Discover Nanshi: Shanghai’s Old Town

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Just east of central Shanghai’s soaring skyscrapers and traffic-lined streets, a snapshot of traditional China stands frozen in time at Nanshi. The oldest area in all of Shanghai, this former urban and commercial core is now a charming enclave where hundreds of years of history meet the modern-day.
Looking for an authentic cultural experience? Get a glimpse of traditional China with our essential guide to Shanghai’s Old Town.

City God Temple

sanghai old town

A relic of the Ming Dynasty, this 15th century Temple of the Town Gods was originally built to protect the city’s people by offering prayers to three main deities: Huo Guang, Qin Yubo and Chen Huacheng. While Taoist temples of this variety were once a common fixture around China, hundreds of years of political, cultural and religious changes have resulted in only a handful of these spiritual sites still standing, making the City God Temple a must-see for anyone visiting Shanghai.

Opening Hours: Daily 8:00am – 4:30pm

Yu Yuan Garden and Bazaar

yuyuan bazar sanghai

A stone’s throw away from the City God Temple, this beautiful garden-cum-bazaar is one of Shanghai’s most prominent attractions. Founded in 1559, the lush greenery, koi-filled ponds and bright-white pavilions of this inner-city park area flanked by a bustling marketplace, teeming with everything from local street food to one-of-a-kind handicrafts.

Opening Hours: Daily 8:30am –5:30pm

Huxinting Teahouse

huxinting tea house

After you’ve braved the crowded corridors of the Yu Yuan Bazaar, follow the beautiful Jiu Qu Qiao Bridge to reach the Huxinting Teahouse. One of China’s most famous tearooms, this traditional, pagoda-style building sources the finest tea leaves from around the country and brews all of its beverages with pure mineral water to deliver a premium tea drinking experience to all of its patrons.

Opening Hours: Daily 8:30am –9:30pm

Dajing Pavilion

dajing pavilion

Once completely encircled by a stone embankment, the last remaining section of the Old Town’s ancient barricade can be viewed at the Dajing Pavillion. While the majority of the five-kilometre wall was destroyed during periodic turmoil, the small stretch that has survived can be scaled by tourists, offering views across the rooftops of the historic area of Nanshi.

Opening Hours: Daily 8:30am –9:30pm

Wen Miao Temple

wen meion

Otherwise known as the Confucius Temple, this tranquil sanctuary pays homage to an ancient Chinese scholar, philosopher and politician, Confucius. Surrounded by towering trees and blooming wildflowers, this peaceful place of worship is also home to Shanghai’s second-largest book market – an apt tribute to the educational pursuits this universally-loved teacher dedicated his life to.

Opening Hours: Daily 9:00am – 5:00pm

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