Shanghai - Population 23 million
You haven’t experienced the soul of Shanghai until you’ve had sheng jian bao, or pan-fried soup dumplings. Beneath a golden-brown, crispy shell, a fluffy and doughy bun holds fragrant minced pork surrounded by flavourful hot soup. Taste and texture meet in a single bite.
A leisurely stroll along the Bund offers picturesque views of the Huangpu River and the Pudong skyline, which includes the iconic Pearl Oriental Tower. Fuxing Park in the former French Concession offers a glimpse of everyday life where residents dance, sing, practise tai chi and play chess in their pyjamas.
In a city where bars pop up and disappear just as quickly, El Coctel at Yongfu Road in the former French Concession can be considered an institution, crafting cocktails inspired by the prohibition era. This place is popular, so go early to get a seat.
Ascott Heng Shan Shanghai is situated in a charming, historical neighbourhood in the heart of Shanghai that is also the former French Concession. Its tree-lined avenues and old mansions give it the name ‘Paris of the East.’ The serviced residence is a stone’s throw away from shopping, dining and entertainment venues such as the Huaihai Road shopping belt, Xintiandi and People’s Square.
Beijing - Population 21 million
If you had to choose one dish to try in the capital, make it the Beijing roast duck, or Peking duck. The version at Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant is crispy-skinned to perfection on the outside and juicy on the inside. This delicacy usually features tender slices of duck wrapped in a thin rice flour crepe together with a dollop of sweet sauce and sprig of spring onion for a kick of flavour.
The Great Wall of China, the longest man-made structure in the world more than 2,000 years old, should be a part of your visit. As early as the Qin Dynasty (221-207BC), glutinous rice flour was used to make the material that helped bind bricks! The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are also grand landmarks of cultural and historical significance.
Sanlitun Bar Street encapsulates Beijing nightlife and is popular among the young and trendy. During the day, the 798 Art Zone, a complex of former military factory buildings, offers a relaxed atmosphere to experience the city’s booming contemporary art scene and urban art culture.
Ascott Beijing in Beijing’s Central Business District, is close to the China World Trade Centre and the main business and retail districts. Each of the 158 one- or two-bedroom apartments comes with spacious living and dining areas, a fully equipped kitchen, a family entertainment system and high-speed internet access.
Tokyo - Population 14 million
Famous for its signature Tonkotsu ramen, Ichiran Ramen serves exclusively that. The doneness of the handmade noodles and the richness of the broth are customisable based on your preferences. Pay at a vending machine outside the restaurant before dining at a solo booth designed to minimise human interaction, allowing full concentration on the hot soupy bowl before you.
Soak in the massive scale of Japan’s capital above street level. Head up to the 38th and 39th floors of Garden Place Tower in Yebisu to enjoy panoramic views of Tokyo – for free.
Coffee by day, cocktails by night, Fuglen Tokyo is an offshoot from the original outlet in Oslo, and is one of the coolest spots to be seen. Tucked away in a quiet corner near Yoyogi Park, enjoy sipping on their signature drinks, such as fruity espresso roasts or an umami-flavoured Ikeda Martini made with kelp-infused gin.
Citadines Central Shinjuku Tokyo sits in a prime location in Kabukicho, Shinjuku’s main entertainment area and is within an eight-minute walk to JR Shinjuku Station. Enjoy the diversity Shinjuku has to offer, with a myriad of restaurants, fashionable boutiques and mega-shopping complexes all within walking distance.