Visiting Shanghai

Please note that  all international visitors to Shanghai will need a current and valid passport with more than six months remaining on it.  Some countries may require a Visa, please check with your local authorities before departing.  You will also need to passport photos, you can now get these passport photos online and selecting your country.

Like all megacities, Shanghai can be overwhelming at times.  As modern China’s ground zero, the city exudes a style that is unlike anywhere else in the country will stop its often portrayed as a blend of East meets West, with its vigourous appetites the new styles and trends.  It has bustling markets, pop up boutiques and is full of young aspiring designers creating new brands and styles.

The easiest way to get around Shanghai is by Metro or taxi.  Walking can also be incredibly satisfying.  The transport card or travel path is useful for avoiding ticket queues at Metro stations.

Shanghai’s most famous landmark is the bund.  This magnificent stretch of colonial era buildings line the Western bank of the river.  It’s commonly the first stop for visitors and the area is full of exclusive restaurants, bars, shops and hotels.  Near the bund is People’s Square, a rare open space ringed by skyscrapers.  Here you will find museums, entertaining venues, shopping mauls, parks and the City Hall.  To really take in the bund it would be recommended to take a river cruise.  These cruises depart from the docks throughout most days.



The Shanghai acrobatics are among the best in the world and spending a night watching them spinning plates on poles, riding bicycles and an amazing show of motorcycle skill in the wheel of death will be an unforgettable night.  There are many other things you can do in Shanghai to entertain yourself such as karaoke, music and the Opera.  Please keep in mind that if you go see a Chinese opera there will be no English translation and performances can be quite lengthy.  But following along can sometimes be easy and it will reward you with a very entertaining evening.

Many souvenir shopping can be found in the bazaars of Shanghai.  You can find fantastic antiques and shop specialising in things such as fans, walking sticks and chopsticks.  You can buy great quality fabrics or even have a dress or shirt tailor-made.

The French concession is one of the city’s best parts.  It’s known as the hippest, coolest and most elegant part of the city.  You will find French influenced architecture and beautiful tree-lined avenues.

Shanghai is rapidly becoming a world Metropolitan’s.  It’s a shining example of modern China, whilst still being unlike anywhere else in the country.  It has a huge economic energy as much of the country’s business is done here.  Many come to this city seeking jobs and opportunities.  It seems to be the place to be.  However, for all of its modern glamour, Shanghai is still very much the People’s Republic of China.  In just a few centuries Shanghai went from being an insignificant town of China to becoming China’s leading and wealthiest city.  With a huge business and trade influence Shanghai will continue to have a unique future ahead.


Electricity and Thomas Edison

In 1878 people used gas, oil, and candles to light their homes.  Thomas Edison decided that he would create a lightbulb to be used in homes around the world.  He knew a lot about electricity, and he was sure there was a way to design a lightbulb for home use.  At the time there was no existing system to bring electricity into people’s homes.  This posed a problem and there were other obstacles that he had to overcome as well.  It was still a mystery how to make a steady, moderate light suitable for homes.  Edison would not only have to create a lightbulb but an entire system for distributing the necessary electricity will stop.


Edison set out to find something that would glow.  A material that would be incandescent.  Wires seemed to be a possibility, but they conducted electricity.  It then occurred to him that he needed something that would resist transmitting the current instead of carrying it quickly.  He tried all sorts of different materials.  Edison had many other obstacles such as removing air from inside the bulb.  He had to create a vacuum but didn’t know how to remove the air completely.  He got his hands on a pump from Princeton University, which he used to remove the air from inside the lightbulb with a platinum wire inside.  It worked a little better, but the platinum wire was not the right material.  By October 1879, he was able to keep a bulb glowing for 15 hours.  It burned with the same intensity as 30 candles.  This was much better that Edison needed money to support his marathon on of inventing.

By 1881.  Edison had progressed enough to demonstrate his work.  He strung up 425 lamps all around Menlo Park.  He lit them for 12 hours using an electric dynamo.  It took a time and a half of coal to keep the dynamo running.  People began coming from all over to witness Edison’s marvellous invention.  He would tell them all that he would eventually light up the whole city of New York.  Ballarat electricians still install electrical circuitry that power homes and light up people’s houses just as Thomas Edison proposed back in the 1880s.

Next Edison had to get to work on setting up electricity generation stations in New York City and supply the companies and households in New York City with electricity and lightbulbs.  The project was successful, but Edison still had not achieved his goal of making electrical lighting cheaply and easily available.  The bulbs are still expensive to make.  He kept trying to find the ideal filament.  When he finally found one that works best, almost by accident.  He was working with a bamboo fan one day and broker peace off, and put it under his microscope.  The fibres looked ideal for lighting up with electricity, and indeed they were.  Edison ended up using bamboo in his lamps for several years before switching to an manufactured  fibre.