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[Nonstop to Shanghai] Part 3: A Look at Old Shanghai

With United’s recent fare sale on direct flights from Guam to Shanghai (as low as $545 roundtrip!), there’s no better time than right now to visit the city that was once known as the “Paris of the East.” Shanghai earned the moniker in the 19th and early 20th century when its busy port helped develop the city’s sophisticated and cosmopolitan flavor.

From the architecture to the booming industry, it becomes apparent upon arrival that Shanghai is a center of modernity. Our guide Joe told us you can find everything and anything you want in Shanghai.

Still, for a city so worldly and cosmopolitan, Shanghai has managed to preserve its Chinese culture; its long, old-world history mingles cohesively with a modern, outward-looking spirit. For a look back at old Shanghai, we visited Yuyuan (Yu) Garden, located in the center of Shanghai’s Old City, a few blocks south of the Bund.

Yu Garden

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Yu Garden was built more than 400 years ago during the Ming Dynasty as the private garden of the Pan family back in 1559. “Yu” in Chinese means ‘pleasing and satisfying’, and this garden was specially built as a place for the Pan family to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age. The exquisite layout, vibrant scenery and artistic style of the garden architecture have all made Yu Garden one of the highlights of Shanghai.

Fengjing Ancient Water Town

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Named one of the top 10 charming villages of China, Fengjing is an ancient water town located on the outskirts of Shanghai, about an hour from the city center. It is a remarkably well-preserved village with a history of more than 700 years. A network of waterways, including some 52 bridges, covers the town. It’s a quiet and peaceful village, perfect for rambling and getting a first-hand look at a true authentic Chinese old town village. Oh, and if you like taking pictures, Fengjing is super photogenic.

Shanghai is a paradise for history lovers, a modern city where ancient Chinese culture is being kept alive and well. Yu Garden and Fengjing are just a couple of many historical relics that were born in the time before Shanghai blossomed into a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures, long before she became the Paris of the East.

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