When we travel to Shanghai we imagine its high skyscrapers and financial areas. The city of Shanghai, cosmopolitan and vibrant, will dazzle you with its best kept secrets.
Do you want to know what they are? Then discover them in this Shanghai travel guide.
Why visit Shanghai? 😊
Shanghai is the most populated city in China and one of the most modern you can find. The Putong district stands out with its very high skyscrapers and business buildings.
In front of the financial area, we can find a colonial English neighborhood, as Shanghai was a commercial port for the English from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
We will also be able to see in Shanghai monuments and parks of the historical and traditional Shanghai.
Therefore, it is said that Shanghai is a city of contrasts very varied and essential to visit on your trip to China.
History of Shanghai
Shanghai became important in the mid-11th century because it was at the mouth of the Yangtze River, but it was not until the 19th century that it became China’s most important trading port.
After the Opium Wars, several areas of Shanghai came under British, French and American administration.
With China’s Communist Revolution, entrepreneurs fled Shanghai, which would not return to its former commercial glory until the early 21st century.
What to see in Shanghai? 🌃
There are many things to see in Shanghai of very different natures. For incredible views of the city we can visit some famous towers.
On the other hand, to contemplate its traditional side there are pagodas, temples and parks. Also we can enjoy the purchases in a Chinese market… Here I leave you the list of the tourist attractions and his price:
Tower of Shanghai
You can’t leave Shanghai without seeing the second tallest skyscraper in the world!
Besides, its design has a futuristic touch and you can go to its observatory to have spectacular views of Shanghai from the heights.
Its lifts are the fastest in the world and its observation area is the highest in the world as well. It’s a visual display of China’s economic power.
*Visit it at sunset to enjoy more of its views with the city lights on.
Shanghai Bund 💱
It’s the Wall Street of Shanghai. Its buildings are impressive and of various styles (Gothic, Renaissance, Neoclassical …). It is a very modern commercial district. It is full of life and from here you will get the best views of Putong.
The Bund borders the Huang Pu River and offers a wonderful and light-filled night walk.
Jin Mao Tower
It’s one of the tallest skyscrapers in the Shanghai Pudong. There are discos, bars, restaurants and even a hotel.
It’s a building with an incredible structure, made to withstand big earthquakes and typhoons. You can take a private tour of the area.
Price: The tower has a viewpoint that costs 50 dollars, but you can have a drink in the restaurants or bars on the higher floors and you will get similar views.
Peoples Square or Renmin Square ⛲
It’s the financial center of Shanghai. It is where all kinds of people gather to hang out, for example, practicing martial arts or tai qi.
To the northwest of the square you will find another quite interesting building, the Shanghai Urban Planning Center.
In it you can see a large model of the city of Shanghai and all its buildings. In addition, you will discover the effect of the passage of time for the city and its evolution.
Price Urban Planning Center: 4,5 dollars. Students 2 dollars.
Oriental Pearl Tower
Also known as the Television Tower, since it is used as an antenna for nine television channels, this tower is very curious. It has two viewpoints and the Space Capsule, which is named for its resemblance to a space shuttle.
The second sphere is the main part of the tower, famous for its glass floor, only suitable for the bravest.
At the top of the second sphere we can eat in the revolving restaurant for 53 dollars.
It is highly recommended to eat in the buffet restaurant while you see the wonderful views of Shanghai. Although it is only possible with previous reservation. The price of the restaurant includes the entrance to the second sphere and the History Museum.
First sphere, second sphere and museum: 23$
With space module included: 31$
With crossing of the Huagpu River included: 36$
Yuyuan Garden 🌲
It was built by an ancient Chinese official for his parents. He wanted a place of peace and quiet.
Yuyuan Park is a traditional garden that meets the beauty stereotypes of Chinese gardens. In addition, its famous jade stone, its rocky areas and the wall of the 5 dragons are surprising.
Price: 4 dollars (low season), 5 dollars (high season)
It is a neighborhood of old houses (shikumen) in which the Chinese and English styles are merged.
In it you can also find luxury shops and restaurants.
If you like politics you can enter for free the House of the First Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which is the most important shikumen in the neighborhood.
You can also visit it through a private tour like this.
Nanjing Street 🌇
Shanghai’s shopping street is full of luxury shops and hotels with impressive facades worth seeing. I recommend visiting this street at night, when the colors of the cosmopolitan buildings make it vibrate.
Longhua Temple and Pagoda
It’s the oldest temple in Shanghai. It’s dedicated to Maitreya Buddhism. In it you can contemplate the customs of the Buddhist religion and see the peaches in flower (if you go in spring).
Price: 1 dollar
It’s an old traditional residential neighborhood. It is a French-influenced neighbourhood where you can find small craft shops.
Century Park 🌷
It is an ideal place to relax from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Here you can see different types of gardens and landscapes, including the Japanese, English and Chinese gardens.
It is a Buddhist temple that attracts attention by contrasting with the skyscrapers that are located very close to it. It’s one of the most unique places to visit in Shanghai.
Jiashan Marketplace 🍜
On the first and third Saturday of each month it is advisable to go for its varied handicraft products. You can find from honeys and jams to organic vegetables.
Or you can also choose to go on an evening food tour.
Temple of the Jade Buddha
It’s a Buddhist temple that stands out for its striking red color and its Buddha statues made of jade.
Price: 3 dollars (to see the statues you have to pay 1 dollar more)
South of the People’s Square is the Shanghai Museum, a must see as it houses objects from over 8000 years ago, including bronzes, jades and porcelain.
In addition, admission is free.
Maglev Train 🚄
It’s a state-of-the-art train that runs on magnetic levitation. If you’re curious you can use it since it’s open to the public.
Also, if you arrive in Shanghai from Putong airport (or shanghai airport), you can use it to transport yourself to the city.
Although it doesn’t look like it, the Maglev train is a major tourist attraction in Shanghai.
Price: 7$ (single ticket)
A charming and different option is to go to this amusement park. To get to the park you can take the subway.
This theme park has been adapted to Chinese culture because there are more gardens in it than in any other Disneyland in the world.
We can also attend Tai Qi classes with Disney characters.
Price: Regular ticket 57$ (varies if the day is a holiday).
Budget to travel to Shanghai How much does it cost? 🤔
Here are the medium and high budgets to travel to Shanghai from Spain, Mexico and the United States for about 7 days and 6 nights.
Travel to Shanghai Prices:
- 445$ 3 stars hotel
- 620$ 5 star hotel
- 1000 € return flight from Spain
- 2600 US dollars round trip flight from USA
- 3800 Mexican pesos round trip flight from Mexico
- Visa from Spain using online agency (120 euros)
- Visa from USA (140 $)
Food: 170$ in total approximately. In a medium sized restaurant you can have a menu for 15$ for two. You can eat street food if you want to reduce costs.
Transport and others: 70$ You can buy a single metro ticket from 40 cents. Transport in China is cheap.
Average budget visit: 70$ (includes Shanghai tower, city planning center, Oriental Pearl tower basic entrance, Yuyuan garden, Longhua temple and Jing’an temple).
High budget visits: 90$ (includes medium budget visits + Pearl Tower with Space Sphere and boat trip on Huagpu River, Jade Buddha Temple with access to statues and single ticket on Maglev train).
We leave you a list to know how much a trip to Shanghai costs in the easiest way possible.
- Average from the United States: 1979 USD
- Average from Spain: 1790 €
- Average from Mexico: 38200 MXN
- High from the United States: 2169 USD
- High from Spain: 1962 €
- High from Mexico 42000 MXN
Where can I find cheap flights to Shanghai? 🛫
While reading this article you may have wondered; is it possible to find cheap flights to Shanghai? The answer is; YES. You can find them on the following websites:
- Skyscanner: we have found deals on flights to Shanghai from 400$
- Logitravel: here the prices are from 600$ in return flights from Spain.
Cheap hotels in Shanghai Where to find them? 🏨
You’re also wondering, what about the cheap hotels in Shanghai? Don’t worry, the answer is right here:
- HotelsCombined: here you will find the cheapest of all, The Phoenix Hostel, 10$ a night including breakfast.
- Skyscanner: On this website there are prices from 23$ per night and person.
- Booking: believe it or not, there are hotel offers in shanghai from 16$ per person and night.
When to travel to Shanghai?
The best time to go to Shanghai is in April, May, October and November, as these are the months with the least chance of rain. In addition, you will enjoy milder temperatures.
On October 1st, being the national day, prices will be higher, so I recommend going in the middle or end of October to make the most of the trip.
I also recommend to avoid the dates close to Chinese New Year, both when traveling to Shanghai and any other area of China.
What do you need to take with you when you travel to Shanghai? 🧳
Apart from your ID and visa, I recommend that you take a first aid kit with your medication included and some anti-inflammatory in case you need it on your trip.
Please note that in Shanghai both the name of the medication and its package insert are in Chinese.
A dictionary of your language and the Chinese language or some mobile application would be very useful when traveling to Shanghai.
You should also take a plug adapter to be able to charge your electrical devices and, if necessary (this depends on the voltage of your country) a power adapter.
A Shanghai travel guide would be advisable to know which monuments and tourist attractions to visit. Or, if you prefer, you can revisit this article from our website.
Transportation in Shanghai How to move around the city?
The best transport in Shanghai counting the price and the speed, is… the subway! The subway tickets are very cheap and this transport connects the city very well.
In addition, their stops are close to tourist attractions. On top of that, you can buy day passes so you can use the metro without any restrictions.
Another option is the intercity bus or the tourist bus, although the disadvantage of these means is that in Shanghai there is a lot of traffic and therefore they are slow means of transportation. The same applies to taxi service.
You can also access the bike sharing service if you want to feel like a real Chinese citizen.
Shanghai Activities and Tours
What to do in Shanghai besides see skyscrapers and markets? Well, if you have time to spare, you can take several tours of Shanghai of various kinds.
We recommend you to visit the water district of Zhujiajiao, or dive into the ancient streets on group bike tours.
Restaurants in Shanghai Where to eat? 🥟
The cheapest thing is to eat at the street stalls in Shanghai. For 5 euros or less you can find noodles, dumplings, meat and pancakes. Everything is delicious and cheap.
If you prefer, you can eat at one of the many restaurants in Shanghai. A plate of food in Shanghai usually costs from 5 to 8 dollars.
There are restaurants of all kinds: Thai food, dumplings, sushi, traditional Chinese, etc…
If you prefer, you can also choose to take a gastronomic tour of local Shanghai food tasting.
You will eat more than 15 typical dishes that you should try if or when you travel to Shanghai. This food tour takes about 3 hours along the Yunnan Road. You can buy it here.
Shanghai Shopping 🛒
In Nanjing Lu you can find both local products and luxury shops. It is the quintessential shopping street. It stretches from the Bund to Huangpu.
If you are going to travel to Shanghai in search of imitations, go to Nanjing Xi Lu 580 or the Science and Technology Market.
Metro City Mall is your place if you’re looking for technology gadgets.
Shanghai Travel Tips
- Use a SIM card to access the internet in China when travelling to Shanghai.
- Bargain at street markets to get a fair price.
- Be careful. Most of the jade and gemstones they sell are counterfeit.
- Don’t miss the Bund at night. It’s a neon show.
- Be careful crossing the zebra crossings. It’s best to cross when more people do. In China, zebra crossings are not very respected.
- Take your destination and the name of your hotel in Chinese. It’s vital in case you get lost or want to take a taxi.
- If you are a student, bring your ID. You will get discounts at tourist attractions.