Shanghai is china's biggest city, international economic &culture center.Old shangai(pretty French Concession), retains a Parisian charm. Pudong is symbolic of Shanghai's rapid development, home to some of the world's tallest buildings and biggest corporations.

Shanghai whether

Shanghai has a sub-tropical climate. The winters are cold and marked by occasional Siberian winds; it’s rare that the temperature drops below zero. In fact, it rarely snows. The summers are hot and humid; it often reaches 35 degrees which, even if it doesn’t seem like much, in a concrete jungle like Shanghai you’ll really feel it. Toward September and October you can’t exclude the possibility that the city may be in line for a few typhoons. The best seasons are the Spring – though in June the rainy season begins – and the autumn, which instead is the driest season (with temperatures similar to the Spring).

Shanghai culture

For centuries, Shanghai has been the place where east meets west in China. Its architecture is a heady mix of traditional Chinese, western colonial and modern magnificence. For a taste of ancient Chinese culture, visit one of the many temples in the city. Popular temples with travellers include Jing’an Temple, and the Jade Buddha Temple, while a stroll around the Yuyuan Garden feels like a step back in time to the Shanghai of old.

From its stunning Art Deco buildings to its modern theatres, Shanghai is brimming with exciting cultural attractions.An alternative way to experience Shanghai culture is to visit a traditional tea house, which will typically serve a variety of Chinese tea and local specialities. For a truly unique historic experience in Shanghai, visit Zhujiajiao, a picturesque water town whose history stretches back over 1700 years. Traverse its waterways on small covered boats and cross its many traditional bridges as you explore this impressively well preserved suburb.

Shanghai holds a unique place in the art and culture of China. At the heart of this is the Shanghai Grand Theatre, which encompasses three cutting-edge theatres and regularly hosts the world’s leading orchestras, dance troupes and theatre companies.

Shanghai living guideline

This guide is a collection of resources and practical advice for living in Shanghai. Here are the subjects that we will cover:

1. China's currency


2. Monthly Net Salaries in Shanghai

Monthly Net Salaries of Language Teacher
Average Price
Public school 12,076.32 CNY
Kindergarten 15,708.33 CNY
International school 23,313.33 CNY

3. Food prices in Shanghai

Eating and Drinking Out
Average Price
Meal Inexpensive Restaurant 34.00 CNY
Meal Expensive Chinese Restaurant 168.14 CNY
Meal Expat Restaurant216.09 CNY
Meal at McDonald 37.64 CNY
Cup of Coffee 27.09 CNY

Average Price
Regular Milk (1 Liter) 13.68 CNY
White Rice (500 g) 8.19 CNY
Eggs (6) 10.28 CNY
Chicken Breasts (500 g) 20.39 CNY
Apples (500 g) 8.91 CNY
Oranges (500 g) 12.50 CNY
Tomatoes (500 g) 8.86 CNY
Water (Bottle of 1.5 Liter) 4.87 CNY
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 93.28 CNY
Domestic Beer (Bottle of 0.66 Liter) 6.75 CNY

4. Accommodation and Transportation cost?

Accommodation (Monthly Rent)
Average Price
Room in Shared Apartment, Suburb 2,095.65 CNY
Room in Shared Apartment, City Center 3,335.87 CNY
3 Rooms Apartment, City Center 15,233.33 CNY
3 Rooms Apartment, Suburb 7,082.61 CNY

Average Price
Taxi Fare (Minimum Fare, First 3 Km) 14.00 CNY
Taxi Fare (Fare per Km) 2.50 CNY
Subway Ticket (Minimum Fare) 3.00 CNY
Bus Ticket (Minimum Fare) 1.00 CNY

5. Where to live in Shanghai?

Shanghai is divided in two by the Huangpu River, which crosses from North to South. The eastern part, where the city center is, is called Puxi while the western part, where the financial district is located, is called Pudong.

The city is enormous. Before deciding where to live, you should consider what your priorities. If you prefer to live close to work (or the university where you study) then search for a house in the area or, if your office/university is in the center and you can’t live there because rents are too high, at the minimum look for a house or room with a Metro stop on the line that has a stop close to your office or school. The same applies if you have kids or prefer living near their school.

If instead you value your social life more, keep in mind that almost all bars and clubs are found inside – or in the surrounding areas – of the French Concession, the heart of Shanghai. That area has, not by chance, one of the highest concentrations of expats (even if families with little children often tend to stay away since schools are scarce).

Considering the way the city is organized, in my opinion the best choice is to live along Metro Line 2, which cuts across horizontally – starting from Pudong Airport and arriving at Hongqiao Airport, passing through Pudong, including the financial center of the city (the stop is Lu Jia Zhui), and the city center itself.

Next you’ll find a brief description of the various areas of Shanghai. Here you’ll find our complete guide to finding a house in Shanghai (agencies, contracts, etc).

Shanghai districtsThe districts of Shanghai’s city center – Map by (Creative Commons License).

City Center (Puxi)

While the northern and eastern borders of the city center are well defined by Suzhou Creek and the Huangpu River, you can’t say the same for the eastern and southern ones, which personally I tend to fix along Lines 11 and 9 of the Metro, which run parallel to Huashan Road and Zhaojiaban Road, respectively.

As has already been mentioned, the main advantage of living in the center – especially in Jing’An, that’s a little micro-center in Shanghai, to use a completely Argentinian term – is that you’ll find yourself at the most a 10-15 minute taxi ride to all the main bars and clubs in the city (even if, depending on where you live and the club in question, it’s possible that you can get there on foot in less than 10 minutes).

Aside from the clubs, this is also the area where you’ll find the majority of “foreign” restaurants, theaters and museums.

The cons are that the rents are more expensive, apartments are often in bad shape (their age really shows), traffic pollution is greater and as was already said, if you have young children, there are no international schools.

Other than Jing’An, in the center I have “designated” there’s also the neighborhoods of Huangpu, or the most touristy section of the city, from which you can also admire the skyline of Pudong, the Old French Concession, with its clubs and shopping centers (see the next sections for the details) and the eastern part of Changning, which is likely the most economical place to rent in the center.

Changning and Xuhui (Puxi)

Changning and Xuhui are two residential neighborhoods situated to the west and southwest of the city center respectively.

The eastern part of Changning, Hongqiao, othern than being the home of one of the city’s two airports, also hosts many international companies. This is the reason why so many western familes have chosen to settle here. Not by chance, in this neighborhood there is an ample selection of international schools.

Zhabei and Hongkou (Puxi)

Zhabei and Hongkou are two neighborhoods to the northeast of the city center. You don’t often hear about them since, historically, the concentration of westerners has always been less than the ones already presented.

Recently the the city government has invested a lot to renew these neighborhoods and I have to say, considering the low rents and relatively close location to the city center, it’s an interesting area. So long as you don’t mind being the only westerner in the area!

The financial district of Lujiazui (Pudong)

Lujiazui is in Pudong, in front of the Bund. It is here that the “famous” skyscrapers of Shanghai rise up. You’ll mainly find financial firms, luxury hotels and shopping centers, other than the Pearl Tower.

Despite the fact that the apartments of Lujiazui may be rather luxurious, the prices haven’t yet exploded for the simple fact that because of building speculation, the supply is greater than the demand.

Jinqiao (Pudong)

6. The Shanghai transportation system

Shanghai airports

First of all, note that Shanghai is one of the cities where it’s possible to request a 144 hour visa extension.

In addition, here you’ll find our guide on international flights for China (and local flights in China).

Pudong International Airport

The main airport of Shanghai is Pudong International Airport, where the majority of intercontinental flights arrive.

The airport is located in the far east of the city; without a doubt the easiest way to get there is to take Line 2 of the Metro (see below for more information on the Shanghai Metro) to the end (Pudong International Airport, in fact). Note that at Guanglan Road station, you’ll have to get off the Metro and take another for the final leg (even though it’s still Line 2).

You can also decide to get off at Longyang Road station and take the famous Maglev, which, with a speed of 431 Km an hour is the fastest train in the world.

Despite its speed, if you take into consideration the time you waste changing stations, buying tickets, waiting on security lines and for the train, the reality is that the time it takes to get to the airport is more or less the same as with the Metro (but the Metro costs much less and you don’t have to change stations!).

It’s also possible to get to the airport buy bus. Here you’ll find the departure points of the various buses that go to the airport (they all depart from the area of Metro stations).

To close, you can also get there by taxi. The price of a trip from the city center is about 150 Yuan.

Hongqiao Airport

Shanghai also has another airport, Hongqiao Airport, situated 13 Km to the west of the city, in the Changning district.

Hongqiao Airport mostly serves domestic flights and getting there it much easier than getting to Pudong since it is in a much more “central” location. The fastest way to get to the airport is to take Metro Line 2 toward East Xujing (the same one, in the opposite direction, brings you to Pudong Airport) and get off at the Hongqiao Airport Terminal 2 stop.

You can also get to the airport by taking Line 10 of the Metro in the direction of Hongqiao Railway Station, which stops at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of the airport.

Shanghai train stations

Click here to read our guide on trains in China (and to learn how to book a ticket online).

In Shanghai there are four train stations:

Shanghai Railway Station

The Shanghai Railway Station is the most important station in Shanghai. It’s located in the Zhabei district, and you can get there via lines 1, 2, and 4 of the metro (Shanghai Railway Station stop).

It is from this station that the majority of trains on the north-south route (from Beijing to Hong Kong) pass, as well as trains that go west, toward the interior of China.

Shanghai South Railway Station

Second in order of importance, Shanghai South Railway Station is found in the Xuhui district and you can get there with metro lines 1 or 3 (Shanghai South Railway Station stop).

From here the majority of trains headed toward the nearby province of Zhejiang depart along with many trains going toward the southern provinces (even though the Shanghai-Hong Kong train leaves from Shanghai Railway Station).

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

The Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, which opened in 2010, is the most extensive train station in Asia. You can get here via Lines 2 or 10 of the Metro (Hongqiao Railway Station stop, just one stop after Terminal 2 of Hongqiao Airport, where you can also get there on foot without leaving the station).

At the moment, all trains that leave from Hongqiao station are high speed trains (class G or D), including those for Beijing, Nanjing, Hangzhou, and the first section of the future high speed line between Shanghai-Kunming.

Note that normal speed trains for the same destinations leave instead from Shanghai Railway Station or Shanghai South Railway Station.

Shanghai West Railway Station

The Shanghai West Railway Station is located in the Putuo district and you can get there via Metro line 11 (Shanghai West Railway Station stop).

The station, which used to be called Zhenru station, reopened in 2010 and, at the moment, only high speed trains for Nanjing leave from there (some of which also stop at Changzhou and Suzhou).

metro map Shanghai

The Shanghai Metro system

The Shanghai Metro system is, currently the most extensive on the planet. On this page you can find timetables and ticket prices.

Here you’ll find an interactive Metro map offered by ExploreMetro (you can also download the app for iOS).

Shanghai Public Transport Card

If you’re staying in the city for more than two days, I recommend that you get the “Shanghai Public Transport Card (SPTC)” (交通一卡通 or jiaotong yi katong, in Chinese), which you can either pick up or recharge in pretty much all Metro stations as well as many “convenience store” throughout the city. It’s a rechargeable “contact-less” card (similar to the Oyster Card of London).

The initial cost is 20 Yuan (which will be refunded if and when you return the Transport Card). To recharge it, all you have to do is go to any window at the Metro and give your card to the attendant along with the money you want applied to your card.

Besides the Metro, the Transport Card can also be used for buses, boats, taxis, tourist attractions, parking lots, service stations, highways and the Maglev.

7. Tourism in Shanghai?

Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang situated on the estuary of Yangtze River, it serves as the most influential economic, financial, international trade, and cultural center in East China. Also it is a popular travel destination for visitors to sense the pulsating development of the country.
Shanghai Municipality and its two neighboring provinces, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, are joining hands to develop local tourism by combining their tourism resources.

A number of programs and activities will be hosted in these areas, including tourism fairs and expositions. The three will also form joint delegations to attend domestic tourism expositionsand an international tourism exposition hosted by other provinces.

While 200 million trips are made by residents of Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang annually, these areas also receive a large number of tourist arrivals due to their abundant tourism resources.

8. Hospitals and clinics in Shanghai?

To start off, if you’re thinking about traveling or moving to Asia without an insurance policy, think again. In the event that you have a health problem, no one will take care of you unless you can pay in cash or are covered by a policy. Click here to learn more on the subject.

International clinics in Shanghai

If you want to avoid having to argue in Chinese or winding up in a hospital with health standards that are far lower than those in the west, so I recommend that you choose a hospital or international clinic. Here is a list (which is by no means exhaustive):

Shanghai East International Medical Center
Address: 150, Jimo Road
Telephone: +862158799999

Shanghai United Family Hospital and Clinics
Address: 1139, Xianxia Road
Telephone: +862151331900

SinoUnited Health
Address Jing’an Branch: Suite 601, Shanghai Centre, 1376 West Nanjing Road
Telephone: +862162798920
Address Jinqiao Branch: 16, Lane 300, Hongfeng Road
Telephone: +862150307810
Address Gubei Branch: 491 South Yili Road
Telephone: +862161249979

America-Sino OB/GYN Service
Address: 14F, Complex Building, Huashan Hospital, 12 Middle Urumqi Road
Telephone: +862162493246

Parkway Health and Dental Clinics
Address: 203-4 West Retail Plaza, 1376 Nanjing Xi Road
Telephone: +862164455999

Local hospitals

In “local” hospitals, unless they have a “VIP” clinic (which will obviously be more expensive) forget about them speaking English or taking you in by appointment: you’ll have to wait on line like everyone else and communicate in Chinese. Not all hospitals accept foreigners. Here is a list, not exhaustive, of those that should accept you (but check first):

Shanghai First People’s Hospital International Care Center
Address: 585 Jiulong Road, Shanghai 200080
Telephone: +862163243852

Shanghai Ruijin (Guangci) Hospital
Address: Building 38, 197 Ruijin Er Road
Telephone: +862164664483

Shanghai Huadong Hospital
Address: 221 Yan’an Xi Road
Telephone: +862162483180

Ruidong Hospital
Address:Lane 50, 1507 Loushan Road
Telephone: +862158339595

Ren’ai Hospital
Address: 133 Caoxi Road
Telephone: +862164688888

Shanghai Children’s Medical Center
Address: 1678 Dongfang Road
Telephone: +862138626161

9. Shopping in Shanghai?

If you’d like to buy western brand products, I recommend Carrefour. Here you’ll find a complete list of Carrefours spread around the city, including address and directions as to how to get there. Besides Carrefour, you can find a good selection of imported products also at City Shop or Mark & Spencer (generally, both are more expensive than Carrefour).

Below you’ll find a list of the main shopping centers in Puxi:

Plaza 66
Address: 1266, West Nanjing Road
Store times: 10:00 – 22:00
How to get there: Take Line 2 of the Metro to West Nanjing Road station

Jiu Guang Department Store
Address: 1618, West Nanjing Road
Store times: 10:00 – 22:00
How to get there: Take Line 2 of the Metro to West Nanjing Road station

Shanghai Times Square
Address: 99, Middle Huaihai Road
Store times: 10:00 – 22:00
How to get there: Take Line 8 of the Metro to Dashijie station

Hong Kong Plaza
Address: 282, Middle Huaihai Road
Store times: 10:00 – 22:00
How to get there: Take Line 1 of the Metro to South Huangpi Road station

Grand Gateway
Address: 1, Hongqiao Road
Orari di Apertura: 10:00 – 22:00
How to get there: Take Line 9 of the Metro to Xujiahui station

Here you’ll find a list of shopping centers in Pudong:

Super Brand Mall
Address: 168, Lujiazui Xi Road
Store times: 10:00 – 22:00
How to get there: Take Line 2 of the Metro to Lujiazui station

Shanghai IFC Mall
Address: 8, Century Avenue
Store times: 10:00 – 22:00
How to get there: Take Line 2 of the Metro to Lujiazui station

Times Square
Address: 500, Zhangyang Road
Store times: 10:00 – 22:00
How to get there: Take Line 9 of the Metro to Shangcheng Road station

10. Buses in Shanghai

In Shanghai there are more than 1000 bus lines, run by 10 different bus companies. The most important stations are at the Shanghai Railway Station, Zhongshan Park, People’s Square, Xujiahui and Shanghai Indoor Stadium. Click here to learn more.

Personally, in Shanghai I rarely used the buses. The reason is that the metro system is extremely efficient and covers the city very extensively. At night, when the Metro was closed, I walked or took a taxi (which in China are relatively cheap).

Jinqiao, like Hongqiao, hosts many foreign companies. This has made it so that even here, in Pudong, an “expat” community has arisen, where you’ll find various international schools, Carrefour, and various taverns (pubs, eccetera) “deigned” for westerners.