A Quick Travel Guide

 

 

This bustling metropolis will be one of the highlights of a trip to China. With a combination of European style buildings and old Shanghai architecture, the city is full of contrasts, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of the country’s history and future.

Shanghai’s size and population can make transportation difficult and crowded. However, if you can avoid rush hour, navigating around the city shouldn’t be too difficult. The best ways to get around are by taxi, subway or bus. Taxis are relatively inexpensive, though it helps to know a little Mandarin and some reference points to avoid being taken on a longer (and more expensive) route to your destination. The metro system is quickly expanding and is fast and efficient, though like other forms of transportation it can be overwhelming during rush hour. The MagLev line, a high-speed magnetic levitation train, quickly connects Pudong to central Shanghai.

Cost

Shanghai can be quite expensive, depending on your travel style or lifestyle, and you can end up paying as much as you would in the West. However, it is also possible to live on the cheap side. Hotels can range from less than 10 dollars a night for a dorm bed to a luxurious five-star eco-lodge. The food is similar, ranging from street food costing less than a few dollars, local restaurants that offer inexpensive local food, and high-end foreign restaurants that can cost upwards of $50 per plate. Tipping is not customary in Shanghai. Public transportation can also help keep costs down.

Weather

Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate and unfortunately as a result of pollution is often grey and smoggy. Winter temperatures can drop below freezing, and the city occasionally experiences snow. Spring is a great time of year in Shanghai with warmer temperatures from March to mid-May. Summer is very hot and humid, with temperatures able to get as high as 104 °F during the months of July and August. It is also rainy season during the summer, with the heaviest rain from June to September. Come fall, the weather is very enjoyable again, and it is a great time for travel to the city. It can still be very hot in September, but October and November are beautiful times to visit Shanghai.

Shanghai

Festivals and Holidays

The dates of festivals and holidays in China are determined by the lunar calendar, meaning they are usually on different dates each year. Travel during holiday times can be hectic; just be sure to book your eco tours and accommodations well in advance and expect higher prices. Here are a few of the major festivals and holidays in China:

Chinese New Year is the largest celebration throughout the year and typically occurs in January or February. There are many family gatherings, loud firework displays, dragon dancing, and most businesses shut down. Children receive red envelopes with money during Chinese New Year for good luck. It is also the busiest time of travel in China.

The Chinese Lantern Festival marks the last day of the Chinese New Year festival and occurs on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year.Colourful lanterns hang in all shapes and sizes, parades are held, and fireworks are set off. Dragon Boat Festival is one of China’s new national holidays and occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. The celebration includes eating rice dumplings, hanging calamus, and racing dragon boats, among other things. In 2009 the Dragon Boat Festival was named a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.

Mid-Autumn Festival is usually celebrated in September or October and is another busy travel time as people return home to their families to celebrate. The festival dates back over 3,000 years to when moon worshipping occurred during the Shang Dynasty. Families spend time together, admiring the full moon at night and eating the festival’s traditional delicacy, mooncakes.
National Day- October 1st is China’ National Day. It is commemorated with a weeklong holiday. In Beijing, people gather at Tianamen Square to see the ceremonial raising of the flag. In Shanghai, you’ll experience tonnes of Chinese flags, large crowds, and lots of fireworks.

Shanghai Hotel

Where to Stay

The Ivy recently opened in 2007 and is the city’s first luxury boutique-style hotel. This 5-star hotel is located in Jing’ a district. The style of the hotel is modern and contemporary. Another unique boutique resort in Shanghai is URBN. Fun extra services include tai chi and yoga classes, in-room beauty and health treatments, biking and walking tours of the city, Chinese cooking classes, and Mandarin lessons. URBN Hotels, Shanghai is conveniently located two blocks away from Nanjing Road, which offers excellent shopping and entertainment options. Read our Top 5 Unique Hotels in China blog for information on other lodging options throughout the country. Global Basecamps is a speciality travel company that helps independent travellers research and book locally owned boutique hotels, eco lodges and multi-day excursions all over the world.