A Native’s Information to Shanghai, China

This submit is contributed by Arianna Bennett!

Hello there! I’m Arianna, a seasoned ex-pat and journey photographer who spent 2 years dwelling and instructing English in Shanghai, China.

Like most Individuals in China, I spent my time trying to find the most well liked spots to hold, the perfect Chinese language meals on the earth, and the good espresso retailers that aren’t Starbucks. An enormous, worldwide metropolis like Shanghai will be overwhelming for newcomers.

So, depart it to a neighborhood to information you thru the perfect this metropolis has to supply.

Right here’s my native’s information to visiting Shanghai!

The Greatest  Time to Go to

The perfect climate in southeast China is through the springtime; it’s the candy spot between when the wet season is letting up and proper earlier than it will get too scorching to be exterior.

Nevertheless, keep away from going through the month of Could at ALL prices. The primary weekend in Could is China’s Labor Day, and your complete nation has it off. March and April are supreme, however it’s the starting of peak season and costs are excessive.

If you’re reserving on a funds, go for September/October. If you’re fortunate, you’ll have the ability to squeeze in your journey earlier than the monsoon season and save a bit cash.

Getting Around

Shanghai’s metro system is extensive and cheap at about ¥3-¥6 (40¢-90¢). It’s ideal for traveling moderate to long distances at a reasonable pace.

If you’re in a hurry, you’d be better off taking a DiDi, given that it’s not rush hour. DiDi is China’s version of Uber, and widely used by foreigners because the app is English-friendly.

My favorite way to get around town is to take a public bicycle.

The most popular ones are the blue Hello Bikes. By preloading money to your Alipay or WeChat account, you can connect to Hello Bike by scanning the QR code on the handlebars.

The fee is ¥12/ month ($1.78) and so worth it. It’s cheap, easy, and user-friendly.

shanghai hostel

Where to Stay

Luxury: InterContinential Shanghai Wonderland

This world-class hotel is a hidden gem; meaning it is literally hidden underground. The InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is a stunningly distinctive work of structure, constructed into the aspect of a quarry 288 ft beneath the floor of the earth.

Commonplace rooms begin at $350 with gorgeous views of the quarry and cascading waterfalls; the deluxe suite can vary upwards of $2,400. A small worth to pay for basically a penthouse with a built-in ground to ceiling aquarium.

Mid-Vary: Pullman Shanghai Jingan

At beneath 100 USD per night time, the Pullman Shanghai Jingan is likely one of the prime decisions for mid-range vacationers.

A mere 2-minute stroll from Shanghai Railway Station and some miles away from Individuals’s Sq. and the Bund make this an ideal dwelling base. Friends may also benefit from the 2 eating places, bar, health middle, and pool.

Funds: Mingtown Shanghai Etour Worldwide Youth Hostel

Within the coronary heart of downtown, simply eight minutes from East Nanjing street, is a tiny, stone gray hostel tucked away from the bustling streets in a aspect alley. Though it doesn’t sound or appear to be a lot on the surface, the within is Instagram-worthy. That is the Mingtown Shanghai Etour International Youth Hostel.

Central out of doors Koi pond, 24/7 bar with beer, iced lattes, and all the things in between, and a rooftop backyard to take a seat and luxuriate in your drink with a view. For lower than $10 an evening, that’s what a funds backpacker would name a steal.

What to Do + Native Highlights

Go to Yu Backyard

Sure, Yu Backyard is on each must-see listicle for Shanghai, however for good cause. This unmissable sight is a traditional botanical backyard with conventional east Asian structure planted smack in the course of a contemporary metropolis, and the distinction is gorgeous.

Plan a couple of hours to wander alongside the waterways, exploring every tiny nook and cranny of each incense- scented temple. Yu Backyard is very stunning in spring when the cherry blossoms are blooming, and in fall when the leaves are altering colour.

The Bund

The Bund is taken into account the hotspot of central Shanghai. Situated on the financial institution of the Huangpu River, the encircling skyscrapers make nice viewing platforms for the town and the riverboats gliding down beneath.

The long-lasting Oriental Pearl Tower is discovered right here and no journey to Shanghai is full with out seeing this quintessential landmark.

Tipsy Roller Skating at RIINK

Enjoy cleverly crafted cocktails under pulsing pink and blue neon lights, strap on a pair of roller skates, and twirl the night away at RIINK. This roller rink/bar is a local favorite and remains undiscovered by the tourist crowd due to its off-beat location.

It is quite an adventure to find the place but driving or biking through the city at night is one of the most memorable scenes anyway.

Bargain Hunt at a Night Market

China is the wonderland of knockoff brands. You will come across all kinds of clothes, shoes, jewelry, and household items, for prices nowhere to be found in the States.

The best part is everything is negotiable. The greatest way to go bargain hunting in Shanghai is to visit a night market. Vendors sell anything and everything from knickknacks to wedding dresses to pets, and every price is up for debate.

Night markets can get wild, so I suggest either brushing up on your Chinese or bringing a Chinese friend to help translate.


Karaoke TV is a right of passage for every foreigner living in China. KTV is almost considered an essential service and one can be found on every street corner. Packed past 9 pm every day of the week, karaoke is the most common social activity among locals.

Drinks plus good friends and terrible singing always make for a memorable night.

Yuyuan Old Street

Those looking for the real feel of China must take a stroll down Yuyuan Old Street. The ancient architecture line cobblestone streets where hundreds of tiny shops selling rice paper sunhats, jewelry, and porcelain leave their doors ajar all day welcoming customers.

Yuyuan is street food heaven.

Baskets full of steamed buns, vegetables, exotic fruits, and strange, jiggling pastries are sold from so many little carts that they outnumber the people. If authentic China is what you’re looking for, plan on spending all day here.

Things You Have to Eat

Hot Pot

Although most known in Sichuan for its fiery flavors, hot pot is a social meal popular all around China. Due to the city’s port history and proximity to the coast, hot pot in Shanghai often features seafood and vegetables. It’s really the chef’s choice, meaning you.

A flavored (or not) pot of boiling hot liquid is placed in the center of the table while raw ingredients are brought for you to cook in the pot yourself. The options are limitless: choose from crab, tofu, beef, mung beans, crawfish, onion, and more.


Jianbing is the Chinese version of a crepe. Crafted on a hot plate from wheat batter and eggs, they are a popular and cheap breakfast choice among locals.

Also, like crepes, jianbing is sold on a cart around every street corner where you can decorate your breakfast with an array of toppings like sesame seeds, green onions, black bean paste, and chili oil.

Steamed Bun (bao zi)

Another favorite street breakfast item is the steamed bun. A soft, doughy bun stuffed with ground pork and vegetables make for a cheap and filling on the go meal.


One of China’s few dessert options, tangyuan is often eaten around the holidays. Made from glutinous rice flour and water, it’s typically boiled and served in hot water. The wet spheres are typically either filed with red bean paste or black sesame paste.

Mostly served in restaurants, with the exception of the Spring Festival, when tangyuan is sold by every street food vendor in the city.

Boba Tea

Known in the US as bubble tea, boba is a milk-based tea that features chewy tapioca balls at the bottom. It is a fun and sweet treat that you can drink either hot or iced. If you have a sweet tooth, try using vanilla ice cream as your base in place of milk.

Where to Eat

For Breakfast: Si Ji Xuan

For those who want to experience brunch the Chinese way, Si Ji Xuan is where you must go. Serving the classics such as dim sum and the unusual like goose wings, the food is traditional, yet unique.

For Lunch: Haidilao Hot Pot

As previously stated, you cannot go to Shanghai without trying hot pot, and there is no better place to do that than Haidilao. Guests rave over the wide selection of ingredients and unparalleled customer service. The classiest hot pot joint on the coast.

For Dinner: The Captain

This one is for my budget backpackers. The Captain is a bar located on the rooftop of a local hostel donning the same name. A great view, amazing food, cheap drinks, and a few good friends is really all you need.

shanghai china

Helpful Tips

  • To stay connected to Google and social media during your time in China, download a VPN (a digital non-public community) earlier than you go!
  • In an enormous metropolis like Shanghai, many individuals are certain to talk English; however many individuals don’t. Brush up in your Chinese language through the 15-hour flight.
  • Obtain WeChat to speak with family and friends again dwelling!
  • Deliver your favourite hygiene merchandise; possible you received’t have the ability to discover them when you arrive.
  • Eat all the road meals.
  • Be ready for tradition shock by being excited and prepared to embrace it!


Need extra information to assist plan your journey? Try this weblog submit: How to Spend 48 Hours in Shanghai.