A Newbies Guide to Getting Around Shanghai

Getting around Shanghai can be confusing and intimidating. I've learned a few things in the past little while and I'd like to share them with you. Don't worry about it...I'm a pro. I've been here three weeks.

Driving a Car

Congratulations! You've been able to rise to the top and buy a car. You've got places to go and meetings to meet! You've earned the right of way. For this reason it's important to realize that speed limits, road signs, and red lights are just suggestions. Your pedestrian friends are aware of this and they'll likely make way...probably.

Riding a Bike

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Shanghai would shut down completely without bikes. Bikes, mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles...they're everywhere! So getting around on a bike gets you certain privileges. Sidewalks are just roads that you share with pedestrians. If you're lucky enough to have an electric bike you can even ride around indoor markets! 

Make sure you share the road with your pedestrian friends. To ensure they know you're coming through honk constantly.  Even if they do acknowledge you it's best to honk anyway, just in case.

How to Hail a Taxi

  1. Get the attention of a taxi driver
  2. Tell him where you'd like to go 
  3. Buckle your seatbelt (if available)
  4. Close your eyes for the appropriate amount of time and pray
  5. Open your eyes. If you're at the right destination, pay the driver and celebrate your ongoing life
  6. If you didn't arrive at the right destination repeat steps 2 - 5

Walking Around

The world is a scary place. Trust no one. Constant vigilance. Stay safe by following these rules:

  • Look both ways
  • Jaywalk aggressively/move with the crowd
  • Dodge traffic
  • Keep your eyes and ears open at all times
  • Don't eat and walk

Follow these simple survival rules and you'll be fine. Shanghai traffic might be scary, but at least you're not in Toronto...


Mohit is GoEast's CTO. He's currently learning about Chinese, Chinese culture, and Chinese business. He one day hopes to be a Chinese man.