Shanghai City Guide – Everything You Need to Know Before You Go!

An English Teacher’s Tour of Shanghai: All The Essential Information You Need


Shanghai is the largest city in China. It is the world’s most populated city and a global hub.

Shanghai is strategically located on the East coast of China, at the mouth of Yangtze River. This location makes it accessible by water in addition to the other means of transport found in Shanghai.


Weather in Shanghai

Shanghai has four distinct seasons; warm springs, hot and rainy summers, cool autumns and very cold winters. Generally, Shanghai temperatures range between 4oC and 29oC. January is the coldest month, September is the wettest and July is the hottest. Based on these statistics, it is best to visit Shanghai city in October or November. This is usually the short autumn season, and places are less crowded.


Transport and How to get Around Shanghai

Shanghai is one of the worlds transport hubs. Here, all forms of transport are available. Due to its coastal location, containerisation (a system of standardised transport that uses steel container to transport goods) is common. Containerisation involves the use of large metal boxes to pack items for import or export. In Shanghai, these containers are transported using ships on River Yangtze.

Air transport is available, thanks to the large number of airports in Shanghai. Subways, long-distance buses, trains and inter-city buses enable movement from Shanghai to other cities. Within the city you can use transit buses, sight-seeing buses, sharing bikes, Maglev trains*, taxis and self-driven rental cars. Roads are super modern making movement easier. You may also choose to take a cruise ship around the ocean or a ferry to take you through the canals. Smaller boats and canoes are used for short rides in canals during the day.

You will pay 10$-15$ for a short boat ride during the day.

*Type of speed train without wheels which use magnetic levitation (push/pull)to start and stop.


What to see in Shanghai: Attractions and sites

Shanghai has over 400 attraction sites which you can visit. I will only look into a few to give you a sneak peek into Shanghai’s scenery. Most sites can be accessed by metro, bus, ferry, taxis, self-driven cars or maglev.

The Bund

Located on the west bank of Huangpu River, it is also known as the Waitan. It is a beautiful architectural piece built using a combination of designs that give it an eye-catching look. Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Romanesque and Classicism designs are used to give it the florid view. It has a 1700 metre long flood control wall. The Bund is best viewed from sunset running into the night, laced with its beautiful lighting and a beautiful site of Huangpu River. There are numerous restaurants located here. Visitors can enjoy their meals as they catch a view of the Bund.

Entrance is free; you will only pay for any service or item purchased within.

 Jade Buddha Temple

This temple was built to keep two jade Buddha statues. These statues are perfectly beautiful porcelain artworks. The temple has a tower and halls where visitors and worshippers alike can use. Buddhist worship when they visit this temple, but anyone can visit The Buddha Temple to experience peace and tranquillity away from the buzz of the busy city life.

To access this site, you pay 5$.

Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai Museum is located at the centre of the Peoples Square and assumes the shape of a Chinese cooking pot. It has eleven galleries and three exhibition halls. The galleries and exhibitions display various Chinese artefacts most of which are unique masterpieces from different eras and periods. Most of the artefacts focus on Buddhist regalia ranging from ancient bronze, ancient ceramics, sculptures, paintings, tools, calligraphy, coins and furniture.

The Shanghai Museum is accessed through the Peoples Park, where entry is free. They give 8000 free tickets daily, but you may be required to pay an extra 3$-4$ to enter some of the exhibition halls.

Shanghai Tower

This is Chinas tallest building and the second tallest in the world. It stands at 546m/1791 ft. From the top of the tower, you can see Huangpu River, the Bund and other skyscrapers like the Jin Mao Tower. This tower has 149 elevators. Three of them are super speed elevators which move people up the tower in less than a minute.

To gain entrance to this tower, you pay 28$.

Oriental Pearl Tower

This tower is located in Pudong Park. It rises up to 468 metres/1536 feet. It is the sixth tallest in the world and the second tallest in China after Shanghai Tower. The Oriental Pearl Tower has three large decorative spheres. Visitors are taken up the tower in elevators that can hold 50 people, ascending at a speed of 7m/s. The tower’s design combines both modern and ancient technology. There is a revolving restaurant in the second sphere of the tower where you can enjoy your meals.

To access the tower, you will pay between 5$- 40$ depending on the services you would like.

Disneyland Park

The Disneyland Park is especially interesting to visitors with children. It has the tallest theme castle and figures from animated movies who walk around the park. You will find them along Mickey Avenue, Gardens of imagination, Adventure Isle and the Treasure Core. Also present at the park are Tomorrowland and Fantasyland which expose visitors to endless possibilities. Tourists can shop around the park and eat in the numerous restaurants here.

Entrance fee is not charged. However, if you plan on watching performances in the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, a ticket charge applies and vary from performance to performance.


Sleep and Eat in Shanghai


Most hotels in Shanghai are either tier one or tier two. They are located within or a few miles from the city. They are found within a short radius of the city centre, within walking distance, or a short drive.  Most charge from 40$ to 400$ for their excellent services. They offer meal packages, laundry services, parking for visitors, internet services. Their rooms are clean, spacious and offer visitors the privacy they deserve.


Restaurants in Shanghai are mainly located in malls, at tourist sites and along streets. Most offer both local and international cuisines. Food prices depend on the restaurant tier, type of cuisine and location of the restaurant. Food prices range between 0.5$-3$ for breakfast, 3$-12.5$ for a plate of food, 1.5$ for fast foods and 0.3$-1.5$ for snacks and drinks. You can try some of Shanghai’s cuisines such as caramel strawberry kebabs, raw drunken crabs and grilled oysters. Yuan Yuan, Taoyuan Village and Nanjing Impressions are some of the numerous restaurants you can visit in Shanghai.


Where to Shop in Shanghai

There are many places to shop in Shanghai. Most of the locals speak Mandarin and its best to have your currency in Chinese Yuan. Nanjing Road, Xintiandi and Huaihai Road Commercial Street are home to most sites and landmarks. Sellers are found along the streets selling different paraphernalia. Qipu Road Wholesale market and Shiliu Pu cloth market will avail all types of clothes and fabrics. Yuyuan Bazar and Tang Zi Fang are home to gift shops and speciality shops.

The Former French Concession is a walking area with boutiques that sell goods from within and outside China. Shanghai Hongqiao Pearl Market has stalls selling jewellery, pearls and semi-precious gems. You can have your items designed and made while you wait.

Finally, there is the Shanghai International Glasses Mall which sells all types of eyeglasses. They offer free optical tests and you wait as they craft your lenses while you choose from their inexpensive frames.


Where to Drink and Dance in Shanghai: Nightlife

Shanghai has plenty of bars, clubs and live nights where you can have some fun over a couple of drinks. There are night shows which are used to showcase comedy and acrobatic talents such as ShangCheng Acrobatic Show and Era Intersection of Time. You may also enjoy the Huangpu River night cruise or stroll the night markets and enjoy local food along Changli Road, Tongbei Road and Shouning Road. You can enjoy night walks on the Bund and the Former French Concession. Shanghai cinema is also available for movie enthusiasts. It’s never a quiet night in Shanghai.


Teach English in China with Pioneer & Beyond and experience Shanghai first hand.