Good to know – useful information for your trip:
health care in Shanghai, safety, internet & money matters
Safety & scams
Also be aware of touts, especially around Nanjing road: not accepting invitations to tea houses, art collections, massages, shoe polishing etc. will you probably save a lot of money.
Traffic can be quite dangerous, always watch out for open manholes and traffic from any direction, be careful when crossing streets even with green lights, as you cannot necessarily expect others to stop.
Health & health care in Shanghai
Do not drink tap water but go for bottled water instead or if not available for boiled water.
Diarrhoea is quite common, therefore be prepared to have some medicine and tissues with you as not all public toilets will be properly stocked.
Air pollution can be quite severe occasionally (especially in winter), but Shanghai is at least not as severely affected as other cities in China. In case you meet a day with very severe air pollution, getting a mask is recommended.
Since 1st of march 2017, smoking has been prohibited in all public spaces including restaurants and bars. Individuals not abiding may be fined 50 – 200 rmb, fines for businesses are significantly higher.
OTC medicine can be bought at Watsons (a Hong Kong chemist store) or at pharmacies.
Health care in Shanghai:
Western style clinics are high standard, which come pricey though. Some Chinese hospitals have departments for foreigners. Usually it is the same doctors as in the local hospital, but – unlike in the local counterpart – at least you will not have to spend hours waiting and have a certain degree of privacy and will be able to get an itemised bill in English for reimbursement with your insurance company.
Shanghai United Family Hospital / 上海和睦家医院
1139 Xianxia road, Changning district
Tel 400 639 3900, (24h emergency service, tel 2216 3999)
Hospital with western standards, probably the top choice among expats in Shanghai.
Huashan Worldwide Medical Center
12 middle Wulumuqi road building 1, 8th floor
Tel 6248 3986 / 6248 9999
Department for foreigners at the respected Huashan hospital, no treatment of children under 14 years.
Parkway health medical centers
1376 Nanjing Xi Road
Tel 6445 5999
Parkway has several clinics in Shanghai with a team of international doctors as well as English-speaking Chinese doctors.
Internet & VPNs
Many foreign websites are however blocked and therefore not working in China, including but not limited to the following: Google, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Dropbox as well as several news websites. Some apps such as Skype & Facetime work but the connection might be rather slow.
You may have to switch to non-blocked alternatives during your stay (Bing for search engine for instance) or get a VPN before your trip to Shanghai. Using a VPN allows you to access blocked sites as well as protects your privacy when using public wifi. Express VPN is a very popular choice in China, as it has proven to be very reliable in the past, and moreover it is very easy and convenient to install. apps are available for all major pc, tablet and mobile platforms.
– Google maps: Google maps can be used offline showing at least your current location. You will not be able to conduct searches or get directions without a VPN, however.
– Maps.me is a good alternative offline map
– Express vpn: reliable VPN service
– Air matters: app to check current air quality
– Explore shanghai metro map: subway map
– Pleco: best Chinese dictionary app
Money can be exchanged at banks (Bank of China, Industial and Commercial Bank, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, China Merchants Bank as the biggest ones are probably the safest bet) or some hotels. Bring your passport with you and keep the receipt as this is required should you wish to exchange back to foreign currency again later. ATMs at the major Chinese banks or international banks such as HSBC also should work with most international cards.
International credit cards are accepted in most hotels as well as high-end restaurants and shops. Regular restaurants and shops will only accept local cards or cash.