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Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Eastern China

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Jade Buddha Temple (Yufo Si)
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302 Tours and Activities

Yufo Si is a working Buddhist community - one of the few in China - but the star attractions of the Jade Buddha Temple are two figures brought to Shanghai by a Burmese monk in the 19th century.

The most impressive is the sitting Buddha, a 1.9 m (6.5 ft) giant encrusted with semi-precious stones. This Buddha is sitting in the pose which captures the moment of his enlightenment by meditation. The other Buddha is smaller and in the attitude of 'happy repose', as he goes peacefully to death. Both Buddhas are carved from white jade. Facing the reclining Buddha is a large copy in stone, brought to the monastery from Singapore. These are the main points of a visit to the temple, but take a look at the halls while you're there, particularly the Grand Hall with its golden 'Gods of the Twenty Heavens'. There's also a restaurant that serves the public, with a simple downstairs and a swankier upstairs.

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Zhujiajiao
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242 Tours and Activities

For a genuine experience that not only show you the history of China, but also showcase its beauty, try a visit to China’s great ancient water town known as Zhujiajiao. Formed over 1,700 years ago, this wonderful canal laden town that was once an important trading hub, has seen the days of both the Yuan, Qing and Ming dynasties, and has flourished today as a an up-and-coming bohemia of Asia.

In order to truly have an understanding of this beautiful place, one must visit the towns many bridges and canals. The Fangsheng Bridge is the biggest around, wonderfully engraved with eight dragons coiling around a shining pearl. Once you’ve done that, take a boat ride on the canal gondola, where you will experience wonderful views of this historic and well-preserved town. You can also take longer boat rides lakeside, experiencing the town from a different angle and perspective.

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More Things to Do in Eastern China

The Bund (Waitan)

The Bund (Waitan)

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442 Tours and Activities

The Bund (or Waitan) is the grand center of Colonial architecture in Shanghai. The former International Settlement runs along the waterfront of the Huangpu River, facing the Pudong district ('Bund' is a word of Indian derivation meaning 'embankment'). Loosely known as the "museum of international architecture," the Bund attracts visitors who are interested in the artsy side of Shanghai.

When foreign powers entered Shanghai after the Opium Wars of the 19th century, the Bund existed as a towpath. It quickly became the center of Shanghai as Western traders built banks, trading houses and consulates along its length, and has been synonymous with Shanghai's east-meets-west glamor ever since. Today the Bund faces the new wave of trading development - the vast towers of Jin Mao, the World Finance Center and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in the financial district of Pudong.

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Tongli Water Town

Tongli Water Town

100 Tours and Activities
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Suzhou Museum

Suzhou Museum

43 Tours and Activities
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Shanghai French Concession

Shanghai French Concession

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245 Tours and Activities

Shanghai’s Old French Concession, an area once leased to the French in the Luwan and Xuhui districts of the city, is a reminder of an older Shanghai. The visitor-friendly area is packed full of beautiful colonial mansions and hotels dating back to the first three decades of the twentieth century. The French took control of the area in 1849, but it wasn’t until the 1920s when the neighborhood reached its peak of popularity as one of Shanghai’s most elite neighborhoods.

When you walk through the heart of the area on the tree-lined streets between Julu Road and Huaihai Road, you’ll find a collection of nicer restaurants and boutique shops occupying the surviving historic structures alongside Shanghai locals going about their day to day life. The French Concession is a good place to grab some food as there are so many choices; you’ll find almost everything here from Indian to French, Spanish and Thai food.

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Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu Ta)

Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu Ta)

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97 Tours and Activities

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower once used to be the highest building in Shanghai, and it's still up there. It's certainly one of the most hyperbolic and striking features of the horizon. Many people hate it; others have developed an odd affection for its bulbous form.

The design aside (it has been compared to the sound of pearls, large and small, dropping onto a jade plate - a conceit borrowed from a poem), the tower has some pretty impressive stats. It's 468 m (1,535 ft) high and the third highest TV tower in the world - the highest in Asia. Only Jin Mao Tower and the World Finance Center dwarf it on Shanghai's horizon.

You can take a ride up the lifts to its observation deck - choose from the reasonable height or the vertigo level.

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Xin Tian Di

Xin Tian Di

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Xin Tian Di (Xintiandi) is a sleekly restored area of Shanghai, where the more successful of the city's young come to play. It's also a popular strolling area for tourists, who like to check out the 19th century architecture.

The district abounds in shikumen, stone houses that were a popular residential form in the late 19th century and early 20th century city. When the districts that contained these houses were being razed, developers stepped in to save and restore this area. Today the shikumen house galleries, bookshops, antique stores, upmarket boutiques, bars and restaurants. It's particularly ironic that this Westernized playground should be cheek-by-jowl with the Site of the First Conference of the Communist Party of China.

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Zhanqiao Pier

Zhanqiao Pier

10 Tours and Activities
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Grand Canal

Grand Canal

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52 Tours and Activities

Of all of the wonders of Ancient China only two are believed to be visible from space: The Great Wall and The Grand Canal. While the Great Wall doesn’t run anywhere close to Hangzhou, the southern terminus of China’s other wonder of engineering, the Grand Canal, can still be found in the city today.

Commissioned during the Sui Dynasty as a way to connect the Haihe, Yellow, Huaihe, Yangtze and Qiantang rivers, the Grand Canal at one point stretched for over 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers) and earned the title of longest canal or artificial river in the entire world. Once running from Hangzhou all the way to Beijing, various sections of the canal have fallen into disrepair and are no longer navigable. Nevertheless, visitors to the southern sections around Hangzhou are still able to book a cruise boat on the historic trade route for a view of traditional waterfront villages and a chance to learn the history of the greatest supply conduit in all of Ancient China.

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National Tea Museum

National Tea Museum

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14 Tours and Activities

The National Tea Museum is the only tea-themed museum in China. It was opened in 1991 and is located in Westlake Village in Shuangfeng, Hangzhou. The museum is surrounded by clusters of tea farms and features various exhibition halls that depict the history and development of tea over thousands of years. The museum's Evolution Hall showcases the production process of Chinese tea, as well as a variety of imported types. As the name suggests, the Teaware Hall traces the evolution of Chinese teaware, as well as concentrating on the planting, production, and tasting of tea. The Tea Customs Hall is devoted to the impact that tea has had on the lives of various minority groups in China throughout its long history, while the Kaleidoscope Hall features hundreds of different kinds of tea, including the six classic types in China.

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Pudong

Pudong

156 Tours and Activities

Pudong, the area of Shanghai east of the Huangpu River, is home to many of Shanghai’s most famous modern buildings. Formerly an agricultural area, Pudong is now Shanghai’s financial district and commercial hub -- a stark contrast to the colonial buildings of the Bund just across the river.

Pudong’s skyline includes notable buildings like the Oriental Pearl Radio and TV tower, Jinmao Tower Observatory, Shanghai Ocean Aquarium and the International Convention Center. Pudong New Area is also home to Century Park, the largest park in the city, as well as some of Shanghai’s best shopping opportunities, like Nanjing Road. Before visiting Pudong, take a walk along the Bund for the best views of the iconic Shanghai skyline across the river. Once you’ve crossed over, set aside some time to ride to the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower, the 1,535-foot (468-meter) tall space age building that stands out among the other skyscrapers of Shanghai.

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