The futuristic megalopolis of Shanghai is an absolute must-see to get an idea of China's great leap forward into the 21st century. While Shanghai has the biggest reputation, it would be a shame to bypass Suzhou, nicknamed the 'Venice of China' by Marco Polo; Nanjing, the capital of the Jiangsu province and of six feudal dynasties including the Ming Dynasty; Wuxi, famous for the beautiful landscapes of Lake Taihu; and Yixing, renowned for its clay used in pottery making and in particular teapots.
The Cultural Revolution was a black period for Chinese arts. For ten years its craftsmen, led by Mao Tse Tung and his wife Jiang Qing, carefully annihilated any artistic creation. Intellectuals, painters, poets and film-makers were sent to work camps, prison, or were assassinated. Part of the artistic heritage - pottery, calligraphy and precious embroidery - was destroyed. Since then, China has undertaken restoration work on some tourist sites.
Nanjing and Shanghai are the two cities with the most monuments, temples and mausoleums. Take a cruise on the Huangpu River in Shanghai and discover the heart of the city on each side of the legendary Bund. Take in the skyscrapers in the Pudong district for a real journey into the future! Nanjing is more traditional, with its main attraction being Purple Mountain, an immense park home to the Temple of Confucius and the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum.
> Shanghai has numerous commercial thoroughfares to satisfy even the wildest shopping sprees. Nanjing Road (Nanjing Lu), Huaihai Road (Huaihai Lu), Sichuan Road (Sichuan Bei Lu) and Tibet Road are a haven for those in need of serious retail therapy.
Evenings in Shanghai are far from boring. In terms of shows, the Shanghai Acrobatic Theatre puts on amazing traditional spectacles every evening. You can also choose from a karaoke bar, the Real Love techno club and an evening at the Peace Hotel, where a Chinese orchestra plays jazz from the 1930s every night.