Living in Shanghai certainly has its ups and downs. I go through phases about how I feel about it. However, when I stop complaining about the little frustrations that I experience, I can really see all the reasons to love Shanghai.
It also helps that I’ll be leaving Shanghai in a few months (most likely for good), and I’m feeling a little sad about it. It’s bitter sweet, and it has me thinking about all the things I love about this place.
10 Reasons to Love Living in Shanghai
Delivery – EVERYTHING Gets Delivered
Pretty much whatever you want. You can have groceries, McDonald’s, KFC, or anything on baopals/taobao (think Amazon or eBay for China). I’m so spoiled. I rarely have to run errands anymore.
Paying via Phone. And Getting Paid!
China has mastered the whole paying with your phone thing. I can use my phone to pay for groceries, taxis, my bar tab, dinner, hitting up H&M, anything ordered online, bike rentals…, the list goes on. I also can get paid for tutoring and transfer money to others easily with my phone. This is perfect since I tutor my life away and since they don’t really split bills in China. Everyone just sends money. Easy peasy!
Literally the best thing ever. Who needs texts or calls? My phone bill is so cheap here. I just use wifi or data and WeChat. WeChat is super popular in China, but it should be used everywhere, in my opinion. It has a newsfeed, video and phone calling, stickers, voice messages, and it’s what makes paying by phone so simple! WeChat is the best.
You Don’t Need to Speak Chinese
So most people don’t speak English, but it is so incredibly easy to get around without speaking Chinese. Don’t stress about coming to Shanghai and not knowing the language. It’s super accessible with the help of a few good apps.
Taxis are cheap, but the metro and the bus are dirt cheap. It’s so easy to get caught up taking taxis because of how cheap it is, but the metro and bus are the way to go. AND Shanghai is in the process of expanding the metro system. It’s going to be massive by 2020.
Always Something to Do
It really is a lovely city. If you’re bored, you can easily find something to do, from comedy shows to open mics to ladies’ nights to trivia nights. Any day of the week there is something going on.
Shanghai has a pretty phenomenal expat culture. It’s one of my favorite things about going out here. You never know who you’re going to meet or what language you’ll get to practice. Some of those people will have been here for just a few months, others for years. When you work away from the city, it’s easy to forget how much diversity exists here. Adventuring in the city reminds you of that.
Again, this has a lot to do with the giant expat community. You can find restaurants and bars owned by people from all over the world. But there are also big events that take place and bring in people from many different countries. One of my favorite experiences in Shanghai so far was watching the only improv group in Korea perform in Shanghai. I don’t speak any Korean, yet I laughed until I cried. I’d never have had an experience like that in my hometown.
Going Green (or at least trying)!
Shanghai is actually making an effort to reduce the pollution. Recently a smoking ban has been put in place, several bike share programs have been implemented, and they have restricted who can drive a taxi (now more people are taking the metro or renting bikes due to the inconvenience of getting a taxi now that there are less). It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. And I’m proud!
The frequency that this city changes is just insane. Shops come and go, buildings are constantly being popping up, and it seems like the construction is so quick (coming from Ohio where the one highway has been under construction for 9+ years -since I’ve been driving and probably before).
Shanghai is a great city with so much to see and do. Even though I’ve never been much of a big city girl, I’ve grown to really love this place. Sometimes I surprise myself with how fond of it I’ve become, but then really, there are plenty of reasons to love it here!