TOURIST INFORMATION IN SHANGHAI
Tourist Information:Shanghai Information Service Centre office is at the south exit of the Shanghai Railway Station, tel. 5470-9799. There is also an office at 1699 Nanjing Xi Lu near the Jingan Metro Station. There are also tourist information offices at the airports. There are 25 Shanghai Information Service Centre office. Although their primary duty is to sell tours they sometimes also offers travel information and can book train and plane tickets for a small fee. Also try Shanghai Municipal Tourism Information, 2525 West Zhongshan Road, 200030, Shanghai, China, tel. (0)-21-6439-1818, fax: (0)- 21-6439-1519
The best source of visitor information is the 24-hour Shanghai Call Center (Tel. 021/962-288). Staffed by very helpful English- and Chinese-speaking university graduates. It provides information on entertainment, transportation, visa issues medical services, restaurants, tourist sights and other issues and topics related to Shanghai. You can also try the official Tourism Hot Line is (Tel. 021/6439-8947 or 021/962020) or the 24-hour Tourist Information Line maintained by Spring Travel Service (Tel. 021/6252-0000). Hotel staff and concierges can be helpful and provide information and help you sort out tourism-related matters. Beware of places that try to sell you expensive tours or direct you towards others places that sell them..
There are about a dozen Tourist Information Service Centers around Shanghai. The staff at most tourist offices speak English. They are usually very helpful with tourism related questions Although their primary duty is to sell tours they sometimes also offers travel information and can book hotels or get train and plane tickets for a small fee. They generally have some maps, brochures and other information about destinations and attractions.
The main office is at Zhongshan Xi Lu 2525, Room 410, Changning District (Tel. 021/6439-9806), with smaller branch offices at 1699 Nanjing West Rd, Jing An District (Tel. 021-6248-3259); 561 Nanjing East Rd, Huangpu District (Tel. 021-5353-1117); 127 Chengdu South Rd, Luwan District (Tel. 021-6372-8330); Jiujiaochang Rd, (tel: 021 6355 5032) and Zhengda Guangchang first floor,168 Lujiazui West Rd, Pudong (Tel. 021-6887-7888).
The official Shanghai China Travel website ( meet-in-shanghai.net is run by the local Shanghai government and has resources for tourists. It has information about accommodation in the city, the main highlights to visit and an events guide. The best sources for current information about Shanghai events, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife are the free English-language newspapers and magazines distributed to hotels, shops, and cafes around town. Shanghai China is a municipal government website ( shanghai.gov.cn ) has information and resource for expats and tourists visiting the city. Shanghai by Harriet Sergeant (John Murray, 1998) is an interesting and readable account of Shanghai's colorful history. Web sites: Smarts Shanghai smartshanghai.com ; Shanghai China ; Travel China Guide travelchinaguide.com ; Wikitravel wikitravel.org ; Maps of Shanghai: chinamaps.org ; Joho Maps Joho Maps ; China Highlights chinahighlights.com ; Subway Maps: Joho Maps johomaps.com
Geography of Shanghai
Shanghai sits on a peninsula in Yangtze River Delta on China's eastern coast, and is roughly equidistant from Beijing and Hong Kong. The municipality as a whole consists of a peninsula between the Yangtze and Hangzhou Bay, mainland China's second-largest island Chongming, and a number of smaller islands. It is bordered on the north and west by Jiangsu, on the south by Zhejiang, and on the east by the East China Sea. The city proper is bisected by the Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze. The historic center of the city, the Puxi area, is located on the western side of the Huangpu, while the newly developed Pudong, containing the central financial district Lujiazui, was developed on the eastern bank.
Beijing is one of China’s four province-level municipalities The vast majority of Shanghai's 6,340.5 square kilometers (2,448.1 square miles) land area is flat, apart from a few hills in the southwest corner, with an average elevation of 4 meters (13 feet). The city's location on the flat alluvial plain has meant that new skyscrapers must be built with deep concrete piles to stop them from sinking into the soft ground. The highest point is at the peak of Dajinshan Island at 103 meters (338 feet). The city City Chongming Island and several smaller islands. It has many rivers, canals, streams and lakes and is known for its rich water resources as part of the Taihu drainage area.
The Shanghai municipality covers an area about the size of Connecticut while the city proper is fairly concentrated.Puxi area, city’s historic center, developed west of the river. It includes eight districts known as Shanghai Proper or the core city. Pudong, city’s newer sections, developed east of the river.
Orientation in Shanghai
The main district, Huang Pu, embraces the area on both sides of the Huang Pu River. The area on the west side of the river is called Puxi (meaning “west side of the river”). The area on the east side of the river is called Pudong (meaning “east side of the river”). The new skyscrapers and the financial center of the city are in Pudong,
Most of the older parts of town are in Puxi: Suzhou Creek and most places of interest to tourists, including the Bund (from Suzhou Creek to Shanghai Harbour Passenger Terminal), Nanjing Road and Frenchtown (including the colorful Ruijin district). Nanjing Road, city's main shopping street runs east-west in city center. Traffic is often congested. Traffic jams are common. The street has two sections: 1) Nanjing Road East, in Huangpu District, linking The Bund and People's Square, including a pedestrianized section; and 2) Nanjing Road West, links People's Square and Jing'an District.
Other important districts include Yangpu and Hongkou in the northeast, Zhabei and Putuo in the northeast, Jingsan and Changmin in the west, and Luwan, Nanshi and Xuhai in the south. The new Pudong development area is to the east. The Yangtze river and port of Baoshan are to the north. Hardly anything remains of the old Chinese city, the International Settlement, the American Settlement and the Japanese Concession
The central area is more or less laid out in a grid and the streets names are written in Pinyin. Many of the major streets are named after major places in China and are thus easy to remember. Walking around Shanghai is recommended. The road system and infrastructure is hopelessly out of date and parts of the city are ensnared in near-constant gridlock. A trip across town can take three hours. Often you can make better time on foot than in a vehicle. Construction from $25 billion infrastructure improvement program thus far has only made the situation worse.
A detailed map with names in English and Chinese as well as subways stops and bus routes is helpful. Before you head off to some place off the beaten path, it helps to have detailed written directions in both English and Chinese and the name of a landmark near your destination. To get back to your hotel bring a card with the name of your hotel in Chinese and English. Since taxis are cheap, it often worthwhile to take a cab if you don't want to walk. The subway is good but it doesn't serve many destinations. Buses are crowded. Bicycling riding takes patience and nerves.
Shanghai is famous for its fish and seafood dishes. Shanghai people love fish and crabs from rivers not the sea, plus they like to cook fish when it is alive. Incorporating cooking styles from other provinces, Shanghai dishes are made from steamed or stewed meat or seafood with heavy seasonings, often cooked with a brown sauce that is slightly oily, lightly spiced and slightly sweet.
Shanghai specialties include fried freshwater crab with red beans; braised carp in sweet brown sauce; braised abalone; beggar's chicken; paper wrapped chicken; sweet and sour spare ribs; West Lake fish; prawns in tomato sauce; Eight Treasure duck; salted fish with bamboo shoots and mushrooms; dancing crab (marinated and sautéed crab in pepper sauce); bullfrog; and braised beef. Popular Shanghai snacks include steamed rice stuffed in a lotus leaf; pot stickers (pan fried buns); steamed dumplings filled with pork, mushroom and scallions; and crab and pork dumplings.
Shanghai is famous for its freshwater crabs. Regarded as an autumn, winter and cold weather delicacy, the crabs are indigenous to rivers and lakes in the Shanghai and Kuangchou regions and are raised in fish farm ponds, often filled with Yangtze River water. In markets the crabs are sold live with their legs bound together with rubber bands. Smaller crabs are said to be tastier than large ones. Freshwater crabs are said toe tastiest in October or November. See Fish and Seafood, Different Foods
Offering a guest some fresh crab is regarded as the best possible form of hospitality in Shanghai. A banquet featuring Shanghai fresh water "hairy crab" from the Yangtze River can set one back $1,000 or more.
Chinese not only eat the meat the also enjoy consuming the crab innards (known as kanimiso), which is found under the carapace. The eggs of females are also eaten. Much of the time the crab is prepared in a bamboo steamer. The carapace is opened by hand and the meat and kanimiso are plucked out with chopsticks and dipped in soy sauce with vinegar and ginger.
Drunken crabs is a specialty that needs to be ordered in advance. The crabmeat and roe are soaked in Chinese wine-based marinade for at least four days. The marinade includes crushed garlic, ginger, leeks, pepper, sugar and star anise. After the soaking the meat and roe take on a gelatinous texture and have a rich, sweet, peppery taste.
Restaurants in Shanghai
Shanghai street food
Shanghai has some great food and some food that is not so appetizing. Eating places generally fall into six categories: noodles stalls, sidewalk snack booths, local Chinese-style restaurants, fancy Chinese-style restaurants, fast food places and restaurants that serve international cuisine. Shanghai is famous for it pastries and sweet shops. Local hole-in-the-wall restaurants sometimes are oppressively crowded and not welcoming to foreigners. The food is sometimes very greasy.
Noodle stalls, deep fried snack booths and local Chinese-style restaurants are everywhere. They best way to choose a good one is find one with a lot of customers but enough room to sit down. Nanjing Road, Nanjing Xilu, Fuzhous Lu, and Yuyuan Bazaar are all good places to being your search. See Xintiandi Below.
There are many small, cheap, delightful restaurants, some with good Sichuan and Hunan dishes, in multitude of arched alleyways in the French Concession. There are also some upscale cafes here. The street stalls along Sichuan Zhong Street are good places to sample xiaolongbao (little basket dumplings) and sheng jian mantou (pan-fried, pork-filled dumplings).
Worth checking out are the 100year-old Nannxiang Steam Bun restaurant in Yuyuan Bazaar and the Super Brand Mall food court in Pudong. The best place to get street food is Xinag Yang Road between Julu and Changle. Favorites include soup dumplings, steamed buns filled with tofu and chopped greens and scallion pancakes with eggs. It is a also good place to get breakfast, Fangbang Lu around Yu Garden is lined with tea houses.
Some of Shanghai’s best restaurants and fashionable clubs are located in European-style buildings along the Bund with views of the Huangpu River. Many fancy restaurants are located in the large hotels. Restaurant Gallery contains food from different Asian countries on each floor. Some seafood restaurants bring fish and freshwater crabs by your table in buckets and let you pick out the ones you want. Trendy spots include a Jackie-Chan-themed restaurant and a Brazilan barbecue,
Shanghai is filled with Western supermarkets. There are Starbucks on practically every block in some districts as well as Tony Roma’s ribs, , T.G.I. Fridays, Hard Rock Café, McDonald's, Pizza Huts, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Lists of restaurants and guides are sometimes available from the tourist office, major hotels, bookstores and newsstands. Also check lists of restaurants in Shanghai Culture and Recreation, the Lonely Planet books, and other guidebooks. Web Sites: Frommers ; Fodor’s
Accommodation in Shanghai
each has a Hiatt
Accommodation in Shanghai tends to be expensive. As of 2004, there were 60,000 hotel rooms and 20 five-star hotels in Shanghai, including the famous Peace Hotel (See Sights Below), two Holiday Inns, a Hilton, Hyatts (occupying the top floors of the 88-story Jin Mao Tower and the World Financial Center and said to be the tallest hotel in the world), a Ritz-Carlton (where U.S. president Bill Clinton stayed during his visit to Shanghai), a Sheraton, and a Novotel. Sometimes they have special deals that are fairly reasonable.
The Astor House Hotel (Huangpu Road) was Shanghai’s first Western style hotel. Built in 1846, it has 130 rooms and serves breakfast in its old ballroom. Among its guests were Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein. The rooms are not so expensive, around $60 a night. For a few dollars you can stay in a room occupied by Chaplin, Einstein or another celebrity.
The top hotel in Shanghai according to Travel and Leisure in the St. Reqis, with the Four Seasons Hotel, Grand Hyatt, J.W. Marriot Hotel, Portman Ritz-Carlton, Pudong Shangri-La Hotel and Westin Bund Center also receiving high rankings. Doubles in all these hotels begin at between $300 and $650 a night.
On the Ritz-Carlton in Pudong, Clifford Coonan write in the Irish Times, "The view from the 52nd floor... is spectacular: China’s high-net-worth individuals can gaze across some of the world’s most expensive properties while choosing pricey reds from the encyclopaedic wine list and tucking into antipasti so authentically Tuscan they are guaranteed to melt the heart of even the stoniest of billionaires. The sleekly groomed staff are French and Indian as well as Chinese, and the sight of Shanghai’s new rich is so far removed from the China of 20 years ago that it has an almost science-fiction quality." [Source:Clifford Coonan, Irish Times, January 22, 2011]
There are also some standard hotels and budget hotels. They tend to be scattered around town and not very centrally located. Budget travelers sometimes stay in university dormitories. Residents of Caoyang New Village and Tianshan New Village welcome foreigners into their homes and spend the day entertaining them. Foreigners are especially welcome during China's festivals. The Lonely Planet books have good lists of cheap accommodation options. Hotel Websites : Hotel Travel ; Yahoo Travel ; Sinohotel Asia Hotels
Hotels in Shanghai
Top hotels in Shanghai include the Hyatt on the Bund, Shanghai Lapis Casa Boutique Hotel, and URBN Hotel Shanghai. Ruijin Lu, the home of the InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin hotel and other luxury hotels, Park Hyatt Shanghai on the 79th to 93rd floors of the Shanghai World Financial Center is the second tallest hotel in the world. The Grand Hyatt Shanghai on the 53rd to the 87th floors of the Jin Mao Tower is regarded as the world 8th tallest hotel.
Galaxy Hotel Shanghai
Location: 888 Zhongshan W. Rd., Shanghai
Location: 58 Maoming S. Rd., Shanghai
Hilton Hotel Shanghai
Location: 250 Huashan Rd., Shanghai
Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Shanghai
Location: 400 Panyu Rd., Shanghai
Hotel Nikko Longbai
Location: 2451 Hongqiao Rd., Shanghai
Jing An Hotel
Location: 370 Huashan Rd., Shanghai
New Jinjiang Grand Hotel
Location: 161 Changle Rd., Shanghai
Shanghai JC Mandarin Hotel
Location: 1225 Nanjing W.Rd., Shanghai
Travel Agencies in Shanghai
China Merchants Group Shanghai International Travel Service Vo.,Ltd
Location: Zi’an Building, Yuyuan Rd., Shanghai
Jinjiang Tours Co., Ltd
Location: Jia 191, Changle Rd., Shanghai
Shanghai China International Travel Service
Location: CITS Building, 1277 Beijing W. Rd., Shanghai
Shanghai China Youth Travel Service
Location: 2 Hengshan Rd., Shanghai
Image Sources: 1) CNTO (China National Tourist Organization; 2) Nolls China Web site; 3) Perrochon photo site; 4) Beifan.com; 5) developers, architecture firms, tourist and government offices linked with the place shown; 6) Mongabey.com; 7) University of Washington, Purdue University, Ohio State University; 8) UNESCO; 9) Wikipedia
Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), UNESCO, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Updated in May 2020