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Travel guide – Shanghai

Shanghai, the “Pearl of the Orient” and one of the most recognisable cities in the People’s Republic of China, is lovingly referred to as the “New York of Asia.” It is also one of the largest cities in the world in terms of population. In Shanghai, you can travel around by car on elevated roads and look out over a city that appears almost futuristic. But amid this sea of modernism you can still find quiet parks where people enjoy a spot of tai-chi in the morning and busy yet quaint hutongs (narrow lane or alleyway in a traditional residential area of a Chinese city).

The Bund – a very popular waterfront boulevard that runs along the Huangpu River in Shanghai and offers fantastic vantage points from which to photograph the Shanghai skyline.

Shanghai Word Financial Center and The Oriental Pearl Tower (Dōngfāng Míngzhūtǎ) also offers spectacular views over Shanghai from their glass floored observation decks. The radical architecture of both buildings has made them very famous landmarks. How about dining at a revolving restaurant at 267metres? Jin Mao Tower is another famous skyscraper worth a visit.

Jade Buddha Temple – one of the most famous Buddhist temples of Shanghai that contains gigantic jade statues of Buddha.

Yuyuan Garden or Yu Garden – Shanghai’s most famous park, situated in the city’s old town, Huangpu.

People’s Square – also contains a park and is situated in the middle of Shanghai and is a popular meeting place. There are plenty of stalls on the edge of the square where you can sample traditional fast food.

Suzhou's Ancient Gardens – famous for many things: silk production, legendary temples and its gardens. Just two hours outside Shanghai.

Yangtze River Water Town – narrow canals, round bridges and little river boats. Take a boat ride down through the canals or have lunch at one of the restaurants that open out onto the river. About 60 minutes from Shanghai.

Nanjing Road (Nánjīng Lù) – the main shopping street in Shanghai with stores and galleries selling everything you could imagine. Well-known Western brands are on sale on the west side of the street, while Chinese goods are mainly offered on the east side.

Xujiahui is a good shopping area, and among some of the best shopping centers and malls you find Dimei Shopping CenterSuper Brand Mall (Zheng Da Guangchang) and Maison Mode.

Dongtai Road is a large antique market offering porcelain, jade and other beautiful items, as well as food, candy, clothes and calligraphy. A good place to go shopping for souvenirs in Shanghai.

Visitors to Shanghai can find food from regions all over China. The city boasts an abundance of restaurants and fast-food joints, and popular snacks are sold everywhere on the streets. Sugar is a principal ingredient in Shanghai, not just in sweet delicacies, but also in cooking generally. Herbs and spices are often used conservatively, as the main ingredients of a dish are meant to provide its taste.

Dumplings (Xiaolongbao) – soup dumplings filled with crab meat or pork.

Deep-fried mantou – steamed buns fried in a wok and filled with a variety of ingredients.

Shanghai roast duck – a variation of Beijing roast duck.

Nanxiang steamed buns – traditional snacks in Shanghai consisting of steam-cooked dumplings filled with finely-chopped seasoned pork.

Da Zha Xie – a steamed Chinese mitten crab flavored with vinegar.

Chou Doufu – also known as Stinky tofu. Some find the smell terrible, while others consider it aromatic. This famous night market food may be deep fried, steamed, stewed with mouth-numbing spices, or barbecued.

Pi Dan – a preserved egg with an unusual colour. A Shanghai delicacy.

Suanmei tang – traditional Chinese beverage made from sour plums

Damai cha (barley tea) – briefly simmered roasted barley grains

Shanghai metro – fast, reliable and inexpensive.

Taxi – using a taxi is a simple and great-value way of exploring Shanghai. Write down your destination and agreed price to avoid any misunderstanding.

Currency in China – Yuan (¥)

Electricity in China – 220 volts

Bring cash – not all ATMs accept foreign cards in Shanghai. You can exchange money at your hotel.

Tips – officially tipping is not required in China, but it is becoming more and more common.

Time zone – Shanghai (China) UTC/GMT +8 hours (-1 hour during summer time in countries that use summer time/winter time).

Avoid private taxis – it is easy to be cheated out of your money.

Bargaining – it is fine to bargain at market stalls but not in shopping centers.

Antiques – remember that antiques labeled as “genuine” rarely are.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)

The airport is located 30km southeast of Shanghai.

  • Finnair flights: Terminal 2, area C
  • Check-in opens 3 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 1 hour before departure

Passengers with oversized baggage, for example musical instruments or pets, need to check in at least 1 hour 20 minutes before departure.

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