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9 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Shanghai, China

by - 6:00 AM

I just wanted to start this blog post with a disclaimer: Even though Shanghai has a lot of issues and it can be scary at times, I absolutely love this city from the skyscrapers to the amazing food. Despite the terrible experiences here, I would definitley go back because I know what to do next time!
If you already read my Solo Female Guide to traveling in Shanghai, then you would know what to do, see, where to stay, how to access websites such as google beyond the firewall, and what to bring with you. Although I shared my experiences on my vlogs at the time, I thought that I would make a guide on what you need to know before coming here.

Shanghai is a fast growing city in China that is home to over 25 million people. Yes, you read that number correctly. It's insane how many people live here! Shanghai is known for being the "New York" of China which means this is where all of the big corporate jobs are and this is where all of the Chinese people want to be if they want to "make it big" in their life.

I originally came to Shanghai because the flights were cheap and I honestly was just trying to find the least expensive route possible to my final destination which was Thailand and I surprisingly fell in love with the craziness of this city! Shanghai will always hold a special place in my heart because this is where young 20 year old me went on her first solo backpacking adventure having the time of her life!

1. If something is “free” or “cheap” then it’s a scam

9 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Shanghai, China
This includes massages, food, drinks, and even prostitutes! But please don't come to Asia and support that inhumane industry..... thanks. Regardless, if it's too good to be true then it most definitley is.

2. The Shanghai Tea Ceremony Scam 

9 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Shanghai, China
Someone seeming very kind and polite will approach you with very good english. They can seem very sweet and nice but be warned that the moment they talk about a tea ceremony “RUN THE F%$# AWAY!!!” They don't want to be your friend. They are con artists. Do you want to end up like this girl?! Lauren got got tricked into a really large bill for a tea ceremony that she never wanted to be a part of in the first place! I read her blog post right before I went and and I'm glad I did because the amount of people I had inviting me to a "Traditional Tea" was insane!

3. Beware of the Pickpockets 

9 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Shanghai, China
There a few different types of pickpockets. The ones that bump into you and steal whatever is in your pocket, the ones who do it sneakily on the bus or train, or even while you’re not paying attention and taking a photo. Nowhere is safe so always be on alert! 

4. Watch out for Taxi Scams 

9 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Shanghai, China
I would stay the f#$% away from taxis because of what happened to me. But if you absolutely have to take a taxi then I would keep this guide handy because the different colors of taxi represent different taxi companies in the city. Try to only stay with Blue (Da Zhong Taxis) White (Jingjiang Taxis) and Yellow/green (Qiangsheng Taxis). I would stay way from Navy Blue (Hai Bo Taxis) and Red Taxis. Also, please try not to take taxi with registration plate starts with BX or DX.

5. Be careful for the young children that want to “improve their english” 

9 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Shanghai, China
usually it means that they want something from you

6. Take the Public Transportation

9 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Shanghai, China
It is so much safer than a taxi and it is reliable. The subway/metro/tube takes you to all of the popular tourist attraction and it even takes you to and from the airport. I relied on this heavily and it worked perfectly fine for me. It was easy to use and best of all all of their signs are in English and Mandarin.

7. Basic Mandarin can go a long way but you don’t need to know any Chinese to be there 

9 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Shanghai, China
It's always polite to say thank you & hello no matter where you are in the world. If learning a new language is just not your forte then learn these two simple phrases:
ni hao (hello) 
xie xie (thank you) 

8. Don’t be afraid to bargain! 

9 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Shanghai, China
It’s China so the chances are that they are overpricing things by at least 5x because they can be greedy. Bargain at least half the price they offered but try to go even lower! I bought a hat once they claimed was $20 USD but got it for less than $5 
Always remember this: Don’t be afraid to walk away. You have nothing to lose. 

9. Beware of the Spitballs!

9 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Shanghai, China
Let me just say yuck, yuck, and YUCK! This was the biggest and grossest shock for me when I stepped foot into Shanghai. The moment you hear that vocal throat spitting sound make sure you are far away from that person. It's gross and don’t do it please. Just because everyone else is, you shouldn't either. But nothing will beat that time a child almost peed on me. Yup, right in the middle of a busy sidewalk this child no younger than 5 pulled down her pants on nearly missed me by an inch! If you want me to share the full story on this, then please let me know for a future blog post!


Shanghai is an awesome place to be despite all of the things I shared above. I can't wait to return for the 4th time! Hope this guide helped! xx
Please share this on your Pinterest, Instagram, and social medias and I will check out your profiles.
See you next time!
-B









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