Shanghai, which literally means “the city by the sea”, is the largest city by population in China. It is also the country’s industrial and financial capital serving as an important port for container shipments. From its traditional sights to its extensive shopping areas to its vibrant nightlife, Shanghai offers something to its numerous visitors from across the world.

Things to do in Shanghai!




Shanghai is divided into two parts by the Huangpu River:

Puxi (West of the Huangpu River): Puxi is the older part of the city and hosts the majority of shops, restaurants and museums.  Prominent sectors include:


  • The Bund:
    • Shanghai’s old town and one of the most prominent tourist areas.
    • It has dozens of historical buildings of various architectural styles, lining the Huangpu River.
    • Main attractions: Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, Customs House, HSBC Building, Huangpu River Cruise, Three on the Bund, Waibaidu Bridge.


  • Changning:
    • Large residential district of Shanghai.
    • Location for the Hongqiao International Airport.
    • Main attractions: Shanghai Zoo.


  • French Concession:
    • Once known as the “Paris of the East”, this area of Shanghai was once designated for the French.
    • Today it consists of the Luwan and Xuhui districts, both popular areas for tourists.
    • Main attractions: Fuxing Park, Old French Concession streets, Shanghai Stadium, Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang (popular shopping areas).


  • Hongkou:
    • Housed Shanghai's substantial Jewish population in the first half of the 20th century.
    • Main attractions: Lu Xun Park.



  • Jing’an:
    • One of the oldest parts of Shanghai.
    • The western part of the Nanjing Road – the main shopping district of Shanghai and one of the world’s busiest shopping areas, runs between Jing’an and the People’s Square.
    • Main attractions: Jing'an Temple.


  • Nanshi (Shanghai’s Old City / Southern City):
    • This part of Shanghai dates back to the 15th century when walls were built in the city to keep out Japanese pirates.
    • Much of the old wooden architecture of Shanghai is preserved here.
    • Main attractions: Yu Garden (Garden of Contentment), the City God Temple and Huxingting Tea House.


Pudong (East of the Huangpu River): Pudong is the modern part, and is recognized for its rather unusual and extremely impressive high-rises. Prominent sectors include:



  • Southern Suburbs (Jinshan, Fengxian, Southern Songjiang, Eastern Minhang)


  • Western Suburbs (Baoshan, Jiading, Qingpu, Northern Songjiang, Western Minhang)

Getting around

General info

  • Shanghai has two main airports, with Pudong the main international gateway and Hongqiao serving mostly domestic flights.


  • Shanghai has an extensive public transport system, largely based on buses, taxis, and a rapidly expanding metro system. All of these public transport tools can be accessed using the Shanghai Public Transportation Card (SPTC) – which is similar to the Oyster Card in London.
    • There are over 2,000 agencies in Shanghai selling Shanghai Public Transportation Cards, including - all the subway stations; all branches of Shanghai Pudong Development (SPD) Bank, Bank of Communications, Buddies CVS and Kedi CVS; part of the branches of Huaxia Bank.
    • At the above card-issuing agencies, you can buy a card with a deposit of RMB 20 and add value when you want. The value charged shall be RMB 10 or multiples of RMB 10.
    • It helps you to skip long queues at the Metro ticket booths and you will not need to ask the ticket fare from ticket conductors, whose English is not always perfect. The price will be automatically deducted from your card based on your trip in the Metro.




  • The Maglev train runs from the Pudong International Airport to the Longyang Rd. Station located at the intersection of Longyang Road and Baiyang Road in Pudong; the whole journey takes just under eight minutes.
  • A singe trip costs RMB 50 while a return ticket (valid for seven days) costs RMB 80.
  • For more details refer to the Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co. website.


  • City Bus:


    • Public buses in Shanghai are a particularly convenient means of transport, with some 1,100 lines covering the length and breadth of the city.
    • Shanghai public buses are identified either by numbers or Chinese characters. Buses can generally be classified into the following nine categories:

1. Downtown Regular Lines: 1 (01) - 200
2. Rush Hour Lines: 201 - 299 (although some include regular lines)
3. Night Lines: 301 - 399
4. Cross-River Lines (the new cross-river lines): 401 - 499
5. Bridge Line X, Tunnel Line X (the old cross-river lines): X = specific route number
6. Special Lines: 504 - 599, 801 - 899, 901 - 999
7. Pudong New District Special Lines: 601 - 699
8. Outskirts Regular Lines: 701 - 799
9. Suburban Lines: usually identified by Chinese characters representing an abbreviated form of the first and terminal stations' names


    • Ticket prices vary depending on the category of the bus line:
      • Categories 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8 charge RMB 1 per person for journeys within 13 kilometers (approx. 8 miles), and RMB 1.5 thereafter. Air-conditioned buses charge RMB 2 per person.
      • Categories 4 and 6 charge according to the distance with a minimum of RMB 1. Air-conditioned buses charge a minimum of RMB 2.
      • Category 9 buses charge according to the running distance with a minimum charge of RMB 1 for both normal and air-conditioned buses.



  • Tour Bus:



  • The Shanghai Metro rapid-transit system and elevated light rail has 11 lines (numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11) at present and extends to every core urban district as well as neighboring suburban districts such as Songjiang and Minhang.
  • Refer here for the Shanghai Metro Route Map.
  • Refer to the official Shanghai Metro website for more details.


  • Taxis in Shanghai are plentiful with vehicles of different taxi companies differentiated through colors:
    • Dazhong Taxi Company (with turquoise cars), Qiangsheng Taxi Company (with yellow cars), Jinjiang Taxi Company (with white cars), Ba-Shi Taxi Company (with Green cars) and Nong Gong Shang Taxi Company (with blue cars) are the main taxi companies.


  • Licensed taxis have a logo light on the top of the car, along with a meter and an illuminated vacancy disk.


  • Fares:

0~3 km

3~10 km

Above 10 km

Day time: (5:00~23:00)

RMB 14

RMB 2.4/km

RMB 3.6/km

Night time: (23:00~5:00)

RMB 18

RMB 3.1/km

RMB 4.7/km

*5 minutes waiting equals to one kilometer in charging


  • Don't try to hail a cab at a crossroads, as taxi drivers cannot stop their cars within 30 meters from an intersection to pick up passengers.


  • Most taxi drivers have limited English capability; it is recommended to get someone to write down your destination address in Chinese.


  • The SPTC can be used to make payment in most taxis.

Suggested itinerary

Staying connected

  • China uses the 900MHz and 1800MHz GSM bands for mobile phones


  • Prepaid SIM cards are readily available – both at the airport as well as at metro stations


  • Major service providers:
    • China Mobile
    • Unicom
    • China Telecom

Eat / Drink


  • Shanghai Cuisine, also known as Hu Ca, is a blend of the most appealing aspects of other national styles of food. It is closely related to those of the surrounding provinces – Jiangsu and Zhejiang.  Shanghai dishes are usually characterized by the use of heavy and highly flavored sauce.


  • Popular items:
    • Xiao Long Bao (Little Dragon Bun): Small and easy to swallow, these soup dumplings are usually steamed in containers made of bamboo. They are full of a tasty and boiling hot broth inside.
    • Da Zha Xie: It is a special type of crab found in rivers, and is normally consumed in the winter. The crabs are tied with ropes or strings, placed in bamboo containers, steamed and served.
    • Chou Dou Fu (Smelly Tofu): Tofu is fermented with many ingredients before being fried. A Cheap and tasty offering!


Popular restaurants known for the local cuisine include:


  • Mr & Mrs Bund
    • Cuisine: Contemporary French
    • Voted #43 in the world on S. Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2013.


  • Ultraviolet
    • Cuisine: French / Contemporary/ Immersive Dining
    • Voted #60 in the world on S. Pellegrino's World's 100 Best Restaurants list in 2013.


  • Franck
    • Cuisine: French
    • Voted #34 in the world on S. Pellegrino's Asia’ 50 Best Restaurants list in 2012.



  • New Age Veggie
    • English  / Western cuisine
    • Review: HappyCow



  • Ji Xiang Cao



  • Beer
    • Tsingtao
    • Boxing Cat Brewery
    • Lijiang Yinjiu


  • Tipping is not part of the culture and is not expected in bars and taxis.
  • 10% tip is acceptable in high-end restaurants for commendable service.

Banner image credits: Sam Gao

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