Although China is a territorially large country, with the largest population and flying over most of the land, all you can see beneath you are dwellings, dwellings and more dwellings, forming an uninterrupted chain of houses and buildings extending all along the southern and eastern coasts of the land of versatility and currently the manufacturing unit of the whole world.
The best place to take a sneak peek at modern China is the city of Shanghai: a city of more than 15 million inhabitants. To house the huge numbers of people calling China their homeland, the central government has adopted a vertical pattern of growth, when it comes to architecture. Buildings reaching 15 floors or more are a routine affair in major and minor cities and Shanghai is no exception.
The visiting card of Shanghai is the cluster of skyscrapers in the Pudong district, right across the river from the city center. This cluster of high-rise buildings, mostly belonging to financial institutions, is as attractive in the day as it is in the night. These buildings present a light show of extraordinary scale, every night 365 days a year.
The Pudong international airport is about 40 minutes ride by car from the city center and mind you this interval is realistic only in low traffic hours. During rush hours one should have at least one to one and a half hours on hand to reach the city from the airport or vice versa.
Shanghai was the first major city in China that was subjected to that economic transition program and this city has since been attracting entrepreneurs from all across China and the world. The city and its surroundings are filled with factories and mills and as a result the ecology is not much better than any other large city like Beijing. Air is highly polluted, as is the water.
Prices in Shanghai are a little higher than in the nearby cities, but still they are way lower than prices in Europe. One thing, which can save you a lot of money is that never try to pay in a foreign currency like dollars or euros, because you will definitely be overcharged.
Nearly all ATMs in Shanghai offer services in many languages, so using an ATM to draw Yuans is not a problem at all.
Unlike most of the big cities in the world, people in Shanghai are very hospitable and would never say NO to a stranger in need of assistance. But like in all the big cities, keep a good watch while out in the street, because skilful pickpockets are found quite often in Shanghai. Same goes for leaving valuables at the hotel.
One important thing is that while in Shanghai or anywhere in China if your Facebook page or Youtube do not open, don’t be alarmed and don’t start diagnosing your internet connection, because these sights do not open in China as does not Twitter. They have sight v.youku.com , which displays all the Youtube content of course after filtering.
If China is the Empire of the Sun then Shanghai is the economic power house of that Empire. Shanghai is a must see for anyone, who loves traveling.