A mainstay of the Shanghai tourist circuit, nearly 1800-year-old Jing'an Temple has been undergoing extensive, and very expensive restorations for a good couple of years; restorations which unfortunately have not won it much praise.
Seemingly glammed up to be consistent with the rest of Nanjing Road, a thoroughfare dedicated as much to fashion brand worship as it is to modern Chinese consumerism, some sites have said the restorations suck the "life" and "soul" out of the place.
However, if you haven't seen any temples in China yet, the ornate stonework, large statues and bright colors make this a worthwhile visit, especially considering how accessible it is as it's perched directly atop Metro Line 2 Jing'an Temple Station.
Once you're done in the temple (only about half of it was accessible at the time of writing), a left turn out the temple doors takes you east down Nanjing Road towards the Portmann Ritz Carlton Hotel, which houses embassies as well as a few good restaurants. Paul bakery is a great spot to stop for fine French on an outdoor terrace.
15 minutes further, just past Metro Line 2 West Nanjing Road Station, you'll find Wujiang Lu snack street, recently cut in half and given a fresh coat of paint for Expo Shanghai 2010, as well as a large market featuring cheap goods and knock offs at the corner of Nanjing Lu and Chengdu Lu.
Spoiler alert! If you're planning on visiting the temple you may not want to scroll through the pictures below...
All photos by Stephan Larose.