When a place manages to score 1st position in world rankings, you gotta spare some time to check it out. So it is with Nanjing Road, Shanghai, which is the world’s lengthiest shopping district, spanning 5.5kms. It is a haven for shopping aficionados and presents a variety of new and trendy outlets mixed in with the old and classic.
The very lengthy road is divided up in to two parts, the West Nanjing Road and Nanjing Road East. There is a dedicated walk way closed off to motorists at the East side and this gets a lot of visitors because of its proximity with another iconic sightseeing location, The Bund. Metro lines 2 and 10 take you straight to the pedestrian street; so does sightseeing bus 1 or you could come here after you’ve made a trip to the Bund. Shops generally have timings of 10:00 in the morning to 22:00 at night. The morning and night views of Nanjing East are a beauty to behold so ensure you are around for both.
The place is always swarming with people, both locals and from abroad. During holidays and weekends though, there is a literal tsunami of visitors and you can either go with the flow or, really, just avoid those times altogether. Like with all popular places, beware of over friendly and supposedly well-meaning strangers as they may lead you straight in to a scam or the questionable men offering massages and more.
Along the Nanjing East, there are some shops that have been around since the Qing dynasty, unperturbed by the flow of time and still trading strong in one of China’s most popular streets. These include Duo Yun Xuan (calligraphers and painters), Cai Tong De Pharmacy, Shanghai Laojiefu Department (fine silks and fabrics) and Shao Wan Sheng (specialty local delicacies). Among the contemporary malls, there are Shanghai No.1 Department Store and Shanghai Landmark. Sprinkled in-between are numerous local and western, shops, bars and dining options that include snacks on the fly and more upscale venues. You will be riddled with many many options but be sure to try the Nanxiang steamed stuffed bun before you go! That’s not to say that the meat moon cakes or smoked fish are any less recommended.
If shopping is not your cup of tea, you can take in the characteristic street with the red dang-dang sightseeing bus that charges a meager RMB5 for a 10-minute trip that will give you a lazy alternative to explore the charm of Nanjing. Another good attraction that is easy on the pocket but looks fabulous as a crossed off bucket list item, is the RMB20 ticket to China’s top museum for artifacts and bronze works, The Shanghai Museum that is close to People’s Square metro station.
Finally as dusk settles in, you can mingle with the locals and gravitate to one of the trendy bars in the vicinity. Or you can meander on to the Bund nearby and just relax as busy Shanghai passes you by.