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Baoshan: Shanghai's forgotten district
A day in Baoshan is a telling reminder that beneath the gloss Shanghai's industrial heart pumps as strong as ever
Although it has a scandalous history and shining skyscrapers, Shanghai is an undeniable, thriving industrial hub. It is one of the world’s largest ports, and forges millions of tons of steel every year, so taking a day to explore the city's often-neglected industrial districts can be a good reminder of what really drives Shanghai.
But where should you go?
Take Metro Line 3, 40 minutes from the city and it’s all there -- sprawling out in front of you in Baoshan district.
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Taking up a big chunk of northeastern part of the city, Baoshan is where Shanghai rolls up its sleeves and gets to work. Touring the district can give you a glimpse into the industrial side that visitors rarely see, and which many residents like to overlook.
But, among the cranes and shipping containers, there are some pleasant places to enjoy the breeze off the East China Sea and some hidden parks to practice tai chi.
Baoshan is industrial Shanghai. It's hard to miss this truth when walking around the area, with giant machines dominating the landscape.
Damatou is where the Huangpu spills into the sea. From here you can take a ferry (RMB 2) across to Waigaoqiao in Pudong. Take in the forest of cranes while dodging enormous cargo vessels.
As home to part of the massive Shanghai port system, Baoshan is filled with cargo containers, stacked on top of each other.
In recent years, some industry has given way, allowing for waterfront parks to develop. While there’s no beach, and the view isn’t exactly like the Riviera, it's pleasant enough on a nice day that people fill the boardwalks.
On clear days you can see out to Chongming Island. Even though the new Shanghai Yangtze River Tunnel and Bridge has reduced demand, there is still regular ferry service from Baoshan to Chongming.
This now desolate space is one of the waterfront parks under construction. In the background stands a memorial to the Japanese occupation. Given the pace of construction, the areas should be ready by late summer.
A short walk away from the main boardwalk is a small park on the site of an ancient fort. Highlights include a lake, rock gardens and a Confucian temple building.
Like other Shanghai parks, the most fun thing to do here might be just sitting back and watching people sing karaoke, draw characters in water on the ground and otherwise enjoy themselves.
One of the great things about Baoshan district is how close you can get to the working city. You get to see things made in front of your eyes.
How to get there: For the waterfront and ancient fort park, take Metro Line 3 to Baoyang Lu and hop in a cab to “Baoyang Lu Matou”. For the ferry to Pudong, take Metro Line 3 to Shuichan Lu and then walk to Songpu Lu
To explore other areas of Shanghai read on at "Eat, pray, surf in Putuoshan", "Shanghai Thames Town: A little piece of England in China" and "Oriental Land: Weird name, but we love it".