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Exclusive Photography Tours of Shanghai

Shanghai dubbed "Pearl of the Orient" due to its brightly illuminated skyscrapers and the futuristic Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which at 468 meters, stands as the world's third tallest TV tower. It symbolizes Shanghai and rated as one of the top 10 views of the City. Historically, Shanghai was a paradise and dream city for adventurers, tycoons, businessman, knights-errant and beauties. Many stories and screen plays both sad and joyful were played out here. Shanghai is the most comprehensive industrial and commercial center in China ranking top in population. It is the top tourist spot in China, attracting travellers from both home and abroad by its commercial activity rather than its scenic beauty.

Shanghai is a paradise for the photographers among us. Every street, every corner is potential material for unique, beautiful and simply amazing images. But where to begin in this jungle of choices?

Shanghai is a gold mine of memorable scenes. Here’s where the pros like to shoot. Shanghainese photo master Deke Erh recommends taking walks in the former French Concession to capture Shanghai’s stately architecture. Grab a 16mm or 35mm lens and head down to Sinan Lu, Fuxing Lu, Hengshan Lu, Wukang Lu or Xinguo Lu.

To fire off panoramics of the iconic Bund, The iconic Bund is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai, try the riverside restaurants such as M on the Bund, or find your way up to a rooftop in the city, as Rolento Ong did for one memorable shoot. The iconic Bund is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai, a stretch along the Huangpu River of landmark buildings, the great banks and trading houses of Western settlement days.

Suzhou Creek and beyond  Every visitor to Shanghai should take a stroll on the Bund, but the streets beyond this beautiful boulevard are just as fascinating. This walk starts at the former English Gentlemen’s club, famous for it’s Long Bar, and takes you through the back streets of the former British Concession with pretty Victorian style buildings. We cross the most famous bridge in Shanghai and submerge completely in Chinese life on the north bank of Suzhou creek. No more Nike and Starbucks, but shiny golden seafood restaurants, people on their daily business, often in pajamas, and school children ordering snacks from local vendors. We criss-cross lane houses and original shikumen lanes and discover all the kinds of street food you can imagine. We return to the British era with a visit to the impressive old Post Office, where, with a bit of luck, we can go to the roof garden. This offers the best view in town of the Bund, Pudong and Suzhou Creek.

Parks, the Old City and Tianzifang on Taikang Lu are good places to capture life as it goes by. In the Old City, start at the Confucius Temple, walk down Wenmiao Lu to Lujiabang Lu. “Be friendly, not creepy. Approach people with a smile, not sniping from a distance,” advises veteran event photographer Grant Buchwald.

Old City is the area inside the the ancient walled city of Shanghai, the city walls ringed the city around what is today Remin & Zhonghua streets. During the era of foreign concessions, the old city remained exclusively Chinese, and foreigners seldom ventured there. These days there are more foreigners, and while the attractions here, touted as the old Shanghai is rather touristy, they are undeniably picturesque. Neither is the "Old Town" exclusively old, tall modern buildings have - like in the rest of the city - started shooting up around the two main streets intersecting the district, but you still have a chance to take in the atmosphere if you wonder into the quaint side streets

But more important than finding the right physical location, the pros say, is to think about the story you want to tell. Lovell recommends taking up a little theme or project, even if it's just for a day. The topic could be anything from Shanghai at night to faces, workers, day in the life, 

Suzhou Creek in Shanghai is full of surprises
There has been lots of development and improvement and a walk along this creek can be the high-light of any Shanghai visit. With old and new clashing for space...Walking along either South SuZhou Lu or North SuZhou Lu look for barges/boats up and down SuZhou Creek, drying fish along the banks, markets, old housing and lots more...

Shanghai’s Art District
Now, looking toward its 10-year anniversary, 50 Moganshan is the hottest art district in Shanghai, rivaled only by Beijing’s 798 as the center of Chinese modern art. More than 130 artists, filmmakers, architects and graphic design firms now inundate the area, and a visit to this Chinese art mecca means checking out some of the most avant-garde paintings and artistic works going on in the Middle Kingdom today.

 Birdseye View - Visit a Skyscraper
The Shanghai World Financial Center (or SWFC) is Shanghai's tallest building (for now) as well as China's (for now). There are multiple viewing platforms, one of which has a glass floor. Beware if you have vertigo! It's quite a fun experience to see Shanghai from so far above but it is rather pricey. If you just want to go up high, try the Jin Mao next door. At 88 floors, its remarkable architecture is recognizable on a clear day from all over the city. Enjoy great views over a cup of coffee or a cocktail in the Grand Hyatt hotel (inside the Jin Mao). You can do the same from within the SWFC's resident hotel, the Park Hyatt, but they have a table charge in the lounge (boo!).

If time permits, consider taking a day trip to ancient Xinchang or Jiading to capture village life in a water town, suggests Jackson Lowen. Director Ang Lee filmed a few scenes for Lust, Caution in a teahouse overlooking the stone bridge in the heart of Xinchang.

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chinauniquetour  is a branch of CTS (China International Travel Service), one of China's largest and oldest travel agencies.Your satisfaction is our priority. All our guides, drivers and vehicles are carefully selected, certified for tourism and fully insured. Our tours have no unscheduled or mandatory shopping stops so you spend your time and money wisely.

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