Most Important Historic Sights in China (I)
Most Important Historic Sights in China: Nanjing Road
Formerly known as Nanking Road, this was the street that ushered in the era of modern consumerism in China, with its department stores, display windows, and mass-produced goods. Although it's often referred to as China's "number one shopping street," the truth is, that was back then, not now. Which isn't to say it isn't packed with shoppers – it's often a madhouse – it's just that the best shopping in the city these days is in the French Concession and its western extension, Xujiahui.
Most Important Historic Sights in China: Nanjing Road – What's here?
You come here mainly for the experience and the swirl of neon lights at night. It's partly pedestrianized and a handy way to get from the Bund to People's Square, so if you're going between the two you may as well walk it or hop on the mini train that shuttles along its upper half.
If anyone invites you to a tea ceremony here, ignore them: it's a scam.
Metro: East Nanjing Road, People's Square
Most Important Historic Sights in China: Pingyao
One of the few walled towns in China left standing in its entirety, Pingyao is without a doubt a unique. Few places provide such insight into life during imperial times, from the Confucian Temple that served as a school to local government offices, tiny dilapidated shrines to ward off evil spirits and the luxurious traditional courtyard residences of local merchants.
Surrounded by a huge wall upon which you can stroll – each watchtower has an inscribed excerpt from the Art of War – Pingyao fulfills many travelers' expectations of a trip to China. If you take the time to spend the night in a historic residence (try Jing's Residence or the Harmony Guesthouse), you probably won't mind that there are so many other visitors here besides you.
Most Important Historic Sights in China: Pingyao – What's here?
Just outside of town are several possible daytrips, including Shuanglin Temple and the Wang Family Compound.