Today on our last full day of touring, the group went to several sites to further experience Shanghai at its finest. We started the morning at the Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai’s most famous temple. The temple was constructed in 1882 to house two large jade Buddha statues that were brought from Burma by the abbot Wei Ken. While visiting, the group viewed the two statues, learned about the Buddhist religion from our tour guide, and took part in a coin-tossing ritual to bring us good luck.
Next we took a trip to the Yu Garden and Bazaar. Even though this area is not very old, it is well known for its old-fashioned buildings and the peaceful Yu Garden, originally constructed during the Ming dynasty. The garden was small but well-designed and it is the only classical garden that still exists in Shanghai. The Yu Garden was originally a private garden owned by the Pam family, but was abandoned several times during wars and was finally taken over by the government, which then renovated it and opened it for tourism. The garden is now surrounded by many shops and restaurants which occupy old-fashioned buildings. One of the most famous buildings within the Bazaar is the Huxington Teahouse, built in 1784. The teahouse is most recognizable for the Bridge of Nine Turnings, a large zigzag bridge that protects the building from evil spirits.
The group then went on a quick tour of downtown Shanghai to experience some of the skyscrapers up close. Shanghai is known for its extensive skyline, consisting of over 6,000 buildings taller than 30 stories. One stop on this tour was the historical Bund district often associated with the opening of China to trade with western countries. However, due to lots of construction the group only took a look into the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) building. The bank building was built in 1921 and was known as one of the most beautiful buildings in China because of its extravagant marble interior. The next and final stop was by the Shanghai riverfront where the group took some photos of the skyline and the famous Pearl TV Tower.