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"Old Shanghai" a private sightseeing tour - 4 days/ 3 nights



Old Shanghai was Asia’s greatest city and was the best and the worst  of everything. After China’s defeat in the Opium War, the British, followed by the Americans and the French, established independent administrative areas with their own trade and laws.  Known as the "Paris of the East" and the "Whore of Asia" the city was run by foreigners but was not a colony, most residents were Chinese but it was not ruled by China. This 4 day/3 night private arrangement provides two essential Shanghai historical walking tours that bring the history and the architecture of this fabulous city to life. British-born Peter Hibbard MBE who lives in Shanghai and will be your private guide, has a background in urban planning, sociology and tourism studies.

To the casual tourist, Shanghai is a city of 21st century high-rises, however, this towering, Manhattan style skyline, has many portholes to the past.  An insight into the decadent lifestyle led by the foreign merchants and tycoons can still be found amongst the colonial and Art Deco buildings in the French concession areas and along the Bund, Shanghai’s most famous landmark.
Spend 4 days getting to know the modern Shanghai and more importantly past Shanghai.
Peter Hibbard
British-born Peter Hibbard MBE has a background in urban planning, sociology and tourism studies. Most of his time since 1985, when he was a visiting scholar at Hong Kong University’s Centre of Asian Studies, has been spent in China. He has lectured on tourism in Beijing, travelled to every Chinese province and region, and escorted hundreds of visitors in his capacity as a tour director. Peter lives in Shanghai where he continues his research into China’s tourism history and Shanghai’s urban development since the 1840s. He has hosted many international business leaders on their visits to the city and is president of the Royal Asiatic Society China in Shanghai. He has produced a wide range of publications related to his interests, including The Bund Shanghai: China Faces West and Beyond Hospitality: The History of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited. Peter was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List 2010 for his services to heritage conservation in Shanghai.
Day 1      Arrive Shanghai
Met on arrival and transferred to the hotel of your choice.
Remainder of the day at leisure.
Hotel: Recommended Historic Hotels (see below)
Day 2      Shanghai
Astor Hotel Corner
This morning, experience a 4 hour personal historical tour given by Peter Hibbard who will talk and walk you through the fascinating and incredible history and development of Shanghai over the last 150 years. Begin from historic Astor House Hotel which in itself tells the story of Shanghai’s past, it’s present and it’s future. From there it’s a short walk crossing the Suzhou Creek to the fascinating area behind the Bund, known as the Waitanyuan, which sustained a curious mix of missionary and commercial activity before 1949. It houses some of the most revolutionary architecture of its time. Discover a typical 1920’s residential lane development where once single family homes are now occupied by many. It’s then off for a stroll along the Bund where each building tells it’s own remarkable story. Discover how the Bund and it’s buildings were made and how they are being reinvented today.
Astor Hotel Lounge
The interior of the Astor Hotel
Visit the palatial former premises of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, dating from 1923, to find out how its delicate Venetian mosaic interior survived the Cultural Revolution and how it was rediscovered in the 1990’s. Continue behind the Bund to see a magnificently decorated building, a wealthy Chinese merchant's house featuring a unique Shanghai blend of Western and Chinese style and some fantastic commercial and civic architecture, including the former Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Jade Buddah Temple

  This afternoon, you are free to explore the City further.

We recommend: Jade Buddha Temple, famous for it’s precious Jade Buddha Statue; the Shanghai Museum, with it’s collection of artifacts dating back to the 18th century BC or joining a short cruise on the Huangpu river to give a different perspective of the city. These can be pre-arranged as a private tour if required. 
Day 3     Shanghai 
Shanghai Art Museum 4
The Shanghai Art Museum.  The personal historical tour by Peter Hibbard continues with a walk in the heart of the former foreign districts. Begin at the Pacific Hotel on People’s Square flanked by imposing historic edifices and the Race Club building which houses the Shanghai Art Museum. Continue along the old Bubbling Well Road (today’s West Nanjing Road) to see the former US Fourth Marines Club, which later became the Jewish Club.  The walk takes you through two distinctive lilong (community lane) housing areas where some dwellings still have their characteristic shikumen (stone front door) entrances. 





 Heritage Hotel CourtyardPictured right is an old Courtyard House which has been transformed into a boutiqe hotel. 


Take a peep at a 1928 courtyard apartment block where the young Margot Fonteyn once lived. The tour continues passing the Lyceum Theatre where Fonteyn gave her first performance, the magnificent former French Club and Cathay Estate before finishing the tour in a district that was known as ‘Little Moscow’ in the 1930s.

The rest of the day is at your leisure.




If you are not staying at the Fairmont Peace Hotel enjoy a visit to this magnificent building, built in 1929 and considered to be the grandest in the world during the 1930’s.




Alternatively, the 16th century Yu Yuan Garden has 30 pavilions in over 5 acres and offers some calm amid the bustling city. Finally, for an original and exciting way to see more of Shanghai, why not take an exciting journey through the streets on a vintage sidecar motorbike. Once again, these can be pre-arranged as a private tour if required. 



Day 4     Depart Shanghai
Transfer to the airport.
Recommended Historic Hotels  
The Mansion
Originally designed by French architect Lafayette in 1932, the villa was built as the club house of Du Yue-Sheng, one of China's most powerful gangsters. The boutique hotel is China's first deluxe City Heritage Boutique Hotel. With its unique historical heritage, the building captures the essence of old Shanghai, a period when this great city was considered the ‘Paris of the Orient'. The villa’s design reflects this wonderful era gone by with its graceful fusion of Classic French and Asian architecture.
The Fairmont Peace
Peace Hotel




 Pictured left is the iconic tower and sloped roof of the Peace Hotel, now the Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai



Proud, legendary and lavish, the Fairmont Peace Hotel, overlooking Shanghai’s Huangpu River, boasts a history that overshadows that of any other hotel in the Far East. With its origins dating back more than eight decades, this beloved landmark served as a glamorous playground for the elite of Shanghai, where every night was an extravagant gala event and veritable Parisian fashion show 





 The Waldorf Astoria Club


Located at the centre of The Bund, a city boulevard which runs alongside the Huangpu River and one of the most photographed postcard scenes of city, the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund mixes the history and culture of the surrounding district with a taste for 21st century sophistication. 
Mid Range
Ruijin Guest House
The Rui Jin Guesthouse is a villa style hotel with picturesque surroundings. All of the villas here are designed in French style, some harking back to the start of the 20th Century. The main building is particularly nice with a grand colonial vista. The hotel is situated in a park-like compound that is also very peaceful, occupying seven hectares filled with small bridges, ponds, pavilions and marble fountains. The hotel is located in the former French Concession of Shanghai within walking distance of the bustling shopping mecca of Huaihai Road and the beauty of Fuxing Park.
Old Jinjiang Hotel
 Heritage Hotel 7
Located in the very heart of the Old French Concession, Jin Jiang Hotel, a historic treasure, provides a tranquil oasis in metropolitan Shanghai. Since 1949, the Jin Jiang Hotel has been reserved for the exclusive use of foreign dignitaries and has offered premium accommodation for international visitors through 8 decades of change.



Astor Hotel Lounge
Astor House

Astor House is a family run business, which provides one with a 'home from home' experience. Situated in a peaceful residential area away from the traffic, yet only one mile from the city centre and all its eateries, shops and historic sights.








 This suggested itinerary can be tailored to suit your own requirements. It can also include other destinations in China or elsewhere in Asia.