In addition to all the great shopping, food, and city attractions Shanghai has to offer, the city is home to dozens of museums, temples and historical sites. One such site is the Qibao Ancient Water Town. This little town has been around since sometime around 1000 a.d. and is only about ten miles out of the downtown area. We took the subway there one morning for a day of exploring. What gives the area it’s charm is the fact that it is built along the confluence of multiple waterways that intersect with the city streets. While exploring, I lost count of all the picture perfect bridges we crossed that connect the various areas of town. Each street was like something from a China travel guide and there was just no end to the little shops, restaurants, street food and photo opportunities available.The town posts little tour guide maps in key locations just for tourists. We discovered, though, after spending considerable time searching for the Cricket Fighting Museum that the maps were really more like a guide than an actual navigation device and the little “you are here” arrow may have been printed on that particular map in advance of it being assigned an exact location for display.We did sample plenty of tasty food options like this crispy pancake filled with red bean paste. We only took a picture of these colorful little items below in passing. We could not help but notice the Minion ones!Qibao Temple is a quiet escape from the bustling tourist filled streets in the town. It is amazing, walking onto the grounds and realizing the city noise has disappeared as you are surrounded by beautiful gardens and the intricate architecture of the temple buildings. The Jing’an Temple is nestled right in the heart of the city and is host to both visitors who share the Buddhist faith and those who simply want to observe. Both are clearly welcomed. No matter which temples we visited people seem to always move gently and respectfully about the grounds. The only sounds were the gentle bells attached to the building eves that move with the breeze.
We spent a little time in the Shanghai Museum just before it closed for the day. There were numerous beautiful and intricate jade and bronze carvings and various artifacts including wood furniture, ceramics and art with historical significance.Amber’s favorite exhibits were the jade carvings and the collection of ancient coins. In addition to the coins on display minted by Chinese rulers, there were samples of coins used all along the Silk Road. The museum’s display also included molds and tools for coin casting and this extremely rare coin from the era of Gengis Kahn! Art and sculpture in Shanghai is not limited to museums of course. We noticed a steady stream of people posing for photos with this more modern example displayed in a large shopping district. Every inch of the surface is made of real flowers and greenery and it indeed, did make a great place to take a picture!