Whether you live in Shanghai or are visiting for a few weeks, you may be asking yourself, where can I go for a couple of days away? For many westerners, myself included, it’s often difficult to picture going on regular weekends away which involve flying or 15+ hour train journeys. I often had this issue when I was living in China. I often had weekends free from work and social commitments and was desperate to explore places near to Jiangsu province and Shanghai, but unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to find any guides for what to do. So, with my own experiences in mind, this article will focus on 5 different places to visit for weekends away from Shanghai. Obviously, with two airports connecting the city, there are multiple other locations across China, however for this blog post I’ve tried to keep things quick, cheap and relatively simple.
Escape Shanghai for the weekend and visit the capital city of Jiangsu province, Nanjing. Not a weekend for an unemotional getaway, Nanjing’s history is prevalent and one which can be seen across the city. With the memorial to the Nanjing massacre in the centre and the Sun Yat Sen’s Mausoleum to the East of the city, there is plenty to do and see.
Best way to get to Nanjing from Shanghai: Train
Time: 1.5 hours
For many people, when you say ‘terracotta warriors’, they instantly think of Xi’an and the infamous UNESCO heritage site just outside of the city. However, despite what many people know there have been several uncoverings of terracotta warriors across China, and some found in Shanghai’s neighbouring city of Xuzhou.
Home to beautiful gardens, terracotta warriors and the Guishan dynasty tombs, Xuzhou is (for some unknown reason) generally overlooked when it comes to travelling China. Xuzhou is the perfect destination for a city break away from Shanghai. With fewer people than some of the larger cities but lots of historical sites, you really don’t want to miss this one whilst living or working in Shanghai.
Best way to get to Xuzhou from Shanghai: Train
Time: 3 hours
If you’re looking for scenery, pagodas and a very large lake, head on down to Hangzhou. Famous for the West Lake and the Chinese National Museum of Tea, Hangzhou is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai. Offering a range of restaurants, bars and cafes, Hangzhou has all the offerings of a city with the beauty of the countryside.
Best way to get to Hangzhou from Shanghai: Train
Time: 45 minutes
If you’re looking for ancient water towns, delicious foods and one of the world’s largest shopping centres, then take a trip to Suzhou. A short 30 minute bullet train away from central Shanghai, Jiangsu province city is a great place to spend a weekend. Take a tour around one of the multiple traditional Chinese gardens, stroll down the ancient cobbled streets or hop on a boat on one the canals. Suzhou is a city, with a town-like atmosphere.
Best way to get to Suzhou from Shanghai: Train
Time: 30 minutes
Wuxi is a great place to spend a weekend away from Shanghai. Spend one day exploring the Buddhist centre at Lingshan and another exploring Wuxi’s multiple pagodas and temples. Although still classed as a city in Jiangsu province, the city is considerably sleepier than some of the others neighboring Shanghai. Perfect for exploring at a slow pace for a short weekend away, Wuxi is not to be missed.
Best way to get to Wuxi from Shanghai: Train
Time: 35 minutes