Historic, glamorous, mysterious and exotic, Shanghai oozes excitement and anticipation. High rise buildings stand aside rich cultural temples and gardens, creating an incredible hybrid that draws tourists in.
There are some gorgeous temples and buildings to visit as well as great shopping opportunities. Each neighbourhood shows a unique side to Shanghai whilst there are some interesting excursions available from the city.
Hostel/Budget rates – ¥50 – ¥70 for dorm beds, ¥200 for double rooms per person.
Midrange Hotel rates – ¥250 to ¥650 for double rooms in great locations
Luxury Hotel rates – ¥650+ with some great options for those who want to splash the cash.
Transport – Air-con buses cost ¥2 to ¥3 to travel around the city whilst the metro is the fast, cheap and easy transportation method; costing ¥3 to ¥15 depending on distance.
Average cost of food – Street and food markets serve up traditional dishes from ¥30, with local restaurants serving lunch and dinners from ¥100-¥200. Excellent upscale restaurants and popular American chain restaurants charge upwards of ¥300.
Where to stay
Hostel/Budget – The Shanghai Fish Inn Bund is a favourite of mine, with private rooms starting at ¥145 and just a short walk from Shanghai’s Time Square and metro station. Another popular spot for budget travellers is the Shanghai Chi Chen Hostel dorm beds starting at ¥72 and just a few metres from Xiaonanmen subway station.
Midrange – The Modena Putuo Shanghai is ideal for those wanted some extra room and luxury. Offering deluxe studios at ¥520 with kitchen, dining and lounge area and balcony, this is great value for money. The Astor House hotel is ideal for those interested in the history of Shanghai; located a 2 minute stroll from Waibaidu Bridge and a short walk from The Bund Historical Museum and Huangpu Park. Rooms start at ¥490.
Top End – Narada Boutique Hotel Shanghai Bund is a highly rated hotel in Shanghai, with rooms starting at ¥650 in an ideal location next to Shanghai old street and Yu gardens. Oozing luxury, the Grand Central Hotel is a stunning and vast hotel that is perfect for a night or two if you want to treat yourself. Rooms start at ¥850 and this is definitely a place I will be spending a night or so at next time we visit Shanghai.
How to get there
Fly – Shanghai is China’s second largest international air hub with flights inbound from around the world. Flights from the USA (West Coast) work out at 13/14 hours whilst flights from London take about 11 hours. Domestic flights connect Shanghai to every major city in China. Be aware that there are two international airports; Pudong and Hongqiao, so check before heading to the airport – we did make this mistake on our first trip to Shanghai.
Bus – The unpredictable traffic makes travelling by bus an unpopular choice to leave or enter Shanghai. The Shanghai South long-distance bus station serves cities in the south of China but can be difficult to get to.
Train – The only international train arriving in Shanghai is the T99 from Hong Kong but there are some great options to travel by train from other parts of China. The city has three main stations; Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station and Shanghai South railway station. Speed trains are available to and from Beijing, Guangzhou (which is a short 2 hour train ride to Hong Kong), Nanjing, Hangzhou and Suzhou.
The best way to get around Shanghai is the fast and inexpensive metro; although avoid during rush hour when it can packed. Buses can be confusing; with unusual routes and busy traffic. Taxis are a good choice for those wanting a bit more space whilst cycling or walking is only really possible when moving between neighbourhoods.