Shanghai is a magnificent city teeming with activity. That is why it is so well-liked. If you're a visitor looking for a break from skyscrapers, crowds, and stimulation, there are plenty of other options.

Here's a quick guide to some of the best destinations outside of Shanghai for slowing down in China's countryside:

Anji Bamboo Forest

The Anji Bamboo Forest is known by many as the “Bamboo Sea” and it’s not difficult to see why. Around 40 different species of bamboo cover an area of more than 200 square miles. This forest rose to international prominence as the setting for Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, as well as a number of other films. The Anji Bamboo Forest is a popular vacation destination, so make your plans accordingly. Visitors can pay to cross a glass bridge that offers breathtaking views of the forest below. There is also a bobsled ride that takes you out of the forest. Also, don't miss the bamboo museum.

Nanxiang, Tongli and more

Nanxiang Ancient Town is located in Shanghai's Jiading District. It's a small town with a big name because it's the birthplace of the famous Shanghai local snack Xiao Long Bao. Nanxiang Ancient Town, one of the four most well-known historical and cultural ancient towns in Shanghai, dates back approximately 1,500 years. It is a smaller water town than Wuzhen Water Town. The narrow streets of Nanxiang Ancient Town are lined with boutiques, souvenir shops, and restaurants. It's difficult to ignore the lingering aroma of oily and spicy Chinese cuisine.


Jiaxing has a 2,000-year cultural history and has been a prosperous and busy place since ancient times. The highlights of Jiaxing, Wuzhen Water Town and Xitang Water Town, are still bustling and retain their original styles and features. The waterways, ancient residences and bridges, winding stone roads and time-honored shops, not to mention numerous historic attractions, make them an excellent antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life. Jiaxing is also known as the birthplace of the Communist Party of China, with the first National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in a boat on Nanhu Lake in Jiaxing.


Putuoshan, Shanghai's local beach town, is also a hidden Buddhist retreat for local devotees and culture seekers. The scenic beauty of Putuoshan Island made it an ideal location for temples and other religious structures. It became known as the 'Heaven of the Sea and Kingdom of the Buddhists' over time. Mount Putuo once had eighty-two temples and nunneries, as well as one hundred and twenty-eight shelters, which housed 4,000 Buddhist monks and nuns. Even today, visitors to the island will see monks dressed in traditional robes walking along the many paths that crisscross the beautiful landscape.

Shanghai Film Studios

Head to Shanghai Film Studios in Sonjiang for a "reel" escape from Shanghai's urban chaos, where you can walk through the scenes of your favourite movies and possibly see your idols in action.

Shanghai is home to one of Asia's few modern film and television studios. You will have the opportunity to visit the Chedun Film Studio today, which is located in the Songjiang District, about 15 kilometres from downtown Shanghai. The authentic sets here are used in many film and television productions. You'll want to pose on the impressive sets that recreate Shanghai in the 1900s. "Nanjing Road in the 1930s," "Suzhou Creek," "Downtown Shanghai," "Peace Plaza," "Old Shanghai Bridge," and "Lake and Mountain Area" are a few examples. Other sets reflect period architecture, ranging from traditional houses and churches to European-style architecture. The studio also has a large collection of costumes and props.

Thames Town

Take the metro to nearby Thames Town for some quaint English charm if you're tired of Shanghai's concrete monotony. It is named after the Thames River, which flows through London, England. The architecture is inspired by British market town styles. Cobblestone streets, Victorian terraces, corner shops, and red telephone boxes abound. High house prices led to few permanent residents moving to the area, causing many of the shops and restaurants to close and the area to become known as a "ghost town".


This tiny water town near Shanghai is a tranquil slice of heaven. Sit back, relax and take it all in. Xitang is a river town with nine rivers running through it. The town is divided into eight sections that are connected by old-fashioned stone bridges. The buildings in the older parts of town are built along the banks of the canals, which serve as the main transportation routes in the area.

Holland Town

The Expo isn't the only place in Shanghai to experience international culture. For a taste of European charm, head to Holland Town. It is meant to look like it belongs in the Netherlands. Building facades along the main street reflect the architectural style of a quaint Holland village. There are canals, cobblestone paths, and a windmill, of course.

Xianghai Temple

Xianghai Temple's Buddhist monks can help you overcome your ignorance. It may take longer than your average Shanghai day trip, but isn't enlightenment worth it?

Shengsi Island

If you want to get away from the bustling metropolis of Shanghai, head to Shengsi Islands. Shengsi Islands, which consists of approximately 394 islands, promises plenty of island-style fun, including water activities, nature trails, and spectacular beachside views. This Shanghai day trip includes sun, sand, and plenty of seafood. Skip breakfast, put on your crocs, and board a boat for fresh fish, wriggling shrimp, and the specialty, hairy clams.


Wuzhen's Old City is a dreamscape of old brown Chinese buildings nestled beside green waters. It's also a fantastic culinary destination, with modern, fanciful touches like a giant pink fish sculpture.