Information & Facts
Spring and autumn are the best months to visit Shanghai. The
peak summer months (July and August) can be searingly hot with
temperatures above 95°F (35°C) and 80 percent humidity. Most of
Shanghai's rain also falls during this time. September and October
can be windy, with the odd typhoon. In winter, evening temperatures
often drop below zero (32°F).
While Shanghai doesn't have a well-known cuisine of its own, but
local chefs and restaurants have taken the opportunity to combine
the best from around the country, and around the world; indeed,
dining in Shanghai is a great opportunity for visitors to sample
Chinese food of all shapes and sizes without having to leave the
Traditional Shanghai cuisine is known as
benbang cai, and tends to be sweeter than food from other
Chinese regions, flavoured with sugar, vinegar, ginger and soy for
a distinctive flavour. Whether dining in style at the chic hotel
restaurants or stuffing your face at a roadside cart, tourists are
spoiled for choice with delectable treats like
xiao long bao(steamed soup-filled buns) and Shanghai hairy
crab. The city's location at the mouth of the Huangpu River means
fresh seafood is abundant, and the soy fields of the region provide
the city's distinctive 'stinky tofu'.
Shanghai's food streets, some of the best of which are Huang He
Lu, Yunnan Lu and Zhapu Lu, have a variety of cheap eateries, while
flashier districts like the Bund and Luwan have pricier
restaurants. Shanghai's major shopping malls all have food courts
with many vendors offering everything from stir fries to dim sum
for low prices, which is a great way to sample a variety of foods;
the Megabite and Raffles City Mall are good places to start.
Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city, and you'll find a number of
good international restaurants serving Thai, Japanese, French, and
other world cuisines. There are also a number of new international
chain restaurants, whose prices tend to be higher than most local
More expensive restaurants in Shanghai will generally accept
credit cards, but street vendors and takeaways will expect cash.
While hotel restaurants will sometimes include a 15% service
charge, tipping is not practised in Shanghai.
Taxis are the preferred mode of transport for visitors in
Shanghai. The metered Volkswagen cabs in primary colours are easy
to identify and plentiful. The smaller, older cars are generally
cheaper. All can be hailed on the street or booked by telephone.
Self-driving in a rental car is not a good option in the teeming
tangle of streets, and visitors are required to submit their
driver's license in order to obtain a license, which will be given
back on leaving the country. Many visitors opt to join the city's
estimated seven million cyclists and rent bicycles from their
hotels or one of the numerous hire shops in the city. To cover
longer distances the Shanghai subway, costing just a few cents a
ride, is the perfect solution, covering the downtown area. It is
still being extended, ultimately to connect to the airports. Public
buses are extremely cheap, but very uncomfortable and inconvenient,
being hot, crowded, unreliable and preyed on by pickpockets.
There is a lot to do for children in Shanghai. Nearly every park
in the city, including Zhongshan Gongyuan and Xujiahui Gongyuan has
a dedicated children's section, and amusement parks like Shanghai
Happy Valley, Dino Beach water park, and Jinjiang Amusement Park
are fun for old and young. Jinshan City Beach is also a great place
to spend the day letting the kids run around.
For interactive and educational kids' activities, spend some
time at the Aquaria 21, Shanghai's largest aquarium with touch
pools and scuba lessons; the Shanghai Natural Wild Insect Kingdom,
or the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
The official language is Mandarin Chinese, but there are
hundreds of local dialects.
The currency used in China is the Renminbi Yuan (CNY). The Yuan
is divided into 10 chiao/jiao or 100 fen. Make sure you exchange
your leftover Yuan before returning home because this currency can
be exchanged only within China's borders. Travellers cheques,
preferably in US Dollars, and foreign cash can be exchanged in
cities at the Bank of China. Banks are closed weekends. The larger
hotels and the special 'Friendship Stores' designed for foreigners
will accept most western currencies for purchases. Major credit
cards are accepted in the main cities at various establishments,
but outside the major cities acceptance is limited. ATMs are scarce
outside the main cities.
Shanghai has a long-standing (and notorious) reputation as one
of the world's top 'sin cities'. It has a seedy reputation and
there are many warnings given to visitors, but the ever-changing
face of Shanghai's nightlife is one that buzzes at all hours of the
The Bund has recently been given new life as a night time
destination, with dilapidated buildings being demolished to make
way for neon-lit jazz clubs, cocktail lounges, and restaurants.
Glamour Bar hosts live music, art discussions, and an annual
writers' festival for a bohemian 1930s vibe. The Gothic castle at 6
Bund also houses several chic and upscale restaurants and lounges.
Xintiandi pedestrian mall is another collection of bars and lounges
in the downtown area.
Shanghai is a major concert destination in Asia, and you'll find
large international concerts on the calendar along with a number of
local Mando-pop or Canto-pop acts. There are also a number of good
jazz clubs on Fuxing Lu.
If classical entertainment is what you want, Shanghai has a
number of options, including the Shanghai Philharmonic Society or
the Shanghai Yueju Opera Group. You can also see acrobatic
performances and touring productions of major Broadway shows like
Les Miserables or touring ballet companies.
The district around the Julu Lu and Tongren Lu intersection is a
cheaper and seedier option for those who want to party hard. There
is a booming sex trade in Shanghai, and some areas of town are
safer than others. It is best to stay in groups when going out at
Check the free local English-language papers like 8 Days, That's
Shanghai, and City Weekend for up to date event listings.
Shanghai is a major international destination, so as time passes
more and more traditional shop fronts are being replaced by
The Nanjing Lu Pedestrian Mall is a fascinating blend of western
and eastern shopping, and Huaihai Zhong Street has a great
selection of Chinese silk, which is a popular souvenir. The Old
Town Bazaar has a variety of crafts and antiques, including popular
Shanghai souvenirs like jade bracelets, cloisonné jewellery and
vases, lacquerware and porcelain items, and vintage Cultural
Revolution books and posters.
Other shopping districts in Shanghai include Parkson Shopping
Centre, and the 'four cities': Yuyuan Shopping City, Xujiahui
Shopping City, New Shanghai Shopping City and Jiali Sleepless City.
Fuzhou Road is a great place to find cultural items like music, art
Although knock-off items are popular buys in Shanghai, be aware
that customs in many countries will not allow you to bring multiple
items back with you. Counterfeit souvenirs are also common, so be
wary of paying high prices for easily faked items like jade and
Flex your bargaining muscles at street shops and markets, but
the prices in formal stores and hotels are generally fixed.
Remember to keep smiling and draw the shopkeeper away from other
customers for the best deals.
Shanghai is a slick and modern city with millennia of rich
cultural history to draw on. You can float along the Huangpu River
on a scenic boat cruise, get lost in the maze-like Yu Garden, or
have a drink in a traditional tea house. It is a great place to
start your trip to China, as the blend of western and eastern
culture ensures there's something for everyone to see and do in
No vacation in Shanghai is complete without a stroll along the
Bund. The waterfront embankment affords visitors a great view of
the city's most spectacular buildings by night and day, and while
it is generally crowded with tourists and vendors during the
daytime, the mornings and evenings offer great opportunities for
Shanghai has a number of museums worth a visit, including the
Shanghai Museum which houses 120,000 historical artefacts, the Bund
History Museum, and the less family-friendly China Sex Culture
Museum. You can also see many beautiful temples and pagodas, like
the Jade Buddha Temple, Longhua Temple, and the magnificent Jinshan
Jinshan City Beach is a nice break from the city on sunny days.
There are plenty of opportunities for watersports and other
activities, including boating, bungee jumping and 4-wheeling. The
beach also hosts annual international volleyball and kite-flying
For discounts of up to 50% on many tourist attractions in
Shanghai, visit the Woori Bank to sign up for a Shanghai Tourist
Local time is GMT +8.