In a new survey, Shanghai has been ranked as the world’s second happiest travel destination. The only place where you could go and be happier? Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.
Billed as the “definitive ranking of the happiest travel destinations of 2017,” the Joy Index was compiled by Condé Nast Traveler, in association with Bank of America, and with help from two “happiness experts” — Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, and Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage — who apparently used some sort of pseudo-scientific hocus pocus (“the psychology of awe, the physiology of adventure”) to come up with the top ten list.
Here’s how they explained Shanghai’s ranking:
The story of happiness in China is closely tied to its massive economic growth. At first, life satisfaction paradoxically decreased as the country grew richer. But since the early 2000s, research shows China residents have grown steadily happier again.
Nowhere is China’s history of tectonic change more visible than Shanghai. The city of 24 million is a mashup of formal and informal, modern and historic, sexy and ancient. One minute, you’re strolling the chic waterfront Bund; the next, a few streets over, you’re transported to a colonial era. An added benefit, for American travelers, is sheer distance. Simply putting miles between yourself and real-life has been shown to boost mood. One study found that the further Twitter users were from home, the happier their tweets were.
Getting lost is part of Shanghai’s charm. “Often, the things that ‘go wrong’ make the best memories,” says Rubin. An evening exploring sans map is a sensory experience: pushcarts of BBQ, offal, and vegetables; dumpling shops; locals in black tie attire or jeans and T-shirts enjoying noodles and beer side-by-side at 1 a.m — though the soup dumplings at Crystal Jade are worth consulting a map for.
We must admit, we do love the offal here. Here’s the full top ten list:
1) Newfoundland, Canada
2) Shanghai, China
3) Aarhus, Denmark
5) Hawaii Island, United States
6) Bordeaux, France
7) Telluride, United States
9) Matera, Italy
10) Houston, United States
By 2018, Shanghai will have its own massive polar world. We’re coming for you, Newfoundland!
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