Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Tale of Two Streets

In Shanghai, shopping is a definite past time….and a joyful one too!! I admit I love going for the bargains! After all, this is the city where you can find a ton of them and some really good deals…you name it…at the antique markets, fabric markets, and underground shopping plazas and in many of the big retail shopping malls. Shopping opportunities here are endless.

But once in a blue moon, I love walking down two of the city’s famous streets that are known to be paradise for the ultimate luxury shopper. Here, the shops cater to the high-end market, but there’s no rule you can’t enjoy them no matter what your shopping budget is. The best thing about these streets is that you don’t even have to be a big-spender. It is also the perfect place to go for a nice walk amongst the tree-lined roads as you take in the view of some unique architectural sights, do some window-shopping (nothing wrong with that!), and stare at the amazing designs of all the flagship stores. Shanghai is a city of excess; modernity and supreme luxury…so why not have fun and just let it take you in? J


Huaihai Road has been known for many years especially amongst Shanghai residents as the city’s number one retail and shopping strip. It was built in the early 20th century but you’d never guess that by looking at it now. It is a 6-kilometer long boulevard often compared to the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Fifth Avenue in New York and Ginza in Tokyo. Here, huge department stores and shopping plazas abound such as Times Square mall and Hong Kong Shopping Plaza as well as smaller boutique shops lining the street.

Huaihai Road's Cartier shop
Apple Store Shanghai - a huge 2-story haven for techies
Some nice old French style houses also line the street. Most have become new shops.

A Christmas tree decorates the entrance to a mall

Certain shops have made their statement along Huaihai Road because of their unique design. Luxury brands Dunhill and Vacheron Constantin are located in two floors of the two newly-renovated French-style villas (known as the twin villas) on 796 Huaihai Road. The upper floor is home to the members only Kee Club, a high-society hangout with beautiful dining rooms, bars and restaurants serving French and Chinese cuisine.

Other must-see stores on Huaihai Road are the Barbie Flagship store and the Apple Store. The Barbie store is the first flagship store set up by Mattel to sell exclusive Barbie products. This store is not just a toy boutique but a clothing store as well, filled with bags, shoes and retail on all things Barbie. At the top floor, there is also a cafĂ© developed by chef David Laris. Even if you’re not a kid anymore, it is an experience not to be missed. The Apple Store is two gigantic floors of heaven for all Mac fans and techies out there. You can just browse for hours in here but watch is always packed with people!


West Nanjing Road, also known as Nanjing Xi Lu (in Mandarin pinyin spelling and pronounced “Nanjing shee lu”) is also a famous luxury shopping street with many malls and big department stores such as Isetan and Plaza 66. In comparison with Huaihai road, I find that there are more accessible retail boutiques here such as Lacoste, Massimo Dutti, Bossini, Hotwind, Nike etc. If this wasn't enough, there are also the UNIQLO , H&M and Marks and Spencer flagship stores which are directly right after one another. Yes, enough to give you a shopping heart attack! The street also plays host to many five-star hotels such as the Portman Ritz Carlton, the JC Mandarin, and The Puli Hotel and Spa. There are also many business buildings and offices here.

West Nanjing Road's many boutique shops along the street
West Nanjing Road's many office buildings

This guy in shorts really amused me.
It was 8 degrees Celsius but he seemed  to think it was summer!

Christmas decorations
Jing'An Temple, built in 1216 is a great landmark at the beginning of West Nanjing Road.
One of the best architectural sights is Jing’An Temple at the beginning of West Nanjing Road. The Buddhist temple was built in 1216 during the Song Dynasty and is now a historical landmark in this otherwise modern landscape.