This post was last updated on May 2nd, 2020 at 02:29 pm
Shanghai is the largest city in China, but it is not the capital. That honor goes to Beijing. There are more than 23 million people living in Shanghai (2013), making it one of the largest cities in the world in terms of population! Shanghai “only” has an area of 6,340 km² (2448 square miles). You don’t need to be a master of math to understand that it can be quite busy in Shanghai.
Shanghai is one of the best-known and most visited cities in China. The chance that you will come here is fairly high. That’s why we will tell you the following about this beautiful city on this page;
History of Shanghai
Before Shanghai developed into the metropolis that it is today, it was only a small village called Huating. In 1553 a city wall was built around Shanghai which is seen as the beginning of the city of Shanghai. The inhabitants lived off the fishing and textile industry until after the Opium War the Treaty of Nanking was concluded with the United Kingdom in 1842.
Together with the economic impulses and the bizarre construction of the business district of Pudong, Shanghai became a port city with worldwide connections. Since 2004, Shanghai has surpassed Rotterdam as the largest port in the world.
TIP – Also visit the People’s Square in Shanghai, the nerve center of the city. It’s nice to have seen it once!
Around 1860, Shanghai already had between 250,000 and 650,000 inhabitants. And since then the city has experienced spectacular growth when it comes to population numbers. In 1900 the city had around 700,000 inhabitants, by 1920 this had already been more than one million and only twenty years later it had even tripled to more than three million!
Shanghai is one of those cities with skyscrapers and gigantic shopping centers. The enormous diversity of building styles makes the city so unique. You can sleep in one of the highest hotels in the world, but you can also explore cornfields, visit Jewish synagogues or Buddhist temples. You won’t find such variety in architectural style anywhere else in the world.
Best Things to See & Do in Shanghai
Despite the size of the city it certainly has its charms; food stalls along the side of the road, churches, and temples that you can visit, and the many forms of art and entertainment that you can find here make you forget all about the massive skyscrapers.
When the neon billboards start to flicker in the evening, Shanghai turns into a cozy city with endless possibilities for entertainment. It is almost impossible to describe all the sights in Shanghai but the ones we’ve described below are some of the best.
1. Visit the Bund
This is one of the best-known places in the city and all buildings have been completely renovated. If you walk on The Bund it looks like you are walking in a completely different city than Shanghai. The buildings are beautiful and in no way resemble the modern skyscrapers of the rest of the city.
At the Bund, you will also find the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Bund History Museum. The Bund is located on the Huangpu River, which runs through Shanghai. You can take different cruises on the Huangpu River. We recommend that you visit The Bund in the evening. The buildings will be beautifully lit and the boulevard looks attractive.
TIP – At the Bund, you will find a number of old buildings. The most beautiful are the Shanghai Bank Building, Custom House, Palace Hotel, and the Fairmont Peace Hotel.
2. Explore Duolun Lu
A visit to Duolun Lu is like a visit to a completely different city. Duolun Lu is known as the ‘cultural street‘ of Shanghai. The street was inhabited by many writers, including the left-wing writer Lu Xun. They met here to write, making it a cultural and literary center. You will also find statues of the writers in the street.
The first thing you notice is the unprecedented peace in the street. This is because motorized transport is not allowed on Duolun Lu Street. You will find special buildings throughout the street, including a church whose construction is a mix of European and Chinese styles.
TIP – If you want something different than modern Shanghai, a visit to Tianzifang, with old streets and boutiques is very nice!
3. The French Concession
Start your bicycle tour through Shanghai at the Buddhist golden Jing’an temple and then pedal south to the French Concession. This area was ruled by the French between 1849 and 1946 and is, in our opinion, the nicest neighborhood in Shanghai. Here you imagine yourself in the Paris of the last century, you cycle on long avenues and the shops are filled with luxury boutiques and bakeries. French baguettes and croissants are displayed in the shop windows. You can have lunch in a bistro, and in the evening you can sit down in a wine bar for a bottle of red wine and a platter full of French cheese.
Our favorite spot of the French concession is Tianzifang, a complex that has been adopted by artists and designers for the past 20 years. A creative breeding ground with dozens of art shops, galleries, and coffee bars. Here you can buy detailed Chinese pottery, hip thermos flasks, and beautiful photos by local artists. We enjoy ourselves there for a whole afternoon. It’s a place you might not expect in China, but here in Shanghai, it fits perfectly.
4. Visit the Traditional Xintiandi
Xintiandi is located in the center of the city and is one of the oldest, traditional areas of the city. This area is actually called a Shíkùméns. Where you will find the Hutongs in Beijing, you have the Shíkùméns in Shanghai. Shíkùméns means “stone gate” and this is because a stone wall with a gate was built in front of the houses to keep out intruders. They are typical Chinese traditional buildings.
5. Admire Art in the M50 Art District
The M50 art district is the cultural hotspot of Shanghai. In the northwest of the city, an industrial complex has been transformed into an art breeding ground with groundbreaking galleries and cool street art. You will find countless art cafes and hip bookstores among the modern installations, but the many graffiti is particularly striking. You don’t expect it in a country where free art is not self-evident. An un-Chinese place and worth a visit for that alone.
6. Visit the Oriental Pearl Tower
Shanghai’s futuristic skyline consists of a handful of iconic buildings, but the Oriental Pearl Tower is particularly eye-catching. This ultramodern television tower is 468 meters high and consists of eleven giant spheres. There are three observation platforms, the highest of which is located at 350 meters. Logically you have a great view from that place over the city and the surrounding skyscrapers. We especially like the view over the tower itself. From the Bund across the river, you have a good view of the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai skyline.
Admission fee for the Oriental Pearl Tower observation deck: 160 Chinese Yuan (about US$22.50)
Opening hours of the Oriental Pearl Tower: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
7. Explore the Yuyuan Garden
The Yuyuan Garden was laid out in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty by Pan Yanduan. He wanted a beautiful garden where his parents could enjoy their old age. Just like many buildings in the rest of China, the Yuyuan Garden was badly damaged by the Opium War.
The garden is surrounded by a bazaar, making the entrance sometimes difficult to find. We recommend looking for this because the garden is definitely worth it.
TIP – Metro line 10 takes you to this garden.
Yuyuan Garden Entrance Fee: 40 Chinese Yuan (April to June & September to November), 30 Chinese Yuan (July to August & December to March)
Yuyuan Garden Opening Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
8. The Wedding Market in the People’s Park
Every Saturday and Sunday a marriage market takes place in the People’s Park, the place where parents look for their new in-laws. These days, the park is littered with thousands of passport photos and profiles of young, marriageable Chinese. With information about age, height, weight, occupation, income, and zodiac sign, parents try to find a suitable partner for their children. You will not find young people there and it seems that many parents are there without the permission of their children. It’s a special scene. If you’re in the area on a Saturday, be sure to stop by the People’s Park.
9. Go to Houtouwan
Houtouwan is a town about 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) from Shanghai. It is not yet very well known among tourists, but it is definitely worth it! It is a deserted village that has been completely taken over by nature. It’s like walking into a fairytale village!
In the 1990s, the few thousand residents who lived here searched for a different place to live. The only purpose of Houtouwan now is to receive tourists. This was once a thriving village with a fishing port, but today the houses have been taken over by nature. It is special to see how the houses are covered with trees, moss, and grass. An ideal day trip!
10. Souvenir Shopping on Old Street Bazaar
The Old Street bazaar is the tourist highlight of Shanghai. You will find dozens of cheap shops with standard souvenirs, and it is always hectic. A place where all people will drive you crazy, so don’t hang around for too long.
11. Marvel at the Skyscrapers
This city is a paradise for those who like modern and especially tall buildings. Shanghai is full of skyscrapers that you can marvel at. In the city, you will find a few of the highest towers in the world. The view from the skyscrapers is amazing, although it’s not recommended for people with a fear of heights.
TIP – Across the Bund are the three highest towers in Shanghai; the Oriental Pearl (468 meters), the Jin Mao tower (420 meters), and the World Financial Center (492 meters).
12. Visit the Jade Temple
The Jade Buddha Temple is only a hundred years old, which is brand new by Chinese standards. The temple was built in the Song Dynasty style, with symmetrical halls and courtyards, curling eaves, and bright yellow walls.
The temple survived the Cultural Revolution thanks to a few clever monks, who pasted portraits of Mao on the outer walls. The Red Guards could not destroy the walls without also taking Mao down.
The main attraction here is the two-meter white jade Buddha and a mantle of precious stones, originally from Burma.
This is the most touristic temple in Shanghai and very popular with group tours and cruise passengers. Sometimes there are more tourists than locals. So there is no very authentic atmosphere.
TIP – Entry to the Jade Temple costs 20 Chinese Yuan (US$2.85) per person.
13. Shopping Centers in Lujiazui
The Lujiazui district is located in the new part of Shanghai: Pudong. Here you will find a series of shiny shopping centers and ultramodern malls. You can shop excellently at the major fashion brands and well-known chain stores, but there’s also very tasty food. In Lujiazui, you will find some of the best restaurants in the city.
14. Shanghai Museum
The Shanghai Museum is located in the middle of the center, in the People’s Park. It has a beautiful collection of antique artifacts. The museum is clearly arranged. Each room is about a specific subject and you follow a chronological route. On the ground floor, there is a room with bronze statues and one with stone statues.
On the first floor is a room with a beautiful collection of pottery and porcelain, such as blue and white glazed Ming vases. Paper scrolls with calligraphy are exhibited on the second floor. The Shanghai Museum is free to enter.
15. Shopping on Nanjing Road
It is impossible not to shop in Shanghai. Shopping is the national religion here and the city is a great shopping paradise. Shanghai’s main shopping street, Nanjing Road, is divided into two sections: East Nanjing Road, from the Bund to People’s Square, and West Nanjing Road, from People’s Square to Jing’an District. East Nanjing Road is a pedestrian area bathed in bright neon. A walk on Nanjing Road is a journey through the history of the city.
It has always been the main street. Around the turn of the century, eight chic department stores were located here. Department store No. 1 is one of the few that survived. It has beautiful windows around the holidays, in the real British tradition.
West Nanjing Road passed through the International Settlement and was called Bubbling Well Road. It was a quiet street with trees, an expats’ favorite place to take a stroll. Today, West Nanjing Road is a busy, expensive street with gleaming malls, shops, offices, and hotels.
16. Visit the Town of Zhujiajiao
Although this is not entirely located in Shanghai, it is highly recommended! Zhujiajiao is a suburb of Shanghai and is one of the best-preserved old parts of the city. It is known as the Venice of the East and famous for the old houses along the water and the bridges.
Some of these bridges still date from the Min and Qing dynasty when Zhujiajiao was one of the most important trading cities on the Yangtze River.
To get there by bus you can go from Pu’an Road Bus Station to Zhujiajiao. It costs you 12 Chinese Yuan (US$1.70) and takes an hour.
TIP – Access to the village is 90 Chinese Yuan (US$12.75).
17. Visit one of Many Shopping Malls
Shanghai has about 70 shopping malls. The largest and best known are at the major metro junctions.
- South Shaanxi Road (IAPM)
- West Nanjing Road (including Westgate Mall and Plaza 66)
- Xijiahui (including Metro City, Grand Gateway, and Oriental).
The malls have a fixed layout, so if you’ve seen one, you also know how the others work.
On the ground floor are the luxury French and Italian fashion brands, such as Prada, Gucci, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton. The Chinese love expensive European brands, they are the status symbol par excellence. Japanese chains are also popular, such as Muji, Uniqlo, and Miniso.
The higher floors are for the less luxurious brands. The restaurants are located on the top floor. In the basement at the entrance to the metro, there are shops that help you with your daily worries, such as the supermarket and the bakery.
An alternative Mall is Metro City. This mall is aimed at a younger audience. There are small shops that fill the Chinese obsession with everything small and cute, like dolls and miniature houses.
Supermarkets are often located in the basement of a shopping mall. Chains are Watsons, city Super, and the French Carrefour. Most products are imported from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The prices come with them.
On the street, you will find a Family Mart every 100 meters for basic needs such as sandwiches, drinks, and snacks.
18. Drink Coffee
You would think that they drink tea in most places in China, but that’s not the case for Shanghai: coffee rules here. Every shopping street has coffee shops where you can get a shot, and Starbucks is as numerous here as it is in New York. Shanghai has the largest Starbucks in the world.
This Reserve Roastery was built as a caffeine theme park. The interior is an open coffee roaster, where you can see the whole process.
The roasters shake the beans out of the jute bags, after which they are roasted, ground and packed. Transparent pipes run through the ceiling, through which the beans are blown rattling. Here, enough caffeine is removed per minute to provide a small city with energy for a year.
Of course, there’s also a huge gift shop with coffee machines, cups, mugs and machines of all shapes and sizes.
In Shanghai you can eat delicious food. Like everywhere in Asia, they also have delicious street food here, although they are more like small restaurants than food stalls.
At People’s Park and Yunnan Rd. you can find the tastiest dishes.
Wonderful Day Trips Near Shanghai
There are many great cities and points of interests near Shanghai! If you have the time in your schedule, take the bullet train to one or more of the beautiful places near Shanghai. We’ve highlighted a few for you below.
We recommend the town of Suzhou, which with its many canals is also called the Venice of Asia. It is surprisingly pleasant and picturesque, and you will find some beautiful Chinese gardens here. With the super-fast magnetic levitation train, you can travel from Shanghai to Suzhou in half an hour.
Hangzhou is called one of the most beautiful cities in China, due to its dreamy location on West Lake. You can rent a bike and circle the lake or just walk past the many temples and pagodas. An additional advantage: all gardens and museums in Hangzhou are free to visit. It is a 55-minute journey to Hangzhou via a high-speed train.
Zhujiajiao is located about 30 kilometers west of Shanghai and consists largely of water. The city is over 1700 years old and has one of the best-preserved historical centers in the area. Zhujiajiao can be reached by bus within an hour.
Amazing Restaurants in Shanghai
The Chinese metropolis of Shanghai stole our hearts. The city is hip, modern, and yet Asian. The ideal combination! Shanghai has amazed us when it comes to food. Chinese food can be challenging, but they don’t make any excuses in Shanghai. The food here is fantastic.
It is full of hip restaurants and even at the eateries in the large shopping centers, you get an excellent meal for an excellent price. The best places for lunch or dinner can be found in the French Concession. In this internationally oriented neighborhood, you can get breakfast in the morning at one of the countless French bakeries, you can eat wafer-thin pizzas with a crispy crust everywhere and get a cup of your favorite coffee in hip living room cafes. It is full of restaurants here, so making a choice is difficult. No idea where to start eating? We made a list of our favorites.
Komunne is located in the epicenter of Tianzifang, a cozy shopping district where many artists have a business. It is important that you aren’t tempted by the Belgian beer rooms and bars with an English menu because only on the spacious terrace of Kommune can you drink the best wine and eat the tastiest sandwiches. In addition to an amazing lunch, monthly wine tastings are held here and you can eat juicy roasted chickens from the barbecue on Wednesday evenings.
Location: 210 Taikang Lu
Wagas is a restaurant chain with a total of 28 branches in Shanghai and Beijing. The menu includes Turkish bread sandwiches, tasty spinach wraps, huge salads, and homemade pasta. You can order a snack and a drink at the bar, or you can sit in the trendy decorated restaurant and within 5 minutes your order will be in front of you. Wagas is open from early in the morning until late at night and is the perfect base for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Everything on the menu tastes great, but if we can make a recommendation: definitely try the spaghetti with roasted pumpkin, spinach, and feta cheese. It’s very delicious!
Location: 381 Huaihai Middle Road
Location: 283 Jianguo West Road
Location: 265 Jiaozhou Road
The name suggests that you ended up in a Vietnamese kitchen, but at Pho Asia, the tastiest meals from all of Southeast Asia are on the menu. Think fish cakes from Thailand, creamy coconut curry from Vietnam, and buttery soft rendang from Indonesia. Order some great Chinese dishes and share them with your travel mates. And a tip for the beer drinkers: Clearly state that you want a beer from the fridge because the average Chinese person does not drink their beer chilled.
Location: 85 Fumin Lu
At Dvino you can authentic Italian dishes. It doesn’t have checkered tablecloths or grapes on the ceiling, but a sleek design and a modern look. The Italian owners have brought a large number of wines from their native country and serve tasty antipasti. Between drinks, you can nibble on Italian cheeses and hams, for the greater appetite you can choose pasta or a sandwich.
Location: 98 Yanping Lu
Judging by the exterior of Sproutworks, it is difficult to determine which food is served here. The facade is completely made of glass, but on top of that, there is a traditional Chinese roof. Fortunately, once inside it is immediately clear, with Sproutworks “hip and healthy” are the keywords. This means that the cooling is full of fresh fruit juices, they have a very extensive and well-stocked salad bar and that customers can drink unlimited homemade iced tea for very little money. And if that’s not enough: the robust furniture and colorful screen prints on the wall complete the picture.
Location: 167 Donghu Lu
For a hyper-healthy meal, you should knock on Kush’s door, in the same block as Dvino wine bar. Here they have understood the seed, sprout, and nut trend. This tiny vegan restaurant makes tasty burgers from tofu, lentils, or chickpeas and with a menu full of salads, curries, wraps, and soups, there is plenty for every foodie on a healthy tour.
Location: 98 Yanping Lu
You can find restaurants with a western and local menu almost everywhere in the city. The local restaurants are the cheapest, although at most places they don’t understand English very well. Still, we recommend you give it a try.
Our tactic? If you have eaten something tasty, ask the staff to write down the name of the dish in Chinese characters. You can then show that note in the next restaurant. At the end of the trip, we had many notes of dishes that we really liked.
Best Hotels in Shanghai
Whether you are in Shanghai on a tour of China or on a city trip, it is a wonderful city to stay in for a few nights. Of course, this megacity has a large number of hotels to choose from. And there is plenty of choice for both the budget traveler and the traveler looking for a little more luxury. This huge offer doesn’t make it easy to choose the right hotel. To help you with that, we have listed the best hotels in Shanghai for you.
This hostel is a must for the budget traveler: a great hostel in a great location – affordable and well-facilitated, easily accessible by public transport and within walking distance of many of Shanghai’s attractions. The rooms are clean, with simple furnishing, have air conditioning, and are cleaned daily. There’s both a public kitchenette and a laundry, both suitable for self-service. Cozy relaxation zones have been set up on the second and third floors. Lockers and short-term luggage storage are located next to the manned reception. Wi-Fi is free and decent enough. In a short summary, Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel is a very suitable base for exploring Shanghai.
- Shanghai Old Street – 1.3 km
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 1.4 km
- Jin Mao Tower – 2.3 km
- Jing’an Temple – 3.8 km
This hotel enjoys a prime location in the Hongkou neighborhood. And with spacious, clean, modern rooms with air conditioning and a private bathroom with free bathroom items, the Narada Boutique Hotel ensures a pleasant stay in Shanghai. With a 24-hour reception, room service, currency exchange, car rental, laundry, and free Wi-Fi, the hotel offers various services to its guests. A meeting room, business center, and fax/copy facilities are available. An A la carte and buffet restaurant and a cozy bar are, of course, also available.
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 2.7 km
- Jin Mao Tower – 3.4 km
- Shanghai Old Street – 3.6 km
- Jing’an Temple – 5.4 km
The Phoenix Hostel LaoShan stands in a perfect location, just one metro stop from the People’s Square in a popular area surrounded by small eateries and shops, near the old town and Yuyuan Garden. The price and quality ratio is great, the rooms are simple, modern, and clean and the beds are comfortable. There is a 24-hour reception, airport shuttle service, and free Wi-Fi. On the ground floor, there is a restaurant and a cozy bar is located on the roof terrace. In short, a good accommodation choice for a traveler who wants to discover Shanghai.
Set in an old villa in a bustling neighborhood and located near public transport and several points of interest, Kevin’s Old House features surprisingly spacious rooms – previously apartments – with extensive facilities (including a microwave, DVD player, and a minibar). All rooms have an elegant appearance, thanks to the decor in the classic French colonialism style. The private bathroom has a bath and a shower. Hotel restaurant Bella Napoli offers its guests an extensive menu of Italian and international dishes. In the atmospheric lobby, the hotel owner displays his collection of antiques and curios. We can describe this hotel in one sentence: a hotel with character!
- Jing’an Temple – 0.8 km
- Shanghai Old Street – 4.1 km
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 5.5 km
- Jin Mao Tower – 6.1 km
Located on the riverwalk, The Bund Riverside Hotel is perfectly located to easily walk to many of Shanghai’s attractions. The Bund, Nanjing Road shopping district, an ancient Chinese city, Yuyuan Garden, People’s Square, Shanghai Museum and Waibadu bridge are all only a ten to twenty minute walk away. Xintiandi can be reached on foot within 45 minutes. Rooms are equipped with air conditioning, coffee and tea facilities, a minibar and a private bathroom with a bath and free toiletries. A lobby bar, hotel restaurant, sauna, massage room, business center, laundry, daily cleaning, limousine service, free Wi-Fi and a 24-hour reception are among the facilities of this excellently positioned hotel.
This is literally a Grand Hotel featuring great comfort and a luxurious appearance with excellent service and facilities. Grand Kempinski Hotel Shanghai is a world-class hotel where guests are spoiled. There are plenty of choices for a relaxing time: heated swimming pool, hot tub, spa, sauna, fitness center, gym, various massage treatments. There are also seven dining options of international cuisine, two bars, a teashop, and a cigar lounge. Rooms not only have an art deco interior, but also a magnificent view of the Huangpu River and the Pudong district with its impressive skyline. The marble bathroom looks gorgeous. The hotel staff is competent and very helpful.
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 0.5 km
- Jin Mao Tower – 0.8 km
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 0.9 km
- Shanghai Old Street – 2.4 km
- Jing’an Temple – 6 km
Affordable accommodation with a great location in a beautiful area on the Suzhou River and within a 45-minute walk of most of Shanghai’s attractions. The varied breakfast buffet is free, as is the Wi-Fi. Tours * Soho Garden Hotel has a nice garden and features a rooftop terrace, a restaurant, and a lounge bar. There is even a cinema room! Grocery stores, laundry, and a games room are also provided here and coffee and tea are served in the common area. Rooms have retro décor, park views, air conditioning, and a private bathroom.
- Shanghai Old Street – 2.6 km
- Jing’an Temple – 2.7 km
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 2.8 km
- Jin Mao Tower – 3.9 km
A specially designed hotel with a cool look in a modernized, hip, and lively environment on the southern side of the Bund. All rooms in The Waterhouse Hotel are different, with their own design and furnishings and fully equipped with wonderfully comfortable beds, a sitting area, a minibar, a fridge, an iPod dock, and a flat-screen TV. Each room has a modern, neat bathroom. The roof terrace offers, besides various refreshments and drinks, a beautiful view of the Bund. In the hotel restaurant Table no. 1, contemporary dishes are served. Breakfast is served in a buffet style. The 24-hour front desk with helpful staff and an extensive range of services ensure a pleasant stay at The Waterhouse At South Bund.
- Jin Mao Tower – 1.7 km
- Shanghai Old Street – 1.9 km
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 2.3 km
- Jing’an Temple – 5.7 km
This is an excellently located hotel with plenty of attractions within walking distance. It has a beautiful view and spacious, tastefully decorated rooms with comfortable beds, a nice seat, blackout curtains, and a very nice bathroom. SSAW Boutique Hotel Shanghai Bund is one of the most attractive hotels in Shanghai. The hotel provides delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner with an unforgettable view of the Shanghai skyline. Extra facilities such as free drinks from the minibar, coffee, and tea facilities in the room and free coffee, tea and afternoon snack in the lobby make the stay extra pleasant.
Wi-Fi is free, there is an airport shuttle service, a paid laundry service as well as free self-service laundry, currency exchange, room service, and a 24-hour reception. SSAW Hotel also features a fitness room and offers relaxing massages for a fee.
- Shanghai Old Street – 0.2 km
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 1.9 km
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 2 km
- Jin Mao Tower – 2.2 km
- Jing’an Temple – 3.7 km
With the metro stop practically around the corner, the Pentahotel Shanghai is located in the Changning district in a nice location next to Zhongshan City Park. The hotel lobby is both the reception and a cozy coffee bar, where there is a pleasant atmosphere and where salsa dance lessons are sometimes organized. In addition, with its modern gym and spa facilities, Pentahotel Shanghai provides an extra relaxing stay. In the hotel restaurant, guests can enjoy delicious dishes and unwind in modern, comfortable rooms with a private bathroom.
- Jing’an Temple – 2.4 km
- Shanghai Old Street – 6.3 km
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 7.8 km
- Jin Mao Tower – 8.2 km
Best Time to Visit Shanghai
Cold winters and warm summers characterize the Shanghai weather forecasts on the east coast of China. In the winter months, the temperature often dips below freezing, while in summer you have to take into account sweltering days where the mercury exceeds 30°C (86°F). The best time to visit Shanghai is, therefore, in the months of April and May. With temperatures around 20°C (68°F), it is pleasantly warm, and it rains less often than in summer or autumn. As far as we are concerned, these are ideal conditions for a city trip to Shanghai.
Shanghai Weather Averages By Month
Shanghai Weather and Climate By Season
If you’re planning a trip to Shanghai it’s a good idea to check out the weather during the year. Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate that is largely influenced by its location at the mouth of the Yangtze, with the largest ocean on one side and the largest landmass in the world on the other. This provides relatively much rain, but on the other hand still four clearly distinguishable seasons.
Shanghai Weather in Spring
Spring is one of the better times of the year to visit Shanghai, especially as all the trees and plants in the parks blossom. The temperatures are somewhere around 20°C (68°F) from the end of March to the beginning of May during the day, while it does not rain too often. In the evening and early in the morning it can be chilly so it is advisable to bring slightly warmer clothes.
Shanghai Weather in Summer
Summers in Shanghai are very long and very hot. From late May to late September, temperatures regularly exceed 30°C (86°F), and in July and August, the mercury often even approaches 40°C (104°F). Also, the relative humidity during this period is very high and heavy downpours are almost the order of the day, making summer the most unsuitable period for many people to visit Shanghai. An umbrella or possibly a raincoat is certainly not an unnecessary luxury.
Shanghai Weather in Autumn
Autumn, on the other hand, is the best time to travel to Shanghai, particularly October and early November. During the day it is still regularly around or above 20°C (68°F) and it rains much less often than in summer or spring. Apart from the first week of October, which is a national holiday, there will also be far fewer Chinese tourists in the city during this period. Also take some warmer clothes with you, as it can cool down quickly in November in the evening.
Shanghai Weather in Winter
Finally, in winter the temperature during the day is usually around 10°C (50°F) and you can also expect night frost. Warmer clothing is therefore necessary. There’s rarely a true winter, most years have only occasional snow showers. Apart from the temperature, winter can still be a good time for a holiday to Shanghai, as there is little rainfall and you don’t have to share tourist attractions with many other tourists.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai has two airports, Hongqiao Airport to the west and Pudong Airport to the east of the city. Since Hongqiao is only used for domestic flights and some short connections to Korea and Japan, you will always arrive at Pudong when flying internationally. This is the largest and newest airport in Shanghai.
The airport consists of two terminals that are symmetrically opposite each other, namely Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. After arrival, you have to go from your gate to a large hall. Here you go through customs, get your luggage and then you come to an area with restaurants, shops, ATMs and toilets. Finally, from each of these arrival halls, you can take covered walkways across the road to the middle building, where you then have several options to get into the city.
To Shanghai by Maglev
The most famous way to reach Shanghai from the airport is by using the magnetic levitation (maglev) train. Sitting in this train you float past all taxis and buses at a speed of no less than 431 km/h. The train leaves every 15 minutes and takes 7 to 8 minutes. A ticket costs 50 Chinese Yuan (about US$7.10), but with a 20% discount when you show your flight ticket you only have to pay 40 Chinese Yuan. Within the airport, this train is declared as Maglev. The train runs daily from 6:45 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
One drawback to the maglev is that after your super-fast ride, you’re no further than Longyang Road on the outskirts of the city. Here you can transfer to lines 2 and 7 of the metro, or take a taxi to get to your hotel in Shanghai. As a result of this transfer, the Maglev is, in terms of total travel time, just a little faster than the other travel options. Also for the speed freaks: only between 9:00 and 10:45 a.m. and between 1:00 and 4:45 p.m. the train runs at full speed, outside of these times the top speed is only 301 km/h.
To Shanghai by Metro
Since 2010, when line 2 was extended to Pudong Airport, you can immediately reach all corners of the city by metro. With a price of only 7 Chinese Yuan to the People’s Square right in the center, this is by far the cheapest option. Because a train leaves every five minutes and you can just sit there, the metro is not even that much slower than the maglev. The metro runs daily from 6:30 am to 9:30 pm and departs from the same building as the Maglev.
To Shanghai by Cab
Many people prefer to go into the city by cab, with the advantage that you will be dropped off right outside the door of your hotel. Only use the official cabs at the airport. This is clearly indicated with signs. It costs around 150 Chinese Yuan (about US$21) for a ride to the city center and takes an hour. The price on the meter is rounded to whole amounts in Shanghai and there is always a surcharge of 1 Chinese Yuan.
Also, make sure you have the address of your hotel with you in Chinese. You can also book the transport to your hotel before leaving on your trip. All you have to do is provide your flight number and you will be met in the arrivals hall by a driver who will transport you to your hotel, very comfortable!
To Shanghai by Bus
Finally, buses also leave to various locations in the city. For tourists who do not speak Chinese, this is a less convenient solution, since not everything is indicated in English. Prices range from 16 to 30 Chinese Yuan (about US$2.25 to $4.25) depending on your destination. Line 1 goes to Hongqiao Airport; line 2 to Jing’an Temple; line 3 to the Galaxy Hotel; line 4 to the Luxun Park; line 5 to the main station; line 6 to the Zhongshan Park; line 7 to Shanghai South Railway Station; and line 8 to Lingang Xincheng outside the city. Except for line 8, all buses depart every 15 minutes between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
From Shanghai to Pudong Airport
Returning from the city to the airport will not be too difficult as you can simply take one of the above modes of transport in the opposite direction. If you take a taxi and want to make it clear to the driver that you want to go to Pudong International Airport, you can print the following text and show it: 浦东 国际 机场.
Shanghai has the largest metro network in the world. With 600 kilometers of metro lines, there is always a station near both your hotel and your destination. It is the fastest and cheapest way to get from A to B within the city limits. Below, you will find everything you need to know about the Shanghai metro.
You can find maps of the metro everywhere in travel books, hotels, and on the wall in metro stations. Note that with a metro network expanding as fast as in Shanghai, many maps, especially those in travel books, quickly become obsolete. You can find an up-to-date map on the official website of the Shanghai metro right here. You can print out or put it on your phone for easy access. It is probably convenient for you to circle the station closest to your hotel or the destinations you want to visit, in advance.
Prices and Tickets
In the Shanghai metro, you pay for the distance you travel, the cheapest possible ride costs 2 Chinese Yuan (about US$0.30) and the most expensive 10 Chinese Yuan (about US$1.40). These are the different types of tickets you can purchase:
These tickets where you pay per ride are recommended if you only occasionally take the metro. The machines where you can buy these tickets can be found in front of the gates at every station. It works like this: first, you choose English at the bottom left, then you choose the metro line of the station you want to go to, then the station on that line itself and finally the number of tickets you want. You will then see the final amount on the screen, after which you can deposit your money and get your ticket(s) and any change.
Day Ticket and Three-Day Ticket
If you’re not staying in Shanghai for too long but plan to take the subway often, a day ticket or a three-day ticket is a good choice. The concept is quite simple, with these tickets you can make unlimited use of the metro for 24 or 72 consecutive hours. You can buy the tickets at the counters you will find at each station.
If your Chinese is not fluent, you can print the following and show it at the counter to get a day ticket:
你好 ， 我 想 办理 1 张 一日 票。
For a three-day ticket you can show the following:
你好 ， 我 想 办理 1 张三 日 票。
If you travel with more people and you want more than one ticket, you can cross out the number 1 and replace it with the number of tickets you want. The day ticket costs 18 Chinese Yuan (about US$2.55), the three-day ticket costs 45 Chinese Yuan (about US$6.40), and they both go into effect the first time you use it.
Finally, the Yikatong card is suitable for anyone who stays a little longer in Shanghai. This is a rechargeable card that you can charge at the counters at the station. In addition to the metro, you can also use this card on the bus, taxi, and ferry, as well as in the nearby cities of Suzhou and Wuxi.
You can show the following text if you want to purchase a Yikatong Card at the counter:
你好 ， 我 想 办理 1 张 公交 一卡通 ， 这 是 50 块钱 ， 我 充 30 块。
Translated it says: “Hello, I would like to purchase 1 Yikatong card. Here is 50 Chinese Yuan and I want to put 30 Chinese Yuan on the card.” Again you can replace the 1 with the number of cards you want. The Yikatong card has a deposit of 20 yuan, so the amount you give should always be 20 Chinese Yuan more than the amount you want to charge the card with. You can charge your card at the counter by giving your card and a multiple of 10 Chinese Yuan, or at the machines that have Recharge on the display at the top.
Shanghai Metro opening hours vary by line, but most lines start around 5:30 a.m. and end at 11:00 p.m. These are the first and last trains at the end of the line, which run a little later in the morning and a little earlier in the evening, through the center of the city. During rush hour a train leaves every three minutes, while in the suburbs and during the later hours this can increase to one train every fifteen minutes.
In order to use the metro, you must first find a metro station. In Shanghai, the metro is indicated by a red M with a broken circle. Also, the name of the station and the numbers of the lines are always mentioned. Once inside you go through a security check and you can buy tickets as described above. If you then go through the gates you can hold your ticket on the right above the sensor and continue after the beep.
Once you have arrived at your destination, you can go out through the gates. If you have a one-way ticket, you can put it in the machine. You hold the other tickets/cards above the sensor, just like when you get in and take them with you.
If you always want to be aware of the most current information about departure times and new metro lines, an app on your smartphone or tablet is the best solution. We recommend using the Explore Shanghai app. With this app, you always have the most current departure times on hand and you can easily plan a route from your hotel to the nearest metro station. You can download this app in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.