Temple in Shanghai city in China

Tips For Solo Traveling in Shanghai

9 min read

Before embarking on your solo adventure to Shanghai, there are several important factors to consider. Shanghai is a city with a rich history and a thriving cosmopolitan atmosphere, offering a plethora of attractions and experiences.

9 min read

Solo traveling is an exciting adventure that allows you to explore new places, meet interesting people, and create unforgettable memories. If you are planning a solo trip to Shanghai, China's largest city, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

What to Keep in Mind When Planning Your Solo Trip to Shanghai

To make the most of your trip, it is crucial to acquaint yourself with the city's culture, customs, and local laws.

First and foremost, ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date. This is a requirement for entering China, so it is essential to check your passport's expiration date well in advance. Additionally, you will need to apply for a visa to enter the country. It is advisable to start the visa application process early to avoid any unnecessary complications or delays.

While planning your trip, it is also important to familiarize yourself with the currency used in Shanghai and the current exchange rates. This will help you determine how much money you need to bring and ensure that you have enough funds for your entire stay. It is recommended to carry a mix of cash and credit cards, as both are widely accepted in the city.

Shanghai skyline during night
People walking on a street with Chinese lanterns in Shanghai

When deciding on your travel dates, take into consideration Shanghai's weather. The city experiences hot and humid summers, with temperatures often reaching above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Winters, on the other hand, are relatively mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. Spring and autumn offer more comfortable temperatures, making them ideal seasons for exploring all that Shanghai has to offer.

Aside from the practical aspects of planning your trip, it is also worth researching the cultural etiquette and customs of Shanghai. Chinese society places great importance on respect and politeness, so familiarizing yourself with basic Chinese phrases and customs will go a long way in enhancing your experience. For example, it is customary to greet people with a slight bow or nod of the head, and it is considered impolite to point with your finger.

Most Exciting and Authentic Places to Visit in Shanghai

One of the most iconic landmarks in Shanghai is The Bund, a waterfront area that offers stunning skyline views. As you take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, you will be captivated by the majestic buildings that line the Huangpu River. These historic structures, with their intricate architectural details, tell the story of Shanghai's past and present.

The Bund Shanghai skyline in China
Yu Garden in Shanghai

A visit to Yu Garden is a must for anyone seeking a tranquil oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. This classical Chinese garden, built during the Ming Dynasty, is a masterpiece of design and serenity. As you wander through its lush greenery, you will encounter intricate pavilions, beautiful rockeries, and picturesque ponds. Each step you take will transport you to a different era, allowing you to appreciate the timeless beauty of traditional Chinese gardening.

Aside from these iconic attractions, Shanghai also offers a myriad of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The French Concession, with its tree-lined streets and charming cafes, is a perfect place to experience the city's unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. The bustling markets of Shanghai, such as the Yuyuan Bazaar, are a paradise for food lovers and shopaholics alike. Here, you can sample local delicacies, browse through a wide array of souvenirs, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of a traditional Chinese market.

The French Concession in Shanghai China
Busy street with people in Shanghai China

For those seeking a taste of Shanghai's modern side, a visit to the Pudong district is a must. This area is home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, including the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower. As you ascend to the tower's observation deck, you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the cityscape. The futuristic skyline of Pudong is a testament to Shanghai's rapid development and its status as a global financial hub.

Activities For Creating Unforgettable Memories and Making New Friends

One of the best ways to make the most of your solo trip to Shanghai is to engage in activities that allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture and meet fellow travelers. Joining a guided walking tour is a great way to discover the hidden gems of the city while making new friends along the way.

If you are interested in learning more about Shanghai's cuisine, consider taking a cooking class. You can learn to prepare traditional dishes like xiaolongbao, a type of steamed dumpling, or jianbing, a popular breakfast street food.

For those seeking a unique experience, attending a traditional Chinese tea ceremony is a must. Learn about the art of tea preparation, taste a variety of teas, and gain insights into China's tea culture.

Chinese dumplings in a pot
Chinese tea ceremony

What Are the Must Try Local Dishes

Shanghai is renowned for its diverse culinary scene, offering a wide variety of delectable dishes. When in Shanghai, make sure to try the city's famous soup dumplings, known as xiaolongbao. These delicate dumplings are filled with savory broth and are a true culinary delight.

Another must-try dish is the shengjianbao, pan-fried pork buns that are crispy on the bottom and soft on the top. These dumplings are bursting with flavor and are a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

If you're feeling adventurous, sample stinky tofu, a pungent fermented tofu dish that is synonymous with Shanghai street food. Despite its strong odor, stinky tofu is incredibly popular and widely enjoyed in Shanghai.

For a refreshing treat, don't miss out on trying the famed xiaolong, a chilled dessert soup made with glutinous rice balls and a variety of toppings such as red bean paste or fresh fruits.

Chinese food on the table with tea in Shanghai
Chinese soup with vegetables and dumplings

How to Stay Safe and What to Avoid While Traveling Solo in Shanghai

While Shanghai is generally a safe city, it's always important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings, particularly in crowded tourist areas.

When it comes to transportation, Shanghai has an extensive and efficient public transportation system, including buses and the metro. Familiarize yourself with the routes and always carry a map or use a navigation app to avoid getting lost.

Avoid drinking tap water in Shanghai, as it is not safe for consumption. Stick to bottled water or opt for hot drinks made with boiled water. Additionally, be cautious when dining at street food stalls and choose establishments with good hygiene practices.

It's also important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. Learn a few basic Mandarin phrases to show your appreciation for the local culture, and dress modestly when visiting temples or sacred sites.

In conclusion, Shanghai offers a mesmerizing blend of tradition and modernity, making it a truly captivating destination. Whether you are exploring its historic landmarks, immersing yourself in its cultural treasures, or indulging in its vibrant street life, Shanghai will leave you with unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for the wonders of this dynamic city.


Lizzie Z.

As a top level corporate executive, Lizzie embarked on a soul-searching journey of adventure and slow living, passionately sharing her insights as the founder of RLM.


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