By Rebecca Unsworth
Bogged down by the daily grind, it is all too easy to take the same old sights every day for granted. A walking tour provides a great way to discover or rediscover parts of the city that might otherwise be forgotten. They can also be a terrific method of immersing your kids in Shanghai’s culture, providing them with a better understanding of the city while keeping them entertained. We’ve done the hard work of researching a few family-friendly tours, so that you don’t have to.
Newman Tours offer routes that are informative and fun with a twist. Run by Daniel Newman, he offers a range of different themed walks including ‘The Gangster Tour’ and the after-dark ‘Shanghai Ghost Tour,’ which are both sure to enthrall your older youngsters. Alongside these, Newman provides walking tours of the Bund, the former French Concession (FFC), ancient Shanghai and the Shanghai Museum, providing kids with insight into local life and telling “folk stories known only to natives,” so that your little ones will become accustomed to traditions and myths.
// 138 1777 0229, firstname.lastname@example.org
Untour Shanghai offers in-depth culinary tours that feel like a friendly jaunt. Founded by two long-term, passionate expatriate residents, their curated wanders introduce small groups (maximum of eight) to a world of delicious local eats and quirky bits of information, delivered by guides who love the city they’ve adopted. Older children, especially teenagers, should be suitable for any of the tours – especially night markets, which have the option of adding unusual bites like deep fried water snake. For younger crowds, the noodle tour or weekend hands-on dumpling-making tours might be most stimulating. What kid doesn’t love slurping up strands covered in peanut sauce, or getting their hands dirty rolling out dough?
Shanghai Flaneur specializes in self-proclaimed “edutaining” kids’ tours mixing education with fun for great satisfaction from both parents and their children. Subject experts take your little ones on a focused tour, with groups catering to different ages. Among the educational/entertaining tours, Flaneur offers a photographic tour for teenagers, ‘My City and Me,’ during which the adolescents are encouraged to capture the beauty of the city around them. The company also provides a ‘Quizz-Walk’ created by architect Fanny Hoffmann-Loss and photographer Jan Siefk, which weaves a three-hour team-building route through the FFC, and an informative interactive walk through the former Jewish Ghetto area, also led by Fanny Hoffmann-Loss designer of the Jewish Center for Shanghai.
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Noodle Walking Tours provide private, tailor-made walking tours for individuals or small groups, with English, Dutch, German, French and Chinese guides who have lived in the city for years. These guys tailor their walks to fit you and your child’s needs, taking you to areas well off the beaten track and inviting your family into the real life of the Shanghainese and backstreet Shanghai. Noodle offers tours around the French Concession, Jewish Quarter, Suzhou Creek, Lilongs and Art Deco, as well as Hongkou District (though the actual eating of noodles may not be involved).
And if you’d rather not walk…Shanghai Insiders won a coveted ‘certificate of excellence’ from Trip Advisor in 2013 for their innovative approach of seeing the city from ground level without hitting the pavements. Suitable for older children, the tours allow your family to travel around Shanghai in a side car, experiencing the buzz of Shanghai roads while gazing at the city sights. Children will love the thrill of the journey, and the experience will undoubtedly provide many unforgettable photographs. All guides are expats or Chinese nationals, able to show you and your little ones the ins and outs of ‘local’ Shanghai.
// 138 1761 6975, firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO: Aurelian Chauvaud, Shanghai Insiders