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Things to Do in Eastern China - page 2

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Lingering Garden (Liu Yuan)
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47 Tours and Activities

In a city known for its beautiful gardens, Lingering Garden (Li Yuan is a standout. One of the four most famous classical gardens in China, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s renowned for its wonderful layout and use of space, with ponds, bridges, rockeries, gardens, statues, pavilions, and buildings with striking architecture.

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Suzhou Museum
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Located near the famous Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou Museum is a must-visit for all history, art, and culture lovers visiting the city. This modern museum was designed by the award-winning I.M. Pei, a Chinese American architect. With more than 15,000 pieces to admire, from calligraphy and ancient paintings, to cultural relics and woodcarvings, the museum provides a crucial insight into Suzhou’s history and culture.

The city of Suzhou is famous for its well-designed classical gardens, and a visit to the museum is the perfect opportunity to discover how natural landscapes and buildings blend harmoniously within them. Explore ancient Chinese paintings, calligraphy, and handmade crafts, along with tens of thousands of books, documents, and stone inscriptions that reveal much about the various dynasties that have ruled China over the centuries, including the Yuan, Song, Ming, and Qing Dynasties.

To provide the most context, Suzhou Museum is best visited as part of an extended cultural tour of the area. It can also be visited as part of various day trips of the city, which might include entry into several classical gardens as well as time to explore the ancient streets.

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Tianzifang
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Tianzifang, in the French Concession, is a hip, artsy area of Shanghai full of art galleries, design studios, stylish boutiques, and unique shops. Many bars, cafés, and restaurants here are housed in traditional Shikumen buildings or converted factory spaces. A place for meandering, it’s popular with expats, tourists, and local youth.

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Lion Grove Garden (Shizilin)
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Built by a Buddhist monk in 1342, the Lion Grove Garden (Shizilin) is one of the oldest classical gardens in Suzhou and one of nine gardens in the area recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its uniqueness lies in its unusual design of grotto mazes, ponds, and pavilions, with a large and elaborate grotto of taihu rocks at its center. Anyone interested in oriental design and architecture, as well as nature and history, will appreciate a visit here.

The garden's massive grotto is made up of a maze of paths winding through 21 caves across three levels, with a pond dividing the grotto into east and west sections. The rocks, dating back to the Yuan Dynasty, are piled up in such a way that they are meant to resemble lions in various positions. Elsewhere in the garden, there are buildings, trees, ponds, and other elements to explore.

Lion Grove Garden can be visited as part of a day trip from Shanghai to Suzhou. Enjoy a stroll in the grotto maze here, followed by lunch and shopping nearby, or perhaps even a boat ride along the canal. The high-speed express train from Shanghai makes the journey easy, and is included on some organized tours.

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Fairmont Peace Hotel (Heping Fandian)
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An art deco masterpiece on the Bund, the Fairmont Peace Hotel (Heping Fandian), with its distinctive green copper pyramid roof, has been a Shanghai landmark, and a favorite of celebrities and dignitaries, since 1929. Originally the Cathay Hotel, it became the Peace Hotel in 1956 and reopened in 2010 as the Fairmont Peace Hotel.

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Shanghai Ocean Aquarium (SOA)
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Home to more than 450 species spread across nine different zones, from the deep ocean to China, the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium (SOA) is one of Asia’s largest aquariums and the country’s best. Expect to see everything from jellyfish and sharks to Yangtze alligators, Humboldt penguins, and giant stingrays—as well as one of the world’s longest aquarium tunnels.

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Jin Mao Tower
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25 Tours and Activities

The tallest building in China when it was completed in 1999, Shanghai’s landmark Jin Mao Tower reaches nearly 1,380 feet (420.5 meters). The main draw for most visitors is the observation deck on the 88th floor—the largest in the city—which offers stunning 360-degree views over Shanghai.

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Shikumen Open House Museum (Wulixiang Shikumen Bowuguan)
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Step back in time to 1920s and 1930s Shanghai, and get a glimpse of how the average middle-class family lived, at the Shikumen Open House Museum (Wulixiang Shikumen Bowuguan). Located in Xin Tian Di, the museum uses recreated rooms and multimedia displays to present a house in the typical shikumen, or stone gate, style unique to Shanghai.

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Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall (Shanghai Chengshi Guihua Zhanshi Guan)
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47 Tours and Activities

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall Tours

https://www.viator.com/Shanghai-attractions/Shanghai-Urban-Planning-Exhibition-Hall/d325-a10377

A surprisingly interesting museum, the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall (Shanghai Chengshi Guihua Zhanshi Guan) in People’s Square traces the development of the city from a small fishing village to a modern metropolis. Featuring photos, models, videos, and interactive displays, it’s a great way to learn about the past and imagine the future of Shanghai.

The Basics

The museum covers five floors above ground and two underground. Start off on the first floor, which covers the historical development of Shanghai. The centerpiece of the museum, a huge scaled model of the city, is on the third floor. Don’t miss the wraparound 3D theater, which gives a glimpse into the future of Shanghai. In the basement, you can walk down a re-created Shanghai street from the 1930s, which leads to a very modern underground shopping plaza.

Combine a visit to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall with a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Shanghai, a Huangpu River cruise, or a half-day or full-day tour that includes other top Shanghai attractions, such as Yuyuan Garden, Xintiandi, or the Bund.

Things to Know Before You Go

Audio guides in eight languages are available for rental.

The museum is wheelchair and stroller accessible; both are available for free.

Special temporary exhibitions may require an additional fee.

There is a café on the fifth floor that offers great views over People’s Square.

How to Get There

The museum is located in People’s Square, in the Huangpu District. By metro, take line 1, 2, or 8 to People’s Square Station. By bus, take line 18, 20, 46, 49, 71, 123, or 537 and get off at People’s Square, or take tourist bus 1 or 3 to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center.

When to Get There

The museum is open daily, except Mondays (unless it’s a public holiday), with slightly longer hours Friday through Sunday. Expect to spend one to two hours here, longer if you are really into design, architecture, or urban planning.

Other Attractions Near People’s Square

There are a number of other museums and attractions in and around People’s Square, including top-rated Shanghai Museum, the Shanghai History Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Grand Theater.

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Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum (Shanghai Youtai Nanmin Jinianguan)
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51 Tours and Activities

The Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum (Shanghai Youtai Nanmin Jinianguan) is housed within the restored Ohel Moshe Synagogue, which played a key role in the lives of the 20,000 European Jewish refugees who settled in the city during World War II. The museum highlights their story through photos, films, documents, and personal items.

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More Things to Do in Eastern China

Shanghai City God Temple (Chenghuang Miao)

Shanghai City God Temple (Chenghuang Miao)

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The City God Temple (Chenghuang Miao) is one of the main Taoist temples in Shanghai. Originally built during the Ming Dynasty, the temple has a rich history, which has survived its near destruction and renovation over the years. Still an active and lively temple, it’s a beautiful oasis within bustling Old Shanghai.

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Leifeng Pagoda

Leifeng Pagoda

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Located on the southern bank of scenic West Lake, the 5-story, 8-sided Leifeng Pagoda offers stunning panoramic views over West Lake, and features spectacular statues and carvings on different levels. One of the top attractions in Hangzhou, “Leifeng Pagoda at Sunset” is also one of the classic Ten Scenes of West Lake.

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Suzhou Silk Museum

Suzhou Silk Museum

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Suzhou is famous for being the silk capital of China – the city was the center of silk production for imperial families throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. Suzhou Silk Museum provides an opportunity to learn about how silk has been produced and used throughout the centuries, dating as far back as 2000 BC. It’s also a chance to admire the crafts, embroidery, and clothing made from silk, and perhaps purchase a souvenir to take home.

Those interested in architecture will note that Suzhou Silk Museum combines a sense of ancient civilization with a modern design, with white walls representing the purity of silk and round edges symbolizing its softness. The museum is divided into several sections, each offering a different angle on the life and times of silk. In the silkworm-rearing room, you can see live worms enjoying mulberry leaves, their favourite food, before being transported through time in the silk-weaving workshop, where ancient looms reveal the past grandeurs of the silk industry.

A visit to Suzhou Silk Museum is a captivating experience, combining history, culture, and art. To provide the most context, it is best visited as part of an extended cultural tour of the area, with stops at the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, Suzhou Museum, plus several other key attractions in the city. It can also be visited as part of various day trips, which might include entry into one or two classical gardens, as well as time to explore the city’s ancient streets.

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Former Residence of Sun Yat-sen

Former Residence of Sun Yat-sen

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Get a glimpse into the life of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Chinese Republic and the Great Forerunner of the Chinese Democratic Revolution, at his former residence in Shanghai. See where he carried out a large number of revolutionary activities, wrote treatises, and met with members of the Communist Party from 1918 until 1924.

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Shanghai Zoo (Shanghai Dongwu Yuan)

Shanghai Zoo (Shanghai Dongwu Yuan)

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The second-largest zoo in China, Shanghai Zoo covers an area of 184 acres (74.5 hectares), with an exhibition area of 12 acres (4.8 hectares). The zoo exhibits more than 6,000 animals from China and around the world, including 600 rare and endangered species.

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Wuzhen Water Town

Wuzhen Water Town

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The architecture, infrastructure, and way of life in Wuzhen, one of the six famous ancient water towns south of the Yangtze River, hasn’t changed much over the centuries. Traditional houses, shops, and markets built along canals crossed by ancient bridges make the atmospheric town feel like a living history museum.

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Fei Lai Feng (Flying Peak)

Fei Lai Feng (Flying Peak)

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Fei Lai Feng (Flying Peak) – literally translated as ‘Peak Flown from Afar’ – is a unique, 200-meter tall limestone peak located next to the Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

At the site, ancient tree roots rise above the ground, their branches twisting and winding up the peak. Due to erosion, there are a large number of caves within the mountain, and some of these feature intricately carved Buddha statues that were created during the Song and Yuan dynasties.

The largest Buddha statue here is the Maitreya Buddha, with its exposed belly and beaming smile; this is one of the best-preserved statues of its kind, displaying the artistry of carving in the Song Dynasty. In Longhong Cave, there is a seated statue of Avalokitesvara, while in Shexu Cave, a beam of sunlight pours in through the rock tunnels above – a famous scene known as 'the gleam of the sky'.

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West Sea Grand Canyon (Xihai Grand Canyon)

West Sea Grand Canyon (Xihai Grand Canyon)

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At the West Sea Grand Canyon (Xihai Grand Canyon, a network of steep steps leads travelers through ever-changing landscapes of pine forests and rocky crags, offering incredible views over Xihai. The scenic area offers some of the best scenery on the already scenic Yellow Mountain (Huangshan.

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Six Harmonies Pagoda (Liuhe Pagoda)

Six Harmonies Pagoda (Liuhe Pagoda)

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A 7-story tower that looks deceivingly taller, the Six Harmonies Pagoda (Liuhe Pagoda) was constructed in 970 to ward off evil spirits believed to be responsible for the Qiantang River’s tidal bore. The pagoda is a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architecture and an enduring symbol of the city of Hangzhou.

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Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (SSTM)

Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (SSTM)

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Housed in a futuristic glass structure in Pudong, the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (SSTM) comprises four theaters and more than a dozen exhibition halls focusing on robotics, space travel, natural history, and more. With hands-on and immersive displays, this museum offers a fun and educational day out for the whole family.

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China Art Palace

China Art Palace

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The inverted scarlet pyramid that towers over Pudong isn’t just an icon of Shanghai. It’s home to one of Asia’s largest art museums, including works previously housed at the Shanghai Art Museum. Spread across several huge floors, the China Art Palace tells the story of the rise of modern art in Shanghai and hosts world-class exhibitions.

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Meijiawu Tea Village

Meijiawu Tea Village

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Meijiawu Tea Village, just west of West Lake, is a top producer of Longjing (Dragon Well) tea, considered one of the finest teas in China and the world. Surrounded by mountains, valleys, and streams, Meijiawu Tea Village is a picturesque locale where visitors can learn all about the heritage, production, and benefits of Longjing tea.

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Shanghai History Museum (Shanghai Lishi Bowuguan)

Shanghai History Museum (Shanghai Lishi Bowuguan)

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After a multiyear renovation, the Shanghai History Museum (Shanghai Lishi Bowuguan) reopened in 2018 at its new permanent location on the former grounds of the Shanghai Race Club, in People’s Square. It features over 1,100 artifacts spanning 6,000 years of the city’s history and covers political, social, cultural, and commercial life in Shanghai.

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M50

M50

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Located just south of Suzhou Creek in Shanghai, M50 is one of the city’s premier destinations for contemporary and modern art. This sprawling industrial art park spans 36 acres (14.5 hectares) and houses more than 100 galleries and art studios, featuring artists from more than a dozen countries.

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