Cheap and Easy Way to Explore Shanghai – Alone



I was on my trip back to Alaska from Kuala Lumpur and my plane route had 14 hours transit in Shanghai. It was my attention to have that long transit so that I can cross Shanghai off from my list and move on. I brought CNY 850 with me (and still have balance of CNY 400 at the end of the day), try my best to cover this metropolitan on foot. Then I realized I haven’t jog for almost 5 months so.. I definitely out of stamina shit for this. Oh well.

Is Shanghai safe?

I can’t guarantee 100% that Shanghai is safe. But from my little experience, Shanghai is safe enough for me. I am an ultimate worrier freak according to my husband. Worrier. Not warrior. But thank God during the whole short visit in Shanghai alone, I don’t feel afraid or worry at all. I don’t feel people following or staring at me. I don’t feel any male try to take advantage on me, a female tourist, alone complete with map & camera on the train jam packed with people unlike in Kuala Lumpur where males always trying to stay close to your butt so that they can feel it. Or those horny staring eyes when you wear tight & short skirt. Euw. Not in Shanghai. Shanghai also is way too modern compared to Beijing so you won’t encounter with the one kind of local salesmen on the street try to sell you something. If there is, just ignore them.


I only spent CNY 450 / RM270 for my whole 14 hours stay in Shanghai. And I really splurge on my transportation like, I took VIP Seat for my Maglev Ride and drink smoothie, cakes and nice lunch. So, from this I can guess that if you extend your stay for 3 to 4 days in Shanghai, you will not spend more than CNY 1000 / RM600 (excluding hotel stay) and that’s including meals.

What Do You Need.

1) Maglev Train Ticket (return journey)

I choose Maglev because it is so fast. It took 8-10 minutes from airport to Longyang Road Metro Station in the city. Since I was alone and worry that something odd happen on my way back to airport which can lead to miss flight, so opted Maglev.


You can get Maglev Ticket at the airport. You don’t need to worry because there is clear sign pointing the way to Maglev counter. The counter is across the airport but you dont need to leave the airport to buy it.


Maglev Train only has 1 stop, which is Longyang Road Metro Station. Longyang Road Metro Station is like KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur – complete with shopping mall and restaurant. Longyang Road station also can be considered as a gateway to Shanghai downtown and around as a whole because you can start to ride metro train on different line (according to your desired destination).

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Price: VIP 160 cny / Economy 80 cny (Return Ticket/ valid for 7 days)

2) Shanghai Metro Pass

Shanghai Metro train has 16 lines which is indicated with 16 different colors. You can see the color according to the line on the train’s door as well. But if you are a color blind, then you have to read the sign direction (which is everywhere)

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I strongly suggest you to get One day pass so that you can hop on and off train as many times you like within 24 hours. It saves you from annoying small change and more practical. You can buy this pass at every big Metro Station but since your first Metro Station in Shanghai is Longyang Road Station, you should get it there then.

News Flash: Most of Shanghai Metro Station located at touristy spot. You won’t get lost. If you are on BUDGET, you can use Metro Train to go back to Pudong airport instead of Maglev. But you will have to endure its many stops and the chance for you to get a seat is almost zero. And the journey to the airport takes more than 1 hour.

Price: 18 cny (24 hour/ 1 day pass) / 45 cny (3 days pass)

3) City Sightseeing Hop on/ Hop off Bus.

The bus looks like red double decker tourist bus in London. It has 2 option (price) and both valid for 48 hours. You can get this pass at The Bund Tourism Service Center & Oriental Pearl TV Tower Service Center. Don’t worry. Once you get your Metro Train Pass at Longyang Road, your first stop station would be Lujiazui – to see Oriental Pearl TV Tower and other skycrapers. You can get the hop on/off bus ticket there.

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Why I think you need this double decker sightseeing tour bus pass is because it is good when its rain, so you can hop on the bus and continue your sightseeing with no fuss. Also, you can rest your tired feet and take a break in that air conditioned bus. Shanghai is very hot and humid. Plus, this bus route is more closer to places of interest compared to train station. So you can always hop off to check out the places of interest and wait for the next bus to continue with your next stop.

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Price: 30 cny (Red & Green Line) 50 cny (Red, Green, Yellow, Purple Line & Huangpu Ferry River Crossing) – both valid for 48 hours.

4) Good Map

Map route Metro Train is A MUST. Don’t worry, you will get it at Metro Station counter when you buy One or Three Day pass. No need to race and fight with other tourist at the airport for the city map in ENGLISH version like you used to. That Metro Train Map is more than enough for you to use as a reference to explore Shanghai. It has comprehensive direction and list of places of interest according to your, well, interest. Historical, Skycrapers, Museum, Shopping Mall, Sub urban, Old City, Parks and ALL. The information & direction in that map is clear and easy to understand even for first time visit.

5) Good comfy shoes.

I suggest sport/ training shoes. Unless you have the intention to have fashion battle with Shanghai girls (not that they have great style like Korean girls) then, go ahead. Hope your ankle is train/ bus hop on and off proof.

Halal Restaurant.

Plenty of it. Just google and store it in your location/ map apps (the one can operate offline). To find Halal restaurants in Shanghai is very easy. Mosque too. Since my blog is not an Islamic Hub nor food blog, so I won’t elaborate/ do the listing for it. I hope you put a little effort to find the information about Halal restaurant in Shanghai downtown.

Where to stay.

Since my visit was a transit, I didn’t book accommodation. I am not quite sure about the cost but I did a brief check. Sheraton 5 star hotel by the Huangpu River can cost like RM500 per night but if you are sharing with 2 to 3 person, it will become very cheap. That’s the price for 5 star hotel. It will be more cheaper for 3 star hotel I guess. I prefer to stay outside The Bund area or for shopping addict, you can choose somewhere nearby Nanjing Road area.


Wifi/ Phone Card.

It is impossible for you to get free wifi in Shanghai. But you can find phone card booth at the airport that offers temporary sim card with internet data started at CNY 300. You can get 1.5GB + 100 cny worth of phone calls.

wifi in shanghai

I didn’t buy the sim card since my visit is only like 10 hours. But if they sell it cheaper like CNY 100, I might buy it. So that I can inform my Mike about my status and location.

So, this is my simple guideline how to ‘Shanghai’ Easy and Cheap. I think if you get all items according to my list plus courage, Shanghai would be like your playground. Whoever has tried my way of exploring Shanghai or about to try, please let me know so that know this is feasible to everybody or maybe this only works for me.

Actually, I did contacted my fellow travel agent in China and asked her to quote me the service for 10 hours car with driver, minus meals. She quoted me USD 350. Looking at the price, immediately gave me courage to visit Shanghai like the rest of true fellow traveler.

Well, hope this will help and good luck.

Next post: Pictures and story of places that I manage to visit in Shanghai.


Shanghai, China



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