I'm not sure if a zoo really counts as off-the-beaten track, but Shanghai Zoo is one of the better ones in China, and if you have children it can be a pleasant break from museums, shopping and temples. Personally I don't really like the whole concept of zoos, but I have two children who are fascinated by wild animals. Their interest extends way beyond the big ones, and there is particular current interest in Hoolock's Gibbons and spider monkeys. Both can be seen in Shanghai, and the former are particularly attractive and - unusually - will interact with visitors who stay for a while by their enclosure.
The zoo is trying very hard to create a better environment and the spacious grounds allow plenty of opportunity to do that.
It is crowded, and you will see plenty of stupid people feeding everything (despite the signs) but it *seems* a good place with good intentions.
Recoomended as a breathing space from the high-rise, manic rush of Shanghai.
Air China at Hongqiao - warning
Note that check-in for *most * (but not al) Air China flights from Hongqiao is now in what is known as Building B (follow the corridor round to the left). This is the old international check-in area, which has now been nicely refurbished.
However, importantly, CHECK THE TV SCREENS for your flight number!!!! Some Air China flights are handled by China Eastern (use the common MU-SC-HN check-in desks.....24 - 30) or Shanghai Airlines (counters 1 - 17).
Avoid the Esplanade of Shanghai Bund when you are visiting during China's Golden Week Holiday (1/5 to 7/5 & 1/10 to 7/10). Or else, you will not enjoy the view & only can see the crowds. Unless you are standing at a vantage point high up.
I would recommend a boat cruise, where you can get an unobstructed view of both old & new Shanghai along the coastline. Get ready yourself extra pack of batteries / memory card to avoid any disappointments. Go straight up to the upper deck of boat & pick a nice seat at the side of the boat. If you do not have a tripod, simply rest your camera on the boat railing and you will be able to capture satisfactory night scenes of Shanghai. Beware not to drop your camera into the water !
Does it occur to anyone else that Xujiahui looks very weird? The buildings look very much like an elementary student's disproportionate Logo construction on how a city would look like. Everything just kind of spawns up from the ground with not much general sense on how these objects can in anyway co-exist.
Even the people are quite weird in here. Apparently a company thinks having its employee dressing like a plumber and carrying a flat monitor on his back is a very innovative way to advertise its product. Without a doubt, the poor guy is going to be remember by many, but who would pay attention to what he is trying to sell?
My experience with old houses in Shanghai
"A city of old & new"
"Those red houses"
Standing on the 2x floor of City Apartment, I always enjoy a really great view of this city. Opposite I can see Portman, another three towers. But guess what are between Portman and City Apartment? There are lines of red houses. Yes, I called them red houses because they all have red rooves. They seem so far from me because they are so low down there, and yes, they are far from today because they are all old houses. I always wonder what kind of lives is inside such houses and hopefully I would get a chance to explore that one day.
"One day in Mao Ming Rd"
That day was kind of sad for me. Mao Ming Rd had always been one of my favourite places because it had so many old houses. There were a lot of delicated shops and restaurants too. But this day I found all the old houses on one side were torn down. What a sad day for me!
"Still the same day in Mao Ming Rd"
Yes, it was a sad day for me, but there was still something exciting about that day. I was with my friend then. We both felt sorry for the torn houses. Looking at the ruins, we sighed. But soon something came into our eyes. It was an old door, which was still complete. Gosh, it was such a gorgeous door, which was beautifully carved. So we started to go into the ruins and tried to look for more. Finally we found some old windows, also were beautifully made. We just had to take them as we felt then. They were big and heavy. We asked a cab, the drive looked at us with a really weird look on his face "Are you rubbish girls?". Haha...
"What happened to those windows and doors?"
Well, of course we weren't rubbish girls. After taking them home, my friend and I cleaned them and repainted them. My friend took the door. She is so proud to have a door of Chinese traditional style. I think she must think no thieves can break that door. haha... I keep the windows. They have become my gallery at my place. I remade them a little bit so that I can put paintings/pictures inside the glass. So they are just meant for perfect photo frames.