Planning on going to the World Expo in Shanghai? These battle-tested tips will help you avoid sensory overload and make the most of a visit.
- Tickets, maps and other Expo information are all very easy to find in Shanghai. Study a map ahead of time so that you have a general feel for the layout. The Expo site is divided in two by the Huangpu River: Pudong, on the south side, is the main area, while Puxi, on the north side, has smaller exhibits. Try to avoid the main entrances in Pudong (6 & 8) and Puxi (1 & 2) as these will inevitably have longer lines.
- A no-brainer, but I’ll say it anyway: avoid going on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday.
- The first thing you should do upon arrival is to get a copy of the day’s performances (music, dance, puppet shows) from an information center. Most shows are held in the main plazas on outdoor stages; there are many throughout the day at nine main venues, so it’s generally not too hard to get a decent vantage point. Some pavilions, like New Zealand’s, hold performances on outdoor stages.
- Consider an evening visit. If you enter after 5pm tickets are nearly 50% off, the weather is cooler and the lines are shorter. Most pavilions close in between 9:30 and 10:30, but the fantastically illuminated buildings and unusual melodies drifting through the air makes for a unique atmosphere.
- Take a ferry ride across the Huangpu River. The shuttle buses are faster and more convenient, but taking the ferry is not without its merits: the view of the Pudong side, with the alien-like Culture Center and monumental Chinese pavilion, make for great photo-ops. You can also take 30-minute cruises at 7:15, 7:45 and 8:15 (Y30) or, if you plan on returning to downtown Shanghai, an hour-long cruise downstream to the new docks just south of the Bund (from 6:30 onward, Y60).
- Visit Oceania (Zone B), Africa and the Americas (Zone C) for the pavilions with the shortest lines.
- Take a trip to the urban pavilions on the Puxi side, which also have shorter lines.
- See the selection of the ten best pavilions here.
Opening Hours: 9am-midnight (most pavilions close in between 9.30 and 10.30)
Ticket prices: Y160 for a day pass, Y90 for an evening pass (entrance after 5pm)