Shanghai Essentials:

How big is Shanghai?
Shanghai is roughly 6,340 km2 (2,447.9 sq mi) in size.
How many people inhabit it?
Approximately 23,019,148 people live in Shanghai.
What are the language and the currency?
The official currency in China is the Chinese Yuan (also known as Renminbi, RMB for short). Shanghainese or the Shanghai dialect is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the city of Shanghai and the surrounding region. Mandarin is also spoken in Shanghai, as well as some people speaking English.
  • Downtown Shanghai
Downtown Shanghai Nighttime over the Bund Shanghai fresh food market The Bund at night

Things to see in Shanghai

The Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower
What is Shanghai's number one attraction?
Shanghai is full of great things to see and do all over the city. The Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower which can be found in Pudong Park is probably one the cities best landmarks. This was once the highest building in the city and its design incorporates 11 spheres/ pearls and 3 huge columns. You can travel to the top in a high speed elevator to a viewing platform offering amazing views of Shanghai.
Anything else which shouldn't be missed in Shanghai?
Lots! People’s Square can be found in the centre of Shanghai and is a beautiful city space. The Longhua Temple (Longhua Si) is Shanghai’s largest and oldest temples and it is a breath-taking building. Inside the Longhua Temple you will find Buddhist scriptures and incredible statues. Make sure you check out Nanjing Road also as this was the first commercial road in Shanghai and is now the city’s top shopping spot.
What about art and culture?
You will find the Shanghai Museum on People’s Square. This museum offers free admission and has a very impressive Ancient Bronze exhibition. In the Bund Museum you will find some great photographic displays and in the basement of the Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower you will find the Shanghai Municipal History Museum. This museum displays the history of the city through some great exhibits.

Going out in Shanghai

The city's nightlife is bustling
Is it expensive to go out in Shanghai?
It can be very cheap if you stick to the budget, locally produced beverages and don’t frequent the fancier bars of Shanghai.
Where are most of the bars found?
Shanghai boasts an amazing nightlife scene that is vibrant and busy. One of the most popular areas for Shanghai nightlife is the Bund area which you will find across the river from the Pudong. Bund is a waterfront promenade that is packed full of the cities finer bars and restaurants. But if you are looking for something a bit more low-key then there are plenty of bars around the city to choose from, with new additions to the city’s nightlife constantly opening up.
Is there anything to do that doesn't include alcohol?
Definitely. As it is a thriving city there is lots of entertainment to choose from such as concerts, festivals and it also has a great arts scene. Eating out is a large part of Shanghai’s nightlife whether you want to drink alcohol with it or not. Make sure you pay a visit to one of Shanghai’s tea houses too. Also, the Bund area offers a great vantage point to check out the Pudong light show at night.
Anything else I need to know?
Shanghai is often thought of as China’s New York City so you can imagine that the nightlife is bustling and goes on until dawn in some places.

Eating Out in Shanghai

Shanghai dining is a must
Is it expensive to eat out in Shanghai?
Not at all, you can eat out for very little in Shanghai.
Are international cuisines well represented?
Food in Shanghai tends to focus on a fusion of all things Chinese. So while there may not be a great international selection of food, there is a great range of cuisine for all tastes on offer.
What can I expect from the food in Shanghai?
There is a big emphasis on freshwater fish in Shanghai that is cooked using many variations and included in lots of recipes. Pork is probably the city’s favourite meat to cook with chicken coming in a close second. Dishes you can expect from Shanghai eateries include soups, stir-fries and dumplings.
Anything else I need to know?
Soy is also used a lot in cooking in Shanghai so if you are a vegetarian look out for many variations on soy dishes. Be careful when ordering tofu though as it is often used as an accompaniment to meat dishes and not as a substitute.

Transport in Shanghai

Get around Shanghai with ease
How many different modes of public transport are there in Shanghai?
There are three main forms of public transport in Shanghai – metro, bus and taxi. The metro is Shanghai’s popular means of transport that is fast, cheap and user-friendly with many signs and announcements in English. It can be very busy when travelling on the metro at rush hours. Shanghai’s bus system is a cheaper alternative to the metro and it also runs later than the metro on some routes. It’s slower than the metro and all the route information will be in Chinese, however once you are on the bus the announcements also run in English. Taxi’s are also widely used throughout Shanghai but try to have your destination wrote out in Chinese as there can be a communication barrier.
Can I buy a ticket that covers all modes of transport?
If you are in Shanghai for more than a couple of days you should purchase a Shanghai Jiaotong Card. These cards can be used on buses, the metro and taxis and you can top it up before you travel.
Will I need to use public transport at all?
Shanghai is a pretty big city so you will more than likely end up using at least one form of public transport.
Anything else I need to know?
Shanghai is a pleasant city to walk around if you do choose to do so. However, traffic can be busy around the city so when crossing the street in a busy area, look for a subway tunnel to cross over in.
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