What you need to know

Shanghai  is the most populous city proper in the world. As one of the four direct-controlled municipalities of the People’s Republic of China, it is a global financial centre and transport hub, with the world’s busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta in East China, Shanghai sits on the south edge of the mouth of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. The municipality borders the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the north, south and west, and is bounded to the east by the East China Sea.
Shanghai has been described as the “showpiece” of the booming economy of mainland China; renowned for its Lujiazui skyline, and museums and historic buildings, such as those along The Bund, as well as the City God Temple and the Yu Garden.
The city also has various nicknames in English, including “Pearl of the Orient” and “Paris of the East”.

Population: 24.1 million(2017)
Area: 6,340 km²


The official currency in China is the Renminbi (RMB or CNY) or in Chinese “Ren-min-bi”. The basic unit is the yuan (also known as “kuai”), which equals 10 jiao (or “mao”), which is then divided into 10 fen. Paper currency comes in 1.2,5,10,50 and 100 yuan notes. Paper jiao come in denominations of 1, 2, and 5. There are also 1 and 2 fen notes, but these are rarely used as they have no purchasing power. 1 yuan, 1 and 5 jiao, and 1, 2, and 5 fen coins are even common used in larger cities.
Major credit cards such as Master Card, Visa, JCB and American Express are accepted in major hotels and department stores. Check on the acceptance of your credit card before you purchase. Credit cards cannot be used in most restaurants or small convenience stores. Air Travel could be purchased with credit cards. Credit cards can be used to get a cash advance in the main offices of the Bank of China.


Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate and experiences four distinct seasons. Winters are chilly and damp, with northwesterly winds from Siberia can cause nighttime temperatures to drop below freezing, although most years there are only one or two days of snowfall. Summers are hot and humid, with an average of 8.7 days exceeding 35 °C (95 °F) annually; occasional downpours or freak thunderstorms can be expected. The city is also susceptible to typhoons in summer and the beginning of autumn, none of which in recent years has caused considerable damage. The most pleasant seasons are spring, although changeable and often rainy, and autumn, which is generally sunny and dry. The city averages 4.2 °C (39.6 °F) in January and 27.9 °C (82.2 °F) in July, for an annual mean of 16.1 °C (61.0 °F). With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 34{cfde6d3789a46ea9cabd21adb7602dee0bb33fee99eb3253a98dd9269af7786b} in March to 54{cfde6d3789a46ea9cabd21adb7602dee0bb33fee99eb3253a98dd9269af7786b} in August, the city receives 1,895 hours of bright sunshine annually. Extremes since 1951 have ranged from −10.1 °C (14 °F) on 31 January 1977 (unofficial record of −12.1 °C (10 °F) was set on 19 January 1893) to 39.9 °C (104 °F) on 6 and 8 August 2013. A highest record of 40.8 °C (105 °F) was registered in another station on 7 August 2013.


The Shanghai people speaks a blend of Mandarin and Shanghainese. While Shanghainese has traditionally been the language of the area over the past 20 years, as Shanghai has become the NYC of mainland PRC, more and more Mandarin is spoken as a default. You will have no trouble speaking to any and all cab drivers, shop owners, or old folks in the park in Mandarin.


Shanghai is a fairly safe city and violent crime is rare, and streets are quite safe to walk about at night. However, the ever-increasing divide between the haves and have-nots has created its fair share of problems. Petty crimes like pickpocketing and bike theft are common, and sexual harassment occasionally occurs on crowded public transport. Pay extra caution before the Chinese New Year, as thieves may be more active in looking for new year money.
BEWARE pick-pockets groups on the main shopping streets. These groups are usually two or more gypsy-women carrying babies whose intention is for a couple extra Yuan, but make sure your bags are in view at all times. This sight is extremely common on Nanjing West and East road during rush hours, or late nights outside bars and clubs.
Beware of taxi scams – ride inside illegal taxi to a distant direction. First you agree on price then after some short taxi ride they ask to get out and group of people say that you need to pay agreed money right now. Then you get transferred to a shared bus where other people cheated like yourself sitting and waiting when the bus will depart, then the bus finally gets to destination. Although taxi drivers are required to take you to the location mentioned, it’s always better to check with the driver if he/she is ok to take you there, rather than getting in and finding out half way that you’ve been jibbed.
Beware of fake note scams. After paying at a restaurant or shop with a legitimate note, the vendor will bring you back a fake note and claim that you just paid with it. Always note the serial number of the note you pay with, especially with larger notes.


Do not drink Shanghai’s tap water unless it is boiled or goes through purification process. Even when you are staying at a five-star hotel. Drinking the water is relatively safe when it has been boiled; however, tap water is also said to contain high amounts of heavy metals which are not removed by boiling. When buying bottled water, you will come across a whole range of mineral water brands.
Individuals with asthma or respiratory issues should be prepared when visiting due to the air pollution that pervades Shanghai. Smartphone users can find apps on relevant app stores by searching for “air quality”. These apps will indicate levels of air pollution nationally through Chinese testing systems, as well as any US Consulate/Embassy data available. Simple mouth/nose covering masks are easily purchased at drugstores such as Watsons, as well as many convenience shops.

Getting Around

Shanghai has an extensive public transport system, largely based on metros, buses and taxis. Payment of all these public transportation tools can be made by using the Shanghai Public Transportation Card.
Shanghai’s rapid transit system, the Shanghai Metro, incorporates both subway and light metro lines and extends to every core urban district as well as neighboring suburban districts.
As of 2016, there are 14 metro lines (excluding the Shanghai Maglev Train and Jinshan Railway), 364 stations and 588 km (365 mi) of lines in operation, making it the longest network in the world. On December 31, 2016 it set a record of daily ridership of 11.7 million. The fare depends on the length of travel distance starting from 3 RMB.
Shanghai has four major railway stations: Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai South Railway Station, Shanghai West Railway Station, and Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. Three are connected to the metro network and serve as hubs in the railway network of China. Two main railways terminate in Shanghai: Jinghu Railway from Beijing, and Huhang Railway from Hangzhou. Hongqiao Station also serves as the main Shanghai terminus of three high-speed rail lines: the Shanghai–Hangzhou High-Speed Railway, the Shanghai–Nanjing High-Speed Railway, and the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway.