Top things you must do in Shanghai

Shanghai should be your first place to visit for your first time in China, due to good food, amazing places to visit and tourist friendly atmosphere


Shanghai is now considered one of the biggest transit hubs in China, while this might not be your first time arriving here, we will focus for new travelers that never been in Shanghai.

If you don’t have a VISA you can pick up a transit visa valid for either 144 hours or 72 hours depending on your needs directly at the airport and you don’t have to pay for it online as i saw multiple website doing this for a pretty hefty fee so you should head directly to official website to get a visa if you want to stay more then 144 hours.

If you want to transit thought Shanghai you will need to have a valid ticket for an onward flight, and not only a simple reservation of a ticket they will check it. Also you must have a place to stay that must be filled on Visa Form with valid phone number.

Once you arrive in Shanghai you will have to fill an Arrival Card and a Visa Form then head to visa official check you will be done in about 3 minutes.

After you are done you will have to know two more things, you cannot leave Shanghai area and you have report to closest police station your hotel is near. If you don’t go to the police station to register they will start calling for you so do it don’t hesitate.

Depending on how long you want to stay in China you can acquire one of this three types of tourist visa: Single Entry (valid for 3-6 months), Double Entry (valid for 6 months), Multiple Entry (valid for 6 or 12 months) at a price of 140$ for US Citizens for all three types and 30$ for everyone else for 3 Months, 60$ for 6 months and  90$ for 12 months.

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You Should Know

Now depending on how long you have to spend around you might get to see more then what we will tell you about, but in our consideration most people will visit during transit visa so we will focus mostly on things you get to do in 3 – 5 days.

Before you go, there is one important thing that you must know China has blocked almost every single international website, so if you intend to use Google don’t bother. Lately they seem to have unblocked Chinese Google Maps

Other websites and Apps blocked are Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Yahoo and many more. We tried to prepare some VPN’s before we left and we found out that none of them worked even though they said it will. Full List Here

We sugest you donwload Baidu it’s just like google in case you need to check something on the fly while you are there.

If you want to get in contact with people please install WeChat app before you go in China, it will be an all in one App to use while there.

What to Do

Ride the Maglev

From the airport you have the option to take the Maglev towards the city, it’s considered the fastest train in the world reaching speeds up to 430km/h but that only happens sometimes during the day and in rest it will go maximum 300km/h but with a ticket price of only ¥50 (US$8) or round-trip for ¥80 (US$11) it’s well worth and cheaper then an taxi.

Once you reach at the end station of Maglev you can switch to city metro by switching the stations which are one near another.

Walk around Zhujiajiao

Or better known little Venice of China, it’s one of the most beautiful local place we’ve saw. You can rent a boat to stroll down the canal or you can just walk around the bun and see the old style Chinese buildings with arched bridges of which the most famous is Fangsheng Bridge that stands tall at 5.9 m and 70 m long.


While walking you can eat some amazing food like sticky rice and and pork chops for almost nothing and it was really good. But let’s not forget about the awesome sweet potato
Sticky Rice
Sweet Potato

This bowl is Lotus roots ,chinese people believe eating lotus roots is good for the joint.

If you want to spend some RMB to have some memorable photos, there are plenty of shops where they will rent you old style Chinese clothes to take pictures. They will charge per picture and size or if you want JPG photos it will cost more.

But just to take pictures they only charge 5 RMB / picture or less then 1$ with a minimum of 5 pictures.

And if you interested to buy chinese traditional costume ” Cheongsam ” as a souvenir  , there is plenty at the shop and remember to bargain the price.

Chinese Style Photography

Jing’an Temple

Jing’an Temple is one of the most famous buddhist temple in Shanghai which is located at West Nanjing Road built in the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280)

To go in you will need to pay 50 RMB, unless you are lucky and go in a day when there is no fee. We recommend taking your time and spend around 2 hours so you can see the monks during prayer and have plenty of time to visit everything.

Visit during a weekday in order to avoid big crowds and bring some coins if you want to pray or make a wish. The local will start pray from outside the temple then inside the temple. Because they believe the god on the sky is the biggest and main one

Jing'an Temple
Jing'an Temple
Jing'an Temple

Oriental Pearl Tower

Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower stands at 468 meters, the third tallest building in Shanghai as of 2017 and has 4 floors used for observation decks, which offers 360 degree views of Shanghai.

The main observation deck also known as Sightseeing Floor, there is a glass floor on the margins of the deck at 259 meters, you can stand on it and it would look down at the floor like you would be floating in the air.

The highest observation deck is at 351 meters, known as Space Capsule, to access this location you need to pay a fee cost 220 yuan

Oriental Pearl Tower

People’s Square and People’s Park

People’s square it is the major transport hub that attracts tourists to metropolis West Road, the main street with malls giving native fashion and natural philosophy with food stalls, kebabs and scallion pancakes.

You can walk around here all day long and still have plenty of things to do second day, also if you want you can also visit the Shanghai Museum if you want to get a feel of old Chinese culture. There will be a long line every day so expect to wait for at least one hour to enter but it will take full day to visit everithing.


“DimSum” is very typical chinese dishes,various choice come with small bamboo bowl.

The Bund

Taking a romantic walk on Shanghai’s bund is a good feeling especially in the evening, you can also take a boat called “Dong Fang Zhi Zhu” means Eastern Pearl to roam around the waterfront for  5 RMB. Special Thanks to Carla and Gary for showing us around.

Shanghai Bund

The Food

The first thing you will notice is that the food is sweet, and yes it is a bit sweet at least the one that we ate.

During breakfast usually you will find noodles and dumpling soup, noodles are default plain with some vegetables while the dumplings can be filled with either meat or vegetables.

One special thing you might notice is that some restaurants offer food that it’s still cooking in front of you and have to wait until it’s done, it’s normal part in dinner where you must first eat something light until the main dish is ready.

Shanghai Bund

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