Traveling to Shanghai

Shanghai Street

Before you embark your journey to Shanghai, you may have a number of travel decisions to make.   Besides airlines, hotels and restaurants, you may wonder which part of Shanghai you will stay?  Is it in Puxi, urban Shanghai on the west bank of the Huangpu River, or Pudong new district on the east bank of the River?  Which central business districts would you prefer to stay close?  Just name a few: the Bund, the ever enchanting waterfront epicenter for business and finance, overlooking the Oriental Pearl Tower and Jin Mao Tower on the opposite side of the River; or Xujiahui in the historical French Concession, which is one of the most prestigious residential areas, and also where Shanghai Stadium, one of the largest football stadiums in the world, is located; or Hongqiao/Gubei, the expat community close to the Hongqiao airport; or Lujiazui finance and trade zone. 

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Some may prefer to stay close to their business partners, others go for the place that represents the greatest potential opportunities; some may stay in a familiar place each trip; others take the chance to explore; some are strictly for business; others mix business with sightseeing.  Whatever your case may be, a little planning will not hurt, but then still others pursue a pure adventure.  Shanghai may just be that perfect place where you can enjoy that thrilling moment of adventuring as long as you know the limits.

Shanghai is big, but transportation is convenient.  Taxis are plentiful, and Da Zhong, Jin Jiang and Qiang Sheng are among the most reputable companies.  Shanghai has an extensive public transportation system, which consists of about one thousand bus lines and eight subway lines, expanding.  From Pudong International Airport to a subway station in Pudong, it only takes Maglev a few minutes to travel 30 km at a speed of 431 km/h or 267.8 miles per hour.  Jing Hu (Beijing-Shanghai) and Hu Hang (Shanghai-Hangzhou) railways and multiple airlines connect the city to different parts of the country day and night. 

Pudong International Airport is primarily used for international flights while Hongqiao Airport is more for domestic flights. Exchange services are available at Pudong International Airport and most banks and hotels.  You may use a currency calculator such as http://www.x-rates.com/calculator.html to get exchange rate between USD and CNY.   The calculator shows $1 equals 7.106 CNY on March 10, 2008.  Chinese currency, Yuan, the Renminbi (RMB) can be divided into 10 Jiao and 100 Fen. 

Information is rich and fast flowing.  Besides websites and portals, a variety of TV, radio, newspapers and magazines are available in Shanghai.  English and Chinese language newspapers, which are published in China and distributed at the street newspaper stands, include but are not limited to Shanghai Daily, China Daily, Shanghai Star, Shanghai Morning Post, South China Morning Post,People’s Daily, Wen Hui Bao, Jiefang Daily, and Xinmin Evening News.  As for newspapers that are published out of China, such as The Wall Street Journal Asia Edition, they may be only available in hotels and commercial buildings for business travelers and expats or overseas readers.

 Before you travel to China, you must get a business visa or a multiple entry visa or a travel visa, whatever the case may be.  For visa info, go to http://www.china-embassy.org or use a service company.  For details on how to do business and invest in Shanghai, go towww.shanghai.gov.cn.  You may also check other sources available including the Chinese Consulate and American Chamber of Commerce close to where you are living in the U.S. or the American Consulate in Shanghai.

Besides the popular sightseeing destinations including Yu Yuan Garden, Xintiandi, People’s Square, and the Bunds, during your busy schedule, you may want to stop by a few parks such as People’s Park, Shanghai Botanic Garden to practice Taiji or to simply enjoy a moment of quietness; before you leave Shanghai, you may want to visit a few museums such as Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Art Museum to see a different part of Shanghai.  The places you incidentally step into might just be the best part of your trip.  For more information on travel, please see travel guides.