Explore disappearing old Shanghai

Explore Shanghai's disappearing old town with your camera

The triangle of land between Xiaonanmen metro station, the Lujiabang fabric market and the Cool Docks is a fascinating slice of old Shanghai that goes largely overlooked and is shrinking by the day as the cranes and bulldozers move in. 

While development has already eaten into much of the neighbourhood – in some cases leaving a single, solitary old house marooned in a sea of rubble, or a road sign pointing redundantly at a new concrete wall – there’s still an atmospheric core in which to get enjoyably lost. 

Winding, weed-choked back alleys, roofless houses, rag picking depots, small wet markets, stray dogs and the sudden, unexpected grandeur of a Catholic church rising up at 185 Dongjiadu Lu make for some great photo opportunities, especially when juxtaposed against the surrounding high-rises and, further in the distance, Lujiazui’s looming trio of the Shanghai Tower, SWFC and the Jinmao Tower. 

How to get there Simply head east out of Xiaonanmen metro station until you hit Lujiabang Lu, weave your way north through the lanes to Zhongshan Nan Lu and zig-zag back again, but don’t worry about sticking to a route – part of the fun is going completely off-piste.