Shanghai’s Five Most Quirky Modes of Transportation

Things to Do — By Lauren Johnson on March 24, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Metro Map

The Subway: If you’ve ever been in a haunted house then you’ll find the subway system of Shanghai pleasingly similar. Each subway terminal is different and unique, with creative and cultural art and quirky, winding exits that can run for dozens of meters underground before emerging at some unknown corner of an unknown street. The metro system is a logical and smart choice for traveling short distances in Shanghai, but it can also be a never-ending mysterious adventure!

The Psychedelic Tunnel. No one really understands why so much money was spent making this bizarre and altogether ridiculous ride under the Huangpu River. It isn’t cheap, and once you are installed in your tiny, windowed car you’ll be rushed through a haphazard series of attractions before emerging on the opposite bank of the river. Why was it built? What purpose does it serve? Despite the ill-logic of the venture, many a drunk Shanghai local or expat has been founding riding the psychedelic tunnel in an ongoing loop late into the evening.

The Maglev. This was a masterpiece of engineering designed by the Germans but deemed unaffordable by Europeans. China took up the cause and had the first Maglev created in Shanghai between the Pudong International Airport and a Pudong subway terminal. The train travels over 500 kph, literally hovering magnetically over the tracks as it speeds along. When visiting Shanghai, make this your first attraction as you leave the airport—you won’t be sorry!

Shanghai Taxis. While taxis are normal in every large city, you’d be surprised by how strange the Shanghai cabs can be. Even Chinese from Beijing or Hong Kong scoff about Shanghai’s cabs, and for good reason! There are several companies in Shanghai that run taxis, and rather than make competition thrive, the companies have allowed their cabs to fall into a pecking order. For instance, a teal cab is considered good, while a red or white cab are usually unregistered or lower quality cabs. It takes time to learn which are good and bad taxis, but rest assured, not all are created equal!

Outdoor escalators. Its 2010 and China is bursting into the main-stage in style and glory, announcing their intention to not only catch up with the developed world, but to surpass it. They take this to new lengths by installing outdoor escalators almost everywhere with a slight incline. Out of subways, out of the McDonald’s, even out of the park! You can’t walk up a flight of stairs in the entire city without throngs of people pushing watching you climb from the safety of the escalator!

Tags: Maglev, Psychedelic Tunnel, Shanghai Metro, Shanghai Taxi