What You Need to Know Before Going to SHANGHAI

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Here are some helpful tips you need to know before going to Shanghai.

1. You need to have a China Visa
A China Visa is required when visiting Shanghai. My family & I got ours at my trusted travel agency- http://jerontravel.com/. No need for appearances but they require quite a few documents so be sure to start processing it a month or so in advance.

2. Don't rely on travel agencies to fix your itinerary
It was a big disappointment on us when we availed a travel promo on a famous discounted shopping website. It was awfully cheap (P2,999 for 4D/3N) but not sulit! The accommodation given to us was very far from the city and we went to places that forced us to buy items that we don't need. Especially when we went to Tong Ren Tang. Beware of Tong Ren Tang! They convinced my parents that my dad has a heart failure and he needs to take their medicines to be able to get well. They hypnotized my parents in doing so. Later on they realized they were scammed, so be extra careful on trusting travel agencies!

Tong Ren Tang- after taking this picture they forbid me of taking another picture

3. No tweeting or updating of status in Shanghai
More than 2000 websites are blocked in China under the country's policy of internet censorship. Some of the most popular blocked websites are Google, Yahoo, Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and even Blogspot! So don't expect that you can tweet or update your status on Facebook when you're in Shanghai. 

4. Be ready to encounter a squat toilet in Shanghai
I was shocked when I saw some of the establishment in Shanghai have squatty potties so more likely than not, you'll venture into one. So be ready to... 
          Pack lots of tissue when leaving your hotel (most of the restrooms don't provide it) 
          Avoid using the toilet in large market, public bathrooms & tourist spots 
          Squat- if you're not used to it (like me!) squatting can be difficult, but it's really not         
          that bad except if you're like my mom who had a difficult time bending her legs to pee

squatty potties in a Chinese restaurant

5. Be observant in using the subway
Subways in Shanghai are a cheap way of commuting. They are like any other subways in Asia so I'm sure that if you've been to Hong Kong or Singapore, you are most likely to survive the Shanghai Subway. There are touch screened ticket machines in every station, if you see the screen in Chinese text, just press the 'English' button at the bottom part of the screen & voila! You will now see a map showing the different lines & stations. Touch the screen & follow the instructions to buy your ticket. 

my nephew, Gael getting his subway ticket

The machine will now issue you a ticket, a thin credit-card looking piece of plastic.

my single journey ticket

Locate the map or route above the door to figure out which train you need to board.

we are at Yuyuan Garden

When inside the train, you have to be observant that you are going to the right direction. Listen to the announcement to avoid getting lost.

inside the subway
The exit gate has a card slot in which you will insert your ticket to be able to get out of the turnstile. By the way don't expect the ticket to pop out.

the boys working on the turnstile

5. Learn how to use chopsticks
In most places in China especially in Shanghai, spoons & forks are barely used, so be sure to learn how to use chopsticks when eating in a Chinese restaurant. Some restaurants do offer spoons & forks but it won't hurt you to learn something new, right? :)

Chopsticks users in a Chinese restaurant except for Papa who uses fork
Want to know what 10 things you can do in Shanghai? Click here --> 10 Things To Do in Shanghai

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