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Shanghai, China

Downtown Shanghai skyline
Downtown Shanghai skyline


Introduction

Shanghai is the largest city in China with modern skyscrapers and excellent shopping.

Visas

In general, citizens of most nationalities will need a visa to visit China including American crew members. The number of entries depends on how many times your ship leaves China and enters a non-Chinese port. The Chinese consulate does not like to issue multi-entry visas so provide them with your itinerary when applying for the visa. In 2015, new 10 year visas were introduced at the same cost of short term visas.

As of Jan 30 2016, visitors from most countries transiting through Shanghai only and not re-entering China do not require visas for stays under 144 hours. This exemption includes airports at Hangzhou and Nanjing and to both ports and railway stations. Airlines may be unfamiliar with the new rules through the TIMATIC database and may have issues with air travel into China without a visa. Official website info here http://www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4421 Some info available here and here. Flyer talk thread here.

Update - As of Oct 1 2016, a new policy allows foreign tour groups visiting Shanghai from cruise ships using authorized companies a visa exemption for up to 15 days. Press releases http://www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4421 and http://www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4421 News article http://www.shanghaidaily.com/metro/society/Visa-rules-eased-for-tourists-on-cruise-ships/shdaily.shtml

Where You're Docked

Large ships now dock at Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal at Baoshan Port (opened 2011) approx 15 miles north of the city. Free shuttles may be provided for non turnaround visits and have been known to drop off at two locations. Most recent is by Huangpu Park at the northern end of the Bund. Closest metro station is Nanjing East.

Shuttles previously dropped off at Waima Wharf Silk Museum (1029 South Zhongshan). It is close to Nanpu Bridge with the spiral onramp. You will need to hail a taxi or walk west towards bridge to find the Nanpu Bridge metro station on Line 4.

Large ships could also dock at Waigaoqiao 15 miles to the east which was used before Wusongkou was open.

Smaller ships that can sail up the Huangpu River may dock at Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal fairly close to the Bund.

Wusongkou Terminal at Baoshan Port

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Shanghai Port Terminal

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Money and Tipping

China's currency is the Yuan (CNY) but it may also be referred as Renminbi (RMB). Money exchange in China is regulated by the government and you can change money at any bank with a passport. ATM's are readily available as well. Tipping is not a common practise in China. The smaller one coin is worth Y0.1 (not to be confused with the larger 1 Yuan coin or 1 Yuan note) and the 5 coin worth Y0.50. One Yuan coins are less popular in Beijing (vs Shanghai). You will notice that shopkeepers check the 100 Yuan notes carefully checking for counterfeit bills. Here is a guide for spotting counterfeit money. http://www.xian-travel.com/china-travel-guides/chinesemoney/

Local Transportation

Taxis are very cheap in China and in Shanghai, rates start at 14 Yuan for the first 3km. Shanghai taxis are color coded by company. Avoid the red taxis since these are independent operators and they have a reputation of ripping off tourists. Make sure they use the meter and give you a receipt. Most taxi drivers don't speak English so make sure you have your destination written out in Chinese.

You can also take the metro. It is cheap, fast and clean and destinations will be both in Chinese and English. Ticket machines can display English but accept coins only. Fares range from 3-6 Yuan with a daypass available for 18 Yuan (not available at machines). Staffed counters can give you change. The ticket machines issue a plastic card that you tap at the gates to enter. When exiting, insert the card into the slot at the gate where it gets returned.

From Wusongkou, you can take a taxi to the nearest metro station, Baoyang Rd on line 3.

Getting to/from the Airport

Shanghai has two major airports, Pudong (PVG) and Hongqiao (SHA). Pudong serves mainly international flights with Hongqiao primarily domestic with limited international access. An interesting way to travel to Pudong is to take the Maglev train which can take you to Longyang Rd Station in about 8 minutes. The regular metro line to the same station has 10 stops along the way. Some tourists will ride the maglev just for the experience. From Longyang, you can connect to line 2 of the metro or grab a taxi.

Hotels

Search hotels in Shanghai here

Must See Sights

  • The Bund - This waterfront promenade has impressive views of the Pudong skyline.
  • Yuyuan Gardens - This area has traditional buildings, markets and the gardens itself which require an entrance fee.
  • Pudong - This modern area has businesses, hotels and three towers you can visit. The Orient Pearl TV tower used to be the tallest building here but is now dwarfed by the Jin Mao tower and the World Finance Center tower. All have public observation decks and bars and restaurants with views.
  • People's Square/Shanghai Museum - The museum has free entry and houses cultural treasures.

Beware of friendly locals with good English offering to take you for tea, drinks or coffee - they are probably scammers since you will be presented with an outrageous bill!

Shopping & Markets

  • Nanjing Lu - This is the main pedestrian mall of Shanghai with restaurants, malls and modern stores. The pedestrian section starts from People's Park and runs east stopping a couple blocks short of the Bund.
  • Fengshine Market (Taobao City) 580 West Nanjing Road - Multi level building famous for fake designer goods. The fake stuff is hidden in the back of the stalls. Remember to bargain hard and check out the stores on upper floors and in the back for better deals. East of West Nanjing Rd metro. Wujiang food street is nearby to the west.
  • Science & Technology Museum (AP Plaza Market) - Another indoor market located beside a metro station.
  • QiPu Lu - A clothing specialty market with a few multi story buildings for both retail and wholesale customers. There is good street food in the area. It is hard to find anything specific due to the size of the market. Metro Tiantong Rd.
  • Super Brand Mall - Huge modern mall across from the TV tower in Pudong. There is a Lotus supermarket in the basement.
  • Xintiandi - a historic area updated with many restaurants and touristy shops. There is a small mall on the southern end where you can find Din Tai Fung and Crystal Jade restaurants.
  • Huahai - a shopping street with new malls just north of Xintiandi. The street is south of Nanjing Lu and runs parallel to it.
  • Tianzifang - A district around Taikang Lu with narrow alleys, arts and crafts shops, restaurants and cafes. Metro Dapuqiao.
  • Glasses markets - several markets by the main railway station (north) sell inexpensive prescription glasses. 360 Meiyuan Road or #188 Muling Road (Exit 3)
  • South Bund Fabric market - you can get great deals on tailored clothes here if you know how to bargain. From Nanpu Bridge metro station, take exit 1 to Lujiabang Rd and stay on this road until you see the market in a multi-storey building on your right. Across the street is a Trust Mart supermarket. There are also inexpensive tailors at the Shanghai Science and Technology Musuem indoor market.

Be careful when buying electronics in Shanghai. Fake iPads and counterfeit USB memory sticks are everywhere. When buying fake purses and clothing, check the quality very carefully. There are both good and poor quality fakes. Your cheap designer purse won't seem that great of a deal if the handle breaks or the logo falls off. Cheap shirts could shrink or run it the wash ruining the rest of your clothes. Watches can have the face fall off.

Keep your eye out for 10 Yuan and 3 Yuan stores. There are some in the Yuyuan Gardens area on Fangbang Middle Rd.

This site has good tips about bargaining in the market http://mybeijingsurvivaldiary.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/tips-for-better-deals-at-the-bargain-market/

Post Offices

Shanghai's main post office is at 276 Sichuan Bei Lu, but there are branches all over town. Look for the green English CHINA POST signs.

Food

Specialties of Shanghai include the xiaolongbao (XLB). This is a steamed (usually pork) dumpling with hot soup inside. There is a famous dumpling restaurant, Nanxiang, in Yuyuan Gardens with long lines for takeout outside. Though popular, these dumplings are considered to be not very good. Head inside for no lines but more expensive dumplings. Two Asian chain restaurants, Din Tai Fung (Super Brand Mall-Pudong) and Crystal Jade (Xintiandi) have excellent XLB. They both have restaurants throughout Asia including Singapore and Hong Kong. For a pan fried variation, shenjianbao, try Yang's Fry Dumpling with various locations including 97 Huanghe Lu running north off Nanjing Rd by People's Park and 269 Wujiang Road. Da Hu Chun, 89 Yunnan South Road´╝łNear Jinling East Road) is also recommended for pan fried dumplings. Jia Jia Tang Bao, another popular but basic XLB restaurant (English menu available), can also be found on Huanghe Lu. http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/shanghai/dining/snackstreet.htm

A Da Cong You Bing serving green onion pancakes may be the most famous street food. Reopened recently at No 4, 120 Ruijin Er Lu but be prepared to wait in line. https://sanwen8.cn/p/5ca3hYG.html

Hairy crab is considered a delicacy in Shanghai. Shouning Lu is a seafood specialty food street just south of People's Square serving both crab and crayfish.

In general, restaurants don't provide napkins and washrooms don't have soap or toilet paper and may have squat toilets. Always travel with a pack of tissues and some hand sanitizer.

Internet

Most coffee shops have free wifi. There are Apple Stores with free internet on Huaihai Middle Road, IFC mall in Pudong and on Nanjing Lu. Facebook is blocked in China.

Been Here Before

Suzhou is 60 miles to the west of Shanghai. It may be a bit difficult to get to with limited time. A bit closer is Zhujiajiao Water Town 30 miles west of the city and popular with local tourists.

Day in Shanghai

Head out to Yuyuan Gardens. Walk or take a short taxi over to the Bund and walk to Nanjing Lu to People's Square Take the subway to Pudong or you can double back and cross the river by the sightseeing tunnel or a local ferry. Go up one of the towers in the area if it's clear outside.

Maps (right-click to save)

Metro

This map is ok but doesn't show the metro stops nor Chinese street names http://www.travel-budget-asia.com/support-files/shanghai-map.pdf

Weather

Shanghai Weather Forecast

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