Transportation in Shanghai
Shanghai's multitude of taxis are cheap and usually abundant – just make sure your destination is written out in Mandarin beforehand. It's unclear what the giant plastic screen between driver and passenger is for, as proceedings are always courteous. Don't forget to ask for a printed receipt – it logs all the journey information, and is the only way you'll get your wallet back if it drops down the seat.
Driving in Shanghai is an unforgettable but probably unwise experience. Tourists are no longer forbidden from renting cars but very few do. If you're lucky, you may be offered a chauffeur. Even outside rush hour, the city's roads are a riot of breakneck manoeuvring and the signs, though in English characters, are still a mystery even to hardened expats.
Despite Shanghai's size, the central districts can be easily explored on foot. Besides the main attractions, walking is also the best way to watch – and wonder – at daily Shanghainese street life.
The adventurous will find Shanghai's underground system surprisingly easy to navigate. Signs are in English, ticket machines are easy to use, and many of the city's sights can be reached on lines one and two. There are 17 million people in Shanghai. That in itself is a very good reason to avoid the rush hour.
Rent your car
Navigating Shanghai's streets could test your patience, especially during its arduous peak morning and evening traffic jams. Cars weave in and out of the traffic rather than moving fast, so it's more a matter of getting used to the local way and knowing the roads. Shopping centres often have free parking.
Travel cards, available in metro stations, are valid on the metro, buses and taxis, and are a good bet if you're staying for more than a few days. Ask your concierge, or a bilingual friend to help you. Remember that a deposit is included in the price, which is refunded when you return the card. Taxis are usually easy to flag down in the city but if it's late, rush hour or rainy, head to the nearest posh hotel, where staff will call one for you.