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Shanghai Travel Guide

  • Chinese Name: 上海
  • Chinese Pinyin: Shang hai
  • Location: East of China
  • Latitude: 31° 14' N
  • Longitude: 121° 29' E
  • Elevation: 4.5 M (15 FT)
  • Area Code: 021
  • Population: 19.2 million
  • Time Zone: (UTC+8)

Shanghai has a long history as a gateway to China and the Yangtze River delta. It is also the largest economic and trade center in China, and one of China's cultural centers.

Top Reasons to Visit Shanghai

  • Shanghai is China's largest and richest city: China's biggest and most prosperous city oozes an atmosphere of vitality and rival New York and Paris in terms of modernity.
  • A Blend of Eastern and Western Cultures: Shanghai's colonial legacy combined with Chinese culture has created a unique fusion of East and West.
  • Ease of Onward Trips: From Shanghai it is easy to travel to Xian to see the Terracotta Army or up to Beijing to see the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China, or to Guilin to see the beautiful karst landscape.
  • Shanghai's gorgeous night scene: One of the main highlights that will linger in visitors' mind. As night descends the entire city is lit up by colorful lights.
  • More Reasons to Visit Shanghai

Shanghai has emerged as one of the most popular travel destinations worldwide. Shanghai is constantly improving the travel infrastructure and facilities to ensure tourists exceptional and memorable experience, and many choose to return.

144-Hour Visa-Free Travel

Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang have had a 144-hour visa-free transit policy for international passengers since January 30, 2016.

The new policy covers travelers from 51 countries and regions, including the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada.

Eligible passengers can enjoy a 144-hour visa-free stay in the three provincial level areas upon entry to China via Shanghai's air, sea and railway ports, Nanjing Lukou International Airport of Jiangsu, or Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport of Zhejiang.

They must later depart for a third country (or region, i.e. HK/Macau/Taiwan) from one of the above-listed ports.

A Blend of Eastern and Western Cultures

Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai The typical Chinese architecture in Shanghai, Yuyuan Garden

Shanghai retains China's last vestige of its unusual colonial past. The architecture along the Bund area is a living museum of the colonial history of the 1800s, and visitors find themselves immersed in thoughts of a bygone era.

Shanghai stands in the front line of China's economic development and has undergone unimaginable changes in the last two decades. The new Pudong area with its prosperous cosmopolitan features is guaranteed to wow visitors.

Shanghai is a renowned green city. Lush green covers all the open space of the city.

Christmas in Shanghai is a classic East meets West scenario. See our information for what's happening in this year's festive season in Shanghai.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is to arrive. See our guide to Shanghai Mid-Autumn Festival Activities.

Shanghai Walking and Biking

shanghai side-car trip Sidecar tour in Shanghai

Shanghai is also a good place to have walking tours, as there are many ancient streets in the city. See China Highlights' Shanghai Walking Routes.

Although Shanghai is a very busy city with heavy traffic, the old part of the city has a lot of quiet streets which you may bike around to have a look at old Shanghai. See our Shanghai biking guide.


Best time to travel Shanghai is autumn and spring when the weather is pleasant. Hot summer and cold winter are also good seasons to travel in terms of cost.