global tourism

How to plan a trip to Shanghai, including a hike up Huangshan

Joshua Berida

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How to plan a trip to Shanghai, including a hike up Huangshan

CULTURE. Old meets new in Shanghai.

Joshua Berida/Rappler

From Shanghai, you can go to the mountains in Huangshan or the lovely water towns of Suzhou in just a few hours by bullet train

Shanghai is a vibrant and bustling city characterized by a mix of old and new. It showcases eastern and western architecture, towering skyscrapers, an extensive metro system, luxury boutiques, art galleries, quaint districts, and museums. It is also China’s largest city with more than 24 million residents calling it home.

Shanghai is also a transportation hub for those who want to explore more of the country by train or by airplane. It’s easy to get away from the hustle and bustle of the megacity by bullet train. You can go to the mountains in Huangshan or the lovely water towns of Suzhou in just a few hours. Rekindle your inner child in Disneyland – or take your own kids with you. Shanghai has plenty to offer all sorts of visitors looking to spend a few days or so in China.

Getting a visa

Filipinos need to apply for a visa to enter China. These are the basic requirements:

  • Original passport with at least one blank visa page and valid for at least six more months.
  • You’ll also need to bring a photocopy of the emergency contact and information page.
  • Old passport
  • A recent 48mm x 33mm photo taken within the last six months.
  • Photocopy of previous Chinese visas, if it isn’t your first time visiting. 

Other than the above-mentioned documents, first-time applicants need to submit the following:

  • Bank certificate
  • Certificate of employment (for employees)
  • Business registration certificate (for owners)
  • Stamped BIR income tax return

For more information, visit the following websites:

Get into Shanghai

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have direct flights from Manila to Shanghai. Check their websites for promos that can give you a substantial discount whenever you book a flight. You can also check for other airlines that can take you to Shanghai. Book as early as possible to get the lowest fares.

Get out of the airport

The airport is quite far from the city center. Taking a taxi or hiring a private transfer are options but are expensive choices. The metro is an affordable way to get out of the airport. Take metro line 2 which can get you to Nanjing Road or People’s Square. You can also take the Maglev Train, one of the fastest in the world. You can board this train to Longyang Road Station then change to metro line 2 or 7.

Get around Shanghai
City, Neighborhood, Road
CULTURE. Old meets new in Shanghai. Joshua Berida/Rappler

Shanghai is a modern city that provides you with plenty of transportation options. You can take the metro, bus, or taxi, or use a ride hailing app to take you from point A to point B. You can use a transportation card or pass whenever you take the metro. DiDi is the most famous ride hailing app in China. If you plan on using this app, look for its English version.  


Shanghai has plenty to offer visitors.

*This itinerary assumes you start with one full day.

Day 1

Architecture, Building, Cityscape
THE BUND. The Bund’s roster of stunning buildings. Joshua Berida/Rappler

On your first full day in Shanghai, make your way to the city’s most famous area, The Bund. The promenade provides visitors with beautiful views of the cityscape. You can take leisurely strolls from north to south or vice-versa. The Bund is lined with several beautiful buildings that harken back to its days as an international settlement. Here you’ll find western-inspired architecture from Renaissance to Art Deco to Neoclassical. Two of the eye-catching buildings include the Bank of China and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. 

After walking around The Bund, make your way to one of the old parts of the city. The area provides you with a glimpse of what this megacity used to be like decades ago. You’ll see reconstructed traditional buildings, some shops, tea houses, and restaurants. Amid the traditional buildings and shops, you’ll find the Yu Garden. The latter is a fine example of a Chinese garden (albeit small) with its pavilions, rockeries, ponds, and halls. Tidbit: the garden is more than four centuries old. 

City, Metropolis, Urban
BUSTLING. Nanjing Road is busy with shoppers. Joshua Berida/Rappler

Finish off the day walking around Nanjing Road. The latter is the city’s prime shopping street with several local and international brands vying for your attention (and money!). You’ll find all sorts of items you can take home with you. The pedestrian-friendly street is also lined with restaurants and food stalls. Consider returning to The Bund at night to see the dazzling lights of the cityscape.


  • Yu Garden – Entrance fee: CNY30-40 depending on the season.

Day 2

On your second day, check out more of the city. Check out Tianzifang, the city’s French Concession, where you’ll find different kinds of crafts and arts. The area has also been preserved to create a European vibe and ambiance with its distinct architecture and layout. If you like museums you can visit places such as the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, China Art Museum, and the Shanghai Natural History Museum. You can also go to Disneyland if it’s on your bucket list.


Day 3

Check out and have breakfast before heading out to the train station. You’ll take the train to Huangshan City. The trip takes a few hours. Once you arrive at the station, make your way to your accommodation. This area is a contrast to Shanghai. There are accommodations, souvenir shops, and restaurants but unlike the options you’ll find in the big city. You can use this city as a base to explore Huangshan Scenic Area. Depending on where you’re staying, I would recommend departing from Shanghai station and not from Shanghai Hongqiao. 

You can book train tickets from Shanghai to Huangshan and vice-versa here: 

Day 4

Cliff, Nature, Outdoors
NATURE. Huangshan is a nature-lover’s delight. Joshua Berida/Rappler

On day four, it’s time to go for an adventure and hike up Huangshan. Buy all the water you need and some food for the trip. The cost of food and drinks in the mountain exponentially increases. I would recommend doing your shopping the day before the hike so that you can leave as early as possible. Once you’re ready, take the bus bound for the mountain.

Nature, Outdoors, Cliff
JAGGED. Huangshan’s rock formations. Joshua Berida/Rappler

Upon arriving at the entrance to the park, you have the option to hike up the mountain or take the cable car. My friend and I took on the challenge of going on foot. The ascent takes an average of seven to eight hours depending on your fitness level. You have to account for the weight of the food, water, and clothes you’re bringing with you. Chances are there’s going to be few people going on foot. The hike is mostly man-made platforms and stairs, which makes the trip slightly easier. The views going up are stunning with the peaks of the towering rock formations and mountains almost touching the sky. Once at the top, you have accommodation options. You can also pitch a tent at a designated spot. After check-in, rest for a while before heading out again to watch the spectacular sunset.

Nature, Outdoors, Scenery
VIEW. Walk along the trails to get spectacular views. Joshua Berida/Rappler


  • Admission Fee – CNY190 (Jan. 21 – Dec. 19), CNY150 (Dec. 20 – Jan. 20) 
  • Single Trip Cable Car – CNY80-100 (Jan. 21 – Dec. 19), CNY65-80 (Dec. 20 – Jan. 20)

Day 5

Cliff, Nature, Outdoors
SHARP. Spikey peaks greet you in the morning. Joshua Berida/Rappler

Get up early to catch the sunrise. After breakfast, rest a bit more before descending. Make sure to replenish your stock of water and food before leaving. You have the option to go on foot or take the cable car down. It takes another seven to eight hours to get down. After your descent, take the bus back to the city.

Day 6

Take the morning train back to Shanghai train station. Look for Shanghai station and not the one going to Shanghai Hongqiao. After arriving in Shanghai, check in at your accommodation and hang out at your favorite place in the city.

Architecture, Building, Monastery
EXPLORE. Walk around the city. Joshua Berida/Rappler

You can book train tickets from Shanghai to Huangshan and vice-versa here: 

Day 7

Check out of your accommodation. Depending on the time of your flight, you’ll still have enough time to revisit some of your favorite spots in the city or go to new ones before leaving. You can also do some last-minute souvenir shopping, if you have the budget.

How much will you spend?

City, Metropolis, Urban
VIBRANT. The Bund is bright and busy. Joshua Berida/Rappler

A budget of P30,000 for 7 days is enough to cover a budget private room shared with at least one other person or a dorm bed, budget meals, use of public transportation, and a few paid attractions. You can spend more or less depending on your travel style. This budget doesn’t include shopping and flights. 

It’s now possible to link foreign credit cards with WeChat. You’ll have to download the international version and create an account. You’ll have to provide a valid ID such as your passport. Once you have the app, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the “Me” section of the app.
  2. Click on “Wallet”. 
  3. Click on “Bank Card” and then select “Add a New Card.”
  4. Input your card details, choose a card type, and enter the issuing company. Fill out the requested information. 
  5. After filling out the required information, click “Submit.”
  6. You’ll get a confirmation message and an SMS verification code. 


Joshua Berida is a writer that loves to travel. He blogs at

1 comment

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  1. PR

    Be careful if you go due all of the harassment in West Philippine sea. Also understand that any app you may need to download there most if not all have access to your data. You will also be permanently in their system. Photos, videos, where you go and what you do. If this is not a concern for you then by all means enjoy your trip.

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