Shanghai, literally “Above the Sea,” is one of China’s cultural centers and the largest economic and trade center. Its multicultural and unique atmosphere that mixes the modern and the traditional draws more travellers every year. Shanghai is the largest city in China and has even been called the “Paris of the East.”
Shanghai is split into two districts by the Huangpu River: Pudong and Puxi. Two districts that contrast the modern with the old, yet give the city its uniqueness and offer its visitors a chance to travel through time as they get to experience the past, present, and future.
Pudong is across the Huangpu River from the Bund. Here you’ll find the Lujiazui Financial with its many modern economic monuments, the Shanghai stock exchange, and the 2010 World Expo grounds among others.
Be aware when you are buying souvenirs at stores around some of the more famous attractions in Shanghai. They tend to be packed full of people, making it easier for pickpockets to strike.
Huangpu or “Old Shanghai” is Shanghai’s heart. It is the most populated area in the world with thousands of residents on top of all the travellers who visit daily the many tourist sites located in this district like the Shanghai Grand Theater, Shanghai Museum, and the Yu Yuan Garden among others.
Be aware of the Tea Scam: if someone approaches you offering you tea in their house, decline. These people usually draw you to their house, serve you tea and then ask for a large sum of money for it.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Shanghai is quite safe and a non-violent compared to other metropolitan cities of comparable size. Travelers are often victims of petty crime, but this can be prevented by taking precautions.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH
Pickpockets and purse snatching are common in crowded places and on public transportation. We advise that you keep an eye on your belonging when you find yourself in busy and crowded areas.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Mugging and kidnapping against foreigners are extremely rare.
SCAMS RISK: HIGH
Counterfeit currency is a significant problem in China. Always try to carry small bills or to use exact change.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
Be cautious when taking a taxi, especially at airports. Avoid unlicensed taxis, insist that the taxi driver use his/her meter, request a receipt, and ask your driver to remove the bags from the trunk before you get out of the taxi and before you pay.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Shanghai is located in an active seismic zone, so earthquakes are not uncommon. The city does not experience heavy snowfall, but a small amount of snow can bring parts of the city to a halt.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Terrorist attacks are likely, but there is a low probability.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Shanghai is a safe place to travel for female travellers, but it is always good to exercise precautions like you would in any other country.
There are no specific difficulties for travellers entering China. The main requirements are a passport that’s valid for six months after the expiry date of your visa, and a visa.
Citizens from 51 nations (including the US, Australia, Canada, France, Brazil and the UK) can stay in Beijing for 72 hours without a visa as long as it is a layover, they are traveling outside of China, have a third-country visa, and an air ticket out of Beijing. Similarly, travellers from the 51 nations can stay 144 hours in Shanghai, Nanjing or Gangzhou without a visa.
China’s currency is called “yuan” or renminbi (RMB, “the people’s money”). Denominations of bills: 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1 yuan. There are ATMs in big cities and towns. China is still a cash culture, so do not rely on your credit card.
The rainy season typically begins in February and ends in September. July and August are the hottest months of the year; some provinces have reported heat alerts. The typhoon season in China is usually from May to November affecting the southern and eastern coasts.
China’s major airports are Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, Hong Kong International Airport, Xian Xianyang International Airport, Guilin Liangjiang International Airport, and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport.