Even though the best bargains are in
the early morning, shopping at night
on Nanjing Road is not to be missed.
For several days, I had been sightseeing Shanghai’s group-tour hot
spots, and had extended my stay two days to explore Shanghai on my
own. I contacted Hayoyi Zhu at Jin Jiang Tours, and he recommended
that I hire a tour guide. Agents can earn additional income if they
advise clients of the option of a few free shopping days with an
independent guide who can accompany them to the best shopping malls
Individual tour guides, like Mandy Fan, earn their pay with
their advanced people and language skills. She was adept at
traveling by bus, train and subway knowing what to take and when to
go, and how to get there fast. And until I learned the ropes, she
would negotiate a price with a shopping vendor far lower than I
could obtain. Guides also arrive and depart directly from your
“You don’t find too many personal tour guides, because guides
can make far more in commissions in taking large groups,” Zhu said.
“But the good ones are worth the investment.”
What I discovered was a real taste of Shanghai that I had not
seen on the structured tours.
Often, the journey to the destination was as much fun.
“It’s important to take the taxi at day’s end, as lugging the
goodies to your hotel is not wise on public transportation,” Fan
said. Here are some of the shopping highlights we discovered.
Grand Gateway (Gang Hui) Mall
Gang Hui is one of the largest malls in Shanghai, with seven
floors of shops and stores. Look for “Shanghai Street,” and other
themed streets, that offer traditional products and goods. Take in
the many celebrations and shows during the holiday seasons.
Hong Qiao City Center
This mall is built on the Japanese model that promotes fashion,
relaxation and city life. Don’t pass up the subterranean
supermarket. Expect the best food court in the area, where you can
order everything from high-priced shark-fin soup to fast food.
Super Brand Mall (Zheng Da)
Located in the Lu Jia Zui financial district, Zheng Da offers
shoppers 10 upper floors and three basement floors of shopping,
Internet cafes, cinemas, beauty salons, fitness centers and bars, a
complete one-stop shop for checking out the local life. The mall’s
fifth floor is called “The World of Food” and it offers excellent
Chinese cuisine, as well as food from other parts of the world.
South Friendship Store
This is a good place to try if you discover you need something
while on your trip. One of the great models of shopping malls in
Shanghai, it offers a travel agency, post office, pharmacy, beauty
salon and bank, as well as a great food court with low prices and
superb food. Open from early morning to late evening.
Yatai Fashion & Clothing Market
Near the Science and Technology Center Museum, this is my
favorite. Clients can buy any type of clothing and myriad arts and
crafts, silk goods, traditional Chinese dress and artwork of all
kinds. Bargain hard. Very hard. Never want something so much that
you can’t walk away from it. Start at a third of what they are
asking. Go early in the morning, when it is considered good luck
for many store owners to make a first sale, and many are eager to
Nighttime on Nanjing Road
While shopping is less crowded during the day, there is nothing
that can compare to the excitement of Nanjing at night. Shops light
up, and the flashing lights and neon strobes make Las Vegas seem
sleepy. Go early and stay late, but be prepared to walk to find a
cab for the return trip to the hotel.