Shanghai Resorts: an Expat Guide

Resorts, Retreats and Getaways near Shanghai

Do Shanghai Expats need a Vacation? Most Shanghai expats work long hours. Many feel pressured to bring their work home with them and their smart-phones are on 24/7 to receive calls and check emails.

Most Shanghai expats will enjoy one or two long vacations each year to return home to see relatives and friends or visit other Asian countries to lie on the beach. Some, however, might be tempted to skip or reduce even these holidays, while others will bring their work along with them.

It shouldn’t be that way, though. There are many resorts and beautiful scenic spots near Shanghai; great for short weekend getaways.

We introduce several below, as well as provide a list of resorts near Shanghai you can try out during your stay. To skip directly to the lists click here.

Let’s first, however, take a look at the benefits of vacations.

Why We Take Vacations

Shanghai expats should be aware of the many studies, including the Framingham Heart Study, the Gump and Matthews (2000) study and the Marshfield Clinic study, which did extensive research on the health benefits of vacations.

All these studies found that those who seldom take vacations are at greater risk of becoming ill, have higher levels of stress, and die younger. 

Benefits of a Vacation

It has been shown that the experiences we gain from vacations are much more beneficial to our health and happiness than the pleasure gained from material possessions.

During vacations, we can have deeper conversations with family and partners, as well as create long-lasting memories. By sharing these memories, we turn the short-term relaxation benefits of a vacation into long-term benefits to our health and happiness.

Linda Gross, an American psychiatrist, also adds: "Private time allows us to be creative -- we can try things out in our own minds."

Critical Factors for a Successful Vacation

In order to ensure vacations are beneficial to your health you should follow some useful tips.

The first is to make sure that you are disconnected as much as possible from your regular job. Linda Gross stresses "Work during vacations clearly has negative impact on the lasting benefits of vacations."

Active rather than passive activities also create deeper lasting memories. So do some hiking, biking and other activities rather than just lie on the beach.

If your time is limited, it is important to stay close to home, and avoid wasting time on the road as this has shown to reduce the benefits of a vacation.

Importance of Regular Vacations

Most studies also emphasize the importance of taking regular breaks. Dr. Jessica de Bloom, a German organizational psychologist well-known for her studies of the importance of vacations, presented her findings at the 2013 ITB Berlin Convention.

As Dr. de Bloom stated: "One cannot postpone one's sleep or relaxation requirements. One long summer holiday cannot compensate for a whole year of hard work and overtime."

Karen Matthews of the University of Pittsburgh's Mind-Body Center also confirmed this through her own organization's study of 1,399 participants, concluding: "The more frequent the vacations, the longer the men lived."

Short Vacations

As frequent long vacations are not possible for most of us, some studies have focused on whether short vacations have the same benefits as long vacations.

The results of these studies have shown that they indeed do and might be even better. Jeffrey Janata, a psychologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, says that two short vacations divided by work are better than one longer one, "Because then you get two peak experiences."

"And novelty is important, too -- it has been shown to bring us more pleasure." Linda Gross added: "You've probably seen the results yourself, when someone you know comes back from even a short vacation. They look different, They look relaxed."

Short Vacations for Shanghai Expats

So what can Shanghai expats do for short vacations? You could try a 'staycation' to explore Shanghai itself and even book yourself into a luxurious hotel to make your exploration of Shanghai even more memorable.

Shanghai is world-renowned for its modern skyscrapers, early 20th century European architecture and its vibrant nightlife. But it has much more to offer including several temples, the renovated old residential areas of Xintiandi, Tianzifang and Sinan Mansions, and Chongming island, a UN recognized eco-friendly development park. 

With a little more time, however, you can explore many interesting places near Shanghai.

Paradise on Earth: Hangzhou and Suzhou

Two cities near Shanghai have been recognised as China's most beautiful tourist towns for hundreds of years.

An ancient Chinese saying reflects this: Above is Paradise (Heaven), Below is Suzhou and Hangzhou (上有天堂下有苏杭 Shàng yǒu tiāntáng xià yǒu sū háng).

Suzhou, just a 30-minute train ride from Shanghai, is known as the Venice of the East for its many canals. A nighttime boat tour along these canals is a memorable experience. Suzhou is also the cradle of what are known overseas as "Chinese Gardens". There are over 30 traditional gardens you can visit.

Hangzhou, within one hour by train from Shanghai, is famous for its West Lake, the setting for many famous Chinese fables. The famous Chinese green tea Long Jing (龙井 lóngjǐng) comes from LongJing village (Dragon's Well village) in the suburbs of Hangzhou.

Shanghai Getaways

Moganshan Mountain

For a great nature getaway, there is Moganshan (mountain) (莫干山 Mò gàn shān), located about 200 km away from Shanghai in Zhejiang Province. Several resorts and hotels from low budget to luxury 5 star can be found among the many hiking trails.

Water Towns

Near to Shanghai are many famous old "water towns", which have been extensively renovated to attract tourists. These towns show the traditional life-style and arts and crafts of villages in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

The canals are dotted with many traditional Chinese Arch bridges. The four most famous water towns are Tongli, Zhouzhuang, Wuzhen, and Xitang. Many of these can be reached on day trips from Shanghai. 

Islands near Shanghai

Several islands near to Shanghai are well-known weekend getaways for local Shanghai people including Putuo, Dongji and Sun island.

Resorts and Retreats near Shanghai

Water Towns

Islands near Shanghai

Mountains Near Shanghai

Shanghai City Sites

Studies About the importance of Vacations

Even Brief Holidays of 1 or 2 Days Have Good Effects

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