Some frequently asked questions by newcomers to Shanghai

Q: Do I need to get vaccinated before departure?

While there are no specific requirements for vaccination, it is recommended that you check the regulations before your departure, as the health regulation may change at any time. Additionally, transit passengers are also recommended to check the entry quarantine regulations of their destinations.

Q: What are the policies for entry and customs?

Domestic tourists (including those from Hong Kong and Macau) do not need traveling certificates for entry, while tourists from China's Taiwan or other countries need to present effective certificates for entry. Please check the Shanghai Public Security website ( for details.

Q: What is the address and contact of the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau of Shanghai?

Working hours: Monday-Saturday (except for statutory holidays), 9am-5pm

Address: 1550 Minsheng Road, Pudong New Area

Tel: 2895-1900

Q: Is tap water drinkable in Shanghai?

We do not recommend you drink tap water.

Q: What languages are spoken in Shanghai?

In addition to the Shanghai dialect, Mandarin Chinese is widely spoken, and English is also commonly used and accepted.

Q: How is the security in Shanghai?

Shanghai is considered one of the safest cities in the world, with police stations available 24/7. Every night, the streets are patrolled by police, providing peace of mind even for those going out alone at night. In case of an emergency, you can call 110 for safety, 119 for the fire department, and 120 for medical assistance.

Q: Is it easy to find public toilets in Shanghai?

Shanghai has over 10,000 public toilets across the city, and all are free of charge. Follow the WeChat mini program "上海智慧寻厕" to find public toilets around you.

Q: Do I need to tip when shopping in Shanghai?

Most hotels in Shanghai charge a service fee of 10-15 percent for all food and beverages served in their restaurants or bars, and some outside restaurants or bars may also have this fee. In general, tipping is not expected or necessary in restaurants in Shanghai, but you may choose to leave a tip if you are particularly satisfied with the service.

Q: What are the dining times at various restaurants in Shanghai?

In Shanghai, breakfast is typically served at snack stores or fast food restaurants, aside from hotels. Most lunch spots close at 2pm and will not accept customers an hour in advance. Noodle shops, fast food restaurants, and cafes are generally open throughout the day. Afternoon tea can be enjoyed at a hotel while authentic local dim sum can be found at snack bars. For dinner, restaurants generally start operating from 5:30pm to 6pm. Note that many popular restaurants require advance booking.

Q: Is there any dining etiquette in Shanghai?

As a metropolis that blends Chinese and Western cultures, Shanghai has a unique dining culture. Generally, when you go to a restaurant, the waiter will bring the menu to the person who will pay the bill. When serving food, ladies are served first, followed by guests and then the host. Chinese restaurant environments are typically bustling and lively, but private rooms are clean and comfortable for those seeking a quieter atmosphere.

Q: Is there any drinking etiquette in China?

Chinese wine has a history that spans over 5,000 years. Wine culture holds a unique position in traditional Chinese culture and many important occasions are celebrated with wine. When drinking, it is important to follow the proper sequence of toasts, which should be in the order of age, position, and status of the guests and hosts. It is essential to drink according to your own capacity, and if you are unable to drink, for example due to personal habits or health reasons, you can delegate the toast to friends, relatives, subordinates, or younger generations. Alternatively, you can drink tea or soft drinks instead. Don't worry, your fellow drinkers will understand.

Q: What etiquette should we pay attention to during the Spring Festival?

During the Spring Festival, one of the first things people do is wish each other a Happy New Year and exchange greetings. New Year greetings are a traditional custom of Chinese folk culture and are a way to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the New Year, as well as express good wishes to one another.

Some commonly used greetings include: "Happy New Year!", "May you have good fortune!", "May you have good health!", and "All the best to you!"

In addition to greetings, Spring Festival couplets are also a tradition.

Q: What are the opening hours of Shanghai entertainment venues?

The opening hours of entertainment venues shall be no earlier than 8pm and no later than 2am in the morning.

Q: What are the office hours of the institutions and enterprises in Shanghai?

In Shanghai, the office hours of government agencies and enterprises at all levels usually run from 8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday through Friday. Large shopping malls tend to open from 10am to 10pm. However, the actual office and operating hours may vary for each institution and enterprise.

Source: Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism