Shànghǎi’s traffic and the city’s overpasses and underpasses are the greatest challenges to travellers with disabilities. Many metro stations have lifts (elevators) to platforms but escalators may only go up from the ticket hall to the exit, and not down. Pavements on lesser roads may be cluttered with obstacles.
That said, an increasing number of modern buildings, museums, stadiums and most new hotels are wheelchair accessible. Try to take a lightweight chair for navigating around obstacles and for collapsing into the back of taxis. Top-end hotels have wheelchair-accessible rooms but budget hotels are less well prepared.
China’s sign language has regional variations, as well as some elements of American Sign Language (ASL), so foreign signers may have some problems communicating in sign language.
Accessible Travel Online Resources
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
Haggling is de rigueur (and a common language between foreigners and Chinese vendors) in markets where goods do not have a clearly marked price, but not in department stores or high-street shops. Don’t be afraid to come in really low, but remain polite.
Dangers & Annoyances
Shànghǎi feels very safe, and crimes against foreigners are rare. If you have something stolen, you need to report the crime at the district Public Security Bureau (PSB; 公安局; Gōng'ānjú) office and obtain a police report.
Traffic & Street Hazards
- Crossing the road is probably the greatest danger: develop avian vision and a sixth sense to combat the shocking traffic. Don’t end up in an ambulance: Chinese drivers never give way.
- The green man at traffic lights does not mean it's safe to cross. Instead, it means it is slightly safer to cross, but you can still be run down by traffic allowed to turn on red lights.
- Bicycles and scooters regularly flout all traffic rules, as do many cars. Bicycles, scooters, mopeds and motorbikes freely take to the pavements (sidewalks), as occasionally do cars.
- Older taxis only have seatbelts in the front passenger seat. Watch out for scooters whizzing down Shànghǎi roads – especially on unlit streets – without lights at night.
- Be careful when taking a taxi alone late at night, as foreigners have been sexually assaulted and robbed. Stick to the larger taxi firms, such as the turquoise Dàzhòng, gold Qiángshēng, green Bāshì or white Jǐnjiāng taxis, and avoid black-market cabs. A registered taxi should always run on a meter and have a licence displayed on the dashboard.
- Other street hazards include spent neon-light tubes poking from litter bins, open manholes with plunging drops, and welders showering pavements with burning sparks. Side streets off the main drag are sometimes devoid of street lights at night, and pavements can be crumbling and uneven.
Preying on visitors to the Bund, East Nanjing Rd, People's Square and elsewhere, Shànghǎi's number one scam ruins the holidays of hundreds of foreigners. One or a pair of English-speaking girls approach single men and ask to be photographed using their mobile phone, then insist on taking the victim to a traditional Chinese teahouse, where he is left to pay eye-watering and heart-stopping bills (hundreds of dollars, usually payable by credit card).
Some of the massage services offered to visitors on East Nanjing Rd will similarly scam you out of large chunks of your holiday budget in the presentation of a huge bill. Just say no.
Watch out for taxi scams, especially at Pǔdōng International Airport and outside the Maglev terminal at Longyang Rd metro station. Aim for larger taxi firms and insist on using the meter to avoid taxi sharks.
Embassies & Consulates
Most consulates defer to their embassies in Běijīng, but have efficient websites with useful information about doing business in Shànghǎi, cultural relations, events and also downloadable maps.
US Consulate Consulate general.
US Consulate For US citizen services and visas.
Emergency & Important Numbers
Entry & Exit Formalities
Chinese customs generally pay tourists little attention. There are clearly marked green channels and red channels. Importation of fresh fruit or cold cuts is prohibited. Pirated DVDs and CDs are illegal exports from China as well as illegal imports into most other countries. If they are found they will be confiscated.
Objects considered to be antiques require a certificate and a red seal to clear customs when leaving China. Anything made before 1949 is considered an antique, and if it was made before 1795 it cannot legally be taken out of the country.
- 400 cigarettes (or 100 cigars or 500g of tobacco)
- 1.5L of alcoholic beverages
- 50g of gold or silver
- ¥20,000 in Chinese currency; there are no restrictions on foreign currency but declare any cash that exceeds US$5000 or its equivalent in another currency.
Needed for all visits to Shànghǎi except transits of up to 144 hours.
Residence permits can be issued to English teachers, businesspeople, students and other foreigners who are authorised to live in the PRC. They range from one to five years – depending on certain criteria the applicant must be able to meet – and allow unlimited exits and re-entries. In addition to this, as of July 2015, high-earning foreigners who have lived in Shànghǎi for four straight years and have paid their taxes will be eligible for permanent residence permits (previously only open to top-level business executives or professors). International students who graduate from a Chinese university are now eligible to apply for a residence permit valid for two years.
To get a residence permit you first need to arrange a work permit (normally obtained by your employer), health certificate and temporary visa ('Z' type visa for most foreign employees). If your employer is organised, you can arrange all of this before you arrive in Shànghǎi.
You then go to the Public Security Bureau with your passport, health certificate, work contract or permit, your employer’s business registration licence or representative office permit, your employment certificate (from the Shanghai Labour Bureau), the temporary residence permit of the local PSB where you are registered, passport photos, a letter of application from your employer and around ¥400 for a one-year permit. In all, the process usually takes two to three weeks. Expect to make several visits and always carry multiple copies of every document. In most cases, your employer will take care of much of the process for you.
Shànghǎi Visa-Free Transit
Citizens from a number of countries including the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden and France can transit through Shànghǎi via Pǔdōng International Airport and Hóngqiáo International Airport for up to 144 hours without a visa as long as they have visas for their onward countries and proof of seats booked on flights out of China. Your departure point and destination should not be in the same country. Note also that you are not allowed to visit other cities in China during your transit.
Travel in China
Most of China is accessible on a standard Chinese visa. A small number of restricted areas in China require an additional permit from the PSB. In particular, permits are required for travel to Tibet, a region that the authorities can suddenly bar foreigners from entering.
Extensions of 30 days are given for any tourist visa. You may be able to wrangle more with reasons such as illness or transport delays, but second extensions are usually only granted for a week, on the understanding that you are leaving. Visa extensions take three days and cost ¥160 for most nationalities and ¥940 for Americans (reciprocity for increased US visa fees). The fine for overstaying your visa is up to ¥500 per day.
To extend a business visa, you need a letter from a Chinese work unit willing to sponsor you. If you’re studying in China, your school can sponsor you for a visa extension.
Visa extensions in Shànghǎi are available from the Public Security Bureau and can be completed online.
Common Visa Categories
The most common categories of ordinary visas are as follows:
business or student (less than 6 months)
journalist (more than 6 months)
journalist (less than 6 months)
commercial & trade
family visit (more than 6 months)
family visit (less than 6 months)
visit to foreign relatives/private (more than 6 months)
visit to foreign relatives/private (less than 6 months)
student (more than 6 months)
student (less than 6 months)
For residents of most countries, a visa is required for visits to the People’s Republic of China, although 144-hour visa-free transit in Shànghǎi (and Běijīng, plus five other cities with international airports) is available.
Visas are easily obtainable from Chinese embassies, consulates or Chinese Visa Application Service Centres abroad. Getting a visa in Hong Kong is also an option. Most tourists are issued with a single-entry visa for a 30-day stay, valid for three months from the date of issue. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the expiry date of your visa (nine months for a double-entry visa) and you’ll need at least two entire blank pages in your passport for the visa. For children under the age of 18, a parent must sign the application form on their behalf.
The visa application process has become more rigorous and applicants are required to provide the following:
- A copy of your flight confirmation showing onward/return travel.
- For double-entry visas, flight confirmation showing all dates of entry and exit.
- If staying at a hotel in China, confirmation from the hotel (this can be cancelled later if you stay elsewhere).
- If staying with friends or relatives, a copy of the information page of their passport, a copy of their China visa and a letter of invitation from them.
Prices for a standard single-entry 30-day visa (not including Chinese Visa Application Service Centre administration fees):
- £85 for UK citizens
- US$140 for US citizens
- US$30 (approximately) for all other nationals
In many countries, the visa service has been outsourced from the Chinese embassy to a Chinese Visa Application Service Centre (www.visaforchina.org), which levies an extra administration fee.
When asked about your itinerary on the application form, if you are planning on travelling from Shànghǎi, list standard tourist destinations. Many travellers planning trips to Tibet or western Xīnjiāng leave them off the form as the list is nonbinding, but their inclusion may raise eyebrows; those working in media or journalism often profess a different occupation to avoid having their visa refused or being given a shorter length of stay than requested.
A growing number of visa-arranging agents can do the legwork and deliver your visa-complete passport to you. In the US, many people use the China Visa Service Center, which offers prompt service. The procedure takes around 10 to 14 days. CIBT (www.uk.cibt.com) offers a global network and a fast and efficient turnaround.
A 30-day visa is activated on the date you enter China, and must be used within three months of the date of issue. Longer-stay visas are also activated upon entry into China. Officials in China are sometimes confused over the validity of the visa and look at the ‘valid until’ date. On most 30-day visas, however, this is actually the date by which you must have entered the country, not left.
Although a 30-day length of stay is standard for tourist visas, 60-day, 90-day, six-month and 12-month multiple-entry visas are also available. If you have trouble getting more than 30 days or a multiple-entry visa, try a local visa-arranging service or a travel agency in Hong Kong.
Note that if you go to China, on to Hong Kong or Macau and then to Shànghǎi, you will need a double-entry visa to get ‘back’ into China from Hong Kong or Macau, or you will need to reapply for a fresh visa in Hong Kong.
Shànghǎi has few hard-and-fast etiquette rules but there are a few things worth noting:
- Chinese people rarely kiss each other upon greeting, but shaking hands is fine.
- If visiting a local person’s home, take off your shoes.
- If you smoke, offer your cigarettes around.
- Don’t stick your chopsticks vertically into your bowl of rice.
- At dinner, it’s polite to ensure the person sitting next to you has enough to eat and to replenish their glass.
- Avoid large, expansive physical gestures.
Be sure to purchase travel insurance before you depart; medical care in Shànghǎi can be expensive. Think about whether you'll be enagaging in any high-risk sports or activities anywhere on your trip as these are not generally automatically covered. Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
Checking insurance quotes…
Getting internet access will be one constant source of frustration on your visit to China if you rely heavily on being connected, and are used to a lightning-fast service. The Chinese authorities remain mistrustful of the internet, and censorship is heavy-handed. Around 10% of websites are blocked; sites such as Google may be slow while Google Maps and Gmail is blocked; social-networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are blocked (as is YouTube). Media such as the New York Times and Bloomberg are also blocked. Users can get around blocked websites by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service such as Astrill (www.astrill.com) or Vypr (www.goldenfrog.com/vyprvpn).
Occasionally email providers can go down, so having a back-up email address set up before you leave home is advised.
The majority of hostels and hotels have broadband internet access, and many hotels, cafes, restaurants and bars are wi-fi enabled. The wi-fi icon is used in Lonely Planet reviews where it is available.
Wi-fi is available in most bars, cafes, restaurants and hotels. Remember that wi-fi is generally unsecured, so take care what kind of information you enter if you’re using a wireless connection. If you don't have your own computer, try the following spots for internet and wi-fi access:
China does not officially recognise dual nationality or the foreign citizenship of children born in China if one of the parents is a PRC (People's Republic of China) national. If you have Chinese and another nationality you may, in theory, not be allowed to visit China on your foreign passport. In practice, Chinese authorities are not switched on enough to know if you own two passports, and should accept you on a foreign passport. Dual-nationality citizens who enter China on a Chinese passport are subject to Chinese laws and are legally not allowed consular help. If over 16 years of age, carry your passport with you at all times as a form of ID.
China takes a particularly dim view of opium and all its derivatives; trafficking in more than 50g of heroin can lead to the death penalty. Foreign-passport holders have been executed in China for drug offences.
The Chinese criminal justice system does not ensure a fair trial and defendants are not presumed innocent until proven guilty. China conducts more judicial executions than the rest of the world combined, up to 10,000 per year according to some reports. If arrested, most foreign citizens have the right to contact their embassy.
Gambling is officially illegal in mainland China.
Distributing religious material is illegal in mainland China.
- Imported English-language newspapers can be bought from five-star-hotel bookshops and some read online. The Shànghǎi-published English-language newspaper the Shanghai Daily (www.shanghaidaily.com) is a better read than the insipid national China Daily (www.chinadaily.com.cn), but is nevertheless censored.
Stacked up in bars, restaurants and cafes, free expat entertainment and listings magazines cover all bases:
- City Weekend (www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai) Glossy bimonthly.
- That’s Shanghai (http://online.thatsmags.com/city/shanghai) Info-packed monthly.
Websites can be jammed but it's possible to listen to the following:
- BBC World Service (www.bbc.co.uk/worldserviceradio/on-air)
- Voice of America (www.voa.gov)
- Your hotel may have ESPN, Star Sports, CNN or BBC News 24. You can also tune into the (censored) English-language channel CCTV9 (Chinese Central TV).
The Chinese currency is known as rénmínbì (RMB), or ‘people’s money’. Officially, the basic unit of RMB is the yuán (¥), which is divided into 10 jiǎo, which again is divided into 10 fēn. In spoken Chinese the yuán is referred to as kuài and jiǎo as máo. The fēn has so little value that it is rarely used these days. It’s generally a good idea to keep ¥1 coins on you for the metro (some ticket machines frequently take only coins) and buses.
The Bank of China (中国银行; Zhōngguó Yínháng) issues RMB bills in denominations of one, two, five, 10, 20, 50 and 100 yuán. Coins come in denominations of one yuán; one and five jiǎo; and one, two and five fēn (the last are rare). Paper versions of the coins circulate, but are disappearing.
ATMs are widespread and generally accept Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro cards. Most operate 24 hours. Bank of China and the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China are the best bets.
You can change foreign currency at money-changing counters at almost every hotel and at many shops, department stores and large banks such as the Bank of China and HSBC, as long as you have your passport; you can also change money at both Pǔdōng International Airport and Hóngqiáo International Airport. Some top-end hotels will change money only for their guests. Exchange rates in China are uniform wherever you change money, so there’s little need to shop around.
Whenever you change foreign currency into Chinese currency you will be given a money-exchange voucher recording the transaction. You need to show this to change your yuán back into any foreign currency. Changing Chinese currency outside China is a problem, though it’s quite easily done in Hong Kong.
Very few Chinese will accept a ¥50 or ¥100 note without first checking to see if it’s a fake. Many shopkeepers will run notes under an ultraviolet light, looking for signs of counterfeiting. Visually checking for forged notes is hard unless you are very familiar with bills, but be aware that street vendors may try to dump forged notes on you in large-denomination change.
Credit cards are more readily accepted in Shànghǎi than in other parts of China. Most tourist hotels will accept major credit cards (with a 4% processing charge) such as Visa, Amex, MasterCard, Diners and JCB, as will banks, upper-end restaurants and tourist-related shops. Credit hasn’t caught on among most Chinese, and most local credit cards are in fact debit cards. Always carry enough cash for buying train tickets and for emergencies.
Check to see if your credit-card company charges a foreign transaction fee (usually between 1% and 3%) for purchases in China.
Call your card's emergency contact number in case of loss.
- Restaurants Never tip at budget eateries; some (midrange and up) restaurants will levy a service charge, so check your bill first.
- Bars No need to tip in bars or clubs.
- Hotels Porters at midrange and high-end hotels may expect around ¥5 per bag.
- Taxis No need to tip.
As ATMs are so plentiful and easy to use in Shànghǎi, travellers cheques are far less popular than they once were. Stick to the major companies such as Thomas Cook, American Express and Citibank.
Businesses in China close for the week-long Chinese New Year (usually in February) and National Day (beginning 1 October).
Bank of China Branches 9.30am–11.30am and 1.30–4.30pm Monday to Friday. Some also open Saturday and Sunday. Most have 24-hour ATMs.
Bars Around 5pm–2am (some open in the morning).
China Post Most major offices 8.30am–6pm daily; sometimes open until 10pm. Local branches closed weekends.
Museums Most open weekends; a few close Monday. Ticket sales usually stop 30 or 60 minutes before closing.
Offices and Government Departments Generally 9am–noon and 2–4.30pm Monday to Friday.
Restaurants Most 11am–10pm or later; some 10am–2.30pm and 5–11pm or later.
Shops Malls and department stores generally 10am–10pm.
The larger tourist hotels and business towers have convenient post offices from where you can mail letters and small packages. China Post (中国邮政; Zhōngguó Yóuzhèng) offices and post boxes are green.
Useful branches of China Post:
China Post Xīntiāndì Opposite the Site of the 1st National Congress of the CCP.
Letters and parcels take about a week to reach most overseas destinations; Express Mail Service (EMS) cuts this down to three or four days. Courier companies can take as little as two days. Ubiquitous same-day courier companies (快递; kuàidì) can express items within Shànghǎi from around ¥6 within the same district.
Many of the following are nominal holidays and do not qualify for a day off work.
New Year’s Day (Yuándàn) 1 January.
Spring Festival (Chūn Jié) 28 January 2017, 16 February 2018, 5 February 2019. Also known as Chinese New Year. Officially three days, but generally a week-long break.
Tomb Sweeping Day (Qīngmíng Jié) Held on 4 or 5 April in any given year.
International Labour Day (Láodòng Jié) 1 May. Three-day holiday.
Dragon Boat Festival (Duānwǔ Jié) 30 May 2017, 18 June 2018, 7 June 2019.
Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhōngqiū Jié) 4 October 2017, 24 September 2018, 13 September 2019.
National Day (Guóqìng Jié) 1 October. Officially three days, but often morphs into a week-long vacation.
- Smoking From 2010, antismoking legislation in Shànghǎi required a number of public venues (including hospitals, schools, bars and restaurants) to have designated nonsmoking areas and to install signs prohibiting smoking. However, you'll often find this rule flouted in bars and some restaurants.
Taxes & Refunds
All four- and five-star hotels and some top-end restaurants add a service charge of 10% or 15%, which extends to the room and food; all other consumer taxes are included in the price tag.
VAT refunds can be claimed at the airport when leaving Shànghǎi, for single purchases over ¥500 in a tax-free store.
Long-distance phone calls can be placed from hotel-room phones, though this is expensive without an internet phonecard. You may need a dial-out number for a direct line. Local calls should be free.
Note the following country and city codes:
|People’s Republic of China||00 86|
If calling Shànghǎi or Běijīng from abroad, drop the first zero.
The following numbers are useful:
|Enquiry about international calls||106|
|Local directory enquiries||114|
Using a mobile phone is naturally most convenient. If you have the right phone and are in a wi-fi zone, Skype (www.skype.com) and Viber (www.viber.com) can make calls either very cheap or free. You won't get far communicating with anyone in China unless you have the WeChat app (also known as Weixin in China).
You can certainly take your mobile phone to China, but ensure it is unlocked, so you can use another network’s SIM card in your phone. Purchasing a SIM card in Shànghǎi is straightforward: pick one up from a branch of China Mobile (中国移动; Zhōngguó Yídòng); branches are widespread.
Mobile-phone shops (手机店; shǒujīdiàn) can sell you a SIM card, which will cost from ¥60 to ¥100 and will include ¥50 of credit. SIM cards are also available from newspaper kiosks (报刊亭; bàokāntíng). When credit runs out, you can top up the number by buying a credit-charging card (充值卡; chōngzhí kǎ) for ¥50 or ¥100 worth of credits. The main networks are China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, with branches throughout the city.
The Chinese avoid the number four (sì; which sounds like but has a different tone from the word for death – sǐ) and love the number eight (bā). Consequently, the cheapest numbers tend to contain numerous fours and the priciest have strings of eights.
Buying a mobile phone in Shànghǎi is also an option as they are generally inexpensive. Cafes, restaurants and bars in larger towns and cities usually have wi-fi.
The internet phonecard (IP card; IP卡) connects via the internet and is much cheaper than dialling direct. You can use any home phone, some hotel and some public phones (but not card phones), or a mobile phone to dial a special telephone number and follow the instructions (there is usually an English option).
Phonecards can be bought at newspaper kiosks, but are far less available than they used to be. Cards come in denominations of ¥50, ¥100, ¥200 and ¥500 – but they are always discounted, with a ¥100 card costing in the region of ¥35 to ¥40. Check that you are buying the right card. Some are for use in Shànghǎi only, while others can be used around the country. Check that the country you wish to call can be called on the card.
Generally, a safe bet is the CNC 10-country card (国际十国卡; guójì shíguókǎ), which can be used for calls to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Macau, Taiwan, England, France, Germany and some East Asian countries. Check the expiry date. If travelling around China, check it can be used outside the city or province you buy it in.
Time throughout China is set to Běijīng local time, which is eight hours ahead of GMT/UTC. There is no daylight-saving time.
Shànghǎi has plenty of public toilets. Often charging a small fee, they run from the sordid to coin-operated portaloos and modern conveniences. The best bet is to head for a top-end hotel, where someone will hand you a towel, pour you some aftershave or exotic hand lotion and wish you a nice day.
- Fast-food restaurants can be lifesavers.
- Always carry an emergency stash of toilet paper, as many toilets are devoid of it.
- Growing numbers of metro stations have coin-operated toilets.
- Toilets in hotels are generally sitters, but expect to find squatters in many public toilets.
- Remember the Chinese characters for men (男) and women (女).
Shànghǎi has about a dozen or so rather useless Tourist Information & Service Centres (旅游咨询服务中心; Lǚyóu Zīxún Fúwù Zhōngxīn) where you can at least get free maps and (sometimes) information. Locations include:
Shanghai Information Centre for International Visitors One of the most useful in the French Concession.
For competent English-language help, call the Shànghǎi Call Centre, a free 24-hour English-language hotline that can respond to cultural, entertainment or transport enquiries (and even provide directions for your cab driver).
Other branches of tourist information offices:
The Bund Beneath the Bund promenade, opposite the intersection with East Nanjing Rd.
Old Town Southwest of Yùyuán Gardens.
The Tourist Hotline offers a limited English-language service.
The following agencies can help with travel bookings.
CTrip (http://english.ctrip.com) Excellent online agency, good for hotel and flight bookings.
eLong (www.elong.net) Hotel and flight bookings.
Travel with Children
Shànghǎi may not top most kids’ holiday wish lists, but that may change with the new Shànghǎi Disney Resort park in Pǔdōng now adding a must-see attraction to the city. There are also several other Shànghǎi sights to keep the family entertained.
Need to Know
Admission In general, 1.4m (4ft 7in) is the cut-off height for children’s tickets. Children under 0.8m (2ft 7in) normally get in for free.
Schedule Holidays and weekends naturally see traffic peak, but in China ‘crowded’ takes on a new meaning. Try to schedule visits for weekdays if possible.
Info For more information on events and activities, see That’s Shanghai (http://online.thatsmags.com/city/shanghai) or City Weekend (www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai).
You might want to save this trip for your first or last day in Shànghǎi, heading from or to Pǔdōng International Airport, but a trip on the hovering Maglev train is thrilling (for all ages).
- Shànghǎi Natural History Museum
Kids will love this new-look museum with its dinosaur fossils, taxidermied animals, live reptiles and butterfly house.
- Shànghǎi History Museum
Waxworks and interactive exhibits make this museum a fun day out for everyone.
- Shànghǎi Science & Technology Museum
There are loads of things for kids to explore at this museum, from volcano and space exhibits to sports activities and robots that can solve Rubik’s cubes before your eyes. It also has IMAX and 4D theatres.
Amusement & Water Parks
- Shànghǎi Disneyland
Set to suck in Chinese tots and young kids nationwide, this is mainland China's first Disney Resort. Expect epic queues.
- Legoland Discovery Centre
Until the actual Legoland hits the city (plans are in the works), this discovery centre will keep little Lego fans satisfied. Learn Lego building skills and check out mini Shànghǎi Land made from millions of Lego pieces.
- Happy Valley
An amusement park with scores of roller coasters, dive machines and other heart-thumping rides, plus mellower attractions for younger kids and a water park.
- Dino Beach
This water park boasts Asia’s largest wave pool and is a fun-filled way to beat the summer heat.
Weights & Measures
- Weights & Measures China officially subscribes to the international metric system, but you will encounter the ancient Chinese weights and measures system in markets. The system features the liǎng (tael, 50g) and the jīn (catty, 0.5kg). There are 10 liǎng to the jīn.
It’s not too difficult to find work in Shànghǎi, though technically you will need a work visa. Being able to speak Chinese is increasingly an important string to your bow. Examine the classified pages of the expat magazines and websites for job opportunities. Modelling and acting can be quite lucrative – especially if you find a decent agent – and teaching English is perennially popular. Bear in mind that most big companies tend to recruit from home, offering comfortable expat packages.
Local law is ambiguous in its attitude to LGBT people; generally the authorities take a dim view of same-sex couples but there’s an increasingly confident scene, as indicated by gay bars and the annual event-stuffed Shanghai Pride (www.shpride.com). Shànghǎi heterosexuals are not, by and large, particularly homophobic, especially the under-40s. Young Chinese men sometimes hold hands; this carries no sexual overtones.
For up-to-date information on the latest gay and lesbian hot spots in Shànghǎi and elsewhere throughout China, try Utopia (www.utopia-asia.com/chinshan.htm). For further tips, check out Travel Gay Asia (www.travelgayasia.com).