a VirtualTourist member
Hello all. I am trying to organize a trip to Shanghai in practically zero time, as I will go next Saturday. I have few questions as I will be mostly walking around on my own there during daytime, my friend will be at work so I'll have to do the basic sightseeing on my own. So here i go with my bullet questions:
1. Safety: how safe is Shanghai for a western woman to walk around?
2. Transport: I dont speak Chinese, is the Metro comprehensive? I didnt have a problem with Tokyo metro, but I think here is a different story.
3. My friend uses cabs a lot. Are they safe? Arent they too expesnive?
4. 5 days for Shanghai, are they enough? What else would you suggest in the nearby area? Is Dunhuang (far away) a good choice for my second and final travel stop? Are there interesting alternatives around Shanghai?
thanks and I might be back with more questions
Safety: how safe is Shanghai for a western woman to walk around?
Very safe. My wife and I never felt concerned for our safety. On a few occasions, my wife and I would venture out alone, and neither one of us had any concerns.
Transport: I dont speak Chinese, is the Metro comprehensive?
Yes, it was easy and uncomplicated getting around on the Metro.
My friend uses cabs a lot. Are they safe? Arent they too expesnive?
No idea. Never used them.
5 days for Shanghai, are they enough? What else would you suggest in the nearby area?
Shanghai is a magnificent city, and one could comfortably be there for a month to really experience it. However, five days will give you sufficient time to imbibe in the culture and sights. I would recommend a side trip (probably overnight) in one of the many water towns. We went to Tongli near Suzhou, which was excellent! A little Venice in China.
You'll have a great time in Shanghai, and whatever you do, try the Shanghai dumplings!
1. China is quite a safe country. I have travelled alone at night on the subway, taken taxis and walked around without ever feeling threatened or unsafe. Of course basic caution is normal, like not showing how much money you're carrying or being too lightly dressed :)
2. Getting around is quite easy. a taxibook or app with your destinations written in chinese are extremely helpful as english is not widely spoken and the chinese name often is very different from the english name. be sure to have your hotel's card as well.
3. Taxis are safe and cheap. make sure they turn on the meter which they usually do but sometimes at rush hours or in front of tourist spots it can be more difficult.
4. 5 days is enough. you could take a trip to the water villages which are very nice. One of which (Qibao) can even be reached by subway line 9
I agree with the previous poster - including Suzhou! Taxis are not expensive and are safe but I guess it depends on what you are used to. I would allow RMB15 flagfall and 2.5 per K. (USD2.40 and 0.40). Be careful of your luggage though -I would try and keep it in the cabin with me if at all possible. When you get in to a cab write the drivers number and the rego number of the cab down just in case and when you pay ask for a "Fapiao" (fa-pee-ow) as this is a tax invoice and it records the rego number of the cab which will be handy if you leave something behind. You will need to have your destination written down in Chinese -people at the airport or hotel concierges (even ones you are not staying at) will assist.
Shanghai is a big city, with wide range of transport, for 1st time visitor metro is the best choice.
There is metro connect to the city, or take the airport bus, there are tourist booth whom provide direction at the airport after custom clearance. U can purchase the metro pass for unlimited ride at the control station, metro map can be printed out at the website. Stay around the city area, where the main attraction is , like the people's sq, the bund,or jingan is very ideal to move around at the convenience time, day or night, is full of life.
Shanghai is very safe, but do not follow touts up lanes, at night stick to where there are plenty of people,
Metro rail excellent and in English, see my tips , I have photos etc re metro on my Shanghai page
Cabs are very cheap, but the metro is cheap and safe, use it during the day.
5 days is plenty, you can also take a day tour to the towns about 1 hour away which have canals etc.
We had a Frommers Shanghai Day by Day guide book which had great walks through the old town.
I have being to many places, Shanghai is safe - subway, taxi and bus easy (though buses should be avoided during rush hours and you can squeezed like sardine) - get a prepaid top up card which I did and I do not have to worry about the fare, I just asked the taxi driver to swipe and no need to queue at subway stations.
Just that there are tourist touts at Nanjing Pedestrian Mall who will approach you especially if you looked alone or lost. Just ignore eye contact and if they pester, just walk into a hotel or shop.
I advise taking a day tour to Suzhou - going by yourself by train is too much of a hazzle. It is nice to go out of Shanghai and see a bit of country side. If you are really adventure, take a 2 day, 1 night tour or 3 days 2 nights by 1 hour flight to Huangshan in Anhui - incredible mountain view with clouds and pine trees.
Just an alert - do not be surprised if a local Chinese asked you to be photographed with them just because you are Caucasian. Many Chinese visitors to Shanghai are still amazed with a Westerner and want to have a photograph taken with one for their collection or show their friends back home. And there are those who want to practise their English.
Shanghai Bund and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower are must-visit attractions during your Shanghai travel, during which the Jade Buddha Temple and the Grand View Garden are also ideal choices for you. No worry about the Metro during your Shanghai travel (chinahighlights.com/shanghai...
) owing to the English is labeled in the ticket-sold system.
As for Dunhuang, it's rather convenient for you travel there from Shanghai.