Friday, June 01, 2018

Shanghai’s 5-Kilometer “Nanjing Road” is World’s Longest Shopping Street

For the traveller or tourist who is keen to shop and engage in the modern Shanghainese shopping lifestyle experience, the answer is a visit to Nanjing Road. I suggest multiple visits since this shopping street is 5-kilometers long!

Shopping during travelling does not sit high up on my list. I do buy stuff but they are mostly a by-product of my travel activities. I do not travel to shop nor is it a travel activity. But I am always curious about shopping streets in large cities. I want to see what it looks like, what kind of stores they have, what products offer, perhaps there is a café on the corner street that I can sit and have a drink whilst I watch people go about with their shopping? Yup, that's more like it, my kind of game =)

Such as when I was in Copenhagen, I sat on this nice cafe restaurant on a corner of Stroget, which is the longest shopping street in Denmark and just watched people. I even managed to meet a local Dane where we had an interesting discussion about life.

Nevertheless, I was curious about the Shanghainese shopping lifestyle so I visited Nanjing Road.

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The busy Nanjing Road in Shanghai.

The whole Nanjing Road shopping street stretches from Jing’an Temple on West Nanjing to the Bund waterfront on East Nanjing. The People’s Park which is on the West side is the split demarcation between West and the East. The West and East are two different shopping areas and one must be clear in which Nanjing Road you are taking about. West or East?

West Nanjing Road caters to modern shoppers who are status-conscious and prefer luxury shopping at ritzy shopping centers and signature high-end boutiques. Stores are very similar to any high-end street in Europe although I would say, perhaps more lavish and pomp because the moneyed Chinese love the pageantry.

Note: There are more posh and expensive shopping centers in Luijiazu (just across the Bund).

This is part of West Nanjing Road, just before the intersection of Xizang Middle Road on the corner of People's Park which divides Nanjing Road to East and West.

East Nanjing Road caters more to the mainstream shoppers and tourists. Mainly because this is where the 1-kilometer “Nanjing Road Pedestrian Shopping Street” is located. The street is also the gateway to the Bund waterfront.

In the afternoon and towards the evening, East Nanjing thrives with the multitude. It can get pretty busy here especially in the evening that traffic police are stationed to help with maintaining the peace and order. The hordes that come down to East Nanjing Road are very intimidating and susceptible to mobs. There are just too many people! At certain intersections, the police only allow one-way crossing to manage the human traffic. You have to see it to believe it.

The best way to get to Nanjing Road is to take the Metro subway (lines 1,2 and 8) and get off at People's Park subway station. This is at the beginning of the Eastside and the pedestrian street. Another subway stop is the East Nanjing Road subway station (lines 2 and 10) which is at the end of the 1-kilometer pedestrian street and much nearer to the Bund.

This is the 1-kilometer Nanjing Road Pedestrian Shopping Street on the East side. It is approximately 13 minutes walk, but you need an hour here to sightsee, take photos, buy some street snack and drinks and walk at a slower pace. Perhaps more hours if you want to shop.

Lots of neon lights that reminds me of Seoul, South Korea and Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Of course, I need to have a souvenir picture. Moi on the Eastside of Nanjing Road, on the pedestrian street.

Because I am a visitor who is not really into shopping, I focused my energy on exploring and experiencing East Nanjing Road. I walked the whole stretch starting from the People's Park towards the Bund, which I must say, I highly recommend. There were many open stores on the pedestrian street selling local takeaway food and ready-to-eat/drink items, as well as gazillions of souvenirs and gift shops. If you want to buy small items to bring back home as gifts, this is the place to be.

I also saw these chilled white porcelain-like glass bottles and was curious what they were so I bought one. They were yogurt drinks! The taste was a bit on the sweet side but they were quite good and refreshing. Quite timely as I was thirsty.

Chinese yogurt drink.

I didn’t really go inside the shopping malls and shops, except for a few of the food souvenir stores as I was curious what they were selling. One can simply spend an hour or two walking on Nanjing pedestrian street or sitting outdoors on the benches and gazing at the neon lights of the shop advertisements and buildings. This pedestrian street is a must see and experience.

There is also a mini go-ride train for children and people with mobility problems. Great to visit during daytime but best at night because of the neon lights. It really gives you that amazing “wow” I am glad to be here and experience this feeling.

Because I do not look like Chinese, hence a tourist, also known as a possible scam target, I was approached many times by locals who speak English offering everything under the sun, well mostly designer bags, which I am sure were fake. It is best to avoid them by simply saying no. Some can be very persistent, but if you ignore them, they will walk away and look for a more gullible tourist to trap.

The walk from the start of the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street which starts at the corner of People’s Park to the Bund waterfront is approximately 20 minutes = 1.6 kilometers.

At the end of the Eastside of Nanjing Road is the Bund waterfront with the stunning skyscrapers of Lujiazui district in Pudong.

The whole Nanjing Road  5-kilometer shopping street stretch starting the from West in Jing'an Temple all the way down to the East on the Bund waterfront.

Pictures of Nanjing Road pedestrian shopping street (East side):

This isn't Vegas, Seoul or Kowloon.

This is the 1-kilometer car-free street in the 5-kilometer shopping street.

Hygienic street food style.

There are a lot of stores like this selling food souvenirs by the gram and kilo. 

Some of the local sweet (rice-based I think) delicacies. 

Reminiscing the Opium Days of Shanghai, you can pose with this vintage car for a fee.

There is a regular mini train playing the 1-kilometer pedestrian street for those with mobility problems which helps bring passengers from the start near People's Park to near to the Bund waterfront.

Traffic police managing the multitudes. 

The famous Fairmont Peace Hotel on Nanjing Road at the corner of Zhongshan East Road, just across the Bund.

Travel Period: April 2018
Destination: Shanghai, China

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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