The two Chinese characters in the name "Shanghai" literally mean "up, on, or above" and "sea". While the Standard Mandarin pronunciation in Hanyu Pinyin is Shanghai. The earliest occurrence of this name dates from the Song Dynasty (11th century), at which time there was already a river confluence and a town with this name in the area. There are disputes as to how the name should be interpreted, but official local histories have consistently said that it means "the upper reaches of the sea". However, another reading, especially in Mandarin, also suggests the sense of "go onto the sea," which is consistent with the eaport status of the city. The more poetic name for Shanghai switches the order of the two characters, i.e., Haishang, and is often used for terms related to Shanghainese art and culture. In the West, Shanghai has also been spelled Schanghai (in German), Sjanghai (in Dutch), Xangai (in Portuguese) and Changhaï (in French), but since the 1990s the Hanyu Pinyin spelling of "Shanghai" has become universal in the West.
Shanghai's abbreviations in Chinese are Hu and Shang. The former is derived from the ancient name Hu Du of the river now known as Suzhou Creek. The latter is derived from the name of Chunshen Jun, a nobleman of the Chu Kingdom in the 3rd century BC whose territory included the Shanghai area and has locally been revered as a hero. Sports teams and newspapers in Shanghai often use the character Shang in their names. Shanghai is also commonly called Shancheng.
The city has had various nicknames in English, including "Paris of the East", "Queen of the Orient".
Before the formation of Shanghai city, Shanghai was part of Songjiang county, governed by Suzhou prefecture. From the time of the Song Dynasty (AD 960–1279), Shanghai gradually became a busy seaport, outgrowing its original political jurisdictions. For instance, Songjiang today is one of 18 districts within Shanghai. A city wall was built in AD 1553, which is generally accepted as the start of the city of Shanghai. However, before the nineteenth century, Shanghai was not considered a major city of China. Therefore, compared to most other major Chinese cities today, there are few ancient Chinese landmarks to be found in the city. The few cultural landmarks to be found are very ancient and typically date to the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. This is mostly due to the fact that present-day Shanghai is within the historic cultural center of the Wu Kingdom (AD 222–280).
During the Qianlong era of the Qing Dynasty, Shanghai became an important regional port for the Yangtze and Huangpu rivers. It also became a major seaport for the nearby Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, although overseas commerce was still forbidden at that time. A historically important area of this era is Wujiaochang (now in the Yangpu District), the foundation of the city center. Around the end of the Qianlong era, Shiliupu (now in the Huangpu District) became the largest port in East Asia.
Nineteenth to early twentieth century
The importance of Shanghai grew radically in the 19th century, as the city's strategic position at the mouth of the Yangtze River made it an ideal location for trade with the West.
During the First Opium War in the early 19th century, British forces temporarily held Shanghai. The war ended with the 1842 Treaty of Nanjing, which saw the treaty ports, Shanghai included, opened for international trade. The Treaty of the Bogue signed in 1843, and the Sino-American Treaty of Wangsia signed in 1844 together saw foreign nations achieve extraterritoriality on Chinese soil, which officially lasted until 1943 but was essentially defunct by the late 1930s. From the twenties to the late 30s Shanghai was a so-called 'sin city'. Gangsters wielded a great deal of power and ran casinos and brothels.
The Taiping Rebellion broke out in 1850, and in 1853 Shanghai was occupied by a triad offshoot of the rebels, called the Small Swords Society. The fighting destroyed the countryside but left the foreigners' settlements untouched, and Chinese arrived seeking refuge. Although previously Chinese were forbidden to live in foreign settlements, 1854 saw new regulations drawn up making land available to Chinese. Land prices rose substantially.
1854 also saw the first annual meeting of the Shanghai Municipal Council, created in order to manage the foreign settlements. In 1863, the British settlement, located along the western bank of the Huangpu river to the south of Suzhou creek (Huangpu district), and American settlement, located on the western bank of the Huangpu river and to the north of Suzhou creek (Hankou district) joined in order to form the International Settlement. The French opted out of the Shanghai Municipal Council, and instead maintained its own French Concession, located to the south of the International Settlement. Citizens of many countries and all continents came to Shanghai to live and work during the ensuing decades; those who stayed for long periods — some for generations — called themselves "Shanghighlanders". In the 1920s and 1930s, almost 20,000 so-called White Russians and Russian Jews fled the newly-established Soviet Union and took up residence in Shanghai. Shanghai Russians then constituted the second-largest foreign community in Shanghai (after the Japanese) and played an important role in the economic and cultural life of the city.
The Sino-Japanese War fought 1894–95 over control of Korea concluded with the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which saw Japan emerge as an additional foreign power in Shanghai. Japan built the first factories in Shanghai, which were soon copied by other foreign powers to effect the emergence of Shanghai industry. Shanghai was then the most important financial center in the Far East. Under the Republic of China, Shanghai was made a special city in 1927, and a municipality in May 1930. The Japanese Navy bombed Shanghai on January 28, 1932, nominally in an effort to crush down Chinese student protests of the Manchurian Incident and the subsequent Japanese occupation of northeast China. The Chinese fought back in what was known as the January 28 Incident. The two sides fought to a standstill and a ceasefire was brokered in May. The Battle of Shanghai in 1937 resulted in the occupation of the Chinese administered parts of Shanghai outside of the International Settlement and the French Concession. The International Settlement was occupied by the Japanese on 8 December 1941 and remained occupied until Japan's surrender in 1945.
People's Republic of China
On May 27, 1949, Communist Party of China controlled People's Liberation Army took control of Shanghai. It was one of the only three former Republic of China (ROC) municipalities not merged into neighbouring provinces over the next decade (the other being Beijing and Tianjin). It underwent a series of changes in the boundaries of its subdivisions, especially in the next decade.
In 1949, most foreign firms moved their offices from Shanghai to Hong Kong. Specifically North Point is where the largest concentration of emigrants would be found. One of the first actions taken by the communist party was to clean up the portion of the population that were considered counter-revolutionaries.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Shanghai became an industrial center and center for revolutionary leftism. Yet, even during the most tumultuous times of the Cultural Revolution, Shanghai was able to maintain high economic productivity and relative social stability. In most of the history of the People's Republic of China (PRC), Shanghai has been the largest contributor of tax revenue to the central government compared with other Chinese provinces and municipalities. This came at the cost of severely crippling Shanghai's infrastructure and capital development. Its importance to China's fiscal well-being also denied it economic liberalizations that were started in the far southern provinces such as Guangdong during the mid-1980s. At that time Guangdong province paid nearly no taxes to the central government, and thus was perceived as fiscally expendable for experimental economic reforms. Shanghai was not permitted to initiate economic reforms until 1991.
Political power in Shanghai has traditionally been seen as a stepping stone to higher positions within the PRC central government. In the 1990s, there was what was often described as the politically right-of-center "Shanghai clique," which included the president of the PRC Jiang Zemin and the premier of the PRC Zhu Rongji. Starting in 1992, the central government under Jiang Zemin, a former Mayor of Shanghai, began reducing the tax burden on Shanghai and encouraging both foreign and domestic investment in order to promote it as the economic hub of East Asia and to encourage its role as gateway of investment to the Chinese interior. Since then it has experienced continuous economic growth of between 9–15%.
Shanghai is administratively equal to a province and is divided into 19 county-level divisions: 18 districts and one county. There is no single downtown district in Shanghai, the urban core is scattered across several districts. Prominent central business areas include Lujiazui on the east bank of the Huangpu River, and The Bund and Hongqiao areas in the west bank of the Huangpu River. The city hall and major administration units are located in Huangpu District, which also serve as a commercial area, including the famous Nanjing Road. Other major commercial areas include the classy Xintiandi and Huaihai Road in Luwan district and Xujiahui in Xuhui District. Many universities in Shanghai are located in residential areas of Yangpu District and Putuo District.
Nine of the districts govern Puxi (literally Huangpu River west), or the older part of urban Shanghai on the west bank of the Huangpu River. These nine districts are collectively referred to as Shanghai Proper or the core city.
Pudong (literally Huangpu River east), or the newer part of urban and suburban Shanghai on the east bank of the Huangpu River, is governed by:
* Pudong New District — Chuansha County until 1992
Eight of the districts govern suburbs, satellite towns, and rural areas further away from the urban core:
* Baoshan District — Baoshan County until 1988
* Minhang District — Shanghai County until 1992
* Jiading District — Jiading County until 1992
* Jinshan District — Jinshan County until 1997
* Songjiang District — Songjiang County until 1998
* Qingpu District — Qingpu County until 1999
* Nanhui District — Nanhui County until 2001
* Fengxian District — Fengxian County until 2001
Chongming Island, an island at the mouth of the Yangtze, is governed by:
* Chongming County
As of 2003, these county-level divisions are further divided into the following 220 township-level divisions: 114 towns, 3 townships, 103 subdistricts. Those are in turn divided into the following village-level divisions: 3,393 neighborhood committees and 2,037 village committees.
List of towns:
* Anting, Jiading District
* Huamu, Pudong New District
* Pengpu, Zhabei District
* Beicai, Pudong New District
* Qibao, Minhang District
* Sheshan, Songjiang District
* Sijing, Songjiang District
* Nanqiao, Fengxian District
* Xinzhuang, Minhang District
* Jiangwan, Yangpu District
Economy and demographics
Shanghai is often regarded as the center of finance and trade in mainland China. Modern development began with economic reforms in 1992, a decade later than many of the Southern Chinese provinces, but since then Shanghai quickly overtook those provinces and maintained its role as the business center in mainland China. Shanghai also hosts the largest share market in mainland China.
Shanghai is one of the world's busiest ports. In 2005, Shanghai ranked first of the world's busiest ports in terms of cargo throughout, handling a total of 443 million tons of cargo. In terms of container traffic, it is the third busiest port in the world, following Singapore and Hong Kong.
The 2000 census put the population of Shanghai Municipality to 16.738 million, including the floating population, which made up 3.871 million. Since the 1990 census the total population has increased by 3.396 million, or 25.5%. Males accounted for 51.4%, females for 48.6% of the population. 12.2% were in the age group of 0–14, 76.3% between 15 and 64 and 11.5% were older than 65. 5.4% of the inhabitants were illiterate. As of 2003, the official registered population is 13.42 million; however, more than 5 million more people work and live in Shanghai undocumented, and of the 5 million, some 4 million belong to the floating population of temporary migrant workers, a large proportion of whom are from Anhui Province as well as Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces. The average life expectancy in 2003 was 79.80 years, 77.78 for men and 81.81 for women.
Shanghai and Hong Kong have had a recent rivalry over which city is to be the economic center of China. Hong Kong has the advantage of a stronger legal system, international market integration, superior economic freedom, greater banking and service expertise. Shanghai has stronger links to both the Chinese interior and the central government, in addition to a stronger base in manufacturing and technology. Shanghai has increased its role in finance, banking, and as a major destination for corporate headquarters, fuelling demand for a highly educated and modernized workforce. Shanghai has recorded a double-digit growth for 14 consecutive years since 1992. In 2006, Shanghai's nominal GDP posted a 12% growth to 1.0297 trillion yuan (US$128.8 billion).
As in many other areas in China, Shanghai is undergoing a building boom. In Shanghai the modern architecture is notable for its unique style, especially in the highest floors, with several top floor restaurants which resemble flying saucers.
The bulk of Shanghai buildings being constructed today are high-rise apartments of various height, color and design. There is now a strong focus by city planners to develop more "green areas" (public parks) among the apartment complexes in order to increase the quality of life for Shanghai's residents, quite in accordance to the "Better City - Better Life" theme of Shanghai's Expo 2010.
Historically very Western in lifestyle, Shanghai is increasingly a critical center of communication with the Western world. Examples include the opening of the Pac-Med Medical Exchange in June of 2004, a clearinghouse of medical data and a link between the Chinese and westernised medical infrastructures. In medicine and other humanitarian fields, China is actively seeking input of first world nations to improve living conditions and trade status. Arguments for and against modern Chinese leadership question the genuine influence the influx of western culture and technology will have on vast Chinese interior, outside of the densely populated, often visited urban centers. The Pudong district of Shanghai contains contemporary architecture and "modern"-feeling districts, in close proximity to major international trade and hospitality zones. Visitors to Shanghai find free public parks manicured to startling perfection; in distinct contrast to the massive industrial installations which reveal China's emerging environmental concerns. Shanghai's international diversity is perhaps the world's foremost window into the rich, historic and complex society of today's China.
Geography and climate
Shanghai faces the East China Sea (part of the Pacific Ocean), and is bisected by the Huangpu River. Puxi contains the city proper on the western side of Huangpu River, while an entirely new financial district has been erected on the eastern bank of the Huangpu in Pudong.
Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen climate classification Cfa). The average annual temperature is 16.58°C,which is low for a coastal location only 8° north of the tropics and is largely due to the presence of the Siberian high in the winter. The hottest year on record was 2007 (average temperature 18.10°C) and the coldest was 1885 (average 14.80°C).
Shanghai experiences all four seasons, with freezing temperatures during the winter season and a 32°C (90°F) average high during the hottest months of July and August. Temperature extremes of –10°C (14°F) and +41°C (105°F) have been recorded. Heavy rain is frequent in early summer. The weather in spring, although considered the most beautiful season, is highly variable, with frequent rain and alternating spells of warmth and cold. Summer is the peak tourist season, but is hot and oppressive, with high humidity. Autumn is generally sunny and dry, and the foliage season is in November. Winters are typically grey and dreary, with little or no snowfall. However, in late January and early February of 2008, heavy snow was recorded. The city has a few typhoon spells during the year, none of which in recent years have caused considerable damage.
Shanghai has an extensive public transportation system, largely based on buses, and a rapidly expanding metro system. For a city of Shanghai's size, road traffic is still fairly smooth and convenient but getting more congested as the number of cars increases rapidly.
Shanghai has the world's most extensive bus system with nearly one thousand bus lines. The Shanghai Metro (subway and elevated light rail) has eight lines (numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9) at present. According to the development schedule of the municipal government, by the year 2010, another 4 lines (numbers 7, 10, 11, 12) will be built in Shanghai. Bus and metro fares run from ¥1 to ¥5 depending on distance (between 12 to 50 US cents).
Taxis in Shanghai are plentiful and market competition has driven taxi fare down to affordable prices for the average resident (¥11 (¥14 after 11pm) or a little over one US dollar for 3 km). Before the 1990s, bicycling was the most ubiquitous form of transportation in Shanghai, but the city has since banned bicycles on many of the city's main roads to ease congestion. However, many streets have bicycle lanes and intersections are monitored by "Traffic Assistants" who help provide for safe crossing. Further, most motorists in China were raised riding bikes and so are fairly careful of them. Further, the city government has pledged to add 180 km of cycling lanes over the next few years. With rising disposable incomes, private car ownership in Shanghai has also been rapidly increasing in recent years. The number of cars is limited, however, by the number of available number plates available at public auction.
In cooperation with the Shanghai municipality and the Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co. (SMT), German Transrapid constructed the first commercial Maglev railway in the world in 2002, from Shanghai's Longyang Road subway station in Pudong to Pudong International Airport. Commercial operation started in 2003. The 30 km trip takes 7 minutes and 21 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 431 km/h (267.8 miles per hour).
Two railways intersect in Shanghai: Jinghu Railway (Beijing-Shanghai) Railway passing through Nanjing, and Shanghai-Hangzhou Railway. Shanghai has two main railway stations, Shanghai Railway Station and Shanghai South Railway Station. A Maglev train route to Hangzhou (Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Train) might begin construction in 2007. A high-speed railroad to Beijing is also in the works.
More than six national expressways (prefixed with "G") from Beijing and from the region around Shanghai connect to the city. Shanghai itself has six toll-free elevated expressways (skyways) in the urban core and 18 municipal expressways (prefixed with "A"). There are ambitious plans to build expressways connecting Shanghai's Chongming Island with the urban core.
Within Shanghai itself, there are elevated roads, which appear expressway-like in road conditions (direction-separated lanes). Tunnels and bridges are used to link Puxi to Pudong.
Shanghai has two airports: Hongqiao International and Pudong International, the latter of which has the third highest traffic in China, following Beijing Capital International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. Pudong International handles more international traffic than Beijing Capital however, with over 17.15 million international passengers handled in 2006 compared to the latter's 12.6 million passengers.
As of December 2005, Shanghai's port, including the newly opened Yangshan deep water port, is the largest in the world. The Donghai Bridge with a total length 32.5 km, is the longest cross-sea bridge in the world. It links Shanghai on the mainland to the Yangshan islands.
The vernacular language is Shanghainese, a dialect of Wu Chinese; while the official language is Standard Mandarin. The local dialect is mutually unintelligible with Mandarin, and is an inseparable part of the Shanghainese identity. The Shanghainese dialect today is a mixture of standard Wu Chinese as spoken in Suzhou, with the dialects of Ningbo and other nearby regions whose peoples have migrated to Shanghai in large numbers since the 20th Century.
Nearly all Shanghainese under the age of 40 can speak Mandarin fluently. Fluency in foreign languages is unevenly distributed. Most senior residents who received a university education before the revolution, and those who worked in foreign enterprises, can speak English. Those under the age of 26 have had contact with English since primary school, as English is taught as a mandatory course starting at Grade 1.
Songjiang School and Huating School
Songjiang School is a small painting school during the Ming Dynasty. It is commonly considered as a further development of the Wu School, or Wumen School, in the then cultural center of the region, Suzhou. Huating School was another important art school during the middle to late Ming Dynasty. Its main achievements were in traditional Chinese painting, calligraphy and poetry, and especially famous for its Renwen painting. Dong Qichang is one of the masters from this school.
The Shanghai School is a very important Chinese school of traditional arts during the Qing Dynasty and the whole of the twentieth century. Under efforts of masters from this school, traditional Chinese art reached another climax and continued to the present in forms of the "Chinese painting" or guohua for short. The Shanghai School challenged and broke the literati tradition of Chinese art, while also paying technical homage to the ancient masters and improving on existing traditional techniques. Members of this school were themselves educated literati who had come to question their very status and the purpose of art, and had anticipated the impending modernization of Chinese society. In an era of rapid social change, works from the Shanghai School were widely innovative and diverse, and often contained thoughtful yet subtle social commentary.
In literature, the term was used in the 1930s by some May Fourth Movement intellectuals, notably Zhou Zuoren and Shen Congwen, as a derogatory label for the literature produced in Shanghai at the time. They argued that so-called Shanghai School literature was merely commercial and therefore did not advance social progress. This became known as the Jingpai (Beijing School) versus Haipai (Shanghai School) debate.
Because of Shanghai's status as the cultural and economic center of East Asia for the first half of the twentieth century, it is popularly seen as the birthplace of everything considered modern in China. It was in Shanghai, for example, that the first motor car was driven and the first train tracks and modern sewers were laid. It was also the intellectual battleground between socialist writers who concentrated on critical realism (pioneered by Lu Xun and Mao Dun) and the more "bourgeois", more romantic and aesthetically inclined writers (such as Shi Zhecun, Shao Xunmei, Ye Lingfeng, Eileen Chang).
Besides literature, Shanghai was also the birthplace of Chinese cinema & theater. China’s first short film, The Difficult Couple (Nanfu Nanqi, 1913), and the country’s first fictional feature film, Orphan Rescues Grandfather (Gu'er jiu zuji, 1923) were both produced in Shanghai. These two films were very influential, and established Shanghai as the center of Chinese film-making. Shanghai’s film industry went on to blossom during the early Thirties, generating Marilyn Monroe-like stars such as Zhou Xuan. Another film star, Jiang Qing, went on to become Madame Mao Zedong. The talent and passion of Shanghainese filmmakers following World War II and the Communist revolution in China contributed enormously to the development of the Hong Kong film industry.
Many aspects of Shanghainese popular culture ("Shanghainese Pops") were transferred to Hong Kong by the numerous Shanghainese emigrants and refugees after the Communist Revolution. The movie In the Mood for Love (Huayang nianhua) directed by Wong Kar-wai (a native Shanghainese himself) depicts one slice of the displaced Shanghainese community in Hong Kong and the nostalgia for that era, featuring 1940s music by Zhou Xuan.
People of other provinces
Only very few residents are descended from original inhabitants of the old walled city. Nearly all registered Shanghainese residents are descendants of immigrants from the two adjacent provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang who moved to Shanghai in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. These are regions that generally speak the same family of dialects as Shanghainese - Wu Chinese. Much of pre-modern Shanghainese culture is an integration of cultural elements from these two regions. The Shanghainese dialect reflects this as well.
Despite this somewhat heterogeneous origin to the Shanghainese population, there has been a strong sense of Shanghainese identity, founded upon cultural and economical superiority up to the Revolution and to the present day. The Revolution was a humbling experience for Shanghai as a whole, as it was brought into line by the Communist, whose ideology favoured grass-root agriculture and industry, and opposed bourgeois excesses, which Shanghai stood for in the eyes of many. While most in China viewed the Shanghainese as bourgeois and arrogant, the Shanghainese reciprocally eyed the rest of the country as "country folk" (xiangwunin in Shanghainese). After the nationwide chaos of the Cultural Revolution and towards the 1980s, perception of Shanghai was greatly improved among other Chinese.
Tensions have been refueled in the past decade by migrants from all over China who do not speak the local dialect and therefore use Mandarin as a lingua franca. Rising crime rates, littering, harassive panhandling, and an overloading of the basic infrastructure (mainly public transportation and public schools) associated with the rise of these migrant populations (over 3 million new migrants in 2003 alone) have been generating some ill will from the Shanghainese. The new migrants are easy to spot by the Shanghainese, and are often targets of both intentional and unintentional discrimination. Efforts have been made by the local Shanghai municipal government to provide adequate welfare for the migrant populations in Shanghai, while also being cautious not to further increase the burdens of the native-born population.
One uniquely Shanghainese cultural element is the shikumen residences, which are two or three-story townhouses, with the front yard protected by a high brick wall. Each residence is connected and arranged in straight alleys, known as a lòngtang, pronounced longdang in Shanghainese. The entrance to each alley is usually surmounted by a stylistic stone arch. The whole resembles terrace houses or townhouses commonly seen in Anglo-American countries, but distinguished by the tall, heavy brick wall in front of each house. The name "shikumen" literally means "stone storage door", referring to the strong gateway to each house.
The shikumen is a cultural blend of elements found in Western architecture with traditional Lower Yangtze (Jiangnan) Chinese architecture and social behavior. All traditional Chinese dwellings had a courtyard, and the shikumen was no exception. Yet, to compromise with its urban nature, it was much smaller and provided an "interior haven" to the commotions in the streets, allowing for raindrops to fall and vegetation to grow freely within a residence. The courtyard also allowed sunlight and adequate ventilation into the rooms.
This style of housing originally developed when local developers adapted terrace houses to Chinese conditions. The wall was added to protect against fighting and looting during the Taiping rebellion, and later burglars and vandals during the social upheavals of the early twentieth century. By World War II, more than 80% of the population in the city lived in these kinds of dwellings. Many of these were hastily built and were akin to slums, while others were of sturdier construction and featured all modern amenities such as the flush toilet.
During and after World War II, massive population increases in Shanghai led many shikumen houses to be heavily subdivided. For example, the spacious living room is often divided into three or four rooms, each lent out to a family. These cramped conditions continue to exist in many of the shikumen districts that have survived recent development.
The landlords who leased (subletted) the shikumen out to other families were called "erfangdong", or "second landlord" as many of them acquired the shikumen buildings from its original owner ("dafangdong"). These landlords families usually share the same shikumen building with the tenants.
Other Shanghainese cultural artifacts include the cheongsam (Shanghainese: zansae), a modernization of the traditional Chinese/Manchurian qipao. This contrasts sharply with the traditional qipao which was designed to conceal the figure and be worn regardless of age. The cheongsam went along well with the western overcoat and the scarf, and portrayed a unique East Asian modernity, epitomizing the Shanghainese population in general. As Western fashions changed, the basic cheongsam design changed, too, introducing high-necked sleeveless dresses, bell-like sleeves and, the black lace frothing at the hem of a ball gown. By the 1940s, cheongsams came in transparent black, beaded bodices, matching capes and even velvet. And later, checked fabrics became also quite common. The 1949 Communist Revolution ended the cheongsam and other fashions in Shanghai. However, the Shanghainese styles have seen a recent revival as stylish party dresses. The fashion industry has been rapidly revitalizing in the past decade, there is on average one fashion show per day in Shanghai today. Like Shanghai's architecture, local fashion designers strive to create a fusion of western and traditional designs, often with innovative if not controversial results.
Due to its cosmopolitan history, Shanghai has a rich blend of religious herritage as shown by the religious buildings and institutions still scattered around the city.
Taoism has a presence in Shanghai in the form of several temples. The largest temple administered by the Shanghai Taoist Association is the City God Temple, at the heart of the old city, which is dedicated to three historical figures who are seen as protectors of the city. Other traditional temples include the Wenmiao dedicated to Confucius, and a temple dedicated to the Three Kingdoms general Guan Yu.
Buddhism has had a presence in Shanghai since ancient times. The Longhua temple is the largest temple in Shanghai, and was founded in the Three Kingdoms period. Jing'an Temple, located in downtown Shanghai, was also first built during the Three Kingdoms period. Another important temple is the Jade Buddha Temple, which is named after a large statue of Buddha carved out of jade in the temple.
There has been a sizable Muslim population in Shanghai for centuries. They are served by a number of mosques, such as the Xiaotaoyuan Mosque in the old city, and Songjiang Mosque in Songjiang District.
Shanghai is also an important center of Christianity in China. Churches belonging to various denominations are still found throughout Shanghai and maintain significant congregations. Among Catholic churches, St Ignatius Cathedral in Xujiahui is the largest, while She Shang Cathedral is the only active pilgrimage site in China. Other notable churches include the Dongjiadu Cathedral.
There were once sizable Jewish and Eastern Orthodox populations in Shanghai. Various synagogues, such as the Ohel Rachel Synagogue, and Orthodox-style church buildings attest to this part of Shanghai's history.
Shanghai has a rich collection of buildings and structures of various architectural styles. The Bund, located by the bank of the Huangpu River, contains a rich collection of early 20th century architecture, ranging in style from neo-classical HSBC Building to the art deco Sassoon House. A number of areas in the former foreign concessions are also well preserved.
Despite rampant redevelopment, the old city still retains some buildings of a traditional style, including Yuyuan Garden, a traditional garden in the Jiangnan style.
In recent years, a large number of architectually distinctive, even eccentric, skyscrapers have sprung up throughout Shanghai. Notable examples of contemporary architecture include the Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Grand Theatre in the People's Square precinct.
The tallest tower in Asia, the distinctive Oriental Pearl Tower, is located in Shanghai. Its lower sphere is now available for living quarters, starting at very high prices. The Jin Mao tower located nearby is mainland China's tallest skyscraper, and ranks fifth in the world.
Colleges and universities
Shanghai is home to many of China's top and oldest universities.
* Fudan University (founded in 1905)-Shanghai Medical University (merged into Fudan University in 2000)
* Shanghai Jiao Tong University (founded in 1896)-Shanghai Second Medical University (merged into Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2005)
* Tongji University (founded in 1907)
* East China Normal University (founded in 1951)
* Shanghai International Studies University (founded in 1949)
* Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (founded in 1917)
* East China University of Science and Technology
* East China University of Politics and Law
* Donghua University
* Shanghai University (founded in 1922)
* China Academy of Art (founded in 1928)
* Shanghai Conservatory of Music (founded in 1927)
* Shanghai Theater Academy
* Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow University (founded in 1932)
* Second Military Medical University
* Shanghai University of Engineering Sciences
* Shanghai Normal University (founded in 1954)
* Shanghai Finance University
* Shanghai Maritime University
* Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
* Shanghai University of Electric Power
* University of Shanghai for Science and Technology
* Shanghai Fisheries University
* Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade
* Shanghai Sports University (Shanghai Institute of Physical Education)
* Shanghai Normal University
* Shanghai Institute of Technology
* Shanghai Lixin University of Commerce
* Shanghai Shanda University
* East-Sea University
* China Europe International Business School
* Shanghai Second Polytechnic University
* Han Bangqing, The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai, a novel following the lives of Shanghainese sing-song girls (courtesans who sing, dance and may provide sexual services) and the timeless decadence surrounding them. The novel was first published in 1892 during the last two decades of the Qing Dynasty, with the dialogue completely in vernacular Wu Chinese (Shanghainese). The highly popular novel set a precedent for modern Chinese literature and was later translated into Mandarin and English by Eileen Chang. In 2005, Eileen Chang's translation was revised by Eva Hung and published in English by Columbia University Press. The novel is also sometimes called Flowers of Shanghai after the 1998 film adaptation.
* Eileen Chang was a famous Shanghainese writer during World War II. Nearly all her works of bourgeois romanticism are set in Shanghai, and many have been made into arthouse films (see Eighteen Springs).
* Besides Eileen Chang, other Shanghainese "petit bourgeois" writers in the first half of twentieth century: Shi Zhecun, Liu Na'ou and Mu Shiying, Shao Xunmei and Ye Lingfeng.
* Mao Dun, a socialist writer and playwright, is famous for his Ziye, set in Shanghai.
* Ba Jin, one of the most renowned Chinese writers of the last century, lived and worked in Shanghai, and set some of his works in the city.
* Lu Xun, regarded as the leading leftist voice in pre-1949 Shanghai, lived and worked in Shanghai.
* One of the great Chinese novels of the twentieth century, Qian Zhongshu's Fortress Besieged is partially set in Shanghai and has mostly Shanghainese characters.
* Noel Coward wrote his novel Private Lives while staying at Shanghai's Cathay Hotel.
* André Malraux, La Condition Humaine, 1933 (Man's Fate, 1934), a novel about the failed communist revolution that took place in Shanghai in 1927 and the existential choices the losers have to face. Malraux won the 1933 Prix Goncourt of literature for the novel.
* Tom Bradby's 2002 historical detective novel The Master of Rain is set in the Shanghai of 1926.
* Neal Stephenson's science fiction novel The Diamond Age is set in an ultra-capitalist Shanghai of the future.
* The first part of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel When We Were Orphans is set in Shanghai.
* Yokomitsu Riichi's novel "Shanghai" was set in 1920s Shanghai.
* Nien Cheng wrote about her experiences during the Cultural Revolution in Life and Death in Shanghai.
* Qiu Xiaolong's Chief Inspector Chen Cao detective novels such as Death of a Red Heroine and A Loyal Character Dancer mostly take place in Shanghai.
Shanghai has city partnerships with the following cities and regions:
* Yokohama, Japan - since 1973
* Osaka, Japan - 1974
* Milan, Italy - 1979
* Rotterdam, the Netherlands - 1979
* San Francisco, United States - 1979
* Osaka Prefecture, Japan - 1980
* Croatia Zagreb, Croatia - 1980
* North Korea Hamhung, North Korea - 1982
* Manila, Philippines - 1983
* Antwerp, Belgium - 1984
* Karachi, Pakistan - 1984
* Chicago, United States - 1985
* Montreal, Canada - 1985
* Piraeus, Greece - 1985
* Gdansk, Poland - 1985
* Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan - 1986
* Hamburg, Germany - 1986
* Casablanca, Morocco - 1986
* Gothenburg, Sweden - 1986
* Marseille, France - 1987
* Sao Paulo, Brazil - 1988
* Saint Petersburg, Russia - 1988
* Estanbul, Turkey - 1989
* Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - 1990
* Alexandria, Egypt - 1992
* Pusan, South Korea - 1993
* Port Vila, Vanuatu - 1994
* Dunedin, New Zealand - 1994
* Haifa, Israel - 1994
* Tashkent, Uzbekistan - 1994
* Porto, Portugal - 1995
* Aden, Yemen - 1995
* Windhoek, Namibia - 1995
* London, United Kingdom - 1996
* Santiago de Cuba, Cuba - 1996
* Rosario, Argentina - 1997
* Espoo, Finland - 1998
* Jalisco State, Mexico - 1998
* Liverpool, United Kingdom - 1999
* Maputo, Mozambique - 1999
* Emirates Dubai, United Arab Emirates - 2000
* Chiangmai, Thailand - 2000
* Flag of South Africa KwaZulu Natal, South Africa - 2001
* Guayaquil, Ecuador - 2001
* Valparaiso, Chile - 2001
* Barcelona, Spain - 2001
* Oslo, Norway - 2001
* Constania, Romania - 2002
* Algiers, Algeria - 2003
* Colombo, Sri Lanka - 2003
* Aarhus County, Denmark - 2003
* Bratislava Region, Slovakia - 2003
* Hauraki District, New Zealand - 2003
* Salzburg, Austria - 2004
* Lefkosia, Cyprus - 2004
* Cork, Ireland - 2005
* Winston-Salem, United States - 2006
* Basel, Switzerland - 2007
* Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina - commencing 2008
Shanghai will be the host of the Expo 2010 World's Fair between May to October 2010.
Shanghai hosted the 2007 Summer Special Olympics from October 2 to 11, 2007. The Games were the largest sporting event in 2007, with over 7,000 athletes participating, and featured competitions in all of the districts of Shanghai. President Hu Jintao opened the Games at the Opening Ceremony in Shanghai Stadium.
The city has hosted the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit every year since 2004.
It was also one of the nine places across seven continents to hold a Live Earth concert in its Oriental Pearl TV Tower, held on July 7, 2007, to promote the fight against global warming. However, despite the high attendance of the event in Shanghai, it remains doubtful if it will influence Chinese awareness of global warming.
Professional sports teams in Shanghai include:
* Chinese Football Association Super League-Shanghai Shenhua
* China League-Shanghai TopStars
* Chinese Basketball Association-Shanghai Sharks
* Chinese Baseball League- Shanghai Eagles
* National Rally Championship-Shanghai Volkswagon 333
* China Table Tennis Super League-Shanghai Shenxuerong
* China Volleyball Association
Shanghai is one of China's main travel hubs and getting in from pretty much anywhere is easy.
Shanghai has two main airports, with Pudong the main international gateway and Hongqiao serving most domestic flights. Be sure to check which one your flight is leaving from, and allow at least one hour, preferably 1.5 hours, to transfer if needed!
Domestic airplane tickets should be booked at least two days in advance at one of the many travel agencies. Fares are generally cheap, but vary depending on the season; figure on ¥400-1200 for Beijing-Shanghai. When backpacking, it may often be cheaper to book a flight along a big traffic line (Beijing-Shanghai, Beijing-Chongqing, Shanghai-Shenzhen, ...) and travel the rest by bus or train.
Although direct flights between Taiwan and China are prohibited, it is still possible to travel from Taipei, Taiwan to Shanghai within 4 hours (including layover time) by flying through Jeju, South Korea.
Pudong International Airport
Transrapid trains known locally as Shanghai MagLev Trains (SMT) at Longyang Station
Pudong (æµ¦ä¸œæœºåœº, PVG) is Shanghai's new international airport, located 40 km to the east of the city. Arrivals on the first floor, departures on the third, and has all the features you'd expect - but head up to the 3rd if the sole ATM in the arrivals hall is out of order. There are now two gigantic terminals (T1 and T2), so check which one you're going to. A free shuttle bus service connects the two.
The most convenient, but also the most expensive way, to get to central Shanghai is by taxi, but figure on ¥145 and up to an hour to get to the center of the city. Head for the official taxi line to the far right of the arrival terminal. Taxi drivers seldom speak any English, but you may want to check that they know where you would like to go and the estimated cost to get there. Ask an attendant at the info desk to write down the name of your destination in Chinese for you, to show the driver. It is not advisable to follow any person inside the terminal claiming to be a taxi driver, unless you are at least two persons and speak good mandarin. Use extreme caution and double check the charges as some will try to charge up to 10 times the normal fare. Never allow the driver to pick up a "friend" or any other second passenger.
Airport buses are considerably cheaper (¥15-22), but take up to an hour and a half and stop running at 11 PM. There are a number of routes, but two particularly convenient ones connect to the Airport City Terminal on Nanjing West Road (#2, ¥19) and Shanghai train station (#5, ¥18). Budget travelers may also consider buses stopping at Longyang Road (1#/5#, ¥12) from where you may transfer to Subway Line No. 2.
More a tourist attraction and prestige project than practical means of transport, the Transrapid maglev train is now open to the public and shuttles from the airport to the middle of Pudong in 7 minutes flat at a blazing speed of 430 km/hour. However, it's then another half hour by subway to get to Puxi, and it's a bit of a hike both in the airport (2nd floor) and to transfer to the subway. On both ends, there are two flights of escalators or stairs; if you need an elevator, you need to ask for assistance. That said, the maglev to Longyang and a taxi from there is the fastest way to get to places around Pudong, and the ride is definitely an experience in a rollercoasterish way. Services currently operate from 6:45 AM to 9:30 PM daily and cost ¥50 one way (¥40 if you have a same-day ticket) or ¥80 same-day return. You can also opt to pay double for "VIP Class", which gets you a soft drink and bragging rights.
Taxis around Longyang Road are notorious for overcharging newly arrived tourists. Keep in mind that a taxi ride into central Shanghai should rarely exceed ¥50.
Shanghai's older airport Hongqiao (SHA) services domestic flights, the only exception being the city shuttle services to Tokyo-Haneda and Seoul-Gimpo. 12 km away from the city center, a taxi can manage the trip in 20 minutes on a good day but allow an extra 30 minutes for the taxi queue, especially when arriving after 7pm.
The 'Hongqiao Airport Special Line' bus goes directly to Jing'an Temple every 10-30 minutes for ¥4. Due to the long taxi queues this is by far the quickest option, albeit at times crowded. There is no sign posting in English so it is advisable to print out the Chinese characters then consult one of the airport staff, or look for one of the buses without a bus number (only Chinese Characters). Tickets are purchased inside the bus shortly before it departs, once departed there are no stops until arriving right in front of Jing'an Temple subway station on Line 2.
Public buses (numbers 925 and 505) run to Renmin Square regularly and cost only ¥4, but may take up to 45 minutes. All buses cost only ¥4. An extension of Metro Line 2 to Hongqiao Airport is under construction.
Shanghai has several train stations.
• Shanghai Railway Station. Shanghai's largest and oldest, located in Zhabei district, on the intersection of Metro Lines 1, 3 and 4. Practically all trains used to terminate here,including trains to Hong Kong. But southern services are being shifted out to the new South Station.
• Shanghai South Railway Station. A new, greatly expanded terminal opened in July 2006 and and is set to take over all services towards the south. On Metro lines 1 and 3.
• Shanghai West Railway Station. The smallest of the three, with limited services to Yantai, Zaozhuang, Hengyang, Ganzhou, Chengdu. Not reachable by metro.
Train tickets are also most conveniently booked in advance at one of the many travel service agencies. If urgent, they could also be directly booked at the train stations and the Shanghai Railway Station even has an English counter.
• Beijing -there are a number of brand new night sleep trains running daily from Shanghai to Beijing, starting at 7pm in 10 minute intervals to 8pm and arriving at 7-8am in Beijing. Fare is around ¥500 for a softsleeper, but they are very clean and the four-person cabins very comfortable. In the same new train, normal hardseaters area available for around ¥250. Food is now served when traveling in both directions, and there is a drinks and snacks trolley that comes past occasionally that you can purchase smaller items from as well. For a regular normal sleeper in a standard train, which takes 13 hours from Shanghai to Beijing, expect to pay ¥200-300 with no food either.
• Hong Kong -The T99/T100 train to and from Hong Kong runs every other day (Shanghai->Hong Kong on even days and Hong Kong->Shanghai on odd days) from Shanghai Railway Station (T99 leaves here at 3:30PM, T100 arrives here around noon), arriving at Hung Hom station in Kowloon(T99 arrives here around noon, T100 leaves here at 3:30PM). If traveling alone, expect to pay ¥800 each way for the soft sleeper, but discounts are given for group purchases (¥400 each way per person in a soft sleeper if purchased in a group of 4, for instance). Unless you are on a very tight budget, try to get the 'Delux Soft Sleeper' which fascilitates compartments of 2 beds and a private mainland-style mains socket (but with the introduction of new train cars, the regular soft sleeper also has a private mains socket for each room). Spaces are limited, so book well in advance. Keep in mind that you will still have to go through Customs and thus need a new visa for reentry into mainland China.
The new fast (200+ km/hr) CRH trains go from Shanghai to Hangzhou in one direction and to Suzhou and Nanjing in the other. These are very comfortable and convenient. Look for the separate "CRH" ticket counters.
In recent years many highways have been built, linking Shanghai to other cities in the region, including Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, etc. It only takes 2 hours to reach Shanghai from Hangzhou.
There are several long-distance bus stations in Shanghai, but most buses only go to small towns nearby the city. And you should try to get the tickets as early as possible.
There are ferry services from Shanghai to Kobe, Osaka (Japan) weekly and Hong Kong.
• http://www.shanghai-ferry.co.jp/ The Shanghai Ferry Company has once a week service from Shanghai to Osaka and vice versa. Takes two nights.
• The Japan-China International Ferry Company has similiar service as The Shanghai
Ferry Company but alternates each week with Osaka and Kobe as the Japanese depart / arrival city.
If you intend to stay in Shanghai for a longer time the Shanghai Jiaotong Card can come in handy. You can load the card with money and use it in buses, the metro and even taxis. You can get these cards at any metro/subway station, as well as some convenience stores like Alldays and KeDi Marts. These come in regular and mini size, with various limited editions available for each. Only regular-sized cards can be loaded at machines; for the mini and other irregular sizes it is necessary to take it to a service counter for recharge.
The fast-growing Shanghai Metro network now has 8 lines with another 4 under construction. The trains are fast, cheap and fairly user-friendly with most signs also in English, but the trains can get very packed at rush hour. Fares range from ¥3 to ¥9 depending on distance. Automatic ticket vending machines take ¥1 or ¥0.5 coins and notes (some of the machines at Xujiahui and People's Square will take a public transportation card so that you can buy multiple tickets with one card). Most stations on lines 1-3 will also have staff selling tickets, but on the newly-completed lines 6, 8, and 9 ticket puchasing is all done by machine with staff there only to assist in adding credit to cards or if something goes wrong. You can now transfer between lines freely with a single ticket (except at Shanghai Railway Station where only line 3/4 transfer is free and at Yishan Rd where only line 3/9 transfer is free, but the latter case is because the Line 4 station for Yishan Rd is a separate location). The metro can use Shanghai's public transportation card (non-contact). Be careful; certain stations exist on two different lines with the same name but are located in different places (Yishan Rd- Line 3/9 and line 4 are separate stations- go to Hongqiao Rd. for line 3/4 transfer and then back to Yishan Rd on line 3 to be able to transfer to line 9; Pudian Rd- line 4 and line 6; go to either Century Ave. or Lancun Rd. to transfer between these lines; Hongkou Football Stadium, Line 3 and Line 8- no direct transfer is possible between these lines)
If there are seats available but more passengers boarding than seats, be prepared to see a mad dash (literally) for the available seats. It's no use scolding anyone as everybody behaves like that, so just go with the flow. Pickpockets are likely to strike at this moment, so be careful.
Taxi is a good choice for transportation in the city, especially off-peak hours. It is affordable (¥11 for the first 3km) and saves you a lot of time, but try to get your destination in Chinese characters as communication can be an issue. As Shanghai is a huge city, try to get the nearest intersection to your destination as well since even addresses in Chinese are often useless. Drivers, while generally honest, are sometimes genuinely clueless and occasionally out to take you for a ride. Always insist on using the meter and, if your fare seems out of line, demand a printed receipt before paying. If you feel you have been cheated or mistreated by the driver, you (or a Chinese-speaking friend) can use the information on the printed receipt to raise a complaint to the taxi company about that particular driver. The printed receipt is also useful to contact the driver in case you have forgotten something in the taxi and need to get it back.
If you come across a row of parked taxis and have a choice of which one to get in to, you may wish to check the driver's taxi ID card that is posted next to or near the meter on the dash in front of the front passenger seat. The higher the number, the newer the driver, thus the likelihood that your driver will not know where he or she is going. Taxi driver ID numbers between 10XXXX and 12XXXX are likely to be the most experienced drivers (just make sure to match the picture on the ID card with that of the driver). A number of 27XXXX to 29XXXX is probably going to get you lost somewhere. Another way is to check the number of stars the driver has. These are displayed below the driver's photograph on the dashboard in front of the passenger seat. The amount of stars indicates the length of time the driver has been in the taxi business and the level of positive feedback received from customers, and range from zero stars to five. Drivers with one star or more should know all major locations in Shanghai, and those with three stars should be able to recognize even lesser-known addresses. Remember that it takes time to build up these stars, and so don't panic if you find yourself with a driver who doesn't have any - just have them assure you that they know where they are going and you should be fine.
If you need to cross from one side of the Huangpu River to the other by taxi, especially from Pudong to Puxi, you may want to make sure your driver will make the trip, and knows where he or she is going. Some drivers only know their side of the town and will be as lost as you are once they leave their side of town. Taxis are notoriously difficult to get on rainy days and during peak traffic hours, so plan your journeys accordingly. As the crossings between Pudong and Puxi are often jammed with traffic, taking a taxi may be a more expensive and less time-efficient alternative to using the Metro to cross. It may be better to take the Metro between both sides, and then catch a taxi on the side that your final destination is on.
Taxi colors in Shanghai are strictly controlled and indicate the company the taxi belongs to. Turquoise taxis operated by Dazhong, the largest group, are often judged the best of the bunch. Another good taxi company, "Qiangsheng", uses gold-colored taxis. Watch out for dark red/maroon taxis, since this is the 'default' color of small taxi companies and includes more than its fair share of bad apples. Also private owned taxis (You can recognize them easily as they have an 'x' in their number plate and may not be the standard Volkswagen Santana used by most taxi companies) are among them. The dark red/maroon taxis will also go "off the meter" at times and charge rates 4x-5x the normal rate - especially around the tourist areas of the Yuyuan Gardens. Bright red taxis, on the other hand, are unionized and quite OK, furthermore there are more 3-star and above taxi drivers working for this company. The dark-green taxis cover suburban areas only and are limited to the district they are called in, but their meters start at ¥9 so they're somewhat cheaper if you're not trying to get downtown.
If possible, try to avoid using ¥100-bills to pay for short rides. Taxi drivers are not keen on giving away their change, and it is not uncommon to get counterfeit smaller notes for change.
By sightseeing bus
There are several different companies offering sightseeing buses with various routes and packages covering the main sights such as the Shanghai Zoo, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and Baoyang Road Harbor. Most of the sightseeing buses leave from the Shanghai stadium's east bus
Shanghai is a good city for walking, especially in the older parts of the city across the Huangpu from Pudong. Of course, given the large population, you should expect heavy concentrations of pedestrians and vehicles, but that is part of the excitement. Crossing large roads, in particular, can get hairy and it's advisable to follow the locals.
Driving is definitely not recommended in Shanghai, especially in downtown areas. Not only do you have to cope with seemingly perpetual traffic jams, but also Chinese driving habits which can be described as atrocious at best. Bicycles and pedestrians are also all over the place and with every driver swerving left and right to avoid them, especially at junctions, the traffic situation is very chaotic. It is also not unheard of for cyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians to suddenly dash in front of a car without any warning. Driving anywhere in China is not for the faint hearted and even more so in Shanghai. In short, do not drive if you can help it and make use of public transport instead.
The language of the streets is Shanghainese, part of the Wu group of Chinese dialects, which is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin, Cantonese, Minnan (Taiwanese/Hokkien) or other Chinese dialects. However, with Shanghai having been the commercial centre of China since the 1920's, Mandarin is understood and spoken fluently by almost everybody, including most of the elderly.
While you are more likely to encounter an English speaker in Shanghai than in any other mainland Chinese city, they are by no means common so it would be wise to have your destinations and hotel address written in Chinese so that taxi drivers can take you to your intended destination. Likewise, if planning to bargain at shops, a calculator would be useful.
Where in Shanghai to go depends largely on your time period of interest. See Shanghai for the first-timer for a sample itinerary.
• For a feel of the China of yesteryear, check out Yuyuan Gardens, which is loaded with classical Chinese architecture. A lot of history resides in this little garden and temple. They were commissioned in 1559, built over the course of 19 years, destroyed in 1842 during the first Opium War, and later rebuilt and reopened to the public in their current incarnation in 1961. Pathways wind through rock gardens and bamboo stands, and stone bridges cross pools filled with bright carp. The word "yu" translates to "peace and health"—and the park was certainly designed with tranquility in mind
• For 1920s Shanghai, head for the stately old buildings of the Bund. Or pay a visit to The French Concession, in Xuhui District, generally bound by Shan Xi Road to the East, Jian Guo Road to the South, Hua Shan Road to the West and Chang Le Road to the North. Some of the best sections are along Hu Nan Road, Fu Xing Road, Shao Xing Road, and Heng Shan Road. The area is fast becoming famous for boutique shopping along Xin Le Lu, Chang Le Lu and An Fu Lu, all of which also have interesting restaurants.
• For 21st-century Shanghai, cross the river to gawk at the skyscrapers of Pudong. The area surrounding People's Square is also great for skyscrapers, as well as Nanjing West Road.
• To find some peace, you should visit the Longhua Temple. It takes a while to get there but it's not as busy as the Jade Buddha Temple and the experience is fulfilling. You can also have a nice vegetarian Buddhist meal in both Temples.
• For Shanghai's modern cultural innovations and a look into the hot contemporary art scene head to the Tai Kang Road creative enclave. People from all walks of life converge amongst the traditional Shikumen thats home to design stores, fashion boutiques and cafes representing the best of Shanghai creativity. Unique local brands such as Verviaare amongst the most interesting, combining eastern and western influences to be at the forefront of modern Shanghai design.
Shanghai is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles. Please help sort them out if you are familiar with this city.
• Walk Along the Fuxing Rd to see the old buildings and enjoy the neatness of the road
• Take an elevator to the top of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the tallest TV tower in Asia with the height of 468 meters, and on a good day the sprawling views are spectacular!
• Enter Shanghai Xintiandi, Lane 181, Taicang Road. A small pedestrianised area of the city featuring rebuilt traditional shikumen [stone gate] houses. Housing a cinema complex,mall, numerous bars, cafés and art galleries marketed towards foreign visitors and the more affluent locals. Close to where the communist party headquarters were located.
• Enter Shanghai International Convention Center Shanghai International Convention Center was opened for business in August 1999. The '99 Fortune Global Forum was held here. It is located in the southwest of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong. It covers an area of 45,000 square meters with a landscaped square of 30,000 square meters. It consists of several modernized halls including a 42,000-sq.m. Multi-functional hall, a 25,000-sq.m. Exhibition hall, an 11,000-sq.m. Underground exhibition hall and 20 meeting rooms of different sizes. There are 259 guest rooms, including presidential suites, executive suites, standard rooms, Chinese and Western restaurants, a coffee room, a nightclub, a show room, a gym, a swimming pool, a bowling room, a billiard room, a sauna bath and a shopping arcade.
• See the giant panda and many more exotic animals at the Shanghai Zoo. Located nearby Hongqiao airport, this is a spacious and modern zoo that's for the most part a far cry from the concrete animal prison in Beijing. Open daily from 6:30 to 17:00 (16:30 in winter), tickets are ¥30, or ¥40 including an elephant show. One kid not taller than 1.2m gets in for free together with one paying adult. Take bus 925 from Renmin Square (¥3) for about 45 minutes. Please follow the signs (even if the locals do not) and do not feed or tease the animals.
• Walk along Nanjing Dong Lu in the evening. Start at People Square and enjoy the bright neons and lights of this pedestrian road. For a longer walk, continue your way to the Bund and enjoy the bright lights of Pudong. Be careful of pick-pockets and and people that come up to you for a chat. Usually, they have something to sell or a service to offer that is not in your best interest.
• Take a ride on the Maglev train either to or from the Pudong Airport. 300K/hr is a cool ride. Taxi's are plentiful at the Maglev station.
There is lots of work for expatriates in Shanghai today. Construction is proceeding at an incredible pace and the economy is booming.
Shop until you drop on China's premier shopping street Nanjing Road, or head for the Yuyuan Bazaar for Chinese crafts and jewelry not far from the Bund. Nanjing Road is a long street. The more famous part lies in the east near the Bund (Nanjing Road East), with a 1-km long pedestrian boulevard (Metro line 2 at Henan Road station) lined with busy shops. The wide boulevard is often packed with people on weekends and holidays. The shops are often targeted at domestic tourists, so the prices are surprisingly reasonable. Local people often look down on Nanjing Road and shop at Huaihai Road (another busy shopping boulevard with more upscale stores) instead. For the very high end, go to the west end of Nanjing Road West near Jing'an Temple. Several large shopping malls (Plaza 66 aka Henglong Plaza, Citic Plaza, Meilongzhen Plaza, and others being built) house boutiques bearing the most famous names in fashion. No. 3 on the Bund is another high-end shopping center featuring Giorgio Armani's flagship store in China.
For those interested in boutique shopping, head to the French Concession Streets Xin Le Road, Chang Le Lu and An Fu Lu starting from east of Shan Xi Road (nearest metro station is South Shan Xi Road on line 1). This section of low rise building and tree-lined streets bustles with small boutiques of clothing and accessories, young Shanghainese looking for the latest fashions and coffee shops.
The infamous Xiangyang Market was finally shut down for good in June 2006. The biggest "replacement" market is in the metro station (Line 2) at the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum. The most common name for the market is "A.P. New XinYang Fashion Market." There are a number of variations, and the name really doesn't even matter. The easiest way to get there is by metro and there you can purchase all your knock-off products.
The horrendously crowded Qipu Lu clothing market is a mass of stalls jammed into a warehouse sized building which would take the casual stroller most of a day to look through. Another option is the Pearl Plaza located on Yan'an Xi Lu and Hongmei Lu as well as the unassuming shopping center located on the corner of Nanjing Xi Lu and Chongqing Lu. Haggling can be fun for those who are accustomed to it, but those sensitive to the pressure might want to steer clear. Not only can it be stressful to haggle, but just walking in to the buildings can bring a horde of people upon you trying to sell you bags, watches, DVDs and all assortment of goods.
But rather than pursuing knock-offs of Western brands, one of the more interesting things to do in Shanghai is to check out the small boutiques in the French Concession area. Some of these are run by individual designers of clothing, jewelry etc and so the items on sale can truly be said to be unique. Visitors from overseas should expect the usual problem of finding larger sizes however...
Shanghai Foreign Languages Bookstore (Shanghai Book Traders) in 390 Fuzhou Road offers a lot of books in English and other major languages, especially for learning Chinese. Just around the corner at 36 South Shanxi Road you will also find a small but well stocked second-hand foreign-language bookshop. Fuzhou Road is also a good street to wander around and find Chinese calligraphy related shops.
Those interested in DVDs of movies and television shows have a wide variety of options. Aside from the people selling DVDs out of boxes on street corners you can also find a good selection of movies at many local DVD shops in most neighborhoods. Perhaps the best way to score a deal with a shop is to be a regular. If you provide them repeat business they are usually quite happy to give you discounts for your loyal patronage. Typically DVDs can cost anywhere from ¥5 for standard disks to ¥10-12 for DVD-9 format disks.
However, if you are short on time in Shanghai and don't have the means to form a relationship with a shop, many people recommend the Ka De Club. An expat favorite for years, they have two shops: one in 483, Zhenning Road and the other one in 505, Da Gu Road (a small street between Weihai Road and Yan'an Road). While the selection at the Ka De Club isn't bad the downside of this store's popularity is that with so many foreigners giving them business, you tend to get somewhat higher prices than at local shops and haggling and repeat customer bargains are pretty much non-existent.
Antiques, jade and communist China memorabilia can be found in Dongtai Road Street Market, where you must bargain if you want to get a fair deal. Yuyuan Gardens is another good option for antiques. There are two basement markets. You will have to hunt for them, but they are worth the effort. As with any market in China, don't be afraid to bargain to get a fair price.
Xujiahui metro station is the place to go if you're after game consoles (the Wii is available here in relative abundance and is sold modded to play copied games), computers, computer accessories, or the like. You'll find pretty much everything electronic there, but the cellphone selection is a bit lacking.
If you're after a new cellphone, go to the Shanghai Railway Station. You can find good deals on secondhand phones as well as new phones (the selection is a mixed bag; you'll find Chinese off-brands mixed with reliable big-name brands like Samsung and Nokia as well as cutting-edge Japanese phones; if you live in North or South America be careful about buying the off-brand phones as most do not support the necessary frequencies for use there. Also, in the secondhand section of the market some of the phones are of dubious origin; CDMA phones may have their ESNs blacklisted in their home countries, but for GSM/3G phones the only issue is an ethical one. Be careful about prices that are too good to be true.
Shanghainese cuisine is one of the lesser-known types of Chinese food, generally characterized as sweet and oily. The name "Shanghai" means "upper harbour"/"above the sea", so unsurprisingly seafood predominates, the usual style of preparation being steaming. Some Shanghainese dishes to look out for:
• xiao long baozi (lit. buns from the little steaming cage, or little dragon buns), probably the most famous Shanghai dish: small steamed dumplings full of tasty (and boiling hot!) broth and a dab of meat. The connoisseur bites a little hole into them first, sips the broth, then dips them in rice vinegar (é†‹ cu) to season the meat inside.
• dazha xie (hairy crabs), best eaten in the winter months (Oct-Dec) and paired with Shaoxing wine to balance out your yin and yang
• zui ji (lit. drunken chicken), chicken steamed then marinated in rice wine, usually served cold
• "You Tiao" (lit. oil stick) , are a long, deep-fried donut one kind of breakfast that is very popular in Shanghai. typically consumed in the morning with soy milk (dou jiang)
For cheap Chinese eats, head for the alley known as Wujiang Road. For fancier food in nicer surroundings, try the upmarket restaurants of Xintiandi.
Vegetarians should not miss Vegetarian Life Style (258, Fengxian Road and 77, Songshan Road) where you can experience nice, affordable and organic vegetarian food resembling real meat or fish dishes in a fancy atmosphere. Link
Tap water is not drinkable, but generally OK if boiled, though you may not like the taste. Tap water is also said to contain a high amount of heavy metals. Bottled water (and beer) are widely available.
The prices of drinks in cafes and bars in Shanghai vary depending on the location and target customers. They can be cheap or be real budget-busters, with a basic coffee or beer costing anything from ¥10 to ¥40 and up if ordered in the "wrong" place.
When buying bottled water you will come along a whole range of mineral water. Of course you could go for the "Evian", "Volvic", but you could also get yourself a bottle of the locally produced Nestle, Coca Cola, or Pepsi varieties. They will cost you about 2.5 RMB, 1.5 RMB respectively and are available nearly everywhere. Convenience stores have inundated Shanghai and there seems to be a few on every street corner. If you intend to stay for a longer period, you may want to buy yourself one of those plastic water dispensers. Those you can mount with those 8-10 l water tanks, which can be ordered via phone. Clean those units with a bottle of white vinegar. That way you can keep your machine free of any germs.
Tsingtao Beer and Snow Beer are widely available, and both are considered to be China's best all-around options. Brands like Budweiser, Heineken, and Carlsberg are brewed either locally or somewhere else in China and are also relatively inexpensive. There is also a local brew known as REEB (beer spelled backwards). A large bottle of any of these (640 ml) anywhere from 1.95 to 6 RMB. But it is available with higher price in Restaurants bars.
Shanghai is filled with amazing nightlife, complete with both affordable bars and nightclubs that are jam-packed with beautiful people.
Shanghai is a fairly safe city, and violent crimes are very rare even in the poorest neighborhoods. However, the ever-increasing divide between the haves and have-nots has created its fair share of problems and petty crimes like pickpocketing are on the rise, and sexual harassment is common on crowded subway trains and buses.
Various tourist-oriented scams, long practiced in Beijing, are unfortunately spreading to Shanghai as well. Be cautious if you meet a group of overly friendly students or attractive women who insist on dragging you along to an art gallery, tea shop or karaoke parlor - you're unlikely to be physically harmed, but the bill may well be more than you bargained for. Police can help to recover some part of your money.
Foreign males often attract unsolicited attention from female sex workers at many nightspots.
For visitors unused to travel in China the language barrier is likely to be the biggest obstacle, as English ability tends to be very limited in all but the largest tourist draws. Mandarin-learners need to be aware that Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, is the language of the streets and very different from Mandarin, although most Shanghainese under the age of 50 speak fluent Mandarin and use of Shanghainese as the de facto 'first' language of the city has been discouraged by the government and is decreasing both due to the effect of the paramount use of Mandarin in mass media and by the large-scale influx of people moving to Shanghai from outside of the city to seek work in recent years. Rudimentary Chinese and/or pattern matching ability for character recognition will help, as will getting your destination written in Chinese characters particularly when traveling by taxi. All is not lost, with the approach of the Olympic Games in Beijing, all taxi drivers in Shanghai are mandated to learn some English. This bit of information was learned from a taxi driver practicing his English.
• Jiading, an historic town about an hour NW of Shanghai by bus from Nanjing Xi Lu and Cheng Du Lu. The sites are Shanghai's F1 track, a Confucian garden, and pagoda.
• Qibao, an small ancient town, about 15km from Shanghai city, just in between the city and Minhang district. It resembles the more famous water town, Zhouzhuang.
• Songjiang, a county in Shanghai province, some 30km southwest of Shanghai city. It is less crowded than Shanghai and is a good one day trip target. It is also now much more accessible with the opening of the new Metro line 9.
• Xitang, an historic town SW of Shanghai. A few scenes from Mission Impossible 3 were filmed here. An old picturesque canal town with old bridges and houses lining the canal lit up at night with red lanterns. You can even stay a night in one of the old houses and sleep in an old bed.
• Zhujiajiao, a historic town an hour by car west of Shanghai. Another of those picturesque canal towns dating from the Ming dynasty (14th to 17th centuries). The first modern post office in China was established here. Worth a look in spite of the abundance of souvenir stores, although not overrun with tourists.
• Nantong, north of Shanghai, a newly developing city. The city has natural and open atmosphere. Nantong is a modern as well as historic city.
Several other major Chinese cities are near Shanghai and conveniently reachable on the new high speed (over 200 km/hr) trains. These are comfortable and reasonably priced and, except at holidays, not generally too crowded since other trains are cheaper. Look for the separate ticket windows with "CRH" on the signs.
• Hangzhou, about two hours away, is China's number one domestic tourist attraction featuring the famous Xihu Lake.
• Suzhou, a historic town under an hour away from Shanghai by train. The city has long been lauded by emperors, ancient poets, and scholars alike for its beauty and vitality. Due to its many canals and bridges, S uzhou has also sometimes been referred to as the "Venice of the East". Suzhou has many gardens that are worth visiting. The "Venice of the East" parts of Suzhou have all been over run with agressive beggars and pan handlers. Reserve Suzhou if it can be combined with a tour of other historic areas.
• Nanjing, about two hours away, is a great city for a couple of days away from the city. Its also a great place to get a Chinese history lesson. From the city walls to the Presidental Palace, its a walkable, friendly place with abundance hotels for all budgets. Well worth the effort.
• Shaoxing, about three hours away, is traditional Chinese tourist attraction featuring the famous fish and rice hometown.