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Since the expansion of China's high-speed rail system, it's a lot easier to take a day trip near Shanghai. When you want to venture out of the port city, our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend these quick 24-hour jaunts:
1. Suzhou. This beautiful city is known for its waterways and silk markets, which overflow with fine silk scarves, ties and embroidered robes. The markets are also a great place to pick up other souvenirs, including artwork and wooden toys. Conveniently located just 20 minutes outside of Shanghai by train, it's easy to pop over for a silk factory tour and a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
2. Nanjing. Take an hour-long express train to Nanjing, which means "southern capital." As the nation's former government headquarters, Nanjing is replete with historical sites and remarkable cultural relics. Climb the stairs to Sun Yat-sen's mausoleum or pay a visit to the somber Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum, which remembers the 300,000 Chinese who died, many of whom were women and children, at the hands of Japanese troops.
3. Hangzhou. Centered around the idyllic West Lake, Hangzhou is only a 45-minute train ride from Shanghai, yet its peaceful way of life and picturesque scenery can make you feel a world away. Rent a bike on a pleasant afternoon and ride to one of the several pagodas dotting the perimeter of the lake. Just remember to bring your camera to capture the view from the top.