Peaceful and Quiet Central District in Old Ambassy clean and secure district near the Temple of the Sun. South facing living room with open kitchen North...
Where is it?
My apartment is in the former International Concession, very close to Jing An Temple and the major shopping street of Nanjing West Road. The area has tree-lined streets and a mixture of modern high-rises and low-rise buildings from the early 1900s, some of which are heritage protected. It's a wonderful area to explore by foot - there are lovely leafy lanes and interesting alleyways where there's a mix of local people who have lived here for decades still hanging washing out of their windows on long bamboo poles and more gentrified shops and restaurants; you can find anything... Michelin star gourmet cuisine to cheap hole-in-the-wall noodle stalls and absolutely everything in between. There are lots of cafes with outdoor seating just a 15-minute walk away. I usually advise visitors to just walk with a map and my home address written in Chinese - whenever they get tired of wandering around the area, it's simple (and cheap) enough to get a taxi back.
There are lots of shared bikes around and Shanghai is a great place to cycle - flat, with bicycle lanes that are, for the most part, respected by cars (but you do need to keep your wits about you). Download Mobike or Alipay apps to access the bikes which you scan with your phone to unlock.
There are some really interesting art-deco buildings around this area and the whole of Shanghai.
Shopping in the area is plentiful, with Chinese supermarkets just around the corner, and some of Shanghai's biggest shopping malls 10 minutes' walk down the road and plenty of small shops and local markets in close proximity.
To go further afield, there are several metro stops close by (Jing An Temple Station is the closest). Shanghai is relatively easy to get around with modern, efficient and cheap public transport or relatively inexpensive taxis - all you need to do is arm yourself with the addresses of where you want to go (freely available on the internet) and it's pretty straightforward. Signposting is in Chinese as well as Romanised lettering or English. You're advised to wear head protection when cycling although most locals rarely do. Liberal use of the bicycle bell is recommended so that everyone knows you're coming, but otherwise just hop on and go with the flow.
In the direct vicinity, there's a variety of things to do that are in easy walking distance: the large sculpture park and natural history museum, jazz clubs, excellent restaurants, art, theatre, live music, swimming pools, shopping (markets, boutiques, department stores) and, most importantly, street life. Shanghai is a very safe city and it's extremely rewarding just walking around seeing how people live - especially in the summer months when life tends to spill out onto the street. The former French Concession area is about 20 minutes' walk away or a short taxi or bus ride.
It's easy to get from Shanghai to other cities in China, either by train or flight. The high-speed trains (fastest in the world) are excellent and reasonably priced, and the cities of Hangzhou and Suzhou are close by. Beijing is a mere 4 hours and 18 minutes away by high-speed train (a 2-hour flight).
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