Ancient Shanghai Tour: Before The High Rise

Ancient Shanghai Tour: Before The High Rise


Long before the foreign concessions and skyscrapers, Shanghai was a prosperous Chinese town surrounded with protective walls and bustling with trade and commerce. The Ancient Shanghai Tour takes you back in time to see what remains of Shanghai’s ancient past, including the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644AD) Yu Yuan Gardens and Taoist City God Temple.

And after the tour then why not try your hand at a spot of archery? That’s right, as an optional extra we offer you the chance to practice an art that played a central role in the life of ancient China’s literati, and was once taught by the great philosopher Confucius.

A typical Ancient Chinese Garden
A typical Ancient Chinese Garden.


  • Meet outside exit 1 of Yu Yuan Metro Station (line 10).
  • Walk through the bustling Yu Yuan Market and find out what people would have traded there in imperial times.
  • Enter the stunning Yu Yuan Gardens, learn about the paradoxical aspirations of the man that commissioned it, and discover why it was not finished in time.
  • Feed the beautiful carp of Yu Yuan Gardens with our fish food and hear the Chinese legend that explains the strange markings on their foreheads.
  • Learn how to appreciate the sophisticated art of Ancient Chinese Gardens including their use of “feng shui”, “borrowing” and “representation”.
  • Make a wish as we hand out lucky coins to throw into a wishing well that is said to have extraordinarily good feng shui.
  • Admire the legendary Exquisite Jade Rock, and discover how it ended up in Yu Yuan Gardens despite being intended for an Emperor.
  • Explore the bustling City God Temple, meet your personal Taoist protector, and learn how you yourself can become a god in China.
  • Meet the leading figures in the Taoist pantheon including a god that used to cut peoples heads off with his Green Dragon Crescent Blade and a goddess that used to be a man.
  • Guests on the Select Ancient Shanghai Tour will also get to enjoy a traditional Chinese peepshow on the way from Yu Yuan Gardens to the City God Temple.

Getting There

The Standard Meeting Point for Public, Private & Select Ancient Shanghai Tours is outside exit one of Yuyuan Metro station (Line 10) next to the junction between Renmin Road and South Henan Road 豫园地铁站一号出口.


(All prices in Chinese Renminbi per guest)

(2 hours)
(2.5 hours)
1 guest 1120 1320
2 guests 590 700
3 guests 410 490
4 or more guests 330 390

Tour Types

Private Tours can be scheduled for your group at any time you like.
VIP Tours are led by Newman Tours’ most experienced guides, and guarantee the provision of an iPad to enhance the content of your tour. They can start at any time you want, and feature exclusive content described in red italics under the Tour Schedule section of this page.
Terms & Conditions can be viewed here.

This tour also includes a trip to the City God Temple.
Find out what’s so funny about the man that commissioned the beautiful Yu Yuan Gardens.

What Our Guests Say

What the Media Says

“Will tell you folk stories known only to natives”
Christie Lee, China Daily

“Newman Tours’ guides are not only highly knowledgeable about the city and its past, but also have
the charisma to bring the incredible stories of the area to life.”
Alice Shaman, Shanghai Talk

Ancient Shanghai Tour Follow Up

Guests on the Ancient Shanghai Tour will receive a follow up email featuring informative and entertaining links including the following:

  • Artistic representations of Yu Yuan gardens
  • Architecture of structures you saw on your Ancient Shanghai Tour