When Singaporeans go to Beijing for the first time, they spend their days visiting megamonuments like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. But when they go to Shanghai, they party, eat and shop, safe in the knowledge that everything costs less than it does back home. Here’s how to enjoy a week-long holiday in Shanghai for under $700.
While Air Asia flies to Shanghai, it’s not always the cheapest. Malaysia Airline tends to offer some of the best deals to China these days, and China’s own China Southern Airlines offers fairly low fares as well.
Right now, you can find tickets in the 300++ SGD to 400++ SGD range for later this year. Prices vary according to when you book, so start doing your research early on Kayak and avoid school holidays and public holidays like the plague.
Cost: 400 SGD
While Shanghai is one of the most expensive cities in China, it’s still a very affordable destination for Singaporeans. Agoda has very good deals on cheap hotels, and several business hotels at a usual price of around 100 SGD per night are currently going for under 20 SGD per night, which works out to 10 SGD per person if you share with a friend.
There’s also Airbnb, which if you can speak Mandarin is an interesting way to get a peek into local homes. This private room for two is going for 50 SGD a night, while this lovely Japanese-style tatami room with a garden view is going for 57 SGD a night and accommodates up to three people. Here’s another room for two at 48 SGD a night, and here’s yet another for only 31 SGD a night.
Cost: 25 SGD per night / 150 SGD for a week
If you’re going to take the Shanghai Metro, avoid peak hour at all costs unless you want to see what anarchy looks like.
But at least it’s cheap. Get a Shanghai Public Transportation Card, their answer to the EZLink card, and you’ll receive a 10% discount on your rides.
Rides in the downtown area usually do not exceed 6 RMB (1.23 SGD), and you will never be charged more than 9 RMB (1.84 SGD) per ride. Short rides of less than 10km generally cost between 2 RMB (0.41 SGD) to 4 RMB (0.82 SGD).
If you’re going to be using the Metro a lot, you might want to consider a day pass, which costs 18 RMB (3.86 SGD). A 3-day pass costs 45 RMB (9.21 SGD).
To get to the city centre from Pudong International Airport, you have several options. The cheapest is to take Metro Line 2 towards People’s Square. Unfortunately, the Metro from the airport only runs from 6:31 am to 9pm. If you miss it, the other cheap option is to take one of the many buses to the area in which your accommodation is situated, and then link up with the Metro. The bus ride should cost 15 RMB (3.07 SGD) to 30 RMB (6.14 SGD), depending on the area.
You can also take the Maglev train for 40 RMB (8.18 SGD)–show your air ticket to pay this price—or 80 RMB (16.36 SGD) for a round-trip ticket. This is by far the fastest method.
Cost: 108 RMB (22 SGD) for a week
While Shanghai has one of the world’s most iconic skylines, it’s not really that heavy on sights. Other than strolling down the Bund, you’re pretty much free to do whatever you like, whether you’re stuffing your face with xiao long bao or shopping till you drop. Here’s a rundown of some of the more important sights and how much it’ll cost to visit.
- The Bund – Free
- Oriental Pearl Tower – 160 RMB (32.73 SGD) to visit the upper sphere, lower sphere and the Municipal History Museum
- Xintiandi – Free (shopping not included)
- People’s Square – Free
- Old French Concession – Free
- Shanghai Museum – Free
- Longhua Temple – 10 RMB (2.05 SGD)
- Jade Buddha Temple – 20 RMB (4.09 SGD)
- Yuyuan Gardens – 40 RMB (8.18 SGD) from Apr to Jun and Sep to Nov, 30 RMB (6.14 SGD) from Jul to Aug and Dec to Mar
Cost: 75 RMB (15 SGD) for a week
Now this is where Shanghai really shines. You can get delicious-as-hell food for very little, and if you speak a bit of Mandarin you should have no trouble ordering street food or visiting small non-touristy restaurants. Don’t miss the grilled meats on sticks, seafood and of course the ubiquitous xiao long bao.
If you’re on a budget, stick to local stalls and street food, and you’ll have no problem finding enough to make up a meal for 3 RMB (0.61 SGD) to 10 RMB (2.05 SGD). A meal at an inexpensive restaurant meal should cost around 30 RMB (6.14 SGD), about the same price as a McDonald’s meal there.
Cost: 420 RMB (86 SGD) for a week
Total cost of a week-long trip to Shanghai – 673 SGD
Have you ever been to Shanghai? Share your experiences in the comments!
Image Credit: ryan hurril