Once upon a time, Shanghai was an ordinary fishing village. Today it is called the most Europeanized city in China. And also eastern Paris – due to the fact that there are almost more western boutiques here than in the capital of France.
Skyscrapers, financial centers, Western restaurants and people in business suits – this is what modern Shanghai looks like. But it is worth looking into the neighboring quarters to understand that Shanghai residents do not intend to forget their roots and traditions. They prefer Chinese food, are proud of their architecture, and most importantly, they are always ready to surprise a visiting tourist with something authentic. Whether it’s an ancient Chinese pagoda, a silk market stretching for almost two blocks, or a grasshopper skewers. Check ehangzhou for other cities and countries as well as overview of Asia.
How to get to Shanghai
Travelers from Russia most often arrive in Shanghai by plane. Pudong Airport has direct flights from both capitals. In addition, the city can be reached by rail from various points in China, for example, from Beijing.
Districts of Shanghai
The city is divided into 18 districts and one county. Several parts of Shanghai belong to the conditional center at once: business life is seething in the Bundu and Hongqiao. The main shopping area is Huangpu. Areas of universities and research centers – Putuo and Yangpu.
The center of attraction for tourists is Pudong, a symbol of modern Shanghai, located on the eastern bank of the Huangpu River. Here is the famous TV tower “Pearl of the East”, an impressive promenade, the Century Park amusement park and the city’s largest oceanarium.
The historical center of Shanghai called Puxi is located on the west bank of the Huangpu. It is divided into 9 districts. Among them are the Luwan French Quarter, where the most interesting city museums are located, Hongkou is a tourist center consisting mainly of shopping streets, Xuhui is famous for Hengshan Restaurant Boulevard, and the Huangpu tourist trade center attracts guests not only with the famous Nanjing Street, but also with 18-19 architecture. centuries, gardens and embankment. By the way, it is in Huangpu that most tourists prefer to live, there are dozens of hotels in this area – from budget student hotels to luxurious and eminent ones.
Several of Shanghai’s former neighbors and satellite cities are now considered districts. The main attractions of the Nanhui area are flower plantations and a safari park. There is a ski complex and a water park in the Minhang area, and the local town of Chibao is commonly called the Venice of China. In the Jiading area, guests will be interested in the Formula 1 circuit and a large car market, while in the Fengxiang area, Guhua Park with its Temple of the Three Women will be of interest.
Both in the historical and financial center of Shanghai there are hundreds of hotels of various levels – from hostels with shared rooms for 40 CNY per day to luxurious European 5 * hotels for 1000 CNY and more. China has its own “star” rating, in many respects it coincides with the international hotel rating system.
A mid-range (3*) hotel offers a relatively spacious, air-conditioned room with modern furnishings. The hotel usually has a restaurant and a gym. The price is about 250 CNY. In 4-star hotels, European-level service is provided, all the staff speak English (in budget hotels, English-speaking staff are very rare). The cost is 300-800 CNY.
Students and free travelers, who have every penny in their account, prefer to stay in simple hostels and economy hotels. A place in a common room will cost 80-100 CNY.
Usually hotels in Shanghai are clean and tidy. True, you can count on a daily change of linen only in high-level hotels – from 4 *. Please note that there is no central heating in the city, so it is quite cold in hotels in winter.
Communication and Wi-Fi
The city is full of telephone booths for long-distance and international calls, look for red booths. You can pay for calls with coins or with an IC card. They are issued in denominations of 20, 50, 100 CNY and are sold in almost all kiosks and shops.
If you are going to stay in Shanghai, it makes sense to buy a local SIM card. The largest Chinese operators are China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. It is better to issue a SIM card in a large communication salon – they will almost certainly speak English with you here. A passport is required for registration. A SIM card costs about 50 CNY, part of the amount goes to your account. You can top it up with payment cards in denominations of 30, 50 and 100 CNY, they are sold at newsstands and supermarkets.
As for the Internet, almost all hotels offer their guests free Wi-Fi. Access points are also available in some restaurants, coffee shops and parks. Internet cafes are very popular in Shanghai, an hour of work costs 5-10 CNY. Don’t be surprised if the router manager asks for your passport – that’s how it is here.
Treatment in Shanghai
Shanghai is the most Europeanized city in China, and the level of local medicine may well be compared with the Western one. There are dozens of multidisciplinary clinics and medical centers in the city, many of which have special departments for foreigners. Western therapies are combined with traditional Chinese practices. Local doctors treat heart and respiratory diseases, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, gynecological and urological diseases, and allergies. High-class cosmetologists work in Shanghai: people come here to recover from severe burns and other skin injuries.
The best are the Longhua Hospital and Research Center, opened in 1960 at the Shanghai University of Chinese Traditional Medicine, and the Ren Ai Clinic, which has many Chinese and international awards. In both institutions, doctors and medical staff speak English, in addition, you can use the services of an interpreter.
First of all, silk items and jewelry with pearls, true Chinese tea and spices, antiques and electronics are brought from Shanghai. It is noteworthy that each category of goods here has a separate market, more like a giant shopping center. Antiques are sold at Dong Tai Market, jewelry is sold at the First Asian Jewelry Market and Sunshine Bazaar, fabrics are sold at Dongmen Street, tea at a place called Tien Shan, and a new phone is worth looking at Cybermart..
Shanghai is usually called the Paris of the East – there are no less boutiques of luxury clothes, accessories, shoes and perfumes here than in the capital of France. Look for branded clothes on Longhua Street and the Bund. If the “naturalness” of a branded item is not important for you, high-quality fake stores are open three blocks from the branded salon – they say you can’t distinguish it from the original.
Main shopping streets: Nanjing, Huaihai, North Sichuan and Middle Tibet. It is here that guides take tourists who come to the city as part of a shopping tour. Needless to say, the prices on these streets are the highest, and the quality of the goods is just not very good.
Raffles City Shanghai, Shanghai New World, Super Brand Mall, In Point Mall, Shanghai Fashion Store are popular among malls and shopping centers.
You can and should bargain not only in the markets, but also in shopping centers. But it’s worth doing this not out of sporting interest, but only if you are going to buy a thing – the Chinese are very touchy.
State stores are usually open from 9:30 to 20:30. Shopping malls close later. The largest sales take place on the New Year (both local and Western), May 1, on the Day of the PRC – October 1, and on the days of the Mid-Autumn Festival (usually in September). Read more: shopping in Shanghai.
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What to try
In the vicinity of Shanghai, crabs are caught all year round, so fried or grilled sea reptiles are a very affordable delicacy. Almost every diner sells oval-shaped crab cakes, sweetish or spicy. In the morning, you can try a traditional Shanghai breakfast – rice balls with pork and vegetables or eggs and ham.
The famous Shanghai snack – pancakes “tsun van bing”, greenish – because of the onions added to the dough. Usually they are prepared and sold on the streets by colorful old men who inherited the recipe from their grandmother and now keep it a secret. Another local snack is baked sweet potato. For something more serious, try traditional Chinese dumplings with meat and vegetables, tofu soup, Chinese chicken, or Chinese-style pork chops with thin rice cakes.
Cafes and restaurants in Shanghai
If you wish, you can find any institution in Shanghai: a Japanese sushi bar, an Uzbek teahouse, a Moroccan restaurant, and a Russian institution with borscht and a samovar. Tourists, of course, are primarily interested in eateries with local flavor and traditional food. One of the most popular restaurants is the Xiao Yang Sheng chain. The average check is 100 CNY. Budget eateries Jia Jia Tang Bao are no less popular. A portion of Chinese dumplings, which these establishments actually specialize in, will cost only 5 CNY.
Consider that you have not been to Shanghai if you have not visited one of the special streets where they sell ready-made food. The most famous are Zhapulu, Huanghelu and Yuyuan.
Locals usually eat on the street, on the run or at the checkout of one of the million eateries. On the street, they cook noodles and rice, dozens of varieties of kebabs: from crabs in batter to baked pigeons, pies, pancakes, soups and chicken stews in iron pots. All this costs mere pennies – for 10 CNY you can really overeat.