If you want to discover more about the People's Republic of China, its history, and what modern life is like, Shanghai is av great place to go.
Of course, you’ll need to know where to stay. You should know that there’s accommodation for all budgets in Shanghai. With so much competition, even luxury hotels are available are a good price.
In this article, Superprof is looking at the different types of accommodation available in Shanghai, the best places to stay in the city, accommodation for different budgets, and how to get the most out of your money when you’re there.
Choosing Where to Stay in Shanghai
Like any trip abroad, you have to prepare and plan your trip to China. Learn more about where you’ll be going, what you’ll be doing, and the routes to take through the streets so you don’t end up in the wrong city!
You should learn a bit about the different districts in Shanghai so that you know where you can stay. Each district is different and includes temples, shopping centres, skyscrapers, and typical Chinese buildings. Here are some of the most popular districts in Shanghai:
There’s accommodation all over the city but some districts are more interesting than others. Take Jing’an, for example, which includes the Jing’an Temple. Its location relative to the metro network makes it one of the best places to stay in Shanghai.
Then there’s Xuhui, the Former French Concession (FFC), then Luwan and Huangpu. These districts make up Puxi, the historic centre of Shanghai, across from Pudong to the east. Other interesting places include East Nanjing Road and People’s Square.
Beware that the prices in the FFC, Xujiahui (in Xuhui) can be expensive with all its luxury hotels for western tourists. It doesn’t matter too much how much you spend on a hotel if you’re staying for a week or two because the cost of living is quite cheap.
Chinese Language Immersion on a Budget
Not everyone visiting the world’s biggest cities is a lottery winner staying in a 5-star hotel. Don’t worry, though. There are plenty of great options for all budgets.
Shanghai is home to many youth hostels and a lot of them are affiliated with Hostelling International. This is a good way to find accommodation for cheap when you’re in China.
The important thing about Shanghai isn’t the hotel you’re staying in but where you’re staying.
You can pay between £50 and £200 for a week in Shanghai. In comparison to hotels, they can be really cheap.
You can get a Hostelling International membership which entitles you to discounts for each night. There are plenty of youth hostels in Shanghai, especially in Jing’an and Huangpu.
Airbnbs: Typical Accommodation
Airbnbs are a great way to stay in Shanghai on a budget. You can rent a room or a flat in a house as you lived in Shanghai. They tend to cost more than youth hostels, with the rates being between £30 and £150 a night. If you want to spend a week in an Airbnb in Shanghai, you’ll need at least £400.
Make sure you book well in advance because these types of accommodation are very popular with tourists and go quickly.
Typical Hotels in Shanghai
If you have the budget for it and enjoy the services and comfort, you can always get a hotel in Shanghai. You can find them in every district with many available at reasonable prices.
You can get a room for one person for between £50 and £150 a night if you’re staying in 1- to 3-star hotels. For 4- and 5-star hotels, the rates can go up to £500 a night! For this price, you’ll get breakfast included and many other services and amenities such as a gym, Chinese garden, or a spa.
The best hotels go for between £100 and £300 per night. Whether you’re in the old town or near the television tower, you’ll easily be able to find something. If you’re staying for a small amount of time or have an early flight, you might want to stay near the airport.
Here’s some advice on choosing your hotel in Shanghai. Firstly, keep a business card from the hotel on you at all times as English isn’t widely spoken in China and it’ll help with taxi drivers.
You can also save money by staying in Chinese hotel chains. If you have the money for 4- or 5-star hotels, keep an eye out for service fees, which can increase the cost by up to 15%.
Additionally, autumn is the best time to visit Shanghai as the rates are better and the weather is more agreeable.
Find out more about when to visit Shanghai.
Unusual Accommodation in Shanghai
If you want to spice up your trip a bit, there are some interesting places you can stay. Additionally, there are places for all budgets.
There are also capsule hotels where you can stay with the comfort of TV and WiFi. Of course, you will have communal toilets and bathrooms but at £10 a night, you can’t really complain.
There are also love hotels, with rooms for couples spending a night or even an afternoon together. There’s a romantic setting, jacuzzi, and circular beds.
If you can afford it, the Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental is a 5-star hotel built on an abandoned mine. With underground and underwater rooms, you’ll have an unforgettable time.
With the Bund, the Shanghai World Financial Center, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Shanghai Museum, the Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, Yangtze River cruises, there's plenty to do in Shanghai so make sure you don't blow your entire budget on your accommodation!
Find out more about budgeting for a trip to Shanghai.
If you’re planning on visiting other cities in China such as Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, or regions such as Sichuan, Guangzhou, or Yunnan, there are sites where you can find good rates and book multiple hotels together.
Now you should have a better idea of the accommodation available in Shanghai and how much it costs. Make sure you book ahead in order to get the best rates and avoid nasty surprises. You can also check out Superprof’s other articles on visiting Shanghai or get a Chinese tutor to help you improve your language skills before you go!
If you'd like to learn some Chinese before you go to Shanghai, you could consider enlisting the help of one of the many talented tutors on Superprof! The tutors on the site offer three types of private tutorials to help you learn the lingo: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
Face-to-face tutorials are taught with one student and one tutor and tend to be the most costly per hour because you're paying for both bespoke lessons and a bespoke course. While they are the most costly per hour, they're usually the most cost-effective type of tutorial since every minute in the lesson is spent focusing on you as the student. Additionally, the tutor will also be spending time outside of the lessons finding resources and planning the time they'll spend with you.
Online tutorials are similar to the face-to-face tutorials but take place either on a call or over webcam. Thanks to the internet, you can now video conference tutors from all over the world and be taught for less per hour since the tutor won't have the travel costs to worry about and can fit more students into their schedule as a result. Of course, online tutorials can lack intimacy and while not ideal for hands-on subjects, they're great for language lessons. Your tutor might even be from China!
Take the best Mandarin lessons London here.
Finally, group tutorials are more like the classes you'll have had in school with one teacher and multiple students. However, with group tutorials, you and a group of friends (perhaps the people you'll be travelling with) can get in touch with a private tutor to plan lessons that you'll all attend together. While these tend to be the cheapest per student per hour since the cost of the tutor's time is shared, you'll also get far less one-on-one time with your tutor.
Each different type of tutorial has its pros and cons and it's really up to you and your budget to decide how much you'll need to learn, how you want to learn, and what your budget is going to be for Chinese language lessons before you go.
So when are you going to go and visit Shanghai?