Taxis are the preferred mode of transport for visitors to Shanghai. The metered Volkswagen cabs in primary colours are easy to identify and plentiful. The smaller, older cars are generally cheaper. All can be hailed on the street or booked by telephone. Self-driving in a rental car is not a good option in the teeming tangle of streets, as it can be confusing and frustrating and there is always heavy traffic. To cover longer distances the Shanghai subway, costing just a few cents a ride, is the perfect solution, covering the downtown area. It is still being extended. Alternatively, public buses are common and extremely cheap, but very uncomfortable and inconvenient, being hot, crowded, unreliable and preyed on by pick pockets. Many visitors opt to join the city's estimated seven million cyclists and rent bicycles from their hotels or one of the numerous hire shops in the city. Shanghai is also a good city to explore on foot and sometimes the best way to get around in the city is just to walk.
Local time is GMT +8.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Plug types vary but the two-pin flat blade and oblique three-pin flat blade plugs are common. Adapters are generally required.
China currency is the Renminbi Yuan (CNY), which is divided into 10 chiao/jiao or 100 fen. Make sure you exchange your leftover Yuan before returning home because this currency can only be exchanged within China's borders. Foreign cash can be exchanged in cities at the Bank of China. Banks are closed weekends. The larger hotels and the special 'Friendship Stores' designed for foreigners will accept most Western currencies for purchases. Major credit cards are accepted in the main cities, but acceptance may be limited in more rural areas. ATMs are scarce outside the main cities.
The international dialling code for China is +86. Phone cards are widely available and calls can be made from post offices and hotels; phone booths on the streets are usually for local calls only. In hotels, local calls are generally free or will be charged only a nominal fee. Mobile phone networks are very advanced and Chinese networks have roaming agreements with most non-North American international operators. Internet cafes are available in most main towns.
Emergencies: 110 (Police); 120 (Ambulance - Beijing)
|New Years Day||1 Jan||1 Jan - 3 Jan|
|Spring Festival||31 Jan - 6 Feb||19 Feb - 25 Feb|
|May Day||1 May - 3 May||1 May - 3 May|
|Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day)||5 Apr - 7 Apr||4 Apr - 6 Apr|
|Dragon Boat Festival||31 May - 2 Jun||20 Jun - 22 Jun|
|Mid-Autumn Festival||6 Sep - 8 Sep||26 Sep - 28 Sep|
|Peoples Republic of China birthday||1 Oct - 3 Oct||1 Oct - 3 Oct|
Shanghai has a humid, subtropical climate and experiences four distinct seasons. The range in temperature between the hottest part of summer and the depths of winter is extreme. In summer, temperatures can reach 90ºF (32ºC) and the hottest months are July and August, with about 80 percent humidity. Most of Shanghai's rainfall occurs during this period but Shanghai is a rainy city, due to its location on an estuary, and it rains for about a third of the year. Despite the heat, and the high chance of rain, summer is still a popular time for tourists to visit Shanghai. In winter, temperatures can drop below zero and conditions tend to be grey and dull, though no snowfall occurs. Springtime (March to June) is perhaps the best time to travel to Shanghai, with more moderate conditions than summer, although weather can be variable at this time of year. Autumn (September to November) also tends to be moderate, with sunny, dry weather, though the odd typhoon can occur between September and October. Typhoons and cyclones can cause considerable damage in the city and it is worth checking for storm warnings before travelling. All in all, spring and autumn are the best months to visit Shanghai.
Public buses serve the airport, linking to People's Square and the main railway stations; buses depart every 15 minutes from 6am to around 11pm. Lines 2 and 4 of the Shanghai Metro connect the airport to the city. The bigger hotels offer shuttle bus services to and from the airport.
Car rental is available.
Taxis are available outside the airport but finding the right one can be confusing without assistance. Taxi drivers usually do not speak English so it is best to indicate your destination on a map, or have it written down in Chinese. Taxi fare from the airport to People's Square is about RMB 60.
The two terminals are linked by free shuttle buses and subway lines 2 and 10.
There are ATMs and currency exchange facilities, a post office, and duty-free shops. There are also a variety of food outlets, bars, an information counter and business centre. Smoking is banned throughout the airport but there is a smoking room. If you want to shop in earnest there is a shopping centre just outside of the airport.
Parking is available and is charged at RMB 7-10 per hour.
Free wifi is available in the restaurants and VIP lounges.