Day 7-8 | Shanghai
Set in the most amazing geographic location, Shanghai has fast become the largest economic and commercial hub in China. Although this futuristic megalopolis is the capital of excess, it still has soul. See for yourself as you stroll around the Bund district, emblematic of old Shanghai. From here, you can reach Peopleﾒs Square, a must-see vast and luminous space bordered by historical monuments. In the former French concession, youﾒll be able to appreciate the charm of the most Westernised of Chinese cities: a haven of peace in the heart of an urban jungle!
CHINESE ACROBATIC SHOW
Length : 3h00
Witness the incredible skills and agility of a truly unique group of artists during this unforgettable demonstration of Chinese acrobatics. Ancient stone carvings, earthen pottery and early written works trace the ancestry of today’s Chinese acrobats back to 700 BC. Confucius’ father was an acrobat and strongman of unrivalled strength, and is reputed to have once lifted 450-kg city gates to permit an army to storm through.
More than 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty, the first Chinese acrobats, magicians and jugglers sprang forth from the annual village harvest celebrations. With relatively little to do over the long winter, Chinese farmers and village craftsmen decided to spend their idle time improving their social position by becoming acrobats. They practised this art form with items found around the house and farm, using cups, saucers, tables, chairs, plates, and even their own bodies to form human walls and pyramids.
Depart the pier for the drive to the Shanghai Centre Theatre to see a spectacular performance of incredible balance and amazing displays of strength by highly-skilled and trained Chinese acrobats. Building on the traditional performances, today’s artists have added new techniques and spectacular stunts designed to thrill and amaze audiences all around the globe.
ANCIENT WATER TOWN OF ZHUJIAJIAO
Length : 5h00
From the pier, a 90-minute ride brings you to Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town well-known throughout the country with a history of more than 1,700 years. Covering an area of 47 sq. km (18 sq. mi), the little fan-shaped town glimmers like a bright pearl in the landscape of lakes and mountains. Upon arrival, make your way along the meandering alleyways and admire the stone or wooden structures known for their simplicity and elegance. Endowed with another elegant name – Pearl Stream – the little town is the best-preserved among the four ancient towns in Shanghai. Unique old bridges across bubbling streams, small rivers shaded by willow trees, and houses with attached courtyards all transport people, who are living amidst the hustle and bustle of the modern big city, to a world full of antiquity, leisure and tranquillity.
It is said that to visit Zhujiajiao without seeing the bridges means that you have not really been to Zhujiajiao. The bridges in town are distinctive and old, built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The old town is connected by 36 delicate spans in different shapes and styles, from wooden to stone to marble. Among them, Fangsheng Bridge is the most famous. Built in 1571, Fangsheng Bridge (“setting fish free” bridge) is the longest, largest and tallest stone bridge, with five openings both in Zhujiajiao and in the Shanghai region. On the bridge stand four stone lions and a stone tablet named Dragon Gate Stone, which is engraved with eight coiling dragons encircling a shining pearl.
Continue on to Daqingyouju, a post office from the Qing Dynasty, the only remnant of its kind in East China. Next stop is the Tong Tian He Pharmacy, a traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy with over 200 years old history. Afterwards, you head back to Shanghai and return to your ship.
HIGHLIGHTS OF SHANGHAI
Length : 8h00
Your tour starts with a drive through the promenade aside of the Old Town known as the Bund, where you are afforded a panoramic glimpse of this former “Wall Street” of the colonial days of western powers. First visit the renowned Shanghai Museum, housing over 110,000 historical objects and 430,000 reference pieces. Its collection of bronze-ware from Shang and Zhou Dynasties, dating back as far as 3,500 years, enjoy international fame. Have time to explore the outstanding museum on your own, enjoying the well laid out displays of ceramics, calligraphy, paintings, sculptures, furniture, jade, coins and minority nationalities' art. Next head northwest to Jade Buddha Temple, founded in 1882. Its rare statues of the Buddha, each carved from a single piece of white Burmese jade, are of special interest. Depending on the schedule of resident monks, you may be able to peek inside one of the temples to witness a prayer session.
Midway through your busy sightseeing programme, enjoy a Chinese-cuisine luncheon.
Continue the afternoon tour to the enchanting Yu Yuan Gardens, the only classical Chinese garden in Shanghai. Commissioned by a Ming Dynasty mandarin, the garden is a perfect gem of landscaping and architecture, with a 400-year-old ginkgo tree, ponds and rockeries, graceful alleys and pavilions, and beautifully arranged weeping willows and bamboo groves. Outside the walls of the garden, see the Nine Zigzag Bridge, built to baffle evil spirits, as well as the narrow streets and market stalls that make up the popular Old Town. Return to your ship afterwards