Eco-Friendly Fun in Beijing & Shanghai
- Beijing’s Best Sights
- Beijing’s Best Restaurants
- Beijing’s Best Nightlife
- Beijing’s Best Arts and Leisure
- Beijing’s Best Shops
- Beijing’s Best Hotels
- Best of the Great Wall
- Shanghai’s Best Sights
- Shanghai’s Best Restaurants
- Shanghai’s Best Nightlife
- Shanghai’s Best Arts and Leisure
- Shanghai’s Best Shops
- Shanghai’s Best Hotels
- Shanghai’s Best Excursions
Explore Beijing by bike, and you’ll get to know the city like a local. Rent a bike from Bicycle Kingdom in the center of town and venture out to explore the city on two wheels. Bicycle Kingdom offers tours, as well, so you can get a local’s take on the best sights in the city. If you want a bike tour of Beijing, and you also want a little extra boost, check out Beijing eBike Tours, a group that will show you the city via a zero-emissions electric bike.
In Shanghai, it’s absurdly easy to rent a bike: Just find one of the orange cycles dotted around the city (a good place to try is the junction of Hunan and West Fuxing Roads), use your credit card for the deposit, and the bike is yours for the day. If you’d like something a little more structured, sign up for a tour of city with BOHDI Adventures. This tour group offers an assortment of options, including nighttime rides around Shanghai.
In Beijing, check out Saveurs de Corée for organic, locally sourced Korean food. MSG is banned from the kitchen, so you’re guaranteed a delicious, healthy, and environmentally friendly meal.
In Shanghai, Wagas is a great place to go if you’re craving a healthy breakfast or lunch. In addition to its healthy sandwich and salad offerings, Wagas promotes sustainability by sourcing its breads and pastries from a nearby bakery. For something a little more upscale, head over to Mr. Willis, which features hearty Western-style fare made with organic and locally sourced ingredients.
If you’re looking to work up a sweat while visiting Beijing, be sure to book a hike with Dandelion Hiking. This eco-travel hiking company will show you how to travel like a local, lessening your impact on China’s environment, as well as take you to some off-the-beaten-path spots outside of Beijing.
Century Park in the Pudong district of Shanghai is a great place to take a bike ride or fly a kite for a few easy hours. Century Park also functions as the city’s green lung, with its grass and many trees filtering out carbon dioxide and supplying oxygen to the financial district.
While you’re in Beijing, pop into Shanghai Trio in Sanlitun to browse the selection of upcycled bags and purses. In Shanghai, you’ll want to visit NuoMi, a small boutique in the Old French Concession. NuoMi stocks womenswear made from soy, cotton, and bamboo, focusing on sustainable materials.
Another eco-friendly shop in Shanghai is mrkt, which sells items like laptop bags, coasters, and hair accessories, most of which are made of recycled felt. The shop is known for its generous donations to local charities.
Eco-conscious travelers in Shanghai will want to stay at URBN Hotel. URBN is China’s first carbon-neutral hotel, so a stay here means your vacation’s carbon footprint is minimized. It’s a small hotel, with only 26 rooms, so it’s not another behemoth crowded into downtown Shanghai. URBN also boasts a restaurant that features organic ingredients; even the servers’ aprons are made from organic fibers!
© Susie Gordon from Moon Beijing & Shanghai, 2nd Edition