10 Ways to Spend the Equivalent of $10 USD While Studying Abroad in Shanghai

Aug 6, 2013 9:49:52 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

In Shanghai, $10 USD buys you just over 60 RMB. Each of these suggestions below will ensure you spend no more than this amount – perfect for a CAPA International Education study abroad student budget. We will save the freebies for another post!

1. PICK UP A SHANGHAI TRANSIT CARD. To prepare for the rest of this list of 60rmb activities, spend your first $10 USD on a Shanghai Transit Card. This will work for the buses and the Metro trains and can even be used in taxis. Start with the 20rmb one-time fee for the card and top it up with the other 40 rmb. The transit card is very convenient and allows you to avoid searching for the right change and the annoying wait at the ticket machines every time you travel. Now get out there and enjoy Shanghai's efficient public transport network!

Photo: Waiting by the ticket machines in Shanghai by Colin Speakman

2. VIEW SHANGHAI FROM THE JIN MAO TOWER. Shanghai is already a tall city, and it's growing. There are plenty of ways to take in great views over Shanghai without an extortionate fee to look out from an observation deck. Settle by a window on the 54th floor of the Jin Mao Tower. You can relax with a coffee for 60rmb and your daydreams while gazing out over the incredible skyline and stay for as long as you like. Head up while it the sun is still bright and hang around till the neon lights start to come on below you.

jin mao tower and shanghai tv tower
Photo: Jin Mao Tower by Gaellery

3. TAKE A BREAK WITH A HEALTHY SNACK. A popular and healthy Shanghai snack is little bars of peanuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and sunflower seeds nicely mixed together. Our budget of 60 rmb is the exact price for a big bag. Share it with your new local (or CAPA) friends. This mix is found in many parts of Shanghai, but if you get stuck, try the store opposite Bali Bistro (see post below).

Photo: Chinese sweets in Shanghai by Colin Speakman

4. HAVE A BUDGET LUNCH AT BALI BISTRO. If you're looking for more of a meal than a snack, try the weekday lunch menu at Bali Bistro, Jing An Temple. It is a favorite place for the CAPA Shanghai welcome dinner, but that is a bit more expensive than the 60rmb budget we have here. The remarkable value lunch menu allows you and a friend to share to special meal deals for 60 rmb total for two people or even less. Use the complimentary distilled water for your drinks to stay on budget.

Marco in Shanghai!
Photo: A meal at Bali Bistro by John Pasden

5. TRY A MID-WEEK MEAL AT MALONE'S. Hungry, but craving a change from Asian meals? Then try the Western lunch deals on week days at Malone's. The deals come in on budget at under 60rmb and include coffee or tea. You can find Malone's just off West Nanjing Lu on Tongren Lu. The evening menu will typically cost you double.

Photo: Malone's Tongren Lu by Colin Speakman

6. STOCK UP ON GREEN TEA. Thirsty? What could be healthier than some good green tea which plays a large role in Chinese culture? You can pick up a nice-sized pack that will last you a few weeks for exactly 60 rmb. This is available from many different places including around the Jing An Temple area. Consider using your newly purchased green tea with point number 7 below!

4-6 green tea in old town
Photo: Green tea in Shanghai by dhelling01

7. SHOP FOR A TEA FLASK. If you're enjoying the tea culture of China, join in on a famous Chinese tradition and sip your healthy green tea from a glass flask. You'll notice that many locals carry these around with them and receive free hot water refills for from most cafes. Shop around for a bargain and you will find a basic tea flask for 60rmb. The photo below is of a flask carried by a Chinese friend of CAPA International Education's Resident Directory of China Programs, Colin Speakman, which is a style he would recommend.

Photo: Typical tea flask by Colin Speakman

8. HAGGLE IN QIBAO MINI WATERTOWN. Head to Qibao and spend the afternoon exploring. You'll spend 10rmb for a round trip on your transit card and then you can use the other 50rmb to shop for a bargain or two in the traditional old craft shops of inner Shanghai's Qibao mini watertown. You can also visit the cotton/weaving museum, amuse yourself in a puppet theater and enjoy a wealth of photography opportunities the area will present.

Photo: Qibao in Shanghai by Manu Cornet

9. FIND A COOL SOUVENIR IN XINYANG MARKET. Do you consider yourself a serious haggler after having spent a bit of time studying abroad in China? Then take metro to the Science and Technology Museum and head down below to the Xinyang Market. With 50rmb left from your 60rmb after travel you should be able to bargain for a polo shirt, a wallet (some are designed to look like US dollar notes) or many other souvenirs - sometimes cheesy, sometimes tacky and sometimes an excellent find!

Photo: A good bargain in the Xinyang Market Shanghai by Colin Speakman

10. FIND PEACE IN THE YU GARDEN. Looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai for a few hours? For half of the year, two friends can enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the Yu Garden for a total of 60 rmb for two entrances. The garden is incredibly close to the heart of Shanghai, yet the walls and trees keep out the views of the high rise structures and some of the noise to help keep the focus on Mother Nature.

Photo: CAPA Students in Yu Garden by Colin Speakman

Have you been to Shanghai? We’d love your suggestions on your favorite way to spend the equivalent of $10 USD in this global city!

Topics: Shanghai, China