Shanghai is a great city, but if its your first time heading to the Pearl of the Orient there are a few orientation things you’ll need to know to survive the mad streets of China’s biggest city.
First, the city is divided into two main parts, Puxi (west of the rive) and Pudong (east of the river). The river is called the Huangpu River, the ‘pu’ part meaning river, perhaps you’ve noticed the ‘pu’ in each of the main parts of town, clever you! Inside these two areas the city is broken into districts, and we’ve provided a neighborhood guide so you can learn your way around them.
A general rule is that the West side of the city is the old town area, though nothing in modern China is really old. The East side is the sky scraper zone, Pudong is where the financial center of China is, and its extremely modern!
There is a massive subway network in Shanghai, and learning how to use it isn’t hard. You can buy a metro card that will be useful for the subway, buses and even cabs. If you don’t buy the card, its easy to buy a ticket for each ride using the automatic ticket machines that are operational in English as well as Chinese. Shanghai also has the largest bus network in the world, and although its really hard to figure out the schedule once you do its an amazing convenient way to travel the city. And if all else fails, the taxis will get you where you need to be.
Finally, there are a few great areas for western food. The French Concession is the perfect place to head for western food. The tree-lined boulevards are beautiful and great for after dinner strolls. You can also go to Taikang Rd or XinTianDi, both cultural hot spots with western cuisine and a great views. If you want Chinese food, head to the area around Yu Gardens, where you’ll find great local restaurants as well as busy, bustling streets for after dinner hustle and bustle.
With all this in mind, you’re ready to hit the town with the knowledge you need to survive the city streets.