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How to Plan a Tour to Shanghai

Last updated by chris1993 at 2018/1/19; Destinations: Shanghai Edit Delete

As the most extensive base for China’s industrial technology, its largest financial and commercial center, and one of its most important seaports, Shanghai is a tourist magnet.



Thousands of visitors flock there every year, armed with extensive plans, a hefty guidebook, and a sense of adventure, to experience its exquisite cultural symphony.

Shanghai, also known as “Shen”, is a sprawling multi-cultural metropolis, incorporating an eclectic blend of both traditional and contemporary features. Once known as “The Paris of the East”, Shanghai is a city where East meets West, a glorious combination of antiquity and modernity.

Best Times to Visit Shanghai – Spring and Autumn

The two best periods to visit Shanghai are from March to May and from September to November, because the moderate temperatures in these two periods give travelers the most comfortable experience.

The period from mid-June to mid-July is the rainiest season, so prepare to carry your rain gear with you all the time if you are to travel during this period.

The temperatures can rise to a staggering 40 degrees centigrade in July and August, and there is much rain in summer. The sultry weather might make your trip uncomfortable. Similarly, though it seldom rains in winter, the cold and damp winter climate is unpleasant and hard to bear.

The peak tourist season comes during Chinese New Year, and week-long vacations usually start on International Labor Day (1st May) and National Day (1st October). If you visit Shanghai during these periods, be prepared to encounter enormous crowds of people at the airports, shopping zones, tourist attractions, hotels, and restaurants.

Recommended Time to Spend in Shanghai and Vicinity – 7~8 Days

It’s best to spend 7~8 days in and around Shanghai, allowing enough time to visit the main tourist attractions in the city, as well as to enjoy the beautiful water towns nearby.

Tourist Attractions

With a reputation as a world-famous metropolis and tourist resort, Shanghai possesses abundant attractions for visitors to savor, and it won’t let you down.

  • The Oriental Pearl TV Tower

This Tower serves as the symbol of Shanghai, at a surprising height of 486 meters. It is the third tallest radio and TV tower in the world. At the top, you can have a panoramic view of the Bund as well as a bird’s-eye view of the magnificence of Shanghai.

  • The Bund

The Bund

The Bund is another renowned landmark. There are various buildings in different architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classical and Renaissance. It is recommended to visit the Bund at night, when all the colorful lights are lit up, making it a dazzling and wondrous world.

  • Nanjing Road

This bustling pedestrian street is a must-see metropolitan destination, attracting thousands of fashion-lovers from all over the world. Over 600 shops on the road offer many famous brands, superior quality, and new fashions. At night, flashing neon signs illuminate the magnificent buildings and spangle the night sky.


Yuyuan Garden

  • Yuyuan Garden

Regarded as the most beautiful garden south of the Yangtze River, Yuyuan Garden has an exquisite layout. The pavilions, corridors, courtyards, halls, stones and streams in the garden form a tranquil and unique picture which vividly shows the quintessence of southern Chinese landscape design in the Ming (1368-1644 AD) and Qing (1644-1912 AD) dynasties.

  • Jade Buddha Temple

Bright yellow saffron walls, upturned eaves, and symmetrical courtyards and halls, make the Temple readily identifiable. It houses two precious seated jade Buddhist statues, rare porcelain works of art, encrusted with jewels. The sparkling and crystal-clear white jade gives the Buddhas the beauty of sanctity. This Temple receives many visitors and worshipers daily.

  • Disneyland Park

Disneyland Park

As the sixth in the world and the first in mainland China, Shanghai Disneyland Park creates many records among the existing Disney parks: it possesses the tallest theme castle, the first garden-designed zone and the first pirate-themed garden. Besides, it combines movie figures with Chinese elements, such as the Chinese Zodiac Murals.


  • Shengjian Steamed Stuffed Bun

Shengjian Steamed Stuffed Bun

This is a kind of fried and steamed bun, with sesame and chives on the outside and meat on the inside. It’s popular for its crisp wrapper, thick soup and tender meat.

  • Xiaolong Steamed Stuffed Bun

This is another kind of steamed bun with meat stuffing, renowned for its tender wrapper and fresh meat. It is named after the cooker “xiaolong”, which is weaved using bamboo skin.

  • Xiekehuang

This is a kind of baked pastry with sesame on the outside, popular for its crunchy wrapper as well as stuffing, which can be sweet or salty. It is so-called (‘crab-shell-yellow’) because its round shape and yellow color resembles crab shell.

What to Buy

  • Xie Fuchun Cosmetics

Come to the southern region of Yangtze River to visit Xie Fuchun cosmetics (with skin care products), an old cosmetics brand with a history of hundreds of years. It is famous for its elegant aroma and pleasant skin-care products.


White Rabbit Creamy Candy

  • White Rabbit Creamy Candy

This is the most popular candy in China with a history of nearly sixty years. It is popular for its smooth and silky taste, and milky and sweet flavor. Besides, it was born at a time of scarcity, so it’s a precious memory in the minds of many Chinese over-60s.

Transportation in Shanghai

Air: Shanghai has two international airports:

  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport: Located in Pudong New District, approximately 30 kilometers (18 miles) east of downtown Shanghai, this is the biggest airline hub in eastern China.
  • Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport: Located in Hongqiao County, the western suburbs of Shanghai, this is approximately 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the city center. Together with Pudong International Airport, it serves as one of the busiest airports in the east of China.

Railway: Shanghai is the hub of China’s railway network. There are three major railway stations in the city: Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, and Shanghai South Railway Station.


Maglev Train

Maglev Train: Starting at Longyanglu Station at Line 2 of Shanghai Metro and ending at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Maglev Railway is the very first elevated maglev line in commercial operation in the world.

It can run at the amazing speed of 430 miles per hour, which means it can take you from downtown Shanghai to Shanghai Pudong International Airport in only 8 minutes.

By Public City Transportation:

  • Metro: The Shanghai Metro leads in all directions, with 14 lines and 366 stations.
  • Bus: The Shanghai Bus System is also very developed. The buses can reach many small places the metro cannot reach.
  • Sightseeing bus: This is a good choice if you want to do some sightseeing in downtown Shanghai, because it only stops at scenic spots, which will save you much time.

Private Transfer Service: China Highlights’ private transfer service offers chauffeured service as an expedient and opulent alternative to public transport. Its private tours provide fully-equipped vehicles, catering well for your group, along with an English-speaking driver and a well-informed guide.


Our tours offer a range of accommodation.


If you are not too concerned about the environment around your accommodation, there are lots of hostels available, such as Suhe International Hostel, Dayin International Hostel, and so on.




If you want better accommodation, there are many economic hotels, such as Jinjiangzhixing Hotel, Seven Days Hotel,and so on.


If your budget is big enough, you can choose the most comfortable hotels, such as Four Seasons Hotel, Jinmaojunyue Grand Hotel, and so on.

Classic Tour Options

If you are looking for a short trip to Shanghai, here’s an itinerary that includes the most breathtaking and popular water towns in and around the city.

Two Famous Water Towns in Shanghai – Zhujiajiao and Seven Treasures Water Town.

By visiting the water towns, you can explore the elegant side of Shanghai. These three towns are just an hour’s drive from downtown Shanghai, and are known fordelicious snacks, delicate stone bridges, decorative streams, and deciduous willow trees.

  • Zhujiajiao Water Town

Located in Qingpu District, west of Shanghai, Zhujiajiao is known as the “Venice of Shanghai” because of the rivers crossing through the town. Along the rivers there are 36 bridges and 9 streets, subtle and nostalgic.


Zhujiajiao Water Town

Standing on either side of the streets, houses built during the Ming (1368–1644 AD) and Qing (1644–1912 AD) dynasties are well-preserved, delicate, and full of local architectural features.

What to Prepare

Before your tour, you need to charge your camera and cellphone, because Zhujiajiao is so beautiful, you may want to take many photos.

How to Get There

In our One Day Zhujiajiao Water Town Tour from Shanghai, our car, an air-conditioned 7-seater business car, will wait for you outside your hotel, and then send you directly from your hotel to Zhujiajiao. When you finish your tour, the car will also deliver you back to your hotel.


You can have a taste of many local Shanghai snacks in Zhujiajiao, such as sauced pig’s feet, zongzi with meat in it, boiled shrimps with shell in salt water and so on.

  • Seven Treasures Water Town

Located in the Minhang District, southwest of Shanghai, it’s said that Seven Treasures got its name from seven treasures there: a Buddha, a bell, lotus scriptures, sacred trees, a gold chicken, a jade axe and jade chopsticks.


Seven Treasures Water Town

The town is basically divided into two streets – South Street, famous for delicious snacks; and North Street, renowned for fantastic antiques.

What to Prepare

Given that Seven Treasures is full of snacks or antiques, you may need to bring some extra money, in case you want to buy some things.

How to Get There

As with the Zhujiajiao tour, our car will be in charge of your transportation to Seven Treasures and back to Shanghai.


South Street offers you many local Shanghai snacks, such as stuffed roast chicken wrapped in lotus leaves, boiled mutton, hitom cake, and so on.

What to Buy

In North Street, you may be interested in all kinds of tourist crafts, antiques, calligraphy and paintings.

Want to have a good tour to both Zhujiajiao and Seven Treasures in a day? Our One Day Zhujiajiao Water Town Tour from Shanghai is the perfect tour for you.

  • A Famous Water Town around Shanghai – Tongli Water Town

Tongli Water Town

Tongli, with a history of over 1,000 years, is a beautiful, picturesque Chinese water town. It has quaint stone bridges and well-preserved ancient architectures, including private gardens, temples and houses. The Tuisi Garden (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Three Bridges are the essence of Tongli.

What to Prepare

Before your tour, it may be a good idea to put on elegant clothes (such as dress or trousers), which will allow you to integrate into the tender town and help you take more impressive photos.

How to Get There

As above, our car will be in charge of your transportation to Tongli and back to Shanghai in a day. It will take a bit longer to drive there, about two hours.


There are many yummy Shanghai snacks in Tongli, such as wadisu, gordon euryale porridge and so on.

What to Buy

Special local products in Tongli are its leaf-vein bookmarks, with details that may give you a big surprise. They are available in souvenir shops.

Want to enjoy more in Tongli? Our Shanghai and Tongli Water Town Tour will satisfy your curiosity.


If you make a special trip to Shanghai, you may need a visa for China.

But if you meet the conditions of 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit, you can have a trip in and around Shanghai without a Chinese visa. To learn more about 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit, please click Visa-Free Transit in China for Up to 144 Hours.