Shanghai: The Ultimate East-Meets-West Metropolis

by Josie Moyer
Stripes Guam

Shanghai, which literally means “City on the Sea,” lies on China’s central coast where the Yangtze River meets the Pacific Ocean in the East China Sea. Up until the early 1800s, Shanghai was a quaint fishing village. After the end of the First Opium War in 1842, Shanghai was opened to foreigners, and the small village quickly grew into a large city bustling with merchants from Great Britain, France, the United States and elsewhere. Shanghai became an important industrial and trading hub that attracted not only foreigners, but also Chinese migrant workers from other parts of the country. Today, more than 24 million people live in Shanghai, making it China’s largest city by population.

In October 2014, United Airlines introduced nonstop service between Guam and Shanghai, establishing this historic route. The Guam-Shanghai service established a first-time opportunity for Chinese travelers to fly to Guam on scheduled direct flights and also opened up a new destination for residents of Guam to explore. United offers twice-weekly service, every Thursday and Sunday, and Shanghai is a mere four and half hour flight away. Whether you’re looking to make the most of a long holiday weekend or are just short on vacation time, the flight schedule makes for a great three or four-day getaway.

You’ll need a Chinese Tourist Visa before visiting Shanghai, which can be applied for at a Chinese Embassy. In the absence of a Chinese Embassy in Guam, a local travel agency, such as One Stop Travel located in the Tumon Sands Plaza, can assist with the process of applying for and obtaining a visa.

The lay of the land

From the architecture to the booming industry, it becomes apparent immediately upon arrival that Shanghai is a center of modernity. To grasp the enormity of Shanghai and to marvel at its magnificent skyline, visit the Oriental Pearl Tower, a TV and radio tower that was built in 1994 and at one time held the distinction of the tallest structure in China.

One of the most distinct landmarks in Shanghai, the Oriental Pearl Tower is the fourth tallest tower in China and the sixth tallest in the world. The Oriental Pearl towers over the Huangpu River at 468m (1,535 feet) and offers a 360-degree view of the city from its three observatory levels. For a small thrill, take a walk on the glass skywalk platform on the second observatory deck.

The Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center is a six-story interactive museum dedicated entirely to Shanghai’s modernization and urban development. One of Shanghai's best and most visited museums, the Urban Planning Exhibition Center documents the evolution of Shanghai through scale models, historical photographs, multimedia and interactive games and displays.

The crown jewel of this museum is the enormous and impressively detailed scale model of the city center that takes up most of the floor space on the sixth floor. There’s a wealth of other interesting exhibits in the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, but the scale model of the city alone is worth visiting.

Connect with ancient history

For a city so worldly and cosmopolitan, Shanghai has managed to preserve its Chinese culture, and its long, old-world history mingles cohesively with a modern, outward-looking spirit. For a look back at old Shanghai, spend some time at Yuyuan (Yu) Garden, located in the center of Shanghai's Old City, a few blocks south of the Bund.

Yu Garden was built more than 400 years ago during the Ming Dynasty as the private garden of the Pan family back in 1559. "Yu" in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying, and this garden was specially built as a place for the Pan family to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age. The exquisite layout, vibrant scenery and artistic style of the garden architecture have all made Yu Garden one of the highlights of Shanghai while still living up to its name.

Named one of the top 10 charming villages of China, Fengjing Ancient Town is an ancient water town located on the outskirts of Shanghai, about an hour from the city center. It is a remarkably well-preserved village with a history spanning seven centuries. A network of waterways, including some 52 bridges, connects the town. It’s a quiet and peaceful village, perfect for rambling and getting a first-hand experience of an authentic Chinese old town village.

An epicurean dream destination

For the culinary curious and adventurous, Shanghai is a foodie’s playground. From world-class international eateries to authentic street food, China’s largest city has more restaurants than you can shake a dumpling at. Discover Shanghai’s most authentic dishes when you take a culinary journey through the city or experience new styles of cuisine that will wow your taste buds. Shanghai has flavors to suit every palate and budget. Every meal will enrich your Shanghai adventure.

A shopper’s paradise

Undeniably a shopper’s paradise, Shanghai was once known as the “Paris of the East,” earning the moniker in the 19th and early 20th century when its busy port helped develop the city's sophisticated and cosmopolitan flavor. Shanghai offers a dizzying number of shopping centers, it would be impossible to visit them all in a short trip. A good place to start is Nanjing Road, famous throughout the world as the world’s longest shopping street. At almost three and a half miles long, Nanjing Road is lined with shops of every brand and size, and attracts more than a million visitors every day.

Shanghai by night

Shanghai offers countless activities and entertainment possibilities after the sun goes down. The city’s vibrant nightlife fuses East and West, much like the city itself. Whether you’re in the mood to dine, drink or dance the night away, the best restaurants and bars in Shanghai don’t disappoint after dark.

Stroll along Shanghai’s world-famous Bund with a dazzling view of the futuristic skyline of Pudong, the city’s economic center. While there, consider taking in a show, a traditional Chinese cultural show of music and dance or the mind-blowing Chinese acrobatic show at the Shanghai Circus World, where graceful contortionists meet unbelievable motorcycle stunts.

Plan your escape

With United’s affordable and convenient nonstop service from Guam to Shanghai, there has never been a better time to visit this exhilarating Chinese city that offers an ancient and futuristic mix of East and West. Call your travel agent or visit united.com and start planning your Shanghai adventure today.

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Japan
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Korea

Recommended Content