The Best Compact Shanghai Itinerary

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Are you traveling to China and want to see as many awesome places as you can in a short time? If so, you probably shouldn’t spend too much time exploring Shanghai, China’s second largest metropolis, and rather invest more time in admiring China’s natural beauties such as the marvelous karst hills in Guilin or the endless rice paddies and tea fields in Yunnan. However, you haven’t truly been to China if you didn’t visit Shanghai – And this is where my compact Shanghai itinerary comes in handy!

Here’s the best compact Shanghai itinerary!

Best Compact Shanghai Itinerary

Take Pictures at The Bund

Are you looking for the perfect spot to take a photo of the famous Shanghai skyline? Well, this is it! The Bund is Shanghai’s iconic waterfront facing the Pudong district across the Huangpu River. Be prepared for crowds here but you’ll still be able to get a great shot! If you fancy, you could even take a cruise ship along the river to get an even better perspective! 

by Hario Seto Supranggono

by Hario Seto Supranggono

Shanghai | Linda Goes East

Take Line 2 or Line 10 to East Nanjing Road Station. Then walk about 10 minutes toward the Huangpu River.

Stand in Awe At Jade Buddha Temple

If you’re looking for some cool temples in Shanghai, the Jade Buddha Temple should be far up on the list! What stroke me the most was that this small old temple lies in the middle of a very modern and flourishing neighborhood which makes a great contrast. As the name says, the most precious relics are two jade Buddhist statues that are carved with whole white jade. What caught my eye even more were the fascinating wood carvings of Buddha statues representing the afterlife. 

Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple Linda Goes East

Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple Linda Goes East

Take Subway Line 7 and get off at Changshou Road Station. Get out from Exit 5, walk along Xinhui Road and turn right till Jiangning Road. Then keep walking till Anyuan Road and turn right to find the temple.

Wander Through Yuyuan Garden

Yuyuan Garden is a famous classical garden constructed in 1577. Even though it’s a giant tourist spot today, it clearly hasn’t lost its unique charme. The many pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters transform you back into the times of ancient China. However, it’s also here where you can find restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops with a high level of touristy-factor to it. Nevertheless it’s definitely worth checking out!

by SteFou!

by SteFou!

Take Subway Line 10 and get off at Yuyuan Station. Leave from Exit 1.

Shop ‘Till You Drop At Nanjing Lu

This area is the biggest and most popular pedestrian street in Shanghai and maybe even in China! All the big brand names can be found here and the wealthy and not so fortunate are coming together to spend their money. From a historic point of view, Nanjing Lu is quite interesting since it was first the British Concession then the International Settlement in Shanghai. 

by gill_penney

by gill_penney

Take Subway Line 1, Subway Line 2 or Subway Line 8 and get off at People’s Square. 

Relieve Stress At Jing’An Temple

Located right at the west end of Nanjing Road, this wonderful temple will forever stay a fond travel memory of mine. With a history of more than 780 years, Jing’An Temple is the ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of crowds in downtown Shanghai. Enjoy marvellous paintings and calligraphy by Yangzhou’s Eight Eccentric Painters in the Exhibition Hall of Buddhist Relics or take a look at the giant jade Buddha weighing over 11,000 kilograms. This temple should definitely be on your must-see list!

Linda Goes East Shanghai Jing'An Temple

Linda Goes East Shanghai Jing’An Temple

Take Subway Line 2 or Subway Line 7 and get off at Jing’an Temple Station. Leave from Exit 1 to the temple directly.

Get Panorama Views Off The Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC)

Being the tallest building in Shanghai at the moment, this skyscraper gives you the best 360 view of the city! You can go as high as up to the 100th floor to see the entire city in its full glory! Whether you visit during the day or at night, spectacular views are guaranteed!

by kanegen

by kanegen

Take Subway Line 2 and get off at Lujiazui Station. Leave from Exit 6.

Optional Day Trip: Zhujiajiao Ancient Town

This charming watertown is often referred to as “Shanghai’s Venice”, probably because it’s the best-preserved among the four ancient towns in Shanghai. If you’ve had enough from the busy big city life in Shanghai, take an hour-long express bus ride to this village and kick back! 36 bridges from the Ming and Qing dynasties connect the different parts of this village. The very elegant ancient street transports you back in time with its astonishing architecture. Don’t miss Kezhi garden featuring beautiful ponds and pavilions!

by Fabio Achilli

by Fabio Achilli

Take Huzhu Express Line from Pu’an Road East Yan’an Road.

Get the most out of your time!

China isn’t all about the big cities! Still, you should definitely check out Shanghai and spend a few days in China’s second largest mega city! This 2-3 day Shanghai itinerary gives you the perfect insight into the old and modern Shanghai! 

Check out 5 fun and free things to do in Shanghai!

Shanghai Itinerary


Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.


  1. Pauline Nincha on April 1, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Interesting post! I didn’t have time to do it all last time I went there, but next time I’ll complete my to-do list. 🙂

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