Shanghai is the biggest city in China. It has nearly twenty districts, most of which are centered in the city itself of Shanghai while the remainder comprise the suburbs and islands surrounding the city center. The map (left) shows the districts and there location relative to the Huangpu River that bisects the city’s limits as well as the heart of the city prime. The districts in yellow are likely the only areas you will really venture into on your tour of Shanghai, although Pudong has been a rising star in Shanghai and is home to the city’s largest sky scrapers and biggest malls. The area of Pudong where you might explore is called Lujiazui, and lies directly across the river bank to the east.
Orienting yourself once in Shanghai is relatively easy thanks to the River. If you are on the West side of the river you are in Puxi, the general name of everything West (Xi) of the River (Pu), which is where the name comes from. On the inverse, Pudong means East (Dong) of the River (Pu). The river is called the Huangpu, the Yellow (Huang) River (Pu). By now, you’ve learned that Pu means River, so you already speak at least one word of Chinese! Congratulations! Now that you know which side of the river you are on you’ll always be able to find your way around town.
For general tourism, you’ll need to figure out transportation around Shanghai. The metro is one quick and easy way to navigate the city. The bus network is another, although much more difficult way to get around. Finally, you can jump in a cab and arrive at your destination for relatively cheap ($5 for medium length trip). Now that you have a general map of the districts of Shanghai, overlay that with a subway map to see how much of the city you can cross underground. The map (right) here shows the latest subway lines and how they relate to the city itself. You’ll also see the Huangpu River in the center as a point from which you can orient yourself. You may want to get a good copy of a Shanghai map for your adventures in the city. Many of the public maps posted in the subways don’t show how the subway relates to the city. This makes it difficult to know which subway line you need to get to different parts of the city.
Finally, if you will be traveling around China, its important to know where you have been and where you are going. A general map of China is useful to keep in mind the provinces and cities you’ve visited and where you’re heading down the road.
See Maps of Beijing.