Aside from the cultural experience, doing as the locals do is the cheapest way to experience Shanghai. If you follow our advice, you can find that visiting Shanghai for only 31 euros is not as difficult as you may have thought...
As one of the most expensive and international cities in China, Shanghai is the country's largest economic hub, as well as being one of its main cultural centres. With some of the world’s biggest buildings, Shanghai produces an atmosphere of vitality and modernity that rivals New York and London, but this comes with considerably high prices. However, the only way to truly experience and understand China's culture is to seek out the local food and culture... which luckily for you is more than affordable!
Aside from the cultural experience, doing as the locals do is the cheapest way to experience Shanghai. If you follow our advice, you can find that visiting Shanghai for only 31 euros is not as difficult as you may have thought... with only 31 euros in a day you can experience lots of local things!
- In the morning
Every Chinese area has a typical traditional breakfast. The Shanghainese generally tend to have savoury food for breakfast, and a common Shanghai staple is the almost 10 RMB* egg pancake (if you want to add more ingredients, such as meat, sausage, or vegetables, the price will be higher, but no more than 30 RMB). Even though these egg pancake stores are pretty small and busy, it's worth the wait: just taste it and you’ll be shocked by the mix of flavours of the succulent meat combined with fresh vegetables. Make sure to eat it whilst it’s hot though because they taste bland when cold. If you want to drink something, take away a cup of soy milk... it may not be your typical Western breakfast, but it's a must for most Chinese people, so you have no choice.
Credits: @零叄饱饱 (Lingsanbaobao)
After the delicious breakfast, let’s go to Jing’an Temple, which is one of the most famous temples in Shanghai. It is located on West Nanjing Road, which is a very hasty, busy area of the city. In 1983 it was registered as a national protection site and has a history of more than 780 years. When you are in the middle of it, you will not only experience another culture but enter another world... wonderful paintings and well-known masterpieces will help you escape from the crowded, and at times stressful, modern city.
Address: 1686 West Nanjing Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai
Admission Fee: 30RMB
Opening Hours: 7:30am-5:00pm
- In the afternoon
We know you have snapped just enough photos that you could post on Instagram for the next week. So…it’s time for lunch!! Let’s eat the typical Shanghainese lunch — Xiao Yang Shengjian. It is one of the best local restaurants in Shanghai, and today you can find it on almost every street corner in Shanghai. You can taste lots of different local snacks here, but they specialize in Shengjian, a fried dumpling with minced pork and broth filling. If you don’t want to end up with a burnt mouth and laughter from the locals around you, do not eat it too quickly, and be careful not to let the delicious broth splash out!
Let us tell you a secret ;) Xiao Yang Shengjian, located on Ningbo Road, may be the best branch to visit!
Address: 178 Ningbo Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China
Price: around 30 RMB
Credits: @xiaoyangshengjian (official account in Weibo)
After lunch let’s take a metro to Yu Garden, a beautiful Chinese garden with almost 400 years of history. You can see the exquisite layout... focus on the architectural details and the unique sculptures and carvings. The beautiful antique scenery and the classic Chinese garden are open to the public, but you can spend some money on the souvenirs in Yuyuan Bazaar.
Oh and by the way, the best time to visit Yu Garden is in spring when the garden is dotted with green trees and blossoming flowers. Try to visit it on a weekday as it will be less crowded than the weekend. But if you don’t mind crowds you can visit the garden during the Chinese New Year... when it'll be decorated with the festival atmosphere!
- In the evening
When the time is around 5-6 pm, you’ve almost finished the visit to Yu Garden. It’s now time to take a stroll along the Bund to appreciate the historical buildings and the enchanting night scenes of Shanghai.
For a century, the Bund has been one of the most recognizable symbols and the pride of Shanghai. The architecture along the Bund has been described as a living museum of the colonial history of the 1800s. If you don't see the Bund when you go to Shanghai, you might as well have never been!
If you're budget is doing well, then we recommended a night cruise... you will be impressed by the amazing view of the city. But if you want to save some money, you can take a ferry across to Pudong. Obviously, it costs less, but it still provides an opportunity to see the scenery from both sides of the river.
After this whole day, we think you must be exhausted. Let’s go back to The Phoenix Shanghai to take a rest, which is one of the most popular hostels in Shanghai, located in Yunan Nan Road... Shanghai’s premier food street! With no Western restaurants on it, this area promises to be a truly local, authentic experience, providing you with a multitude of Chinese pick-and-choose dining options. We recommend Laoshan dumpling restaurant which is next to The Phoenix Shanghai. It provides typical northern cuisine, of course, and the menu is full of other flavourful dishes... but the dumplings always are a must-try!
Address: N.15 Yunnan Nan Road, Shanghai, China
Price: 30 RMB
Credits: from The Phoenix Shanghai
Just like we told you, The Phoenix Shanghai is next to Laoshan dumpling restaurant, so after dinner time you can throw yourself on your bed and crash for the night. But make sure to book your space at The Phoenix Shanghai, not only because it is one of the best and beautiful hostels in Shanghai, but also because we have the best low-cost price on our website!! Only 16 Euros for a bed in a central location!
We believe you’ll love this trip to Shanghai: low-budget eating, sleeping and exploring... don’t forget to go to the terrace on the rooftop of The Phoenix Shanghai if you want to share your travel stories and meeting amazing people.
Breakdown of Costs (prices shown refer to low season prices and vary depending on the day of check in)
Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner: €10
Jing'an Temple: € 4
Public Transport: € 1
Total: € 31
*1 Chinese RMB = 0,13€ / 0,11£ / 0,15$