Home China Guide Shanghai Tips & Articles How to Plan a Shanghai Tour

How to Plan a Shanghai Tour

When to Go

The best times: March – May, September – October

The inconvenient and high-price periods: Chinese New Year (usually in January or February) and the week-long holidays beginning on International Labor Day (May 1) and National Day (Oct 1). Be prepared for huge crowds at the airports, tourist sites, shopping areas, restaurants, and hotels during these periods.

What to Pack

Spring (March to May) and autumn(September to November):  light clothes like a jacket and a woolen sweater.

Summer(June to August):It is very hot, so prepare extra-light clothing, such as skirts, shorts and T-shirts. Sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen are also recommended to protect yourself from sunburn. 

Winter(December to February): Heavy coats are necessary to keep out the cold.

Since there is much rain during spring and summer, bring rain gear.

More on Shanghai weather and things to do

How to Get a Chinese Visa


Generally speaking, foreigners need to apply for a Chinese visa before travel to China. The overseas Chinese visa authorities are Chinese embassies, consulates, and Visa Aplication Centers (VACs). You should apply in your own country, or ask your travel agency or visa agency for help getting a Chinese visa. 

Shanghai is one of nine cities in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Dalian, Shenyang and Guilin) that have a visa-free transit policy. The policy allows foreign tourists to go shopping, do business, or travel around Shanghai for up to72 hours without a visa.   

Tourist (L) Visa Application

Documents Required

For individuals: A correctly filled out L visa form, passport (with at least 6 months validity and at least one blank visa page), and a 2 inch passport style photo.

For tour groups: A visa notification form issued by authorized travel agencies in China, a name list of the members of the tour group, passports (see note above) of each group member and a photocopy of the information page of each passport, and a letter (including the total number of group members, contact person, and the itinerary of the tour) issued by the tour’s travel agency.

Visa Extension

If you want to extend your visa in Shanghai, you should go to Shanghai's Entry & Exit Bureau in Pudong. You should prepare all of the documents needed, including passport with current visa or residence registration certificate in Shanghai, and a recent 2-inch photo with pale blue background.

Exit and Entry Administration of Shanghai Public Security Bureau 

Chinese name:上海市出入境管理局. 

Address: 1500 Minsheng Road, Pudong New District 浦东新区民生路1500号

Tel: 021-28951900

Working hours:Monday to Saturday 9am–5pm.

Website: http://www.police.sh.cn/shpolice/

More on China Visas

How to Get to Shanghai

Shanghai is the only city in China which has two international airports: Pudong International Airport and Hongqiao International Airport.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport


Shanghai Pudong International Airport is the primary International airport serving Shanghai. It is located in Pudong New District, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from downtown Shanghai.

Chinese name:上海浦东国际机场

Airport Code: PVG

Address: 900 Qihang Road, Pudong New District

Telephone: 86-021-96990

Airport Website: http://shanghaiairport.com/en

Hongqiao International Airport

Hongqiao International Airport is the main domestic airport serving Shanghai, with limited international flights. It is situated in the western suburbs of Shanghai, about 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the city center.

Chinese name:上海虹桥机场

Airport Code: SHA

Address: Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, Changning District

Telephone: 86-021-62683682

Airport Website: www.shanghaiairport.com

More on Shanghai Transportation

Where to Stay in Shanghai

As the largest city in China, Shanghai is one of the top economic, finance, trade, and shopping centers in China and Asia. There are numerous accommodation options in Shanghai, but the accommodation fee is generally higher than that in other cities of China.

When choosing a hotel, travelers should consider the hotel’s rating, price, and location. First choosing where you want to stay, then compare the hotels and prices there.

China Highlights offers the best hotel booking service. Below are some recommended hotels in Shanghai.

Best Five-Star Hotels:

Best Four-Star Hotels:

Best Boutique Hotels:

88 Xintiandi, Shanghai Ranked #8 on Trip Advisor

Shanghai Home Stay

Shanghai Caoyang Village Home Stay A twin-bed bedroom in Shanghai Home Stay.
  • Address:Caoyang Village, Putuo District, Shanghai

Shanghai's home stay option, in the well-developed Caoyang Village, offers you the opportunity to interact with local people. There will be a welcome party organized by the local people at the Neighborhood Community Services Center. Then your host will show you to their house, where you will stay in a twin-bed bedroom.

You will have the opportunity to learn how to make dumplings and enjoy dinner with the family. On the second day, you can have Chinese breakfast with this family and join in local people's morning exercises. You can also visit a local food market with the host and get to know how the host prepares for lunch.

China Highlights offers the home stay if you book a China tour with us.

What to See in Shanghai

the bundBeautiful night view of the Bund

There are plenty of attractions in Shanghai, including museums, colonial architecture, religious buildings, theaters, gardens, parks and shopping areas. The most famous attractions in and around Shanghai are the Bund, Yuyuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai World Financial Center, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Museum, Jinmao Tower, Shanghai Century Park, Nanjing Road, The French Concession, Zhujiajiao Water Town and so on.

More Shanghai Attractions

The Recommended Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Walk on the Bund, see a bird's eye view of Shanghai from the TV Tower, appreciate classic Chinese landscaping in Yu Garden, and visit the Temple of the City God and Shanghai Museum.

Day 2: Enjoy Hangzhou’s beauty, visiting Hangzhou’s oldest temple — Lingyin Temple, and enjoying the beautiful scenery of West Lake by boat.  

Day 3: Discover one of the most famous ancient water towns in China — Wuzhen.

If you want to discover more in and around Shanghai, you will need one or two days more. China highlights’ travel experts are glad to tailor-make a Shanghai tour according to your interests and requirements, or see more of our Shanghai tours.

Dining in Shanghai

Shanghai has a wide range of restaurants, which not only serve local cuisine, but also dishes from all over China and all over the world. So you can easily find a restaurant in Shanghai to fit your tastes. Below are some recommended restaurants in Shanghai.

Best Local Restaurants

Din Tai Fung (Super Brand Mall)

Chinese name:鼎泰丰 (正大广场店)

dingtaifeng  restaurantDin Tai Fung Restaurant


Address: 3/F, 168 Lujiazui West Road, Pudong ( 浦东新区陆家嘴西路168号正大广场3楼)

Tel: (86)021-50478882/ 50478883

Din Tai Fung (Xintiandi)

Chinese name:鼎泰丰 (新天地店)


Address: 123 Xingye Road, Luwan District (卢湾区兴业路123弄)

Tel: (86) 021-63858378

Hai Di Lao Hotpot (Zhangyang Road)

Chinese name:海底捞火锅 (张杨路店)


Address: 6F, 588 Zhangyang Road ( 张杨路588号百脑汇6层)

Tel: (86) 021-38713936, (086) 021-38713937

Yang's Fried-Dumpling (Ningbo Road)

生煎包Fried Dumpling

Chinese name:小杨生煎 (宁波路店)


Address: 178 Ningbo Lu, Huangpu District ( 黄浦区 宁波路178号)

Tel: (86) 021-63229763

Best Western Restaurants

Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet


Address:18 The Bund (外滩18号)

Tel:(86) 018621862309


Chinese name:卡萨诺瓦意大利餐厅

Open:11:30am–2:30pm; 6pm–10:30pm

Address: 913 Julu Road, Jing'an District (静安区巨鹿路913号)

Tel: (86) 021-54034528

The Cathay Room

Chinese name:和平饭店

Open:12pm–2:30pm; 6pm–10:30pm

Address: 9F, Fairmont Peace Hotel, 20 Nanjing Road East (南京东路20号费尔蒙和平饭店9楼)

Tel: (86) 021-61386881

Best Vegetarian Restaurants

 Zaozishu (Jiangning)

Chinese name: 枣子树 (江宁店)


Address: 258 Fengxian Road, Jingan District (上海静安区奉贤路258号)

Tel: (86) 021-52280693

JujubeTree Vegetarian Life Style

Chinese name:枣子树 (淮海店)


Address: 77 Songshan Road, Luwan District (卢湾区嵩山路77号)

Tel: (86) 021-63848000, 63855986

Wujie on the Bund

Chinese name:外滩美素馆


Address: 4F, 22 East Zhongshan Second Road (中山东二路22号四楼)

Tel: (86) 021-63752861

More Shanghai Restaurants.

Shopping in Shanghai

Shanghai, hailed as a "Shopping paradise", is one of the most prosperous cities in the world. There are many shopping centers, malls, department stores, markets, and shopping streets. Shopping in Shanghai is very convenient. You can purchase anything you want there.

Some popular shopping areas

Dong Tai Road Antique Market

dongtai roadDong Tai Road Antique Market

Address: Dong Tai Road, near Xizang Nan Road

Open: Daily. Morning (in full swing by 9:30–10am) till sundown.

South Bund Fabric Market

Address: 399 Lujiabang Road, 陆家浜399号

Open: Daily. 9am–6pm.

Yatai Xinyang Fashion and Gift Market

Address: Science and Technology Museum Metro Stop (Metro Line 2), Pudong

Open:Daily. 10am–6pm.


Address: Lane 123, Xingye Lu, near Danshui Lu, Huangpu District

Open: Daily. 12am–12pm.

More on Shanghai Shopping.

Nightlife in Shanghai

shanghai night view Enjoy nightlife in Shanghai

Shanghai, called "Paris of the Orient", is one of the most famous tourist destinations in China and very beautiful at night. Shanghai has mainland China’s most colorful nightlife with popular bars, clubs, cinemas, theaters, restaurants, cafes and so on. If you stay in Shanghai, one thing you can not miss is the nighttime beauty of the Bund.

When the lights on the Bund go out for the evening, the city's partiers emerge to begin the night. Many clubs and bars usually stay open until 4am and later. Below are some of the best clubs and bars in Shanghai.

Captain's Bar (Ritz-Carlton Pudong)

Address: 58th Floor, Ritz-Carlton Pudong, 8 Century Avenue, near Lujiazui Ring Road, Pudong

Chinese address: 浦东世纪大道8号58楼, 近陆家嘴环路

Open: 5pm–2am daily

Tel: (86) 021 2020 1778

Captain's Bar (Captain's Hostel)

Address: Fifth Floor, Captain's Hostel, 37 Fuzhou Lu, near Sichuan Zhong Lu, Huangpu District

Chinese address: 黄浦区福州路37 号5楼, 近四川中路

Open: 5pm–late daily

Tel: (86) 021 6323 5053

Senator Saloon

Address: 98 Wuyuan Lu, near Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, Xuhui District

Chinese address: 徐汇区五原路98号, 近乌鲁木齐中路

Open: 5pm-late daily

Tel:(86) 021 5423 1330

Peace Hotel 

Address: First Floor, Fairmont Peace Hotel, 20 Nanjing Dong Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, Huangpu District

Chinese address: 黄浦区南京东路20号, 近中山东一路

Open: Midday–2am daily

Tel: (86) 021 6321 6888

More on Shanghai Nightlife

Public Transportation in Shanghai

Shanghai has developed a convenient and extensive public transport system, including buses, trolley buses, taxis, and subways. You can go anywhere by taxi, bus, and subway.

Bus: In shanghai there are one thousand bus lines. Most attractions can be reached by bus. Bus fares are usually 1 yuan, 1.5 yuan, or 2 yuan. Sometimes it is higher, depending on the distance.

Trolleybus:Shanghai’s trolley bus system is the oldest continually operating one in the world. All trolleybuses are now air-conditioned.

Taxi:Taking a taxi is most convenient for a newcomer to Shanghai, but it is recommended to avoid taking a taxi during rush hours, because roads are congested.

Subway: 12 subway lines have connections all over the city. Most attractions and commercial areas are connected by them. It is an excellent option for getting around.

More on Shanghai Transportation.

Practical Advice

Greeting Someone in Shanghai

have fun with Chinese kids

It is a good idea to take a large quantity of business cards with you, and if possible have the text translated into Chinese on the reverse. When you are introduced to a local, take out your card, bow slightly, and present it with both hands. They will probably reciprocate in a similar manner, most likely holding their card English version uppermost. It is at this point considered good manners to pass a polite comment on the appearance of the other's card, whilst tucking it carefully within the confines of your wallet.

Don't get flustered if, when meeting a group of people, they start clapping when you arrive. This is simply a form of greeting and you may respond by clapping also.

Learn Some Chinese

When in Shanghai, it’s quite helpful and practical to learn some usful Chinese phrases, since English is not widely spoken. More on learning Chinese.

Business Hours

Chinese government stipulates a five-day workweek, from Monday to Friday, with no more than 8 hours a day. The normal business hours are generally from 8am to 6pm, with a break from 12pm to 2pm.

Restaurants: 11am–2pm, 6–9pm, in general


Tipping used to be very rare in China, but now, no doubt through Western influence, the idea is catching on. In restaurants a 3% tip is standard, bellboys and room service staff expect roughly $1 or $2. You can tip in U.S. dollars.


Toilets in China are normally of the squatting type. Now airports and hotels all have Western toilets, and many public toilets have both Western style and squat style. Always carry tissues with you, just in case you need to go to the toilet (because most public toilets don't provide toilet paper).

More on How to Use a Squat Toilet in China.


Electricity in China is 240 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. A transformer may be necessary if you bring electric devices. It can be bought in China. As the shape of a socket varies between countries, a portable plug adaptor may also be necessary. Some hotels can provide adaptors for guests, but we suggest visitors bring one. Adaptors can also be purchased from electronics stores in China.


Internet:Most hotel rooms in China offer internet cables and Wi-Fi for laptops. Some public areas like airports, Starbucks, SPR, and a number of cafes and restaurants also provide free Wi-Fi. China Highlights offers Portable Wi-fi Rental so that you can surf the internet anytime and anywhere while traveling in China.

Telephone:China's country code is 86 and Shanghai’s code is 021. 

Making a Phone Call from China to Another Country

First you must dial "00" (international prefix), then dial the country code, then the area code and local number. E.g. if you want to call 434-5678 in California (area code 760) in the USA (country code 1), you need to dial 00-1-760-434-5678.

Making Long Distance Calls in China

Landline: first dial the area code, and then dial the local phone number. E.g., if you call the number 123-4567 in Guilin (area code is 0773), you need to dial 0773-123-4567

Cell call: First dial 0 (national prefix), then the cell phone number. China Highlights offers Cell Phone Rental to help you keep in touch (and save money on local offers).

Shanghai Useful Phone Numbers

  • Area Code: 021
  • Fire Emergency: 119
  • Police: 110

Travel Individually or Travel with a Travel Company?

Transportation in Shanghai is very convenient, and you can travel like most locals do by taking the subway, trains, buses, taxi, biking, walking, etc., but you may encounter many unforeseen troubles. If you want no hassles, we recommend you travel with a professional travel company, who will take care of your trip. Then you can enjoy a comfortable and relaxing tour. 

China Highlights has been specializing in tailor-making China tour for sixteen years. If you want to travel in Shanghai, contact us, and our travel experts will be glad to help you arrange your tour based on your requirements.

Medical Emergencies

In Shanghai there are a number of International hospitals and clinics with modern medical facilities and English speaking staff. They can offer medical services to foreigners.

CanAM Int’l Medical Center, Shanghai Pu Xi Clinic

Address: 20F, 966 Huaihai Zhong Road (by Shanxi Nan Lu)

Tel: 5403 9133

Fax: 54038978

Shanghai International SOS

Add: Units 2907-2901, 2 Grand Gateway, 3 Hongqiao Road, Xuhui District

Tel: 52989538

Fax: 52989539

America-Sino OB/GYN Service

24 Hour Emergency Service

Add: 14F, Complex Building, Huashan Hospital, 12 Middle Urumqi Road (near Changle Road)

Tel: 62493246

Hours: 8am–8pm

Huashan Worldwide Medical Center

Add: 12 Middle Urumqi Road (Out-patient Clinic: 8F, Building 1; Night Emergency: 15F, Building 6)

Tel: 62483986/62489999

Bioscor Shanghai Clinic

Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, Bioscor now has 20 branches in 12 countries. Bioscor Shanghai Clinic has Australian, American, and Chinese doctors specializing in plastic/cosmetic surgery, medical skin treatment and cosmetic dentistry. 

Add: 5, Lane 89, Xingguo Road

Tel: 64318899

Fax: 64713888

Web: www.bioscor.com.cn

Shanghai United Family Hospital and Clinics

Address: 1139 Xianxia Road (General and Cosmetic Dental Center)

Tel: 51331900

Emergency call: 5133 1999

Fax: 51331919

Shanghai United Family Clinic-Minhang-SRC

Address: Lane 555, Jinfeng Road, Huacao Town, West Suburbs 

Tel: 22010995

Web: www.unitedfamilyhospitals.com

World Link Medical Center Portman Clinic

Address: Suite 203 West, Shanghai Center, 1376, West Nanjing Road

Tel: 62797668/ appointments: 62798678

Fax: 62797698

World Link Medical Center Hongqiao Clinic

Address: Unit 30, Mandarine City, 788 Hongxu Road

Tel: 6405 5788

Fax: 6405 3587

International Medical & Dental Center (IMDC)

Address: 1111 Xian Xia Road (near Bei Hong Road), Changning District

Tel: 62909558

Sino-United Health American International Center at Shanghai Center

Address: Room 1376, Nanjing Road West

Tel: 62798920

Fax: 62798921

Currency Exchange

Currency exchange service is available at most hotels, and all large banks. Credit card is widely acceptable as a means of payment in hotels, department stores, and boutiques. The credit cards commonly accepted in China are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

Main Banks in Shanghai

  • Shanghai Branch of Citibank: Floor 20, China Shipping Building, 1, Pudong Main Street, 58791200
  • Shanghai Branch of Overseas Chinese Bank: Floor 23, 710, Oriental Road, 58200200
  • Yangpu Sub-Branch of Shanghai Branch of Huaxia Bank: 1207 Kongjiang Road, 65709961
  • The Shanghai Headquarters of Bank of Communications: 18 Xianxia Road, 62751234
  • Shanghai Pudong Developing Bank (Headquarters): 50 Ningbo Road, 63291188
  • Shanghai Bank: 476 Xianxia Road, 62955327

Post Offices in Shanghai

  • Lujiazui Post Sub-Office: 365 Shangcheng Road
  • Post Service Center in New Century Square: 501 Zhangzhang Road
  • Oriental Pearl Tower Post Office: 2 Fenghe Road (260 meters from the Oriental Pearl Tower)
  • Post Service Center in the Sight-Seeing Hall of Jinmao Tower: Floor 88, The Sight-Seeing Hall, Jinmao Tower