Shanghai is a city full of contradictions. From towering glass structures, colonial hotels, dusty palaces and ancient temples to glitzy malls, fashionable restaurants and frenetic street food stalls, Shanghai can be a fast-paced journey through modern China or a trip back in time.
Tranquillity and a touch of spirituality can be found in the beautiful Yuyuan Gardens with their classical Chinese monuments or in one of the city’s many traditional temples such as the famous Jade Buddha Temple, Jing'an Temple and Longhua Temple.
Shanghai Museum gives visitors a glimpse of China’s ancient bronzes while the cutting-edge Oriental Pearl Tower pierces the central skyline offering breath-taking views across this powerful mega city.
A walk along Shaoxing and Hengshan reveal classical 1920’s architecture not to mention fantastic boutique shopping, while some of the most modern edifices can be found along the Huangpu River bank, which, by night are beautifully illuminated. Don’t miss a trip to 400 year old Zhujiajiao Water Village, where traditional boats wind their way through the narrow canals trading and selling goods. Here, beautiful temples and charming little shops re-create a scene reminiscent of a China long past.
China is famous for its tea houses, where the delightful, delicate ancient tradition of the tea ceremony is observed. Meanwhile, Shanghai’s Happy Valley and Jinjiang Amusement Park offer visitors a chance to try China’s most recent and popular form of entertainment – gambling.
To escape the bright lights and frenetic capitalism, a boat cruise along the Huangpu River or a day at Shanghai City Beach should suitably regenerate the soul.
The following information is correct as of November 2014 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is located 8 miles from Shanghai city centre and can be reached by car in around 35 minutes. Rail lines 2 and 10 link the airport with central Shanghai in 35 minutes while buses 941, 938 and 806 operate services to the centre and surrounding areas. Coaches, shuttles and taxis all operate from outside the terminal offering alternative means of transport.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport is located 19 miles for the city centre of Shanghai and can be reached by car in approximately an hour. The Maglev train (the fastest in the world) travels between the airport and metro line 2 taking just 8 minutes. Several bus and taxi firms also operate services from the airport to the city in 30-40 minutes.
What you need to know
Currency: The Chinese Yuan Renminbi
Visas: British nationals do require a visa to enter mainland China but not Hong Kong or Macao. A visa must be obtained prior to travel from a local embassy or consulate.
Laws: Foreign nationals over the age of 16 must carry identification with them at all times. Internet access is strictly monitored by the Chinese authorities meaning website such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube are blocked. Email can also be blocked on occasion. There are no alcohol laws in China – it can be bought and drunk anywhere, by anyone. There is no smoking ban in China and it is freely carried out almost everywhere. Few non-smoking tables or areas in cafes and restaurants exist. Even on public transport it will not usually be questioned.
Best Time to Visit
July and August are the hottest and most humid months – often uncomfortably so. May to October is a busy period for tourists visiting Shanghai as is September when the weather starts to cool off and become more pleasant. May and October are the ideal times to visit, with fewer tourists and less scorching temperatures. Winters can be chilly and on occasion even snowy.
Chinese New Year is worth celebrating in Shanghai in January as is the Longhua Temple Fair in March. An International Tea Festival in April celebrates China’s ancient tradition while the cherry blossoms burst into life in all their candy pink glory. Dragon Boats in May, Film, Fashion and Culture Festivals in June, Ballet competitions in August and Arts, oranges and magic in September make Shanghai an alluring year-round destination.
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