Strategically located where the Yangtze River, Grand Canal, and Pacific Ocean meet, Shanghai has served as a major commercial port since the Song Dynasty (10th century). From here, the region's substantial cotton crop was shipped to Beijing, more remote regions in China and Japan. By the Qing Dynasty, vast mercantile guilds, organized by trade, had established economic, and a considerable amount of political control of the city. In the 1840's Shanghai was described by a representative of the British East India Company as "the principal emporium of Eastern Asia." Not surprisingly, after the Opium Wars the British moved in under the Treaty of Nanking, followed by the French, and set up the first foreign concessions in the city.
When the Communists marched into Shanghai in May 1949, they took control of the most important business and trading center in Asia, an international port where vast fortunes were made while millions lived in abject poverty. Since that time the city has remained a center of radicalism - Mao launched the Cultural Revolution here in 1966. After his death Shanghai was the last stronghold of the Gang of Four in their struggle for succession.
After years of stagnation, the great metropolis of Shanghai has undergone one of the most amazing economic expansions the world has ever seen. Streets are crowded with every type of vehicle and the horizon is filled with skyscrapers. Stores with shiny glass fronts and chrome elevators boast shelves overflowing with a wide range of merchandise. Young women in fashionable western clothes compare notes on the latest perfumes and makeup. Elegant dining establishments can be found next to traditional eateries - a mind-boggling selection offers food from ethnic and international cuisine to Western fast food.
Please Note: For your convenience, shore excursions offered for this port of call are available to reserve in advance at www.silversea.com, unless otherwise noted in the description. The deadline to reserve these tours is seven days prior to your cruise, after which they will be available for purchase on board.
Going Ashore in Shanghai
The ship usually docks at theShanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, located about 2 miles from the Bund. Taxis are generally available at the port gate.
Look for antiques, Chinese art, silks and tailored clothing. These can be found on Nanjing Road, the main shopping street. Huaihai Road is another famous shopping street in Shanghai. Compared with the more touristy Nanjing Road, Huaihai Road is more upscale, and is the preferred destination for local residents. The 5,500-meter long Middle Huaihai Road has a large number of shops lining its route, from small boutiques to major department stores and shopping malls, as well as hotels and restaurants. The local currency is the yuan renminbi (RMB).
The national pastime of the Chinese is eating. As Shanghai was once a city of the very rich, food had to be the best and the tradition has continued. Local specialties include "drunken chicken" cooked in Shaoxing wine, lions' heads (large pork and cabbage meatballs), smoked fish, and shrimps fried in egg white. The Yu Yuan (old city) area is a great place for snacking - dumpling, noodle, satay and corn-on-the-cob stands line the streets bordering the bazaar. The Shanghainese are very fond of sweets, and apart from the sugary flavor of local dishes, also enjoy Western puddings and cakes from the many French tearooms.
Stroll this classic colonial riverfront, with its grandiose neoclassical edifices built to house the great foreign enterprises. Drop in at the famous Peace Hotel for a cup of tea or a drink in the bar with its legendary jazz band.
Flower and Bird Bazaar
A most picturesque little corner of the city, where locals crowd the alleys looking for their new best friends - puppies, kittens, goldfish, songbirds, crickets, and the whole gamut of plants and flowers.
First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party
The official story of this house is that in 1921 thirteen representatives of Communist cells that had developed all over China, including Mao Zedong, met here to discuss the founding of a national party. The site is preserved in its original condition and includes exhibits detailing the kinds of oppressions that inspired the movement in the first place.
The Sun Yatsen Memorial Residence
Sun lived here from 1918-1924. The house has a large British-style lawn in back, screened in by mature trees and high walls. Inside are his books, and other personal possessions.
Zhou Enlai's Former Residence
A delightful house with a terrace in back sporting rattan chairs and polished wooden floors. Its garden, with hedges and ivy-covered walls, could easily be part of 1930's suburban London.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board.