The best things to do in Shanghai's suburbs: East

Explore the outer reaches of Shanghai with our guide to Pudong

As part of Time Out's guide to exploring the outer reaches of Shanghai we take a look at the best things to do in the north of the city, from Yangpu to Jiading, including the birthplace of xiaolongbao, and the Kuomintang’s ‘new Shanghai’.

Click through the links below for our guide to Shanghai's suburbs

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"Antique-Junkyard-in-pudong-interior"Hunt down a bargain at Mulan Huage junkyard

Commonly referred to as an antiques market or a curio shop, Mulan Huage is more akin to a junkyard, with teetering towers of wooden furniture looming over old tea leaf tins in various states of corrosion and piles of Buddhas, often lying separately from their heads. Located in a small industrial estate beside Lingzhao Xincun metro station, it’s a chaotic, dust-cloaked mess of collectibles that in places is almost impossible to navigate – but therein lies its beauty.

How much value you find in Mulan Huage’s oddball collection relies entirely on your mindset. To some, the cluttered layout only serves to reinforce the impression that the large hangar-like space is full of junk; for others, it’s worth spending a few hours sifting through the dusty jumble in search of something unique – with far more interesting retro goodies on offer than at Dongtai Lu.

Should you hit upon something you want to take home, prices are reasonable. Tea leaf tins of the sort that Jonas Design turn into clocks are available from 20RMB, depending on size and corrosion; small jewellery boxes hand-painted with the characters for double happiness are around 60RMB and bird cages start at 100RMB.

More expensive items are available – a large teak chest of drawers has an asking price of 800RMB and a double-headed gramophone is available for 2,300RMB. Bargaining on price is advised, but bear in mind that you can ask Mr Sun, who runs Mulan Huage, for repairs, fresh licks of paint and even home delivery for your purchases as part of the negotiations.

Get there Take exit 1 from Lingzhao Xincun metro station and take the lane on your immediate left. Bear right, and around 200 metres in you’ll see piles of wooden tables and chairs in front of a blue corrugated metal shed.

Mulan Huage Jiajuli, 269, Lane 1788 Jiyang Lu, near Shangpu Xi Lu. See full address details.

"Kerry-adventure-playzone"Drop the kids off at one of the city’s best children’s play areas

The Adventure Zone at the Kerry Hotel Pudong is the sort of play area that makes you want to be eight again. There’s a great jungle gym, three fun slides and a range of various themed party rooms for kids to run riot in. A small cafe next door provides a more sedate spot to unwind for waiting parents, or there’s always The BREW, The COOK or The MEET elsewhere in the hotel.

Get there Kerry Hotel Pudong Fourth Floor, 1388 Huamu Lu, near Fangdian Lu. See full address details


Soak up some top-notch bathhouses

Traditionally, you’ve had to head to Gubei to experience Shanghai’s best bathhouses, but Pudong now boasts two fantastic options of its own for getting naked and steamy. One is the latest outpost of Gubei mainstay New Star (88RMB), which features a great outdoor pool alongside the usual mix of baths and post-dip relaxation areas, saunas and a Korean restaurant.

Slightly pricier at 128RMB but therefore less crowded and arguably a more pleasant place to spend a few hours, the Japanese-style Gokurakuyu has a more refined feel. A wide range of sleek, minimalist baths are joined by ‘hobbit house’ steam rooms, saunas, a Japanese restaurant, manga library and private treatment rooms, all spread out over a spacious three-storey building. The highlight is an open air roten buro – a series of half-shaded rock pools and oversized ‘cauldrons’ set in a tasteful bamboo-lined outdoor space.

Get there New Star’s Pudong branch is a short walk east of Lancun Lu metro station, near the southwest corner of Century Park. 288 Dongxiu Lu, near Meihua Lu. See full address details.

Gokurakuyu 600 Xinjinqiao Lu Jinzang Lu. See full address.


Take a scenic cycle ride along Pudong’s pleasant waterways

While there are few remnants left of the canal towns that formerly populated the eastern side of the Huangpu, many of the waterways that once linked the small settlements have been maintained. Following these on two wheels gets you away from the big, wide highways usually associated with Pudong and onto tranquil little lanes shrowded by willow trees. One of our favourites is the pretty Zhaojiabang Canal, close to Century Park and easily accessible by bicycle.

Get there For an easy, roughly nine mile, two-hour cycle route that takes you from Century Park metro station via Kerry Parkside and along Zhaojiabang Canal see the full Pudong cycle route.

"Shanghai science and techology museum"

Visit two of the city’s finest museums

Pudong institutions scooped two of the top three spots on our 2012 list of the best museums in the city, with the Animation Museum and the Science and Technology Museum taking third and second place respectively. The former allows kids to ‘meet’ their cartoon heroes; the latter covers everything from insects to space exploration.

Get there

Shanghai Animation Museum 69 Zhangjiang Lu, near Guoshoujing Lu. See full address details.

Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, 2000 Century Avenue, near Jinxiu Lu. See full address details.

Click through the links below for our guide to Shanghai's suburbs

North | East | South | West | All