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[Travel Guide] [Shanghai] 20 reasons to visit Shanghai in 2012 [Copy link] 中文

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Shanghai is China's ultimate east-meets-west metropolis. Nowhere else in the nation can you see traditional houses in the shadow of towering skyscrapers and the latest luxury brand stores cheek-by-jowl with workaday eateries.

The city is developing fast, and 2012 is set to be another big year, with even more changes coming to shake things up.

Here are 20 reasons -- in no particular order -- why you should schedule a trip to the mega metropolis in the year to come. Hold on -- should? Make that a "must."

1. Dragon Year

According to the lunar calendar, the year of dragon starts on January 23, 2012.

The dragon is considered the most auspicious of all 12 animal signs and the Lunar New Year (aka Spring Festival) celebration is expected to be grander than any of those in the past decade.

Brave the country's annual migration to experience China’s ultimate happiness around Spring Festival. Every Chinese believes their life is blessed in a dragon year.

The Middle Kingdom is going through a dragon baby boom due to the belief that children born in a dragon year are likely to enjoy professional success and considerable wealth.
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2. Better metro system

Metro Line 12 (which will run from Pudong to Yangpu) and Line 16 (which will be roaming around Pudong) will open in 2012. At least, that's what the latest Shanghai Metro development plan claims.

Metro Line 11 will be extended to Pudong and Line 13, the temporarily disused Expo line, will stretch all the way to Putuo by the end of next year.

And if you're undecided between Beijing and Shanghai as your next holiday destination, consider this: Shanghai's subway system is the longest in the world at around 420 kilometers.

And once the 2012 extensions are complete, it will trump Beijing’s with almost three times the number of stations, with a total of more than 70 stops.
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3. More superb hotels

With Shangri-La and Sofitel opening in Jing’an and Four Seasons and Marriott in Pudong, Shanghai will see hospitality choices multiplying in 2012.

And there is good news for budget travelers as well, as economy hotel chain 7 Days Inn has ambitious expansion plans, with 360 new hotels opening around China and an unconfirmed number joining the existing 40 in Shanghai.
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4. Shanghai Expo exhibition
Missed the Shanghai Expo? Or just couldn't face the queues to get a stamp on a mock passport?

Check out the Shanghai Expo Memorial Exhibition in the former Expo Pavilion of Footprint in 2012.

The 12,000-square-meter exhibition showcases more than 2,000 Expo-related objects sourced from different participating countries.

Exhibits include the Giant Baby, a gargantuan baby robot that welcomed visitors to the 2010 Spain Pavilion, the skeleton of the Australopithecus Lucy and, inevitably, giant reproductions of the Shanghai Expo mascot Haibao.

The exhibition opened to the public last September and is expected to run until 2014.

After the exhibitions, most objects will be relocated to Shanghai Expo Museum, the world's first museum of World Expositions. Construction of the museum will start in 2012 and the space is due to open the former Expo site in Puxi in 2015.

The former Expo Pavilion of Footprint is located on Jumen Lu near Longhua Dong Lu. Tuesday-Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
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5. Shopping center frenzy
No recession or Euro crisis can stop Shanghai’s optimism and consumption frenzy.

For this reason, a horde of new shopping centers is set to open before the end of next year, ready to welcome travelers looking to slim their wallets.

Noteworthy entries include the “art shopping mall” K11 and IAPM on Huaihai Zhong Lu; the new “New World” in Pudong; and the swanky Takashimaya in Gubei, for which Japanese sculptor Sekine Nobuo is preparing an ad hoc art piece.

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6. 4G network

According to China's Ministry of Information Technology, Shanghai’s city center (the area inside Metro Line 4) will be covered by 4G network by the end of 2012, and 39 percent of the city’s population will have access to 4G mobile broadband.

With a connection 36 times faster than the current 3G, allowing data download peaks of one gigabyte per second, Shanghai will become the preferred destination to check the speed of your new smartphone.
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7. Shanghai First Food

With the revamping of the Shanghai First Food store (食品一店), Shanghai will recover a piece of its culinary history in 2012.

Before the end of next year, Shanghai First Food will resume its original 1920s look on the pedestrianized Nanjing Dong Lu.

The food mall will become one of the biggest food courts in the world and the perfect foil to Nanjing Xi Lu's Marks & Spencer (which, by the way, will open five new stores in Shanghai in 2012).

No better reason to go and try its signature jiaxin binggan (夹心饼干, stuffed cookies) and jinhua huotui (金华火腿, Zhejiang-style preserved meat).

The store is scheduled to close in March and will reopen by December 2012.

Shanghai First Food, 720 Nanjing Dong Lu, near Guizhou Lu 南京东路720号, 近贵州路, +86 21 6322 2777, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Marks & Spencer (Nanjing Xi Lu branch), 863 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Shimen Yi Lu 南京西路863号, 近石门一路, +86 21 6218 2558, 10 a.m.-10 p.m
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