Shanghai is one of China’s most famous and popular cities with travellers, reflective of China’s fast modernisation. It is multicultural, with residents from all over the world living there for work and its unique blend of modern and traditional cultures. Shanghai is a global financial hub and is the “showpiece” of China’s booming economy.
Tours and activities in Shanghai
There’s no place in China quite like Shanghai, so be prepared for a busy trip! To make sure you see everything, consider arranging an organised tour or use a local guide. They’ll be able to give you ideas on where to visit that can help you escape the crowds, and can also help you to book tickets to some of the main attractions.
Check out our tour offers and get in touch if you’d like to discuss specific requirements.
Best time to visit
Shanghai has a mild and wet climate with four seasons. July and August are the hottest months and late January to early February the coldest. The best times to visit are March to May or October to November, when the weather is at its most pleasant and comfortable. Mid-summer is incredibly busy and also very warm, so might be best avoided.
Top Attractions in Shanghai
Getting here and getting around
Travel to and from Shanghai is easy, as you would expect from a modern metropolis. With two international airports, Pudong and Hongqiao, over 1,000 flights travel in and out of Shanghai every day, connecting it with many domestic cities as well as New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Tokyo and many more.
An airport shuttle bus will take you to Shanghai itself, as well as other destinations in mainland China. A comprehensive railway network with high-speed trains will take you to and from the city, or you can travel by metro from the airport to the city centre. There are also tourist trains that will take scenic tours through other areas.
You can, of course, access Shanghai by water as it is an international port. Cruises from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore are all possible, and you can also tour the Yangtze River.
Shanghai is a city packed with people, so traffic congestion is possible, however the city does have an efficient and convenient transport infrastructure. You can take city buses across the city and there are currently 14 subway lines in operation. The Maglev train is also very fast and efficient.
Currently more than 50,000 taxis service Shanghai and are high-priced in comparison with many other Chinese cities; however, this is still a good way of getting around while you get your bearings. Fares start at ¥11 for daytime and ¥13.2 for night-time travel, although this rises depending on the operating company and type of cab.
Eating and drinking
Given its rich cultural heritage, it’s no surprise to hear that Shanghai cuisine is a blend of styles and nationalities. Local dining comics in two styles: Benbang, which uses fresh fish, pork, chicken and bright colours and is mellow and sweet, and Haipai Cuisine, which is a mix of other Chinese and international dishes, with endless variety but a distinct focus on seafood.
Signature dishes include Xia Zi Da Wu Shen, which is dried and rehydrated sea cucumber stewed in oil, yellow wine and soybean sauce, Yan Du Xian, a stew of pork and ham with bamboo shoots and Ba Bao La Jiang, one of Shanghai’s rare spicy dishes, made with bean and chilli sauce, shrimps, chicken, pork, offal and bamboo shoots.
You can also enjoy local snacks like Nanxiang steamed stuffed buns, yellow pastry, chop rice cake and Leisha dumplings.
The Shanghai Chinese Restaurant has been open since 1875 and is a great place to try authentic traditional food, as is Lao Zheng Xing, which has a simple style. At Wang Bao, He you can try crab banquet and for upmarket dining, try Noble House.
Nightlife in Shanghai is sedate, but there is still plenty to do. The fashionable Xin Tian Di area offers galleries, themed restaurants, coffee shops and bars.
Getting a good night's sleep
One of the top hotels in the city is the IFC Residence, located in the financial district. This high-end hotel has luxurious rooms overlooking the city, including their own kitchen areas, an indoor pool, fitness centre, a garden, sun terrace and children’s playground.
Charms Hotel is a great mid-priced accommodation with modern rooms, a fitness centre and beauty salon. The on-site restaurant serves fantastic local cuisine and is very highly rated by visitors. It also has a great location, only five minutes from People’s Square.
For those on a budget, Jinjiang Inn Shanghai Lujiazui is a great choice. Elegant décor and plenty of facilities mean this property is rated as being great value for money.
To find out more about these hotels and view others, click here.