Psst! Quick, over here! Come and join us in this little alleyway. What’s that, you’re scared now? Ok, let’s go back a step. If you’re the type of person who loves to dive head first off the beaten track then you’re going to love this tour. Putting paid to the prevailing wisdom that Shanghai is just a city of modern skyscrapers, Bespoke’s expert will guide you through a tangle of impossibly narrow lanes surrounding Shanghai’s Confucius Temple to reveal hidden the architecture and fascinating stories of days gone by. Marvel at the discreet villa where Einstein and his wife once dined extravagantly during a Shanghai stopover, or get a true insider’s glimpse of a private courtyard – once one of the city’s grandest garden complexes – that’s now inhabited by the only surviving member of a once powerful local family. A tour for hidden gem hunters and no mistake.
Bespoke’s expert is a Russian journalist, published author and photographer from Siberia who has lived in Shanghai since 2006. Her interest in transitional neighborhoods led her to explore history and urban studies and she also specializes in Russian emigration in China. She has been a guest speaker for Explore Shanghai Heritage and the Royal Asiatic Society, and a writer for CNN, Time Out, SPUR San Francisco and others. She recently published a book on the heritage buildings of the city’s former French Concession and is currently writing two more volumes.
NEED TO KNOW
How much does it cost? 3,200 for 1-2 people; 250RMB per additional person (please contact us for groups of 10 or more).
How long will it take? Approximately 3 hours
When can I do it? Mornings show off the area at its liveliest, though afternoons are also possible.
Getting there: The meeting point is a short walk from Laoximen subway station, but of course to get there more easily we recommend hiring a Bespoke car.
Start Point: The Confucius Temple
End Point: Xiaonanmen Subway Station.
Children: Are welcome and should enjoy exploring this lively part of town.
Any other costs I should know about? Nope – entrance tickets are included.
How far in advance should I book? Ideally 2 weeks.
What to bring: A camera and comfortable shoes, as this tour takes place on foot.
Our favourite bit: When your expert points out hidden treasures that we would otherwise completely pass by – such as the beautiful stone carvings of an ancient temple, now used as a scrappy storehouse by a local resident.
Is this an expert or local personality-led tour? Expert
From our City Experts to your inbox: Sign up for our once monthly newsletter for all of the latest restaurant openings and insider goss from China's capital.