In terms of population, China is not only the biggest city in China-with a population of over 20 million people, it’s the largest city in the entire world. As you might expect from its size, Shanghai is an excellent shopping destination. In fact, it is often referred to as the “Shopping Paradise” and “Oriental Paris”.
In Shanghai, you can buy just about anything-the finest tea in China, beautiful pearls and delicate jewelry, brand names and knockoffs, and even fighting crickets! If you are concerned about navigating the streets of Shanghai on your own, you can go as part of a shopping tour. However, traveling by yourself has its own advantages-you have more freedom to roam around, and you can spend the money you would have given the tour operator on stuff for yourself.
If you are planning in visiting the city and you want to shop independently, Matador Travel has an excellent guide on shopping in Shanghai. One thing that makes shopping in Shanghai especially interesting is the collection of different markets: pearl markets, fabric markets, fashion markets, a tea market, even an animal and insect market where you can purchase the aforementioned fighting crickets. About.com has an excellent guide to the different Shanghai markets.
Shanghai is a world-class shopping destination, and China welcomes American tourists. However, if you’re going to Shanghai to shop, there’s one accessory you’ll need to purchase ahead of time: a Chinese tourist visa, also known as an “L” visa. China does not issue visas on arrival, so if you show up at the airport without one, you won’t be allowed to board your place.
What does it take to get an “L” visa? You will need the following:
- One completed Chinese visa application
- Your US passport
- One passport photo
If your plane leaves within the seven days, you can include a copy of your itinerary to expedite your visa. Using a visa expediting company like RushMyTravelVisa makes the process quick and efficient-we’ll help you with your application and deliver your paperwork to the appropriate visa or consulate for the fastest possible processing.