Shanghai is a super city in many ways. It is so massive, probably three Sydneys put together. Personally, I think any travelers will need at least two weeks to really enjoy the place. There’s a lot to do and everything for everyone. The approach to the city is by the slick Shanghai Pudong Airport. It should be noted that if travelling from within China or Hong Kong, there is the old Hongqiao Airport located within the city. Pudong Airport is for one, not in the Pudong Area of Shanghai. It is 50 km away from the main City.
On arrival at Pudong Airport, one needs to confirm beforehand from their hotels if a shuttle will be provided. If not, then one can take the option of taking a licensed government taxi from the taxi stand. Make sure to have the Chinese address of the hotel in hand. The taxis are safe and very disciplined, always charging by meter. A ride into the city will take at least an hour. Once on the outskirts, it will take at least another half an hour getting to the hotel depending on which district of Shanghai one is booked in.
Shanghai is divided by the River Huangpu. The Northern bank of the river is the area called Pudong – the new CBD development. To really enjoy Shanghai, one needs to book into a hotel near South of the River like the Jingan Area – home to the Jingan Temple.
If one is into Pubbing and Clubbing, the best places are on the Tongren Road as well as the popular Hengshan Road which also houses some good restaurants. Zapatas and Big Bamboo are some of the more popular bars in the area popular with locals and foreigners. A lot of travel in Shanghai is comfortable via reasonably priced metre taxis or the brilliant Subway System which has around 7-8 lines all over the city. The Subway is great for getting to places during the rush hour.
If one is more into the Jazz Scene or more laid back live entertainment, the most popular spot is the Xintiandi Area. It is an old colonial area of Shanghai which has been restored to front as a maze of old style alleyways dotted with art galleries, displays, coffee places and live music.
The most critical and popular tourist activity in Shanghai is actually free. It is the famous Nanjing Pedestrian Road, in the Huangpu District. If one wants to experience the road in all its glory, it needs to be done at evening when the entire road is surrounded by the most glittery buildings, signage and shops – neon all over the place! There’s a lot of shopping and eating to be done at this place – a little bit of everything for every one. As one moves from the Western part of the road to the Eastern Part, it becomes a non-pedestrian avenue but flanked with shops on both sides. At the end of the Street is the famous Bund Area which is on the bank of the Huangpu – across this is the Pudong Area. This is the sight that needs to be in everyone’s diary – stepping out to be confronted by the spectacular towers and the famous Oriental Pearl on the bank of the Hunagpu.
On the Nanjing Road side is a collection of old colonial buildings dating back to the early 1900’s. Once again, even though great in the morning, all this just makes for more spectacular viewing in the evening. It will feel like a page out of Sci Fi Novel. Even though Shanghai is one of the safest mega cities in the world, there is petty crime and scams which the tourist should be aware of – and Nanjing Road is full of tourists. The single most expensive scam is students, young adults or professional looking people who would come up and ask to learn some English from you and in exchange you will get a free coffee treat. Generally the scam is that they order lots of coffee or drinks which are priced (in very fine print) per ounce. This leads to a massive bill which one ends up having to pay. Overall it’s easy to avoid this sort of activity – avoid scouts offering DVDs, expensive watches or massages.