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 Shanghai is the shiniest gem in modern China’s jewel box. It’s a hip, contemporary city that’s charging into the future with all the energy of its famous Maglev train. Yet if you veer away from the sleek highways and glitzy shopping streets you can still stumble upon a more traditional Shanghai, with all its character and flavour. In the tiny back streets, wet-market vendors peddle their wares - buckets of bright green vegetables, fish flapping in shallow plastic bowls and heaps of crayfish crawling over each other.

currency

Chinese Yuan (CNY)

phone

Police: 110
Ambulance: 120
Fire: 119

newspaper

Shanghai Daily: Local English-language daily
China Daily National English-language newspaper

hours

Most offices are open Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm or 6 pm. Some bank branches open on Saturday mornings. Shopping centres and department stores are usually open seven days a week until 8 pm or 10 pm.

population

24 million

info

The Shanghai Tourist Information and Service Centre has branches throughout the city. Main branches can be found at:

Room 410, 2525 West Zhongshan Road
Tel: +86 21 6439 9806

1699 West Nanjing Road
Tel: +86 21 6248 3259

561 East Nanjing Road
Tel: +86 21 5353 1117

127 South Chengdu Road
Tel: +86 21 6372 8330

Zhengda Guangchang,168 West Lujiazui Road
Tel: +86 21 6887 7888

Shanghai Christina McWilliams/Shutterstock.com

The City

Shanghai’s most famous attraction is the Bund. This was where the colonial merchants of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries built the headquarters for their trading firms and banks. Still today, these vast, august edifices boom of power - but now the roofs are topped with the red and yellow flags of the People’s Republic and the buildings below house designer clothing shops as well as banking headquarters. Across the Huangpu River, there’s a greater transformation still. 30 years ago, this was sleepy farmland - now, Pudong is a booming financial and economic district. Just back from the waterfront lays the old city, a tangle of tiny lanes where the locals still live as they have for decades. Even in these traditional lanes, though, the wrecking ball is wreaking its havoc: walk around them now before it’s too late. Further west lays the French Concession, where large colonial houses are being rapidly converted into high-end bars and restaurants.

For shoppers, Shanghai is still a kind of heaven. Markets are regularly being uprooted and rehoused as part of the urban planners’ mission to make the city better and brighter than ever before. There are still fabulous deals to be had at the fabric market, wonderful trinkets and antiques in Dongtai Road and good-value custom-made furniture for those with a shipping crate to spare.

People in Shanghai wang song/Shutterstock.com

Do & See

Shanghai really is a delightful city to explore. See skyscrapers alongside surviving colonial buildings, visit the Shanghai museum to get an insight into the city's past and just how rapidly it has changed within the last decade. Early birds must visit one of Shanghai’s many parks, where thousands gather daily for morning exercise.

Daniel Valenzuela/ArrivalGuides

The Bund / 外滩

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Shanghai Disneyland / 迪士尼乐园

cyo bo / Shutterstock.com

Tian Zi Fang / 田子坊

proboss / flickr.com

Nanjing Road Pedestrian / 南京路步行街

Greir/Shutterstock.com

Yu Garden / 豫园

cyo bo/Shutterstock.com

Maglev / 磁悬浮

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Jin Mao Tower / 金茂大厦

yongyuth limpasute/Shutterstock.com

Shanghai Circus World / 上海马戏城

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Shanghai Ocean Aquarium / 上海海洋水族馆

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Jade Buddha Temple / 玉佛禅寺

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People's Square / 人民广场

Brett Hodnett/Flickr

Shanghai Science & Technology Museum / 上海科技馆

4045/Shutterstock.com

Xintiandi / 新天地

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Shanghai World Financial Center / 上海环球金融中心

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Bund Tourist Tunnel / 外滩观光隧道

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Oriental Pearl TV Tower / 东方明珠

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Shanghai Museum / 上海博物馆

Shanghai dumplings bigfatcat/Shutterstock.com

Dining

The Chinese like to eat, and Shanghai is a city where this characteristic national trait finds its ultimate reflection. From chic and elegant international restaurants to local dumpling joints, Shanghai is where you can easily eat your way around the globe. Whether you like your portions exquisitely presented or prefer a tangled mountain of noodles, you’ll find it all here. A note on tipping: it’s officially prohibited in China. While it has become usual to tip tour guides on organised outings, it is not common to tip taxi drivers or the staff of bars and restaurants.

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Crystal Jade / 翡翠酒家

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M On The Bund / 米氏西餐厅

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CHAR bar and grill & 恰餐厅

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El Willy

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Franck Bistrot

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Guyiwan Wonton / 顾一碗馄饨·烧麦

bryan... / flickr.com

Paradise Dynasty / 乐新皇朝

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Pushi Xiao Dian / 蒲石小点

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Ultraviolet

Egg tarts Foto.Touch/Shutterstock.com

Cafes

Coffee culture is not deep-rooted in Shanghai, however, dozens of coffee shops have sprung up all across the city in recent years. While locals tend to go for western coffee chains and bubble tea sold at hole-in-the-wall takeaway shops, foreign visitors may rather gravitate towards a traditional tea house and experience the Chinese tea culture.

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Element Fresh / 新元素餐厅

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Kommune / 公社咖啡

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Antique Garden / 古董花园

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Abbey Road / 艾比之路

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Maya / 玛雅墨西哥餐厅

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Yang's Dumpling / 小杨生煎

Kzenon/Shutterstock.com

Sumerian

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Baker & Spice

cyo bo / Shutterstock.com

Tian Zi Fang / 田子坊

Woman with drink overlooking Oriental Tower Maridav/Shutterstock.com

Bars & Nightlife

Some cities simply never sleep, and Shanghai is certainly one of those. In Shanghai, the party lasts till daylight - and then starts over. Like everything in Shanghai, the bar scene is developing fast with new venues opening every month. Gone are the grey days when fun was frowned upon as a bourgeois pursuit. Contemporary Shanghai is making up for lost time with everything from pulsating house music to sultry jazz.

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Cottons / 棉花酒吧

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M Glam / 魅蓝

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House of Blues and Jazz

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Bar Rouge

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Barbarossa

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M1NT

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Boxing Cat Brewery / 拳击猫啤酒屋

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The Paramount / 百乐门

archimede/Shutterstock.com

Dr Wine

Shopping street in Shanghai Daniel Valenzuela/ArrivalGuides

Shopping

If you like things made to measure, Shanghai is a shopping Mecca. The Fabric Market has recently been pulled up from its down-at-the-heel roots and relocated to 399 Lujiabang Road. Meanwhile, Tai Kang Road features more upscale boutiques selling jewellery, pottery and leather wear, while Xintiandi has everything from clothes to cushions to cocktails. And then, of course, there’s the Bund.

Tom Wang/Shutterstock.com

Three on the Bund / 外滩三号

hxdyl/Shutterstock.com

Tianshan Tea City / 天山茶城

cyo bo / Shutterstock.com

Tian Zi Fang / 田子坊

Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

M&M's World / m豆巧克力世界

MinDof / Shutterstock.com

Tian'ai Lu / 甜爱路

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Joy City / 大悦城

michaeljung/Shutterstock.com

Disney Flagship Shop / 迪士尼旗舰店

proboss / flickr.com

Nanjing Road Pedestrian / 南京路步行街

4045/Shutterstock.com

Xintiandi / 新天地

chuyuss/Shutterstock.com

Shanghai Old Street / 上海老街

Shanghai skyline Daniel Valenzuela/ArrivalGuides

Tourist Information

Best Time To Visit

Most of Shanghai attractions are city sights, so the change of seasons has little impact. However, given the weather, it is recommended to visit in spring or autumn, for winter might get too cold and summer too hot for comfort. There is also the possibility of typhoons during summertime and even early autumn.
Try to avoid Chinese public holidays such as between October 1st and 7th, during which the city could be flooded by local tourists.

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Passport/Visa

For citizens of the following countries, a visa is not requested for short term stays:
- 90 days: Bosnia and Herzegovina, San Marino
- 60 days: Mauritius
- 30 days: Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Ecuador, Fiji, Grenada, Qatar, Serbia, Seychelles, Tonga, United Arab Emirates.
- 15 days: Brunei, Japan, Singapore.

Holders of passports issued by the following 49 countries do not require a visa for a 144-hour stay if they are transiting through Shanghai Airport. However, passengers need to provide a ticket showing their first destination, which should be outside China, nor could it be in the same country as the inbound flight.
- All European Union citizens, Albania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Japan, Macedonia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Qatar, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine, United States.
- Passengers who enter China via Shanghai Airport under transition condition cannot leave the area of Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

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Internet Access and VPN in China

Due to the Internet policy of China, certain websites and applications are not accessible from the mainland, which includes those very commonly used in the west (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Skype and more). Some travellers have been able to gain access to those via a VPN service (installed prior to arrival in China).

Make sure you comply with local laws and regulations when deciding on whether or not to employ a VPN, and which one to choose (if you do, only use those explicitly allowed by the Chinese government, and only use them for authorised purposes to avoid any trouble). There have been reports of foreigners in China getting their cell service cut off in response to unauthorised use of VPN being detected; restoring cell service required a trip to the local police station where contents of the device were investigated and certain apps removed.

Giving that Google is banned in China, Google Maps might not be the most accurate and reliable source of information. Some local apps such as Baidu Maps and AutoNavi tend to work better than Google Maps.

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Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Shanghai has two airports one of them is the international airport in Pudong, 35 km from the city centre.

From the Pudong Airport, the most enthralling way to travel is on the Maglev (the high-speed magnetic-rail train) to Longyang Road in Pudong. Purchasing a round-trip comes with a discount. There are an underground station and a taxi rank at Longyang Road for onward travel.

Metro Line 2 is available when departing or arriving at Pudong International Airport. Operating Time 6 am 10 pm and leaves every 8.5 minutes. Hotline: +86 21 6437 0000, www.service.shmetro.com/en

A taxi from Pudong Airport to the city centre takes up to an hour. Make sure you have your destination written in Chinese.

The airport has regular shuttle buses to many areas in the city and the major hotels have desks at the airport and will arrange the transfer.

Address: Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Email:

Phone: +86 21 96990

Website: www.shanghaiairport.com

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Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport

Another airport called Hongqiao Airport, which handles domestic flights, lies 15 km from downtown.

Both Metro and buses run from this airport.

A taxi from Hongquiao Airport will take 30-45 minutes. Make sure you have your destination written in Chinese.

Hongqiao Airport has regular shuttle buses to many areas in the city. The major hotels have desks at the airport and will arrange the transfer.

Address: Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport

Email:

Phone: +86 21 96990

Website: www.shanghaiairport.com/

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Metro

One of the best ways to travel is by the rapidly expanding Metro network, which is reliable, good value and easy to navigate (all directions are in English as well as Chinese).

You can buy your ticket at the ticket office at the Metro station or the automatic ticket selling machine.

Address:

Email: hexieditie@shmetro.com

Phone: +86 21 6437 0000

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Bus

Buses are usually busy and the network can be complicated to negotiate for non-speakers of Chinese. The 911, which runs along Huaihai Road, can be useful.

Keep some loose change when travelling by bus, coins need to be placed in the slot at the entrance.

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Taxi

The traffic in Shanghai can be heavy, but taxis are easy to flag down. Be aware that most taxi drivers only speak Chinese and may not understand English. A great solution comes from a set-up called Guanxi: you text the English name of your destination to 885 074 and back it comes in Chinese characters. Just show your phone to your taxi driver.

You can also use taxi cab hailing service with WeChat or Alipay (like the Chinese version of Uber).

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Post

The main post office is at 276 Sichuan Bei Lu (between Tiantong Road and Beisuzhou Lu, but there are branches all over town. The Shanghai Centre branch (1376 Nanjing Xi Lu) and the branch at 212 Xinhua Lu have staff who speak some English. Post boxes are green.

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Pharmacy

Pharmacies are not hard to find in the city, just look for the green cross.

The Shanghai United Family Hospital and Clinics Pharmacy work 24/7, year-round. It is located at 1139 Xianxia Rd, Changning Qu, Shanghai (+86 21 2216 3900).

Parkway Community Pharmacy is an international standard professional pharmacy. Staff can speak English.

Address: 9-B101A, Green Garden 333 Bi Yun Lu, Shanghai

Email: pharmacists@parkwaycommunitypharmacy.com

Phone: +86 21 3382 1382

Website: www.parkwaycommunitypharmacy.com

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Telephone

Country code: +86
Area code: (0)21

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Electricity

220 V / 50 Hz, three-pin plugs
Adapter needed

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