Shanghai is one of the most exciting cities in the world. East meets West, and tradition comes face to face with innovation.

Shanghai is said to be the most Western of Chinese cities. At the same time, though, it is almost more Asian than many others in the country. It is not laid out in a chequer board pattern like Beijing; instead it has tiny shops on twisting streets, and teems with people and mopeds like so many other cities in South-East Asia. It has shopping streets with luxury boutiques full of international brands and with cool cafés, while less than 100 metres away there are narrow lanes with cook shops and – as is so typical of Asia – whole rows of shops side by side selling practically the same things. On Fuzhou Lu, for example, a dozen shops sell nothing but artists’ materials. Other streets focus on metal components. Or you’ll find five fruit shops next door to each other.

The traditional and the modern coexist in Shanghai like East and West. The financial district of Lujiazui, which is home to two towers that are among the ten highest skyscrapers in the world, is just ten years old. Mornings here see the lifts of the glitzy office blocks packed with up-and-coming young executives, while residents in the ‘lilongs’, the narrow lanes of the Old Town with a number of listed terraced houses, put chairs and tables outside in the summer, as they have always done, to drink tea or beer together or play a game of cards or gobang.

For the Expo 2010the city fathers developed the metro system, created new parks and introduced emission standards for cars. This process is far from finished, though, so Shanghai is still en route to the future. And this is what makes the city a metropolis of superlatives. The fastest. The biggest. The most exciting.

City Facts

  • Location

    Harbour city at the mouth of the Yangtze River in South-East China.

  • Population

    About 23 million

  • Size

    Approx. 6340 km²

  • Public transport

    One of the world’s most comprehensive traffic networks consisting of underground and buses.

  • Climate

    Subtropical maritime monsoon climate with four distinct seasons; spring and autumn tend to be short. Winters are cool, summers hot and humid.

  • Best time to visit

    Temperatures are at their most pleasant in spring and autumn.

  • Good to know

    It is possible that friendly locals might issue an invitation (in English) to a tea ceremony or bar. These invitations must always be turned down. The people are often fraudsters, and you will be left with a huge bill at the end.

  • Nice to know

    The weight of its skyscrapers causes Shanghai to sink by around 1.5 cm every year.

  • Airport

    Pudong, approx. 30 km east of the city

  • Bus

    Airport buses travel between the city and the airport every 15 to 30 minutes. Depending on the amount of traffic, the travel time can be up to 90 minutes.

  • Railway

    A magnetic train connects the airport with the Lóngyáng Road underground station; the journey takes less than 8 minutes, and the train reaches a maximum speed of 431 kph.

  • Taxi

    The ride to People’s Square takes about 50 minutes.

  • Underground

    Underground 2 goes to Guanglan Road station.