Merle Rivera finds the most irresistible shopping bargains, the newest art and social scenes, and the best view’s from Shanghai’s Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck
1. Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck
Down from third to fourth place in the list of the world’s tallest buildings, Jin Mao Tower on 88 Century Boulevard, in Pudong, nevertheless lords it over Shanghai’s Lujiazui financial district. The sleek, glass-and-steel skyscraper houses offices, as well as the world’s highest hotel in the form of the Grand Hyatt, which occupies floors 53 to 87. The hotel has 555 rooms and suites and no shortage of facilities, including six restaurants, three bars and a nightclub. At the top of the building, on the 88th floor, is the huge indoor observation deck (the number 8 is associated with prosperity in Chinese culture), which is the highest and largest of its kind in China. From here you can enjoy a magnificent view of the whole metropolis and the famous Huangpu River. Gaining access to the deck involves a 45-second ascent from the basement to the 88th floor via two express elevators. Entrance US$6.
2. The South Bund Fabric Market
Drive south down Zhongshan Road from the Bund to the new South Bund Fabric Market on 399 Lujiabang Road, near Nancang Street. Located in a three-storey, air-conditioned building covering 10,000sqm, shopping here is a thrill, and the assortment of clothing and materials are all at bargain-basement prices: Chinese and Thai silk, brocade, linen, wool, cashmereâ€¦ the choice is endless. A chipao (traditional Chinese jacket) sells for as little as US$25, a cashmere winter coat from US$75 and a tailored suit from US$88 – with material and labour included, and delivery within 24 hours.
3. Ohel Moishe Synagogue
The Ohel Moishe Synagogue on 62 Chang Yang Road (former Ward Road) stands in the heart of the Hong Kou district – the old Jewish ghetto. Founded in 1927 by the Ashkenazi Jewish community, the synagogue is now a memorial to the thousands of Jews who sought sanctuary in Shanghai during the Second World War. Although the three-storey structure houses a service hall on the ground floor, it is now a museum. A five-minute walk leads to Houshan Park, which served as the area where the stateless refugees were allowed to live and conduct business. Open 9am-4pm, entrance US$6. Look for Mr Wang, the 87-year-old guide, for a thorough account of the synagogue’s history.
4. Duolun Road
Also in Hong Kou district, and a 15-minute taxi ride from Chang Yang Road, is Duolun Road, a 500-metre L-shaped pedestrian street with more than a hundred years of history behind it. In the early 1900s, Duolun Road was lined with European villas and mansions, and was home to some of China’s greatest literary figures, such as Lu Xun, who is described as one of the most influential Chinese writers of the 20th century. He lived for three years in a red-brick and tile house on Duolun Road, and it is here that he reputedly wrote some of his best-known works (the place where he died, in 1936, is a 10-minute walk away). Most of these architectural gems have now gone, but Duolun Road still retains its nostalgic charm. The Old Film Café, housed in a 1930s villa, is a great place to relax and imagine Shanghai during its colonial days. Visit the Hongde Tang Church, the only Christian church in Shanghai with features of a Chinese temple, catch the latest exhibit at the Doland Museum of Contemporary Art, or shop for Chinese antiques and artworks, jade and old Shanghai posters.
5. 50 Moganshan
Tucked away in the Putuo district, near the increasingly popular Suzhou Creek area, Moganshan Road used to be a series of rundown warehouses and former factories, until its recent resurgence as a hub for the city’s budding art scene. 50 Moganshan boasts a cluster of buildings housing spacious, high-ceilinged art galleries, design and photographic studios, fashion and lifestyle boutiques and other businesses involved in an eclectic range of creative specialities. Artists, in their studios, are more than happy to talk about their craft. A hushed atmosphere pervades the entire compound. The buildings have been renovated, albeit partially, which enhances its arty ambience.
6. Pier One
A leisurely 10-minute stroll from Moganshan, on Yi Chang Road, is Pier One, a unique nightlife/hospitality centre. It is based in an old Art Deco building, which was formerly a brewery. The complex, which opened earlier this year, features a supper club, nightclub, bar and a soon-to-open 25-room boutique hotel. The Monsoon Lounge Bar, which recently won an award for its design, features a wood-panelled bar and walls with stained glass separating the bar from the outdoor patio. A sunset cocktail is the thing to indulge in while admiring the stunning view of the Suzhou Creek. Climb up to the rooftop patio and top off the experience with an aroma-oil massage from one of the trained masseurs on hand. For a fabulous finale, Mimosa Supper Club, three floors below, offers a tasting menu created by Michelin-starred culinary director, Stefan Stiller. Open 6pm-2am. Brunch is served at weekends