Shanghai, with a population of more than 16 million (of which nearly 4 million are non-residents), is one of the most populous and most developed cities in the People's Republic of China
Shanghai was the largest and most prosperous city in the Far East during the 1930s, and remained the most developed city in Communist China. In the 1990s Shanghai again became an attractive spot for tourists worldwide.
Shanghai is divided into 18 districts, and one county:
Shanghai is a fascinating mix of East and West. It has historic "shikumen" houses that blended the styles of Chinese houses with European design flairs, and it has one of the most rich collections of art deco buildings in the world. Because there were so many Concessions to western powers during the turn of the 20th century, at times it the city has the feel of Paris or Montreal, while Tudor style buildings give a German flair, and the 1930s buildings put you in New York or Chicago.
In the beginning of the 1990s, the Shanghai government launched a series of new strategies to attract foreign investments. The biggest move was to open up Pudong, once a rural area of Shanghai. The strategies succeeded, and now Pudong has become the financial district of Shanghai, with a lot of skyscrapers.
Today Shanghai's goal is to develop into a world-class financial and economic center of China, and even Asia. To achieve this goal Shanghai faces competition from Hong Kong. Hong Kong has the advantage of a stronger legal system and greater banking and service expertise. Shanghai has stronger links to the Chinese interior and to the central government in addition to a stronger manufacturing and technology base. Since the handover of Hong Kong to the PRC, Shanghai has increased its role in finance, banking, and as a major destination for corporate headquarters, fueling demand for a highly educated and westernized workforce.
Shanghai now has two airports:
It is very fast to reach downtown from Hongqiao Airport, travellers could reach Xu Jiahui -- one of the main shopping areas in only 20 minutes.
However, Pudong International Airport is further away, and currently tourists can take taxi(the most convenint and fast) or airport express bus services. If you take a taxi, you probably need at least 1 hour to reach your destination, and will take even longer with the airport bus.
Presently, Shanghai is constructing Transrapid, the first operational maglev railway in the world, which will link Pudong International Airport to down town. It is scheduled to operate commercially in 2004.
Shanghai Railway Station is located in Zhabei district. It is the cheapest way to reach Shanghai from other cities in China, but there are few international rail links.
There are several long-distance bus stations in Shanghai, but most buses only go to small towns nearby the city.
There are 3 underground metro lines and 1 light rail in the city. For foreigners, taking metro is one of the best choices, but trains get really very crowded during peak hours. Since the metro system has not been completed yet, many sights of interests still cannot be reached by metro.
Taxi is a preferable choice for transportation in the city. It is very cheap (only 10 yuan for the first 3 kilometres), and saves you a lot of time. But be careful as some taxi drivers are dishonest and may drive the long way. It is certainly the best choice if you have a local guide with you.
Shanghai Sigtseeing Bus
Pudong Financial District