Look up. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Yet how many times have you walked down the same street going to and from the office and looked up, just for a moment, to notice something you'd never seen before – an architectural detail, a beautiful view, a curious storefront or a new corner café serving fresh, warm bread? Not too many times, I’d guess. The reason we don't look up and notice is, of course, time – or rather a lack of it. For the ambitious, modern urbanite, time is a currency we battle hardest to acquire. Usually, we're head down, eyes to the smartphone, ticking off emails, or pinned to our routes. "Busy" has no time for our eyes to gaze, nor our curious minds to wonder.
Of course, it's not easy prizing time away from our harried lives, where many of us barely have time to post a suitable picture on Instagram, let alone go sightseeing in our own back yards. What would be ideal would be that illuminating 25th hour – the dream sixty minutes we've all thought about, the hour we get to ourselves, to explore, make new memories and really discover a location. I know what I'd do with such a magical reprieve from the fast lane: learn to cook! Chinese cooking is an art form in itself.
For me, Shanghai’s appeal is its eclecticism. It has a buzz I truly love, something that at times is hard to find in such a big city. Fast-paced and colourful – day or night. So long as you can hustle to find the time, those fresh memories are yours for the taking.
"This is the original site of a laneway wet market that to this day still serves locals. In the same laneway, there is a contemporary complex that houses its own Jiashan Market one Saturday every month, a great mix of stallholders who sell all-organic food.”
“A beautiful and spiritual experience. A stunning gold-plated pagoda is home to the largest jade sitting Buddha in the country, measuring 3.8 metres. The alluring smell of smoking incense is mesmerising.”
"On a balmy spring day, there is no better place to be than the terrace at Ginger, enjoying an original cocktail. Though the food is described as global cuisine, the influence is southeast Asian with a strong lean toward Vietnamese. Along with the delectable food there is a great mix of local contemporary paintings."
The PuLi Bar
“Located in the heart of the Jing'an district, The PuLi Hotel is a lush resort-style property with a breathtaking lobby where the bar is located – great for people watching. Their martinis are a specialty.”
The Long Museum, West Bund
“This is one of two Long Museum locations and is a true architectural feat. This privately owned space houses its owners own rare Chinese art collection and also provides gallery space for travelling exhibitions.”
If these tips of what to do in China have got you thinking about where to visit next, The Platinum Card® from American Express® can help you get more out of your trip. The extensive portfolio of travel and lifestyle benefits include access to over 1,000 airport lounges in 120 countries and complimentary breakfast for two people, a guaranteed late checkout and a room upgrade when applicable at selected FINE HOTELS & RESORTS properties. Annual fee £450*. For more information and to apply for The Platinum Card, search “Amex Platinum”.