Local Information and Activities

Shanghai is a stunning city with several districts offering a range of sightseeing activities, restaurants and nightlife. With a population of more than 23 million, it is the largest and most developed metropolis in Mainland China.

The city is divided by the Huangpu River, with Puxi on the west side and Pudong on the east. Puxi is the older central part of the city and Pudong has more high-rise development across the river since the 1980s.

The Bund, also called Waitan, is a famous waterfront precinct on the west bank of Huangpu River and is regarded as the symbol of modern Shanghai. Here, the charm of Shanghai as a bustling metropolis combining the century-old history and flourishing future is fully presented, making the Bund Shanghai a must-see attraction.

Additional travel and tourism information is available here on the official Shanghai travel info site and here on the Lonely Planet site. 

Useful Apps/Sites


It should go without saying that WeChat is essential to life in Shanghai. The messaging app is used locally for much more than texting, including broadcasts about the latest city happenings, and even as a tool for making financial transactions. It has the functionality of WhatsApp, GroupMe, Venmo, Snapchat, and Facebook, combined.

Didi Dache - available in Chinese only

Cabs aren’t always easy to hail in Shanghai, especially at peak times throughout the day. Enter Didi: China’s answer to Uber. Prices are often much lower than traditional taxis however the app is only available in Chinese for now. Locals suggest it is intuitive to use once you have figured out a few of the key characters. Hook it up to WeChat for increased ease of use.

Maps - English and Chinese options

Apple Maps works in Shanghai, as does Google Maps (if VPN enabled), but Baidu Maps is the most reliable, accurate, and up-to-date of the three. Once again you need to use Chinese characters to operate the app. Once you input your destination in Chinese, the app will guide you every step of the way, or give you an overview of where you can expect to go.

Mobike - available in English

Within the last few months, bike sharing platforms have taken over the city. The leader of the pack is Mobike, a little orange bicycle you can’t go two blocks without seeing. For one RMB per half-hour of riding, Mobike is a great alternative to walking. The app is available in English and incredibly easy to use. Once you have an account, simply open the app to scan the QR code of the bike you want, and you’re ready to ride!

Explore Shanghai Metro Map

Finally, get to know your way around the city via the world’s largest metro system. The Explore Shanghai Metro app is searchable without an internet connection and is the easiest way to figure out how to get from point A to point B.


In Shanghai, the Chinese Yuan is the legal tender. Practically anywhere in the city, you can pay with cash, PIN and chip-cards. If you need to access cash,  ATMs and banks are readily accessible in the city centre. If you need to exchange other currency into Chinese Yuan, exchange services are also available.

Climate & Weather

Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. During November, the weather gradually turns to winter, with windy and dry conditions. There is a noticeable drop in temperature between day and night. The average low and high temperatures are 8 °C (46 °F) and 17 °C (63 °F).

Emergency Phone Numbers

In the case of emergency, these are the local emergency contact numbers. 

110 The national emergency phone number for the police
You can reach them on any phone. 
120 Emergency phone number for medical care
119 Fire department
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