Putuo has seen little of the development that characterizes the rest of Shanghai. The streets are crowded, and old apartments, unlike in other districts, continue to house large numbers of people, including an increasing migrant population. As a result, restaurants, shops and attractions in the area cater to low-income buyers, and you'll find that a trip to Putao District will not hurt your wallet.
The Shanghai West Train Station is in Putuo, from here you can launch any great adventure in China. The train station runs a half dozen connections every hour to cities across the continent. For a non-traditional way to get to Beijing, jump on the overnight sleeper train and arrive in Beijing in the morning. You're sure to meet interesting travelers in your compartment, and it will show you how 90% of the Chinese population travels.