Shanghai Travel Advice, Information and Directory

Health Care Accessing Money
Book Shops Visa Extensions
Internet Access Postal Services
Phone Services Tourist Information Centers
Airline Tickets Online Resources

Health, Doctors and Pharmacies in Shanghai

There are plenty of pharmacies around Shanghai and there shouldn’t be any trouble finding one (although communication at pharmacies can be difficult).

There are a range of medical centers in Shanghai that boast English-speaking doctors. If you need medical attention some of the options include the Parkway Health clinics which have expatriate doctors, the Shanghai East International Medical Center or the Shanghai Family United Clinic.

Parkway Health
They have several clinics in Shanghai. The most central one is in Tomorrow Square (JW Marriott Hotel). See their website for other locations.

Address: 389 Nanjing Xi Lu, Tomorrow Square, Level 4
Tel: +86 (021) 6375 5588. (24 hour ‘healthline’: 6445 5999.
Open: 24 hours
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去南京西路389号明天广场4楼, 谢谢。

Shanghai East International Medical Center
Address: 551 Pudong Nan Lu
Tel: +86 (021) 5879 9999.
Open: 24 hours for urgent care; Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm.
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去浦东南路551号, 谢谢。

Shanghai United Family Hospital and Clinic
Address: 1139 Xian Xia Lu, Changning District
Tel: +86 (021) 5133 1900 (5133 1999 for emergencies)
Open: 24 hours for emergencies; Mon-Sat 8:30-17:30 for general care.
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去长宁区仙霞路1139号, 谢谢。

Accessing Money in Shanghai

ATMs that accept foreign cards are plentiful in Shanghai and ATMs almost always have a choice between English or Chinese operating language. Occasionally you will encounter an ATM that doesn’t accept foreign cards, but you can always rely on Bank of China or ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) ATMs which are plentiful enough. Just look for the logo of your particular card (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, etc) on the ATM.

The Bank of China can always exchange money. There are numerous branches in central Shanghai.

Western Union Services are offered at many China Post outlets, including the one listed under Post Offices and Courier Services (below).

Book Shops in Shanghai

Shanghai Foreign Languages BookstoreThe Foreign Languages Bookstore on Fuzhou Lu has an extensive but run-of-the-mill selection of English reading material. Charterhouse Booktrader on Huaihai Zhong Lu has a broader range of English-language titles.

Shanghai Foreign Languages Bookstore
As usual, this shop is mainly set up for Chinese wanting to learn English. However, it does have an extensive range of classics, some travel guides and plenty of maps of Shanghai and elsewhere in China, including the excellent Insight Guides maps.
Address: 390 Fuzhou Lu. Subway: Nanjing Dong Lu. Tel: +86 (021) 6322 3200. Open: 9-18.

Chaterhouse Booktrader
This bookshop has an excellent range of English-language fiction as well as lifestyle and travel books and an extensive magazine selection.
Address: 93 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai Times Square, B1-K. Subway: Huangpi Nan Lu. Tel: +86 (021) 6391 8237. Open: 10-22. Website:

Visa Extensions in Shanghai

The Public Security Bureau that handles visa extensions in Shanghai is at #1500 Mingsheng Lu in Pudong (Subway: Science and Technology Museum). Tel: +86 (021) 6854 1199. Open: Mon-Fri 9:00-11:30; 13:30-16:30.

Internet Access in Shanghai

All hotels and hostels in Shanghai will have some form of internet access. Almost all hotels of 3 star or higher classification have in-room internet access, which can be used if you’re traveling with a laptop. Many hotels provide this service for free while others charge anywhere from $5-$15 per day, depending on the hotel. Hotels will also have a business center with internet access as well as a printer.

Internet cafes are common in Shanghai, however, most have no English signs to identify them. Internet cafe is ‘wangba’ in Chinese and luckily these characters are quite distinctive (网吧). Keep your eye out for those characters when seeking an internet cafe.

There is a conveniently located one at #463 Nanjing Dong Lu, 4th Floor. It’s a bit difficult finding your way up to the 4th floor though. They charge ¥3 per 30 minutes.

Post Offices and Courier Services in Shanghai

The Chinese postal service is generally quite efficient. Postcards or letters sent from Shanghai will usually take around 5 or 6 working China Post, Shanghaidays to reach North America, Europe or Australia. Parcels will take a bit longer. If you need things to be sent urgently then you can use one of the international courier services.

There are plenty of post offices around Shanghai. The main China Post in Shanghai is on the corner of Sichuan Bei Lu and Suzhou Bei Lu, on the north side of Suzhou Creek (Subway: Nanjing Dong Lu; Open 8:30-17). China Post also offers an Express Mail Service which is a cheaper alternative to using international courier companies. In addition to postal services it is also possible to make Western Union transfers at this branch.

A number of international courier companies have offices in Shanghai. With a courier service, a letter will take about three or four days to reach North America, Europe or Australasia and cost around $50 to send. Packages will cost more, depending on their weight.

Address: 288 Jiujiang Lu, Hongyi Plaza, 30th Floor
Tel: +86 (021) 6136 6868

Address: 710 Dongfang Lu, Tomson Commercial Building, 18th Floor
Tel: +86 (021) 5058 1111

Address: 2299 Yan’An Xi Lu, Shanghai Mart, 2C38
Tel: 800-820-8388

Address: 28 Shilong Lu, Lane 411 (several other locations – see website for details)
Tel: +86 (021) 5411 8333

Phone Calls to and From Shanghai

The international phone code of China is “86” and the area code of Shanghai is “021”.

If you call to Shanghai from abroad, you should dial the international access number (usually 00 or “+”), then the code for China “86”, then the code for Shanghai without the ‘0’ (21), and then the 8-digit city number.

If you call to Shanghai from inside China, then dial the full Shanghai code (021), and then the 8-digit city number.

If you dial a Shanghai number inside Shanghai, just dial the 8-digit number, without any prefixes. Note that if you call a Shanghai landline from a mobile phone while in Shanghai, you should include the ‘021’ prefix.

For international calls, IP (Internet Phone) international calling cards can be bought at most small shops, newsstands and hotels in Shanghai. Just look for a sign saying “IP”. A card with ¥100 credit actually sells for about ¥35 (some vendors will try to charge you ¥40). Rates vary depending on what country you’re calling, but a card with ¥100 credit will generally buy you about 20-25 minutes talking time when calling to the US, Europe or Australia.

If you plan to stay in Shanghai for a longer period it is reasonably cheap to buy a SIM card with one of the local operators: China Mobile or China Unicom. A SIM card usually costs around ¥100-120 and generally includes ¥50 credit. You also pay more depending on how ‘lucky’ your phone number is. Average call charges are ¥0.6 per minute and ¥0.15 per SMS. Once you move outside the city where you bought the card you have to pay slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ charges.

If you already have a Chinese SIM card with one of these networks then it will also work in Shanghai, though you will be charged slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ tariffs.

Tourist Information Centers in Shanghai

There are a few Tourist Information Center outlets around Shanghai, including one on Nanjing Xi Lu, opposite Jingan Temple and right outside the subway of the same name. But the centers are pretty much useless and the staff aren’t particularly helpful. You might be able to pick up a few brochures that interest you.

Buying Airline Tickets in Shanghai

Airline tickets can be bought at the CAAC office on Nanjing Xi Lu beside Jing’an Temple (Subway: Jing’an Temple) or at any hotel or travel agency.

Shanghai Online Resources

Smart Shanghai: This is the website to go to for restaurant and nightlife listings. There are several similar websites designed for foreigners in Shanghai but this one is by far the best.

Shanghai Daily: Shanghai’s English language newspaper naturally suffers from censorship constraints, but what can you do? It’s not like they have any competition.

Shanghai Government: The official website of the Shanghai Municipal Government features Shanghai news and many contacts that could be useful both for business travelers and tourists.