Shanghai Life and Visitor Travel Tips

(Shanghai, China)

Photo of nearby Lingshan BuddhaWhen you fly into Shanghai, be sure to pick up your free copy of the invaluable 'That's Shanghai', a popular monthly magazine available at many of the best hotels around the city and full of useful information for visitors. Also worth obtaining are a number of additional magazines, such as 'Shanghai Talk', 'City Weekend' and '8days', all of which are full of information about what's currently happening all around the city, including events, concerts and exhibitions of art.

Foreign newspapers can be obtained from the larger hotels and also from the popular Foreign Languages Bookstore, located at 390 Fuzhou Lu. For access to the web, numerous Internet cafes are scattered around Shanghai city centre, although in most cases you will be required to show your passport. Here are some travel tips about life in Shanghai.

Further picture taken at the Lingshan Buddha

Useful Contact Information

The main travel agencies and 'Service Centres' around Shanghai are able to book flights, train tickets and assist with finding available accommodation. Particularly helpful is the Nanjing Donglu Tourist Office situated along Nanjing Donglu, where metro maps can be found in many different languages.

Tourist Hotline
Address: Shanghai, China, CN
Tel: +86 021 6252 0000 (English language service)

Shanghai Tourist Information Centres

China International Travel Service (CITS)
Address: Zhongguó Guóji Luxingshè, First Floor, Guangming Building, 2 Jinling Donglu, Shanghai, China, CN
Tel: +86 021 6323 8770

International Post Office
Address: Second Floor, Guóji Yóujú, corner of Suzhou Beilu and Sichuan Beilu, Shanghai, China, CN
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 11:00 and 13:00 to 16:30

Bank of China
Address: Zhongguó Yinháng, The Bund, Shanghai, China, CN
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 12:00 and 13:30 to 16:30, Saturday - 09:00 to 12:00

Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC)
Address: Huifeng Yinháng, Shanghai, China, CN
ATMs are located in the Shanghai Centre along Niajing Xilu, in the arrivals hall at Pudong Airport, and also at 15 Zhongshan Dong Yilu on the Bund.

English Speaking Police
Tel: +86 021 6357 6666

View of temple at the Lingshan Buddha

Language and Dialect

Locals in the People's Republic of China speak a language known as 'Putonghua', or more simply as 'Chinese' or 'Mandarin', with the local dialect spoken in Shanghai being known locally as 'Shanghainese'.

The actual grammar of Chinese is far simpler than that spoken in Europe, although sentences are constructed in similar ways, with 'subjects', 'verbs' and 'objects'. A pocket-sized Chinese phrasebook is always worth taking with you and can prove invaluable at times.

I'm looking for a hotel - Woyao zhao luguan
I'd like a... - Wo xiang yao...
Bed - yi ge chuangwei
Single room - yijian danrendng
Double room - yijian shuangrenfang

Passport and Visa Information

Visas flying into the People's Republic of China will need to bring with them the relevant visa for their stay. Most standard 30-day Chinese visas can be issued in a matter of days at your local Chinese Embassy, while express visas are both quicker and more expensive. The Shanghai Public Security Bureau (PSB) is located close to the corner of Kunshan Lu and will be able to assist with all passport and visa-related enquiries.

Public Security Bureau (PSB)
Address: Gonganjú, 333 Wusong Lu, Shanghai, China, CN
Tel: +86 021 6357 7925
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 16:30

Drinking Tap Water

To prevent the possibility of spoiling your trip to Shanghai with diarrhoea or even sickness, never drink the tap water. It is worth considering that tap water may be present in uncooked foods and drinks, such as watered-down fruit drinks, ice cubes or salads. Tap water in Shanghai is only safe to drink after boiling or other effective forms of sterilisation.