Shanghai audio tour: Hidden Treasures of the Old Town

Hidden Treasures of the Old Town

Walking Tour

30 mins

About the Tour

The old town has the most vibrant street life and historically rich lanes in all of Shanghai, yet it is largely undiscovered by visitors. This walk takes you through lesser-known, unrestored parts of the old town – a labyrinth that harbors archaic watchtowers, merchant palaces and Ming-era gardens.

IMPORTANT: There is a GPS offset in China, and as a result your position on Google and Apple maps will be incorrect. This issue doesn't affect the offline map, so after you've downloaded all the audio files, but before you hit start, turn off WiFi and data and you'll be able to track your position on the route.

Tour Producer


Katya Knyazeva

Katya Knyazeva is a journalist and photographer from Siberia who has been living in Shanghai since 2006. Her interest in transitional neighborhoods led her into history, urban studies, and journalism – as well as guiding visitors through Shanghai’s secret lanes. She is the author of "Shanghai Old Town: Topography of a Phantom City," a two-volume historical atlas of Shanghai's old city.

Major Landmarks

  • Confucian Temple

  • Catalpa Garden

  • Watchtower

Directions to Starting Point

The walk starts at the Exit 7 of Laoximen subway station (Lines 10 and 8). To get here by taxi, direct the driver to the intersection of East Fuxing Rd and Zhonghua Rd ("fuxing dong lu zhonghua lu" in Chinese). The subway exit is at the southwest corner of the intersection.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Confucian Temple, Old West Gate Hostel

Best time of day

It is best to explore the old town during the daylight hours, before 6 pm. Part of the walk goes through a wet market that is most crowded (and most spectacular) around 11 am and around 5 pm.


The old town is a friendly and safe place but, like everywhere in Shanghai, you should keep an eye on your bags and pockets. On hot summer days you might want to avoid being outdoors between 12 and 3 pm.


Very well narrated and easy to follow. Enjoyed very much.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , over 4 years ago

This is FANTASTIC. I highly encourage you to do it at 10:30 or 4:30 so that you can see the market as she suggests. Katya's clearly loves the city and her detailed knowledge is fascinating. Great job, Katya!!

Posted by Valeria S , almost 5 years ago

Great walk and wonderful insightful commentary. Thanks!

Posted by Rob , over 5 years ago

Very good

Posted by Lụm Bình Xịt , almost 6 years ago

Hi Katya, thanks for the great walk, all the details & descriptions. I've walked many path and lanes in Shanghai before, but this was all new to me :)! Two things which could be improved: You continue rather fast with the next description/section - I had often not yet found the place/house. So, I had to rewind... And the end is very aprupt. For the end, I wished to hear a kind of conclusion. Thanks for this great expedition ;)!! Nora

Posted by Nora Grau , over 6 years ago

Can't wait to try this one when I'm there at the end of this month...

Posted by Kathleen , over 6 years ago
Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
Hidden Treasures of the Old Town