Exploring Shanghai in a day or two

from a Hop-on, hop-off bus


Shanghai Sightseeing Bus, hop-on hop-off bus: A view over Pudong and the river

China’s olde worlde city is unlike anything else you’ll find when you explore this fascinating ancient country. In Shanghai, you will feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to the 1920s in a French or American city when you explore the atmospheric waterfront area called "The Bund".  Many of the buildings here were built in the late 1800s when Shanghai was a major trading centre, and they reflect the Colonial style of architecture. They stand as a reminder of this golden age, rubbing shoulders with traditional Chinese-style structures and creating a charming combination Eastern and Western cultures.


But there are also reminders of China’s long past in this magnificent city, like People’s Square, with its vast open spaces and collection of museums and galleries, the ancient temples where people still pray to this day and the exquisite, Chinese-style Yu Gardens, a lush oasis offering a respite from the bustle of the modern city.


One of the best ways to explore this varied, enticing city is on a Hop On Hop Off bus tour where you can personalise your itinerary, and hop on and off the bus as you please. This comprehensive tour has been designed to offer you the chance to see Shanghai’s most famous landmarks. There are 22 locations where you can hop off and explore. The tour has been divided into three separate routes to make your sightseeing simpler.


The Red Route covers 9 stops in the city centre, and enables you to find out all about Shanghai’s history and culture. The Blue Route covers 6 stops, where you can explore the Pudong area with its modern skyscrapers, shops and restaurants, and the Green Route begins at the same point as the Red Route, but takes you on a separate route comprising 6 stops close to important temples and some of the best shopping in the city.  


How much does it cost?

At the time of writing, a 24-hour ticket costs US$ 44 for an adult and US$ 29 for children 5 to 15.  Children under 5 can travel for free.


Please note that other than unlimited rides on the three routes (Red, Blue and Green), the ticket also gives you free 1 hour cruise on the Huangpu River, from stop number 7 or number 15, and an entry to the 88th Floor Observation Deck of the Jin Mao Tower.


Departure times 

Red Route: Departs from People’s Square every 30 minutes from 9am until 5pm.

Blue Route:  Departs from The Bund every 45 minutes from 9.45am until 5pm.

Green Route:  Departs from People’s Square every hour, 9.15am and 5.15pm 


Places to see and things to do along the route 


A) The Red Route (City Tour)


This Route takes you around Shanghai City on 9 stops to find out about its heritage and culture. Dine in a restaurant in a beautifully restored traditional house in Xintiandi, relax in the tranquil Chinese-style Yu Gardens, and explore the atmospheric area of The Bund, with its combination of grand old buildings and modern skyscrapers. When you’ve shopped till you dropped in Nanjing Road, take a break in the green space in famous People’s Square


1. The start of the Red Route (City tour) is at the famous shopping area of Nanjing Road, at New World Centre, or New World Company Limited, as it’s now called. Here you will find numerous shops, offices, entertainment venues and restaurants.


This is also where Shanghai's Madame Tussauds is located, with an impressive collection of famous Asian film stars, as well as the much expected shebang of well-known international figures


Tip: Click HERE to view ALL our Hop-on Hop-off city guides NOW !


2. The first hop off point along the route is at People's Square in the city centre, which comprises a popular public park and a selection of entertainment venues, the most famous of which is the splendid Shanghai Grand Theatre. There’s also an underground shopping mall, the City Hall, the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall and, of course, the impressive Shanghai Museum which houses a stunning collection of more than 100,000 pieces, including bronze, ceramics, calligraphy, furniture, jades, ancient coins, paintings, seals, sculptures, minority art and foreign art.  The museum boasts several items of national significance, including an important collection of ancient coins from the Silk Road.


3. Hop off at this stop to explore Shanghai Art Museum, famous for its fabulous collection of modern and contemporary artworks.


Did you know? Shanghai is much more than just glitzy skyscrapers and imposing colonial buildings... As a matter of fact, it boasts plenty of authentic markets and villages, as well as other hidden gems, which you can explore with our range of exciting day-trips and guided-walks... Click here to see them all.


A short and nice video, showing "the Bund" at night

4. For some of the city’s best shopping, hop off at the next stop, at Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street. This is one of the busiest shopping streets in the world, and Shanghai’s centre of commerce. The street, which runs from People’s Square to the Bund, is full of upmarket shops, restaurants and cafes.


5. Find out all about Shanghai’s famous area, the Bund, your next hop off point. The city’s famous waterfront area, which stretches along the bank of the Huangpu River, is lined with buildings from Colonial times, when Shanghai was an international centre of trade. Many of these buildings are beautifully preserved Art Deco structures and you can visit some of them, including the former Customs House and the old Shanghai Club, home to the longest bar in the world. These days the Bund is full of fashionable shops and restaurants, and it’s a great place to explore. 

  • This is also where the Blue Route starts from.

6. This is another hop off point in the Bund, from where you can continue exploring this unique part of Shanghai.


Tip: Click here for a pictorial online-guide to historic buildings around "The Bund"


7. Hop off at this point to visit Shanghai’s New Cruise Terminal, from where you can take a River Cruise – see details below.


Tip: Hop off the bus at this stop, at the New Cruise Terminal (OR at stop number 15 – see details below) to embark on a River Cruise on the Huangpu River and enjoy a cruise with views of the city from the water.  This exciting 1-hour circular cruise is actually included in the price of your bus ticket.


8. Get away from it all in the tranquil surrounds of the lush, Chinese-style Yu Garden at your next hop off point. This spectacular haven in the old part of Shanghai is full of rockeries, ponds, pavilions, towers and a pretty lotus pool. It’s believed to have been established during the Ming Dynasty, over 4 centuries ago (Click here for a map of the garden). Surrounding the Gardens is the busy shopping area, the Yu Bazaar, where you can pick up souvenirs and sample traditional Shanghainese dumplings.


Did you know? Shanghai is much more than just glitzy skyscrapers and imposing colonial buildings... As a matter of fact, it boasts plenty of authentic markets and villages, as well as other hidden gems, which you can explore with our range of exciting day-trips and guided-walks... Click here to see them all.


A glimpse of Shanghai's Xintiandi precinct

9. Xintiandi is the next hop off point along the route, and the last one along the red route.  This interesting pedestrianised area is full of restored Shikumen, traditional 2- and 3- storey Stone Gate Houses built in the late 19th Century which have been beautifully restored and now house restaurants, cafes and bars.


B) The Blue Route (Pudong Tour)


This part of the tour makes up 6 stops and covers the area of Pudong, where you can see a number of skyscrapers, including the famous Oriental Pearl TV Tower. You will also visit Shanghai’s Financial District, which boasts a number of tall buildings including the Jin Mao Tower and the tallest building in the city, the World Financial Centre. The bus also takes you over the Nanpu Bridge to the Cool Docks area.


10. This point, in the Bund, is actually the same as point No. 5 along the red route (see above).


11. This stop is the same hop off point as point No. 6 along the red route, in another part of the famous Bund, offering you the opportunity to explore this famous area from here as well as, or instead of, at the previous stops.


12. Next hop off point is at the Oriental Pearl Tower, known as one of the city’s most distinctive buildings. It used to be the tallest building in the country until the Shanghai World Financial Centre was built in 2007. The building boasts observation decks from where you can enjoy spectacular city views, as well as a revolving restaurant and a hotel.


13. Your next hop off point is at Shanghai World Financial Centre, Shanghai’s tallest building, and the fourth tallest building on earth. There are a number of facilities in this 101-storey skyscraper, including a shopping centre, hotel, offices and restaurants, but the most popular location is the observation deck on the 100th floor, which has a glass floor.


The glass-botommed skywalk at Shanghai's Oriental Pearl Tower

The Jin Mao Tower, one of Shanghai's tallest and most impressive skyscrapers, is a stone's throw away… Climb to the observation deck on the 88th floor (included in the price of your hop-on hop-off bus ticket) to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of China's most vivid metropolis.


14. From the next stop you can hop off to explore the Cool Docks, built on the site of the oldest docks in Shanghai. This slick complex now houses a boutique hotel, the Waterhouse, with its popular bar, the Roof Bar and a restaurant. Nearby you’ll find the Hotel Indigo, and a man-made beach at the Wharf. There are also a number of excellent restaurants in the area.


To get to the Cool Docks, your bus takes you over the Nanpu Bridge, which connects the Puxi and Pudong districts. Travelling on an open-top bus over this wide bridge, which is one of the longest bridges in the world, is a thrilling experience.


15. The New Cruise Terminal is your next hop off point.  Hop off the bus here (OR at stop number 7 above) to board a River Cruise on the Huangpu River, that will give you a different perspective of the city, with its fascinating mix of traditional and modern buildings lining the waterfront. The 1-hour circular cruise is included in the price of your bus ticket.


Take the red route from here to New World Centre, on Nanjing Road, which is the starting point for both the Red and Green routes on your comprehensive Shanghai City Bus tour.


C) The Green Route (Temple Tour)


This part of the tour comprises 6 stops and takes you to explore two of Shanghai’s traditional places of worship, the Jing’an and Jade Buddha Temples. You can also visit the famous Shanghai Museum and go shopping along Huaihai and Nanjing Roads.


17. From this hop off point you can explore the Shanghai Museum which was first established in 1952, but only moved here to People’s Square in 1995. The museum boasts an excellent collection of over 120,000 rare Chinese artworks, including jade, coins, sculptures and paintings and furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties.


18. Hop off at Huai Hai Road (or Huaihai), and enjoy some excellent shopping here in Shanghai’s famous shopping street, which boasts over 400 shops, restaurants and businesses. The street is lined with charming French-style buildings that give the area a cosmopolitan feel. Also in the area, you’ll find the former Residence of Doctor Sun Yat-sen and the Memorial Hall, both of which are worth exploring.


Did you know? Shanghai is much more than just glitzy skyscrapers and imposing colonial buildings... As a matter of fact, it boasts plenty of authentic markets and villages, as well as other hidden gems, which you can explore with our range of exciting day-trips and guided-walks... Click here to see them all.


A two minutes' video of Shanghai's Jade Buddha Temple

19. Your next stop is at the Jing'an Temple in Shanghai’s Jing’an District.  Built in 247AD, the temple is the oldest landmark in the city. It used to be located next to Suzhou Creek, but it was relocated here after 2000. Inside you’ll find the largest jade Buddha in the country, as well as a copper bell dating from the Ming era (14th to 15th Century).


20. Hop off outside the Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai and the Shanghai Exhibition Center for some great shopping and dining options.


21. Next stop is at the Jade Buddha Temple, one of Shanghai’s most important Buddhist temples. Lotus flowers are etched into the stones leading into the Great Treasure Hall and in the Grand Hall there are three golden buddhas, and one of two jade Buddhas that were brought to the city from Burma.


22. This hop off point gives you the opportunity to explore the Shanghai Art Museum, if you didn’t explore it earlier, on the Red Route – see point No. 3 above. This stop also marks the end of the entire tour, and the end of the Green Route.



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