Everything you need to know about travelling to Shanghai for the 1000th Formula 1 race next April, including where to stay and what to do away from the track.
- Visas: China has recently introduced a 144-hour (6 day) visa exemption in Shanghai and other key cities, which applies to citizens of more than 50 countries, including the USA, UK and Australia. If you are from a country not on the list or want to stay longer, you’ll need to apply for a visa in advance of your trip from your nearest Chinese Embassy, Consulate or the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre.
- Currency: Chinese Yuan Renminbi (abbreviated as RMB or CN¥). At current exchange rates, $1 USD = 6.9 RMB. China remains a cash-based economy, and be aware that not all ATMs will accept foreign cards. Money-changing rates are fixed by the central government. Tipping is not expected.
- Language: Mandarin is the official language of China, though Shanghai locals mostly speak Shanghainese (a dialect of Wu Chinese). Download a translation app to help with communication; apps such as Pleco and Waygo can translate Chinese text in real time using your smartphone camera.
- Time Zone: UTC/GMT + 8 hours
- In an Emergency: dial 110 for the police / 119 for Fire / 120 for Ambulance (foreigners should dial 63 215 380)
- Power Sockets: China uses type A and type I power sockets. European and US appliances work with type A and Australian appliances work with type I, but it’s worth taking a universal adapter to be sure.
- Weather: the Grand Prix falls during spring in Shanghai. Although it is considered one of the best times to visit the city, the weather can be changeable and rain is not uncommon. Daytime highs average 19°C (66°F) and lows 11°C (52°F).
Arrival & Getting Around
Most international and long-haul flights land at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), which is the third busiest in China. Located 30km southeast of the city centre, PVG has multiple daily direct flights from global hubs in the USA, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. The airport is connected to the city centre by the fastest commercial train in the world, which travels to Longyang Road Metro Station at speeds in excess of 400km/h!
On the ground, it’s easy to get around Shanghai using the Metro or taxis. More information, including the best ways to get to Shanghai International Circuit, can be found in our 2019 Chinese Grand Prix – Getting Around Guide.
Where to Stay
The home of the Chinese Grand Prix is located 35km northeast of the city centre in the Jiading district. Although there are some nice hotels in Jiading, we recommend staying in the downtown area of Shanghai. The daily commute to the circuit will be around 1 hour each way, but you’ll be able to soak up more of the atmosphere in China’s largest city.
The best area to stay is within walking distance of The Bund, Shanghai’s waterfront area and Nanjing Road, the city’s premier shopping strip. Alternatively, make sure you are staying close to a Metro stop and you’ll be able to see the best of Shanghai and easily get to Shanghai International Circuit.
Why not add accommodation to your Official Ticket Package? F1 Experiences offers a 4-night stay at the 5-star Hyatt on the Bund Hotel, which is perfectly situated close to Shanghai’s best sights and boasts the popular VUE Bar and Restaurant on the 32nd and 33rd floors with spectacular views of Shanghai’s skyline. Complimentary circuit transfers are included with hotel packages.
Where to Eat & Drink
- Eating out: Shanghai is a mecca for foodies, offering everything from cheap roadside eats to high-end banquets. Look out for the Din Tai Fung chain of restaurants, which serve up some of the best xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings) in the city. Alternatively, head to Huanghe Road near People’s Square to sample some of the best local delicacies, including steamed crab and red braised pork. Unsurprising for a city of more than 20 million, Shanghai also has no shortage of high-end restaurants. The best can be found in Huangpu, including M on the Bund for European cuisine and T’Ang Court for Cantonese food with 3 Michelin stars.
- Tianzifang: the narrow, ancient lanes of this former area in the French Concession now house an array of arts and craft shops, galleries, restaurants and bars. Head to Kaiba for craft beers and pub grub or Cha’s for Hong Kong diner style food.
- Rooftop Bars: unsurprising for a city with so many tall buildings, Shanghai has a lot of rooftop bars. The best can be found in high-end hotels overlooking The Bund, such as TOPS at the Banyan Tree and Char Bar at Hotel Indigo. Bar Rouge is also ranked as one of the city’s best nightspots, while M1nt comes complete with shark tanks and hosts regular club nights.
What to do
- The Bund: take a walk along Shanghai’s famous riverfront boulevard, which has great views of the city’s futuristic skyline in Pudong – both day and night. Even better, take a boat cruise along the Huangpu River. Various cruises are available, but the most popular takes just under one hour and sets off from Shiliupu Wharf; adult tickets are priced just under $20 USD.
- Nanjing Road: one of China’s most popular shopping strips is home to modern malls, department stores, restaurants, local specialty stores and everything in between. Head to the pedestrianized section that runs from The Bund to People’s Park for the best shops, but be sure to avoid the touts!
- People’s Park: definitely worth a visit in the spring when the race is held, People’s Park is 24 acres of green space in central Shanghai featuring several monuments, a lotus pond, amusement fair and a “marriage market,” where hopeful local parents come on the weekends to find partners for their children. The Shanghai Museum, which has a huge collection of rare relics and offers free entry, is also located within People’s Park.
- Skyline Views: Shanghai has no shortage of modern skyscrapers and several offer observation decks with incredible views of the city, provided visibility is good. The newest and highest is on the 118th floor of the Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world after Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Tickets cost 160 RMB, or approximately $23 USD. The Shanghai World Financial Center also has three observation decks on the 94th, 97th and 100th levels, plus regular exhibitions; tickets from 180 RMB ($26 USD). Finally, the distinctive 468-metre Oriental Pearl TV Tower has observation deck on its two upper spheres and also houses the Shanghai Municipal History Museum on the ground floor; tickets cost from 160 RMB ($23 USD).
- Yuyuan Garden: the only surviving Ming Dynasty garden in Shanghai, Yuyuan Garden is a slice of classic Chinese architecture featuring pavilions, pagodas, bridges and a 5-ton Exquisite Jade Rock. Entry costs 40 RMB, or just under $6 USD. The garden is surrounded by the Yuyuan Bazaar, where you can eat, drink and bargain for some souvenirs.
- China Art Museum: after hosting World Expo in 2010, the distinctive China Pavilion was transformed into the China Art Museum, which houses a massive collection of Asian Art. Entry is free and it’s open every day from 09:00-17:00.
In addition to our signature benefits such as driver meet-and-greets and access to the F1 Paddock, Chinese Grand Prix Ticket Packages from F1 Experiences include select grandstands or VIP hospitality in the Formula 1 Paddock Club. Get yours today!