Shanghai is a mix of traditions and modernity, you get to see both in this city. In the old town of Cheng Huang Miao, you will see the mix of ancient and new buildings such as skyscraper and futuristic towers blend well and makes a good contrast. Can you spot the “Thermo Flask” Tower, also known as the Shanghai Tower in the below picture? The Thermo flask-shaped tower is also the highest building in Shanghai and the whole of China, 632 m and 128 floors.
Let’s find out things to do and to know before you visit Cheng Huang Miao Old town. It contains 15 things including landmarks, shopping items, and other special tips.
1. Fuyou Road Mosque 福佑路清真寺
It is interesting to find a Mosque before visiting Cheng Huang Miao Shanghai. You may want to pay a visit to the peaceful mosque which is located very near to where we stayed at the Renaissance Hotel. The facade of the mosque is simple but beautiful as it has a traditional Qing Dynasty style.
2. Shanghai Snow Cream 上海雪花膏
Shanghai snow cream can be seen almost everywhere and tourists love to bring back for souvenirs. It is a cosmetic product and bestselling items here with cute oldies packaging. Women in Shanghai have been using this product for ages and it is one of the authentic and oldest products created by two beautiful Shanghai sisters which became famous for years.
3. Shanghai Lao Fan Dian 上海老饭店
The restaurant of Shanghai Lao Fan Dian is always packed with tourists due to the good location as it is so near to Yu Garden. Things can be a little pricey but the restaurant certainly makes a great backdrop for photo opportunities.
4. Yuyuan Bazaar 豫园购物街
This is just right outside Yu Garden and you find so many traditional Chinese buildings that are used as commercial stores to sell local products, snacks, silver jewelry, souvenirs, and antiques. You do find cheap souvenirs here too.
5. Hanfu Costume 汉服
These are cute little “hanfu” for kids but they also have adults. Hanfu also is known as traditional Chinese clothing and it is so popular in China now. The traditional clothing of Hanfu has become an emerging trend entering mainstream fashion and chased by an increasing number of young Chinese. I do spot so many young people wearing hanfu on the street and it is quite a beautiful scene.
6. Fans & Umbrella
Fans are to keep one cool and umbrellas to prevent one from getting wet. In Chinese, the words for fan and umbrella are similar pronunciation. These two items go well with “hanfu” the Chinese clothing.
7. Chinese Chopsticks
Chinese chopsticks are different from the Japanese chopsticks as it is longer and thicker than Japanese chopsticks. They have square or rounded sides and end in blunt, flat tips. This is another great souvenirs as it is easily carried and packed in your luggage.
8. Retro Gifts – Mao Zedong Cigarette Lighter
You will find Chairman Mao’s picture features on the cigarette lighter. The image is in Mao’s iconic suit which I find so communist imagery.
9. Silver jewelry
Chinese Miao Minority love silver accessories and you can see their elaborate work done on these silver. Most of the silver accessories are made by hands in a traditional way. There are two craftsmen in front of the shop showing off their skills.
10. Old Photo Studio
This old photo studio has all the props to make you step back in time. First, you need to go upstairs to get change to the old clothing such as qipao – the traditional Chinese dress for ladies and then come down to shoot a picture with the rickshaw and the rickshaw man.
11. Traditional Chinese folk arts
Don’t miss the popular Yuyuan Garden traditional Chinese folk arts, you will find talented craftsmen carrying ancient culture into the modern age. There are paper cutting, shadow puppet making, calligraphy and many more.
The craftsman can perform in front of you and made a picture of you by using a pair of scissors.
12. A Bite of Jiangnan
This is similar to a food court that sells all the local snacks. We had stinky tofu, soft tofu, Chinese pancakes and many more snacks here.
13. Chinese Street Arts
Can you spot the Chinese Pavillion for the Shanghai World Expo 2010? It is also known as “The Crown of the East,” which has a distinctive roof.
14. Wigs shop in Shanghai
For many Chinese, wearing a wig is a new trend and fashion. Over here you will find a variety of human hair wigs and synthetic hair products. If you need a hair extension or a new style, check this out.
15. Cashless in China
WeChat Pay and Alipay are two of the most popular mobile payment methods in China. Most people do not use cash anymore. All you have to do is just scan the barcodes or QR code on phones when doing the purchase. Visa and Mastercard are not widely used but you can still use them in big hotels. This little kiosk has the QR code on the basket for the customer to scan them.
Even though it is the second time visiting Cheng Huang Miao Shanghai, I still find the place is full of interesting finds, the Shanghai street snacks and the skilled craftsman works are just awesome.