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Shanghai - Bright Lights, Big City

shanghaiShanghai - Immediately the city had a more fun feel than Beijing, with bright lights and modern buildings and views. The cheeky younger sister beckoning us to go out and explore.

Now tired of our tour, a small group of us dodged the museum visit and instead took the chance to walk down the main shopping street of Nanjing Road. Another very crowded place, and many of the shops bear names we already know from home, but just to be free to stroll was novel. At the end of the road we found ourselves on The Bund, with dramatic old colonial buildings on one side, the Huangpu River running through the middle with Pudong on the other side. Pudong is full of modern skyscrapers, each fighting to be the taller, brighter, in a more original form than the next.

A cruise along the river is a good way to take it all in, or you can cross over on a ferryboat for next to nothing, walk under the river with some fairground fanfare on the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel - or a taxi or metro will get you there also. Once in Pudong, I recommend that you try a thing the Chinese seem to love - a glass walkway. You will soon find out how scared of heights you are! Go to the Oriental Pearl Tower for one at 300 metres up or the Shanghai World Financial Center for views from 474 metres above the ground.

To be on The Bund at dusk gives you the wonderful show as the skyscrapers put on their nightly glow. As someone who has fond memories of life in Hong Kong I felt at home here. So reluctant were we to leave we spent an absolute fortune on cocktails and dinner that night with the view in sight.

Neighbouring Suzhou is home to pretty canals and well worth a visit too. On the ancient Grand Canal we found many a betrothed couple looking adoringly at each other, many dressed in red silk and embroidery, with photographers crouched to snap their pre-wedding shots. Such a special place to capture images of your day, despite the tourists that get their cameras out too. We visited a lovely, if crowded, Chinese garden nearby too - rockeries, bonsai and ponds with goldfish is the way they do it here.

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teahouseOur last day in China and true to form, it rained. We shopped some more - getting questionable bargains to take home from Yuyuan Gardens, a maze of souvenir shops around a lake and the oldest teahouse in historic Shanghai. Our last evening was spent watching an amazing circus show - dramatic acrobatics and jugglers and a finale that blows your mind - 6 motorbikes spinning inside a globe, fast and almost on top of each other. Always good to leave a place on a high! Book here.