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Shanghai, Bustling Boom Town
Like many international metropoli composed of immigrants, Shanghai is a bustling boom town. Rapidly becoming a world economic powerhouse, there is more construction occurring in Shanghai than anywhere else on Earth.

For the traveler there is also a variety of things to do. Situated on the banks of the Yangtze River delta and being one of the largest cargo ports in the world, there are trips down that mammoth waterway daily.

Once largely a den of thieves and prostitutes and the center of China's opium trade, business in the "City on the Sea" has evolved. It now hosts the country's stock market alongside thousands of other businesses. Home to some of the finest restaurants, one of the world's largest hotels and high rise buildings, Shanghai has moved well beyond its grimy past.

The Bund (Wai Tan) is one of the more popular tourist destinations in Shanghai. Despite the German sounding name, the area retains its international flavor.

Neo-classical buildings and a waterfront promenade attract thousands daily. Tourists jostle with the local street vendors while admiring the 1925 Nissin Kisen Kaisha Shipping building. The restaurant on the seventh floor is a local favorite.

Others prefer the roof terrace restaurant at the 1916 Union Assurance building. From here, visitors can enjoy a spectacular view of Pudong, the center of Shanghai's resurgence as a major world city.

High-priced boutiques offer shopping that even a Parisian or Manhattanite will envy. Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren and dozens of others now have stores here.

After 400 years in existence, the Yu Yuan Gardens retain their reputation as one of the city's most sought out tourist destinations. The botanical treasure trove offers five acres of Chinese creativity in horticulture.

Xintiandi is another of Shanghai's many refurbished areas. It's now home to elegant restaurants and upscale clubs, yet retains many features of its 19th century architecture.

The Ten Thousand-Flower Pavilion, Grand Rockery, Hall of Jade Magnificence and other sections will each offer sights and aromas to anyone looking for an oasis in the busy metropolis.

One of the newer additions to Shanghai's burgeoning list of attractions is the Shanghai Museum. Opened in 1996, it features 11 modern galleries that display both ancient and contemporary artifacts.

Be sure to allow at least a week to see Shanghai properly. Even at that, you'll find that – like visiting Manhattan – there will still be more to see on a second trip.
About the Author
This article is brought to you by John Riley, a regular China visitor. If you're looking for more China travel tips feel free to visit John's website at Celestial China.
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