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Planning Your Trip

There is perhaps no greater example of China’s incredible economic growth than Shanghai. A unique mix of charming colonial architecture, futuristic skyscrapers and traditional landmarks, plus its status as a global financial hub, make it clear why this is the country’s crown jewel. Read on to find a packing guide for your trip.

Two men in dark suits shake hands at the hotel’s porte cochere while a Mercedes-Benz idles nearby

Business Travel

Shanghai is home to more than 300 Fortune 500 companies. While this creates a hotbed of innovation and attracts expats, it’s still best to err on the side of modesty when dressing for business in conservative China.

 

 

 

 

  • Well-tailored dark suits are the standard for men, paired with demure ties and leather oxfords.
  • Women should opt for blouses and skirts or dresses that fall below the knee. Make sure your heels are also at an appropriate height.
  • Have a good supply of business cards — they’re crucial to forging good relationships.  
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Exploring the City

Not only is Shanghai one of the most populous cities in the world (with a population of 24 million), but it’s also China’s largest. From the flashing lights of Pudong to the tiny storefronts in the French Concession, there is much ground you’ll want to cover. Here are a few essentials to keep in mind.

 

  • The region enjoys all four seasons. In summer fill your suitcase with lightweight and breathable layers, along with a sweater or scarf for chilly evenings and the air-conditioned indoors. Warm coats, sweaters and jeans are good options for winter.
  • Shanghai’s interesting architecture is best observed on foot. Pack comfortable sandals, sneakers or flat boots.
  • It rains for nearly one-third of the year, with most of the precipitation occurring in summer. Bring a light raincoat and umbrella to be prepared.
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Day Trips

Whether you want to experience the tranquility of Hangzhou’s lakes or visit the Buddhist temples of Ningbo, Shanghai makes for a convenient starting point to explore other nearby parts of China. Bring the right essentials for comfort and versatility.

 

 

 

  • Bring swimsuits and flip-flops for a refreshing trip to kid-friendly Dino Beach, a water park with Asia’s largest wave pool.
  • A backpack or light canvas tote will hold the essentials, such as water bottles, sunscreen and reading material for train rides, you need for exploring various towns.
  • There’s nothing worse than losing cellphone power in the middle of the day — pack a portable charger and Chinese plug socket adapter.
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Don't Forget:

The distinctive beauty of Shanghai and the stunning landscapes to be found just a train ride away will truly be a feast for your eyes. Make sure to catch every magnificent detail by bringing along a good camera — it will be worth it.


Known as the “Paris of the East,” Shanghai certainly lives up to its nickname with its high concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants, cutting-edge art and plentiful cultural offerings that emphasize both the city’s rich history and cosmopolitan cool. Below are some suggestions to fill out your itinerary.

Dining Reservations

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International influences coupled with centuries-old local culinary traditions make for a wide-ranging and highly acclaimed food scene. For elevated Cantonese cuisine, book a table at T’ang Court, the only place in town with three Michelin stars. Don’t miss a taste of the popular xiaolong bao (soup dumplings) — Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung is a reliable option, but so is the less touristy Jia Jia Tang Bao. If you’re feeling adventurous, try celebrated chef Paul Pairet’s Ultraviolet. You’ll be picked up from a meeting point and taken to a top-secret, window-less location, where you’ll be served a 20-course multi-sensory feast. For a meal with a view, check out Jin Xuan on the 53rd floor of The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong. After dinner, head up to 58 for a nightcap at Flair, the highest rooftop bar in China.

Spa Appointments

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Find respite from Shanghai’s nonstop excitement at The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong's opulent spa. Relax in the crystal steam room, rock sauna or indoor infinity pool, which, thanks to its location on the 55th floor, has the most breathtaking views of the city. A menu of locally inspired treatments uses ingredients like pearls, green tea and jasmine flowers. Get the ultimate head-to-toe experience with the Oriental Pearl Spa Treatment, which incorporates indigenous pearl powder into a full-body exfoliation, wrap, massage, facial and scalp massage. And cure aching feet with a reflexology massage and you’ll be ready in no time for another day of sightseeing.

Museum Tickets & Cultural Sights

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Shanghai’s quirky blend of the ancient with the hypermodern makes for a fulfilling cultural experience. Take your time exploring various pockets of the city. Admire the waterfront Bund’s impressive cluster of art deco buildings, stroll through the picturesque Yu Garden and hunt for souvenirs at Tianzifang, an arts and crafts enclave laden with charming boutiques in the French Concession. At night, take a river cruise along the Huangpu River, where you’ll marvel at the stark juxtaposition of the historic Bund on one side and the glittering, towering skyscrapers of the financial district on the other, for which Shanghai is most famous.  

Day Trips

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There are a number of options for a quick city escape, made simpler with Shanghai’s high-speed trains. Less than an hour away is Hangzhou, most famous for its West Lake, a freshwater lake dotted with temples, pagodas and gardens. Its tranquility and natural beauty will entrance you and help you understand why this site has inspired artists and poets since the ninth century. For a Venetian-style outing, go to Zhujiajiao, one of eight ancient water towns surrounding Shanghai. Established nearly 2,000 years ago, these villages were built on a vast canal system connected through bridges. Finally, sporty travelers can go hiking through the bamboo forests of Mount Mogan, an erstwhile summer retreat for Shanghai elite.

Once a small fishing village, Shanghai is now one of the most cosmopolitan and chic metropolises in the entire world — and one that can be richly explored from The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong in the quickly emerging financial district of the city. Admire beautifully designed skyscrapers and cultural sites, including active monasteries. Experience the thriving arts scene and unique shopping. And, of course, get your fill of dumplings, skewers, crab and other authentic and flavorful dishes of the region.


Culinary Tour

Full of sweet, sour, and mellow flavors, the food of Shanghai, known as Benbang cuisine, originated during the Ming and Qing dynasties and emphasizes high-quality ingredients and unique spices. Spend your days enjoying meat skewers that are often pickled in wine and endless varieties of wontons and dumplings, including delicious soup dumplings. After, sip craft cocktails at one of the city’s many sophisticated bars.

 

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The Perfect Weekend

While it’s a city of 24 million people, Shanghai can still be experienced in a meaningful way in just a two-day weekend. Visit distinctive, postcard-ready sites, including some of the world’s most impressive feats of architecture and sprawling public gardens full of locals. Dine on regional cuisine and sample some of China’s best tea. And explore a thriving art scene in this cosmopolitan hub with a stay at The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong.

 

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