Seeing Shanghai in a few short days can be nearly impossible…unless you make a few sacrifices and see some of the city from the window of your taxi. To make the most of a taxi tour of the city, you’ll want to map out an itinerary ahead of time and ensure your cab driver recognizes the route. This is pretty simple if you pick up your cab at one of the major hotels in the city where the concierge will translate for you, even if you are not staying there.
You’ll want to start out by seeing Pudong. Head your cab towards Jin Mao tower and then have your driver do a circle of the Pudong New Area. Gaze at the new towers and business centers in awe. A dozen years ago very few of these buildings were around. This is the center of the financial district and home to the Shanghai stock market, hundreds of foreign investment projects and international businesses. You’ll also find some of the fanciest restaurants and a few exquisite shopping centers. You’ll be impressed at the city’s growth and development as well as how massive the towers of Pudong really are.
Leaving Pudong, aim your cab over the Nanpu Bridge, which, in the evening offers one of the best views of the city’s lights and the river. Once you cross the river, you’ll be in Puxi, the older part of the city. Direct your cab directly north along the river to the Bund. To your left (west) you’ll see some of the most historical and oldest buildings in the city built by Europeans during the concession period, when international concession zones were set up around the city. Now, the structures are used as banks and business buildings as well as the hottest restaurants and bars.
Heading West, direct your cab down Nanjing West Road, where you’ll see more development, more international companies, and the expat enclave of Shanghai. Cutting south, head towards the old French concession and feel free to be awe struck by the European architecture intermixed with local Chinese restaurants and local dwellings. After your taxi tour you’ll be able to see what activities and sights you want to return to with your limited time. You’ll have spent about an hour in the cab testing the city and feeling out the different neighborhoods. Now you’ll know where to go, and how to get there.