Shanghai blends the East and West in a very interesting way. The traditional Chinese houses have a nice European flair and because of the many Western influences you will able to find buildings with a nice German flair but also buildings which would be more likely to be found in Chicago than in China.
Shanghai is located on the banks of the Yangtze River Delta, in the eastern part of China. Shanghai is the largest city in China and the eighth largest in the world.
How to get to Shanghai
Shanghai is China’s main travel hub which means getting here is very easy.
There are two main airports in the city: Pudong the main international gateway and Hongqiao serving most domestic flights. Always check from which one you’ll be departing and allow for 1-1.5 hrs if you need to transfer between them. Fares are generally cheap but they depend on the season.
There are three main train stations in Shanghai. The easiest way to deal with the train tickets is to book them in advance via a travel agency. The train ride from Beijing to Shanghai takes 13 hours. There are also direct train links between Shanghai and Hong Kong.
There are several regular ferry services which link Shanghai to Kobe, Osaka (Japan) and Hong Kong.
Weather and Temperatures
Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate but experiences all four seasons. The hottest months are July and August when temperatures can be as high as 32 C / 90 F. Springs are a weird mix of frequent rain followed by warm days but it still remains the most beautiful time of year. Summer is the peak tourist season but the temperatures and humidity are high. Fall is dry and warm. Late January and early February are known to have heavy snow days.
Jul: avg high 32 C / 90 F ; avg low 23 C / 73 F
Jan: avg high 8 C / 46 F ; avg low 1 C / 34 F
What to do
Shanghai is a huge city and is very hard to figure out a “simple” itinerary and comprise all the important sites.
If you want to see the classical Chinese architecture, head to Yuyuan Gardens. It’s a nice park with pathways, bamboo stands and a nice temple.
Head to the Xuhui District and visit the French Concession. This area has rapidly gained a reputation of boutique shopping along Xin Le Lu, Chang Le Lu and An Fu Lu. You’ll also find a lot of nice restaurants here.
Want to see the new Shanghai? Head to the Pudong area or near the People’s Square.
Mix the religion with a true Buddhist vegetarian meal and visit Longhua Temple. It’s by far not as crowded as the Jade Buddha Temple but both are stunning.
Take the lift up to the top of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the tallest TV tower in Asia. On a clear day, the views are incredible.
Shanghai Xintiandi is a pedestrian area built for the tourists. Nice to explore but not as “traditional” as many would expect. However, it’s a good place to try some of the cafes and restaurants.
How about seeing the Giant Pandas at the Shanghai Zoo? It’s a nice break from the Shanghai’s concrete jungle and can be a really nice experience. There are plenty of animals to see in this modern zoo.
- For the first time traveler to China, the language barrier will be difficult to overcome. English is not a widely spoken language. The best way to deal with this is to print out all the destinations in Chinese and give them to the taxi driver or ask people on the street.
- Unfortunately Shanghai is a polluted city mostly because of the rapid development. If you have any respiratory problems ask your doctor for advice before leaving.