get the most out of it, head up after 6 pm to see Shanghai glow in its full glory. Just don’t look down in the glass elevator!


Transportation

Public transport in Shanghai is efficient and easy, once you get your head around the signage. The city has the world’s largest public transportation system handling the largest daily volume of passengers. Racetrack to CBD takes about an hour by taxi in thick traffic, but most people will favour the train (hopefully, no hold-ups there).

shanghai4

In the city itself, the underground is a saviour from walking everywhere by foot. However, be prepared to be squeezed onto the trains- crowded is most definitely an understatement (think London but worse). Fourteen subway lines have connections all over the city, with stops at or nearby the main attractions and commercial areas. If you are just sightseeing and in no hurry, the subway will provide you with fast and comfortable service (though you may want to avoid rush hour of 07:00 to 09:30 and 16:30 to 19:30).

Shanghai is, without a doubt, a formidable city to city. If you ever have the opportunity to visit, I would thoroughly recommend.

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