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Shanghai: Tips

Water
Carry water everywhere. Its blooming hot. And don’t drink the tap water – it contains lot of heavy metals. Again, I have it on good authority that 2 bottles in the first day for the uninitiated won’t harm you.

Subway
Shanghai has a brilliant Metro subway app which lets you plan your trip from one station to another across all 13 lines (extra lines are added each year almost) and untold interchanges. It even gives you an estimated travel time to your destination. However, because the subway system is so excellent, you forget just how large Shanghai is, traveling beneath it. Buy a 3 day subway pass when you arrive as it will allow you unlimited rides within the 3 day period, saving you from needing to buy a ticket each time, and allowing you to be a little more flexible with your sightseeing. You will have to ask someone for one though as they are not sold from the ticket vending machines.
shanghai subway map

Hi Shanghai
Another app worth its weight in gold is Hi Shanghai. Its pretty much aimed at the expat market, and as such, has the latest shops, bars, But what makes this app so damn good is when you find something you are interested in, hold your iPhone horizontal (on its side) and you get directions in Chinese you can then take a photo of to show your taxi driver, or random people in the street when you get lost (again).
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Internet
China’s internet is still monitored and a lot of the Western sites I am used to viewing were not available through Shanghai wifi. Apparently if you use a VPN connection and not wifi, you get greater access to external content, but personal blogs are definitely on the non-accessible list, hence my Shanghai postings were uploaded from Athens.

Times and Timings
Shanghai is not a 24hr city. The metro begins at 5:30/6am depending on the line, and closes down again at around 10:30/11pm. The building lightshow along the Bund turns off at 11pm. Most shops open from 10am-8pm.
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I can see why expats over the years have gravitated towards Shanghai – it seems to have something for everyone, and its an easy and clean city to get around in.

Shanghai reminded me a lot of NYC, in that what you can see and experience in the short time you visit the city is only the tip of an iceberg. I think you would really need to stay a while in Shanghai to start to understand all its subtleties, and to experience its personality throughout all the seasons.

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