Hi everyone!

As I should probably move to shanghai in October, and I was wondering if to live in the FFC is the best area for single expat like me... (don't need to have a school....)
I checked already and seen that Metro Line 1 will bring me to to my future office...
Please feel free to tell me your thoughts about this area, I'd like to hear all positives things (and why not negatives too...)
I checked the serviced apartment in that area, but it's way to expensive!  compare the rent even for beautiful and big old houses...

If someone has any precise suggestion, feel free to contact me in PM.


FFC is one of the most expensive areas to live in Shanghai. A  lane house studio flat will run about 5500-6500RMB in rent. Expect that to double if you want a larger place with separate bedrooms. Jing'an, Changning, West Nanjing road, and People's Square are also in that price range.

Cheaper flats can be found if you're willing to live 10-20 minutes walk from a metro station in FFC. Another option is to move to an area just outside of the FFC/Jing'an Temple areas.

If you need to stay on line 1, then cheaper housing can be had south of the FFC in Xuhui (two metro stops down from South Sha'an Xi) or up north near Zhongshan Bei Lu stop.

Another option is to move away from line 1 and try for a place on line 12&4 near Damuqiao Rd, or line 7,4&12 at Dong'An road to the south. Both will give you quick access to all the night life and shopping of Xuhui and the FFC, but be much cheaper.

Indeed, I noticed that the rent an old house in  FFC area it's quite expensive...
I suppose that its because it is also one of the best location for an expat to live in!
I'd like to find a quite area with all the daily needs at short walk distance... (shops/groceries/metro...)
I want to be able to reach them after work without having to take any transports...
Also, I think it's important to be surrounded by western people too!
I lived in Hong kong in the past and it was very easy to go around and to speak english with people there, but in China even in Shanghai, nobody seems able at leat to understand english. ( take a taxi is alway a nightmare, most of the time the driver try to cheat you !!!)
I'm really concern about the fact the tube stations are closing very early...

I hate to be the one to say this, but if you're going to live in China, you should learn some basic mandarin to make your life easier (your address, numbers, food, and greetings are a good start).

As for accessibility, this is Shanghai. It has the most extensive metro system in the world. You are never more than 10 minutes from a shop. Wet markets are more difficult to find in the FFC and in Jing'an because of the more touristy nature of the areas (not many permanent residents). You can have groceries delivered to your door. In my neighborhood, there are 4 Family Mart shops and a 7-11 within 5 minutes walk. The nearest grocery store is 1 metro stop away, and the nearest wet market is a 10 minute bike ride.

The main nightlife areas in Puxi are julu road and Xuhui. Most of the bars that used to be in the FFC were shut down this year and they have moved to Dong'an road and Julu road.

Thanks again for your tips!
I see very difficult (impossible...) for me the possibility to be one day able to communicate in mandarin... That is why I have some scare to live in that city... I have been many times in SH already and I noticed that the communication (even in hotels...) was very very difficult!
I think (maybe I'm wrong...) that to be able to communicate in mandarin you have to have learned it at college for many years...

Is there any apps to call a taxi in english version? (some kind of Uber...) I know Uber is banned in China but maybe there is some taxi driver there that you can connect through an apps who at leat understand english?

It is good to know that You can have groceries delivered until to your door! There is any website from (western grocery like Carefour...) where you can order you needs and ask them to deliver it too?
The only one I saw was only in Chinese version with no english translation of their website possible...

Also, if you have some good agencies for houses please feel free to send me their links!
I noticed that there is thousands of rents offer, and by the way, despite the fact it seems that the offers are more than the requests/needs... prices still remain quite expensive!

Thanks in advance!

Basic mandarin phrases are easy. And they will really help. I found that my coworkers want to improve their English skills at the same time, so we trade phrases back and forth.

Hi Dan,

chosing the right district of course depends on the kind of life you expect. Personally I think living downtown is a good choice for enjoying the fun side of Shanghai, however be aware this means to make some concessions as well. Depending on your budget you might need to accept longer walking distance to metro, old or not so clean compound.

I had some difficulties looking for an apartment here 2 months ago, and when I found one I had problems with bugs, cockroaches in the apartment etc. It's an old lane house and only after moving in I realized these risky points. Single glazed windows that may cause draft in winter etc.

What I learnt was that the condition and cleanness of the compound DOES matter, even though you might find many pretty and clean apartments located in dirty and shabby compounds. Ah, and watch out the washing machines if this point is important for you. Many apartments have Chinese toploader machines which can only wash with cold water.

Regarding short distance transportation I highly recommend you to use shared bikes (I use Mobike and Ofo). These are very cheap and not even free, very convenient to get anywhere and you find a bike everywhere.

For taxi you can of course just go with the old way, stop a random taxi on the street. This is getting more difficult but still works. Most people here are using the Didi app. It is available in English, but the thing is drivers might call you and only speak Chinese of course. Still this is something you can handle, either by learning a few VERY basic lines or just ignoring calls.

Good luck / Lena

Dan77 :

Indeed, I noticed that the rent an old house in  FFC area it's quite expensive...
I suppose that its because it is also one of the best location for an expat to live in!

I lived in Hong kong in the past and it was very easy to go around ...

You don't have to live in those termites-infested-moldy-nice-looking-from-outside lane houses. Even if your flat and surrounding look sterile.
Figure out the location of your office first, then look for strategic locations within a few subway stops. You will find enough life, groceries, bakeries, bars and so on in Shanghai. And the operation time of majors subway lines have been extended recently.

Go browse "cityweekend" or "timeout Shanghai" can't post the link , you will find links to useful APPs and other info!
Good luck with your move!

For groceries, YiHaoDian (YHD) has an English app for expats. There is also the slightly more expensive Epermarket.

But seriously, learn the numbers in Chinese and make friends with your local butcher, egg lady, fruit and veg lady at a wet market if you have one near your flat.

Basic phrases:
Ni Hao! (Hello!)
Duo shao qian? (How much does it cost?)
Wo xiang yao ____. (I would like____.)
Xie Xie (thank you).

Numbers are really easy.

1. Yi.             11. Shi yi
2. Er.             12. Shi er
3. San           13. Shi san... and so on
4. Si (pronounced 'suh')
5. Wu            20. Er shi
6. Liu            21. Er shi yi
7. Qi             22. Er shi on.
8. Ba
9. Jiu             30. San shi
10. Shi         40. Si shi

100. Yi bai          110. Yi bai shi
101. Yi bai yi      111. Yi bai shi yi...
102. Yi bai er...

120. Yi bai er shi

200 is a little weird. "Liang bai" (literally 'second one hundred). But follows the same patterns as above.

300. San bai
400. Si bai...

1000. Yi qian

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