I never suggest visitors to Shanghai to join a tour. Tour operators always have their agenda and time constrains. In Chinese we call that (gan ya zi), literally meaning flocking the ducks. You might have had the experience that tourist guides left you at a place and demanded you to come back in 30 minutes. In my opinion you can never know a place well enough in such a short time. I encourage you to be the backpacker and go to these attractions on your own. It will be fun, adventurous, and absolutely rewarding.
There are a few so-called "Must Go" places in Shanghai. Google "Shanghai attractions" and you should find them on the top list. The Bund, Nanjing Road, Yuyuan Garden, The Oriental Pearl TV Tower are just few examples. In our Resources page you will find the Chinese addresses of these places. Just show the Chinese address to a taxi driver and he/she will take you there. Make sure to read our Traveling Tips before going.
Other than the "Must Go" there are places where I think you can get super good deals. Feedback from our former clients suggests that there is a big price gap between getting these in Shanghai and any where in the US.
Health care in Shanghai and China in general is much cheaper as compared with the Western countries. If you go to a government run hospital the cost will normally be around 10 ~ 20 RMB for registration, and 100 to 200 RMB for prescription drugs. Because there are fewer malpractice law suites, doctors here are willing to use newer, more effective drugs. Also the sheer number of patients a doctor has to see gives him/her better clinical trial experience. One of our clients had chronic eczema and was never cured by American doctors, now she is eczema free with the help of Chinese herbal medicine.
Hospitals in Shanghai are rated with nine classes, ie. 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C, and 3A, 3B, 3C with 3C being the best. Some hospitals provide what they call the "Foreigners’ Clinic." My suggestion is go where the locals go. Foreigners’ clinic might have another set of standards meaning you might have to pay more. Each hospital has its own area of expertise. There are forums on the Internet discussing that but they are mostly in Chinese. It's always good idea to ask a Shanghai local to search that information for you. Baidu.com is the common search engine in China. You may want to bring an interpreter to the hospital.
Listed below are few of the 3C hospitals with their English names, Chinese names and Chinese addresses.
|Rui Jin Hospital
|Ren Ji Hospital
|Shanghai Chinese Medicine Hospital
|Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital
|Shanghai Chang Zheng Hospital
There are many massage parlors in Shanghai offering quality massaging services. Depending on your expectation on the environment, the price for one-hour body massage can range from 35 to 1000 RMB. Massage parlors in Shanghai can be classified into three categories in my opinion; low, medium, and high. There is no big difference in massage skill among the classes. The difference is on the environment and hygiene.
Low level massage parlors are everywhere. If your intension is not to meet with a nice looking masseuse and just want to have a good massage, I don't see any problem in visiting these parlors. There are few pretty good ones in the Jing On District where some expats are frequent customers. Some of these parlors employ blind people who are trained and certified in Chinese massage as masseuses.
Next level up are some parlors on busy streets with flashing advertising. They tend to offer better environment with better amenities and more massage options such as acupressure, cupping, and aromatherapy. One-hour service should start somewhere around 100 RMB. You may find manicure, pedicure, and facial care in these parlors at very reasonable prices.
High level parlors are mostly located in 4 or 5 star hotels. I don’t recommend going to these parlors because, in my opinion, they are nothing but ripoffs. One-hour regular massage can be as high as 900RMB or more if you choose an upgraded package.
Even before the liberation in 1949 Shanghai was well-known for her tailor craftsmanship. Many famous tailors in Hong Kong are either from Shanghai or got their training from Shanghai. If you need to enhance your wardrobe then the South Bund Clothing Market is a Must-Go. There you can choose the fabrics, style, and with the help of a local you can name your price -- kind of like priceline. Turnaround for most shops is one to two days. But give yourself one more day in case you need alternations. Print this out and show it to a taxi driver and there you go.
© 2008 Chinese Interpreters in Shanghai
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