Shanghai is the largest and most prosperous city in mainland China, stemming all the way back to the 1920s and 30s where it was by far the most prosperous city in the Far East, known as “The Pearl of the Orient”. Shanghai has attracted great interest from abroad since the 19th century and had many concessions (designated districts) to Western countries, giving the city a more cosmopolitan and Western feel than others in China. It is also a global financial centre and the busiest commercial port in the world. Photo: East Nanjing Road in the 1930's
Shanghai sits on the south edge of the mouth of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Chinese east coast – it is roughly equidistant from Beijing and Guangzhou. In terms of latitude, Shanghai is comparable to southern American states like Florida and northern Mexico. Consequently Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate and experiences four distinct seasons: summers are hot and humid with occasional thunderstorms and heavy rain, winters are chilly and damp, and autumn and spring are usually dry and sunny.
In Shanghai, most people know Mandarin, but some -usually the older ones- only speak Shanghainese, the local dialect.
Shanghai has numerous airports and has connections with all of China and the rest of the world – it is also possible to get trains to other cities in mainland China, taking 5 hours to get to Beijing or Guangzhou on train. In terms of flying, it takes just under two hours to fly to Beijing, Guangzhou or Hong Kong. In terms of International flights, it takes 12 hours to fly to London, just over 15 to New York and just over 10 hours to Sydney. Shanghai has two main airports, Pudong International airport (photo below) and Hongqiao International airport which is less busy and handles more internal flights.