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.
Confucian Temple, Catalpa Garden, Watchtower
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.
Places to stop along the way:
Confucian Temple, Old West Gate Hostel
Best time to walk:
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.