At first glance the Old Town of Shanghai might seem like just another tourist trap, but Nanshi, as it used to be called (or Southern Town as most of the residents of the city call it) has a genuinely fascinating history.
This part of town predates the colonial presence in Shanghai. It's bordered by Renmin Lu and Zhonghua Lu, roads that echo the line of walls built in the 15th century to keep out Japanese pirates and since demolished.
You'll get a feel for a brand of Chinese urban living that's fast disappearing - and you might just find a bargain in the process.
We were picked up at our hotel promptly by two charming local guides who spoke good English. There were only four people on the tour so it was very personalised and we got to interact with the guides. The village was very interesting as was travelling to it. Our guides were very informative and we were impressed with the whole tour.
Review by lochstar, February 2013
very amazing site, attraction number 1 for me in china.
I recommend this tour to anyone staying in Shanghai for more than a day. Strolling along the water and the actual ride on the water was great. Definitely agree to tip the lady paddling the boat to sing to you. It's unforgettable and you can really make there day my tipping them a couple dollars worth.
Tourists generally come to Old Street and the Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar, all shined up and filled with dubious antiques for just that market. But stay a while. Explore the maze of streets and curiosity shops and teahouses that radiate outwards from this area.
The Old Town is located southwest of the Bund. You can reach it by taking the subway to Henan Zhonglu.