Ten Reasons Why Shanghai Expo 2010 Shouldn’t Be Missed

New millennia’s biggest exhibition set to wow the world

Issue: May 2010

Singapore Pavilion
Located in Zone B, the Singapore Pavilion is a two-storey 3,000-square-meter structure shaped like a music box in keeping with the “Urban Symphony” theme
Photo credit: Singapore Tourism Board

It’s May and the long-awaited Shanghai Expo 2010 is here. For the next six months, the biggest expo in the history of such international exhibitions will call Shanghai home. 192 countries, 50 international organizations and an expected 70 million visitors will gather in one place to offer lots of education, entertainment and excitement.

In conjunction with CapitaLand’s 10th anniversary celebration, here are ten reasons why you should visit the Shanghai Expo 2010:

1. The World on a Platter

The World on a Platter
Hot favourites like chili crab and chicken rice will tingle the tastes buds of visitors at the Singapore Pavilion
Photo credit: Kriston F&B

Travel the world … on your belly. Culinary delights are on display at Expo 2010. At the Singapore Pavilion, local favourites like chili crab, chicken rice, laska lemak, pineapple tarts and Nonya kueh kueh can be sampled. “Taste of Singapore” is the main food and beverage outlet featuring four culturally themed stations named after well-known districts in Singapore. You can feast on the food while your eyes feast on the showmanship of the local chefs flown in especially for the occasion.

At the Australia Pavilion, authentic Australian delicacies are available. Fresh beef and abalone are flown in continually and acclaimed Australian chef, Athol Wark, is at hand with creations that allow visitors a taste of Australian flavours and ingredients.

2. Make History Together

Sun Valleys
The six "Sun Valleys" are the most striking features of Shanghai Expo 2010's main building, the Expo Axis, as they are designed to capture sunlight and disperse sunshine and air underground
Photo credit: Singapore Tourism Board
100 world leaders are expected to arrive in Shanghai to grace the event on top of the 400,000 visitors daily. The main building called “Expo Axis” is the world's largest membrane construction and the largest structure of its kind in the history of world expositions. Since large-scale international fairs were first organised more than 150 years ago, these expositions have been the third largest world event (after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games).

Be there and be part of this monumental and historic moment.

3. Know the World in record speed

The main theme of Expo 2010 is “Better City Better Life”. An estimated 55% of the world’s population lives in cities today and the numbers will grow. The theme encapsulates the hope of all for improved urban living conditions and a better future. A walk through the five central theme pavilions: Urban Footprints, Urban Planets, Urban Dwellers, Urban Beings and Urban Dreams, is a journey through the development of cities over the ages. You can learn about city life, city dwellers and the issues arising from urbanization through state-of-the-art presentations.

It’s modern history condensed, and comprehensively and visually presented.

4. Take a peek at cities of the future

Take a peak into the future even as you trace the past. At the Urban Dreams Pavilion, you can visit imaginary cities of the future where technology and tradition come together to create livable urban spaces. The tour culminates in an animated movie beamed onto a 35-metre-high hall where a colourful fantasy world comes alive.

5. Be part of the Green Party

The green theme is big at this Expo. In every other way, the Expo tries to demonstrate its environmental consciousness. In Pudong, for example, where the national pavilions and most of the big facilities are located, giant white funnels provide shade and channel sunlight to underground walkways and collect rainwater for recycling. The world’s largest solar wall in Expo buildings will power the pavilions. The Zero-Carbon hall, which showcases exhibits related to the protection of the environment, uses solar and wind power to generate electricity. A zero-carbon restaurant within the hall also burns leftover food for electricity. Only clean energy vehicles with zero carbon emission are allowed within the Expo site and organisers promise that the materials for the pavilions will be recycled.

At the Urban Planet Pavilion, the five elements: water, fire, metal, wood and earth - will confront you with graphic images of the damage cities can do to Earth. The intention is to get visitors to think about the future they want to live in. The second half of the exhibition offers possible solutions to the problems with tips on how to live eco-consciously.

6. See all of China under one roof

China Pavilion
The main structure of the China Pavilion, “The Crown of the East” has a distinctive roof made of traditional dougong or brackets which date back more than 2,000 years
It’s a display of Chinese expertise, architecture and history. The pavilion draws from one of the most important elements in traditional Chinese architecture – interlocking wooden brackets. At the pavilion, you will get a comprehensive overview of cities of China from ancient to modern times. It’s your ticket to all of China under one roof.

7. Walk into a giant ice-cube and a giant seed-filled pod all on the same day

In addition to the theme pavilions, there are 54 foreign pavilions each showcasing the cultures, climates and cuisines of the countries hosting them. So take your pick.

Walk into the giant ice-cube that is the Iceland Pavilion with temperatures lowered to simulate an Icelandic sanctuary. Step into the giant seed-filled pod of the United Kingdom Pavilion where 60,000 slim, transparent acrylic rods that sway in the breeze are attached to the pavilion. Each seven-metre long rod contains a type of seed, a symbolic call on the part of the UK to protect natural species and the future of man.

The mascot, Haibao, meaning "treasure of the seas", is shaped like the Chinese word for "people" and symbolises the people-oriented spirit of the Expo. Haibao can be seen outside Citadines Shanghai Jinqiao.

8. Watch movies all day long

There are performances all day long. One is the thematic show “Windows of the City” a half-hour music and dance routine that tells the story of love and harmony. Another is an original martial arts programme from Wudang Taoist Kung Fu Academy. Even Sesame Street has found its way to Shanghai. Sesame Street’s “Magic Map Show” happens twice daily at the “dock theatre”.

9. Join a parade or square dance your way into the night

Five parades with floats will be staged every day from noon to night. To get in step, walk with the parade where performers from nearly 60 countries and cities will strut their stuff.

Whether you’re actually in a pavilion or simply queueing to get in, there will never be a dull moment. Square performances such as dancing, music, comedies and sports from all over the world and all over China will keep you enthralled. Of particular interest are balloon shows, “white angels” on stools, and kungfu displays to music. And you can be a part of the act. All square performances will allow for one visitor to announce the start of the performances and pictures will be taken and marked for posterity.

10. Romance with Shanghai

What better place to hold Expo 2010 than China’s most modern city? Shanghai is bold, bright and beautiful and on top of savouring all that the world has to offer in this city, you get to soak in the spirit of the city itself.

While you are there, be sure to experience the old charm of Shanghai with the modernity as its backdrop. Walk along the Shanghai Bund and you are instantly introduced to the dozens of historical buildings lining the Huangpu River. This area once housed numerous banks and trading houses from countries like France, the United States, Russia, Germany and Japan. It also is home to some consulates.

Tian Zi Fang is another good bet to get your dose of culture. A popular arts hub, you will experience both culture and history at the same time. Shop for local art and fashion, sip on coffee as you sit back and observe local residents go about their lives in the same community.

So come to Shanghai Expo 2010 - a world showcase in a world-class city. You’d be amiss to give it a miss.

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