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Based on our many years living in Shanghai, Lintel here gives you some tips with regard to the lifestyle in Shanghai which refers to the weather, what to wear, currency etc. So you could be ready to start living in this exciting city.

Tips of Shanghai life style Weather
Shanghai does not exactly boast the most fortunate of climates. Summer from June to September can be incredibly hot and humid, while the winters are bone-chillingly reminiscent of central Europe. The coldest months are January and February, with temperatures ranging from 3°C-5°C. In March and April the temperature has been known to climb up to 20°C though it generally hovers at 10°C until May and the first weeks of June usher in the most pleasant weather in Shanghai. Spring is generally so fleeting this part of China that summer usually arrives before you have had time to stow away the winter gear. The temperatures in late June, July and August rise to 35°C, with a pretty constant 90% humidity. During September and October Shanghai is witness to some beautiful autumn days as temperatures cool, and in November and December, the Shanghainese turn the air conditioner setting from Cool to Heat.

What to Wear
Business dress in Shanghai is smart, comparable to any other international city. In their leisure time, the Shanghainese used to dress modestly; in recent years, however, clothing has become increasingly fashionable and modern. While older generations look on disapprovingly, Shanghai is well on its way to becoming the most fashionable city in China and perhaps even Asia.

For comfort, bring warm clothing for the winter, especially as houses and offices are usually badly insulated.

Shanghai Airports
Much to the confusion of many first-timers, Shanghai has two international airports, Hongqiao International Airport and Pudong International Airport.

Pudong International Airport has been in operation since 1999, and is located 40km east of Shanghai, and handles most international flights, as well as domestic flights to southern China. A ride on the Maglev, the world's premier magnetic levitation train (top speed of 430kmh), will bring you from the airport to the outskirts of the city in 8 minutes, which is unfortunately probably not where you want to go. The metro system or taxi is needed to continue onward into town. After a year in operation, the Maglev has become more of a tourist attraction than a means of transport. Tickets cost 50RM one-way, 90RMB same-day return. A Taxi ride from Pudong airport should not cost more than 150 RMB, as long as you make sure the driver uses the meter. There is also a very convenient bus service that brings you into the heart of the city for 19 RMB.

Hongqiao International Airport is located in western Shanghai about 20 kilometers from the city center, and despite its name, now mainly handles domestic flights. A taxi from Hongqiao takes between 20-30 minutes to downtown, and should not cost more than 50RMB. The taxi queue at Hongqiao can be frustratingly long, but it is advisable to stick to it and avoid the using an unlicensed taxis.

Shanghai Airports 1Shanghai Airports 2 Shanghai Airports 3

All foreigners require a valid Visa of one of three types to enter China:

L-Visa (Tourist Visa)
F-Visa (Business Visa)
Z-Visa (Permanent Resident Visa)
L and F Visas are available through Chinese Consulates and Embassies abroad, with F-Visas requiring a special invitation letter from a host company in China. Z-Visas are subject to employment records and health checks in mainland China. For visa extensions and new applications, you'll need to bring your passport and registration of temporary residency from your hotel as well as a letter from the host company to the Public Security Bureau (PSB) Division for Aliens at 333 Wusong Lu (tel: 6357-6666) on weekdays from 9-11am and 2-5pm.

The currency in China is the Renminbi, in spoken Chinese also referred to as the Yuan or Kuai. Credit cards and US dollars are widely accepted in major hotels and shops, and many ATM machines now also accept international bank cards.

Upon arrival, all passengers are required to fill out a health declaration form before crossing Customs. Since the Severe Acute Respiration Syndrome (SARS) episode of 2003, many international airports still run infrared temperature checks before you can retrieve your luggage.

To maintain your good health after you have arrived, make sure only to drink boiled or bottled water, and avoid unwashed foods, especially in the summer months.

Pneumonia and influenza are common problems in China, particularly during the winter. According to the government there is further (limited) risk of hepatitis A and B, typhoid, polio, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue fever, tetanus and rabies, particularly in rural areas. It is therefore recommended that your immunizations be up to date, especially if you're planning to travel.

Mobile Phones
China's mobile phone network is based on the GSM standard. You can buy pay-as-you go SIM cards at almost any mobile phone store.

East Nanjing Road Shopping and Business Hours
Official business hours are 9.30am to 10.00pm daily. Privately owned shops often stay open later. Shanghai also features a vast range of competing 24-hour convenience stores stocked with midnight snack food, drinks and other essentials.

Banks and Government Offices
Banks and Government offices open from 9.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday.

Office Hours
Commercial offices are open from 9.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday. Some companies have expanded their business hours to include Saturday mornings.

Official Holidays
Shanghai, like the rest of China, has three official holiday periods of seven consecutive days, for Chinese New Year in February, Workers' Holiday in May and National Holiday in October.

Time Zone
GMT + 8h. All China is on Beijing time, and there are no time differences between the provinces, or for Hong Kong and Macao.

Tipping is not customary in China, and is often not even accepted by the wait staff. Excptions are international hotels and fine dining restaurants, where a standard 15% might be added to your bill. Most local expatriates will only try to tip if they felt the service was really exceptional.

Standard VAT on most products is 17%, with the occasional 13% on selected goods. Most services will charge a 5% Business Service Tax for standard transactions.

Power and Electricity
Electricity is supplied at 220 volts, 50 cycles. Most hotels have converters and plug-ins for hairdryers, mobile phones and laptops.

China's official language is Putonghua also called Mandarin. Roughly over 50% of the Chinese people speak Putonghua as their native language, though the vast majority is at least familiar with it. China has baffling panoply of dialects that vary geographically. The local dialect in Shanghai is known as Shanghainese, although virtually everyone understands Mandarin. Most hotels and leading restaurants have English-speaking staff.

China is atheist by political decree although many traditional religious customs have recently enjoyed a popular resurgence. Officially only 3% to 4% of the population practices Daoism (Taoism), Buddhism and Islam. An estimated 1% is Christians.

In Shanghai there are a number of Catholic and Protestant Churches offering regular services and mass. The ARK City Settler Program will help you find the right one for you.

Emergency Call Numbers
Police 110
Fire Services 119
Ambulance 120

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