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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Shanghai

Shanghai is a big city with plenty to see and do. I was in this bustling metropolis en route to Mongolia. It was also my entry and exit point for this trip to China. It doesn't have the same number of interesting places to see as Beijing, but for me it was the better developed city. This is where the educated and ambitious Chinese go to make a name for themselves. Foreigners also visit the city to get a piece of the pie.

Guide to Shanghai

Shanghai is a hub for commerce, finance, trade and innovation. I immediately felt its cosmopolitan atmosphere when I spent a few days exploring it. It grew from a small fishing village to a booming port town to a vibrant metropolis.

Places of Interest in Shanghai

The Bund

The Bund is one of the most famous and popular attractions in Shanghai. It provides a glimpse of the past, present and future of the city. This waterfront along the Huangpu River is a great place to walk around in and see the city's beautiful cityscape. The ideal time to visit is at night when the buildings are lit up.

How to go: Alight at East Nanjing Road Station of the metro and follow the signs to this destination.

Oriental Pearl Tower

This famous tower finished construction in 1995 and stands at 468m high. It is one of the most recognizable structures in the city because of its distinct design and appearance.

How to go: Get down at Lujiazui metro station and take exit 1.

Fees: Revolving restaurant lunch CNY338 per person and for dinner CNY378 per person. There are also different packages and inclusions for those who want to enter the tower. The deluxe package is the most expensive at CNY260 which includes 263m Sky Galleria, 78m "Future Shanghai" Multimedia Show, 259m Transparent Sky Walking, Huangpu River Cruise and the Shanghai History Museum.

Shanghai Old Town

This area in Shanghai will elicit a sense of nostalgia from visitors despite its obviously reconstructed buildings. Walk around here to get a glimpse of the city's history.

How to go: Get down at Yuyuan metro station and go out via exit 1.

Nanjing Road

This district typifies the old and new ambiance that Shanghai exudes. Trade and commerce has been around for a century or so in this part of the city. This is where locals and tourists go to, to eat, drink, be merry and shop. A good time to walk around Nanjing Road is in the evening.

How to go: The nearest metro station is People's Square.


This dining, entertainment and shopping district mixes old and new with its distinct ambiance and architectural style.

How to go: Get down at Xintiandi Station and take exit 6 towards Madang Road.

Yu Garden

This garden is roughly 400 years old and has seen the changes Shanghai has been through throughout its lifetime. It has different pavilions, halls and landscaped sections for those who want a green spot to take a leisurely stroll in while exploring the city.

How to go: Alight at Yuyuan Station and get out through exit 1.

Fees: CNY40


This old residential district has transformed into an artsy neighborhood with plenty of cafes, shops, boutiques and galleries. The narrow alleys lead to quaint places. The area is a good place to hang out in and just chill. This is a great place to see Shanghai's old shikumen homes.

How to go: Alight at Dapuqiao station and take exit 1.

Jade Buddha Temple

This temple has a history that dates back to the 1880s. The original temple was destroyed when rebels overthrew the Qing Dynasty. A new temple was constructed in the late 1920s to house the preserved statues.

How to go: Get down at Jiangning Road Station and take exit 4.

Fees: CNY20 and an extra CNY10 to see the statues

Zhujiajiao Water Town

This quaint destination is a good addition to your itinerary if you don't want to go far to see a water town. The traditional houses and bridges provide visitors with a glimpse of ancient China.

How to go: Nearest metro station is Zhujiajiao then walk towards the town. You can also take the Huzhu Express Line from Pu'an Road East Yan'an Road around Dashijie metro station, fare for this is CNY12.

Fees: Walking around the town is free but you have to pay to enter the attractions. CNY30 for 4 places, CNY60 for 8 places and CNY80 for 8 attractions and the cruise.

Shanghai World Financial Center

This building occupying the city's skyline isn't just a financial center, but it is also a prime tourist destination. Get overlooking views of the surroundings on the 94th, 97th or 100th floor.

How to go: You can alight at Dongchang Road Station and take exit 4. You can also get down at Lujiazui metro station and take exit 6.

Fees: CNY120 just for the 94 floor and CNY180 for the combo ticket for 94, 97 and 100 floors.

Day Trips and Tickets

  • Shanghai Disneyland Ticket - Disneyland is a fun place to visit regardless of your age. The theme park has many rides, sections and shows throughout the day. You'll also get to meet your favorite Disney and Marvel characters after enjoying the rides. Don't forget to bring your passport. You can choose between a 1-day or 2-day ticket.
  • Shanghai Tower 118th Floor Observation Deck - The Shanghai Tower is one of the highest skyscrapers in the world. The observation deck provides stunning bird's eye views of the city during sunset and at night. 
  • Oriental Pearl Tower Ticket - This is another tower that provides viewing areas where you can get overlooking views of the city. Shanghai's skyline and cityscape is simply beautiful during blue hour and at night. Get this ticket to avoid the lines

Getting Around Shanghai

The easiest and most convenient way to get around the city is by metro. You can buy single journey tickets or a transportation card. The card costs CNY100 (CNY20 as deposit) and you can recharge it whenever necessary. A one day travel pass for the metro is available for CNY18 and you can also get a three days' pass for CNY45. Buy either pass at metro stations or ticket booths. REMINDER: The clock ticks within 24 hours or 72 hours upon first use.

How to Go to Shanghai

It's easy to go to Shanghai from the Philippines with many regular flights from Manila, Cebu and other airports in the country. The airlines that ply this route often are Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia just to name a few. Book flight tickets weeks or months before your trip to get discounted fares.

You can also go to Shanghai by train from big cities like Guangzhou, Beijing and Xiamen. You can book tickets via www.trip.com.

Getting a Visa

You'll need a visa to enter China, if you're a Philippine passport holder. Getting one is easy as long as you pass all of the requirements.

Here's my post: How to get a Chinese tourist visa for Filipinos

Get In and Out of the Airport

Shanghai has two airports Pudong and Hongqiao.


If you are arriving at Pudong, you have options when it comes to getting in and out of the airport.

  • Shuttle Bus - There are 9 lines that can take you to the city. Fare is anywhere between CNY8 to CNY30 depending on the stop. You can check the schedules here: Shuttle Bus Pudong
  • Taxi - Like many airports, there are taxis that can take you to wherever you want. Fare varies during the day and at night, and the location of your address. Fare varies from around CNY165 to CNY290.
  • Metro Line - A cheap way to get in and out of Pudong Airport is to take the metro; fare costs up to CNY9. The trip can take anywhere between 1 to 2 hours depending on where you are going. You'll have to change trains Guanglan Road Station during the trip. 
  • Maglev - This train is one of the fastest in the world with speeds that hit 400 kph every now and then. It will take you from the airport to Longyang Road where you can get on metro lines 2, 7 and 16. Fare is CNY50 for a single ticket and CNY80 for a return ticket valid for 7 days.


If you arrive at Hongqiao Airport, you'll have similar options.
  • Shuttle Bus - There are 10 lines that can take you to downtown Shanghai. Fare costs up to CNY30 depending on your stop.
  • Metro Line - Lines 2 and and 10 connect Hongqiao to the city. Fare varies from CNY3 to CNY9.
  • Taxi - Fare varies from CNY40 to CNY290 depending on your stop and if you leave during the day or at night. 
If you have to transfer between Hongqiao and Pudong, you can take Metro Line 2 or Shuttle Bus Line 1.

Where to Stay in Shanghai

I stayed in The Phoenix hostel when I visited Shanghai. There are many budget, mid-priced and high-end accommodations all over Shanghai. I suggest staying near the Bund because many attractions are within walking distance or a few stops by metro from it.

Where to Go Next


Suzhou is a popular day trip or multi-day stop from Shanghai. It has many quaint water towns and narrow alleys lined with traditional houses. There are also many landscaped, Chinese gardens on UNESCO's World Heritage list. I stayed for around two days and loved exploring. I would recommend at least a day trip. It's easy to reach by train from Shanghai.

Link to post: Guide to Suzhou


Hangzhou is another destination that is near Shanghai. Many also include it in their itineraries during their stay in Shanghai. It has some attractions such as the UNESCO-listed West Lake. It's easy to explore because of the extensive public transportation network.


If you want to experience the great outdoors after exploring the bustling city, make your way to Huangshan. There are many bullet trains that take you to this UNESCO-listed park. I spent 2 days and 1 night in the mountain. The views were spectacular from sunset to sunrise the day before we left.

Link to post: Guide to Huangshan


The capital of China is one of its most popular tourist destinations. There's plenty to see and do here such as the Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Forbidden City and others. The city is easy to explore because of public transportation.

Link to post: Guide to Beijing

Beautiful Places in China
Other than the places mentioned above, China has many other beautiful destinations you can include in your itinerary. If you want to learn more about them, you can check out my post: Beautiful destinations in China.

Budget for Shanghai

Shanghai is a pricey city but still worth the visit.

*Everything's in Chinese Yuan.

Here's a sample budget for a 4 days and 3 nights trip. These are only the essentials and some attractions, add or subtract depending on your interests.

300 - 3 nights in a hostel dorm
350 - Food and drinks
150 - Transportation
40 - Yu Garden entrance fee
120 - Shanghai World Financial Center entrance to 94th floor

960 - Total for 4 days and 3 nights

You'll spend more if you go to Disneyland and go up the Oriental Tower. Feel free to include other attractions and places you want to visit while in Shanghai.

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