Updated 2016

Just being here, whether with or without a tour group, will give you the ultimate indie travel experience, but here's some tips to guide you through your time in Shanghai.
  • It may be pricey at just over $7US for a one way ticket, but taking a ride on Shanghai's Maglev Train, which hits speeds of 265 MPH (430 KPH) is a pretty awesome experience.
  • Shanghai is a good city for wandering, but be careful. Pedestrians don't exactly have the right of way here. But if you can brave it, wandering around and seeing the mix of east and west - with buildings built in Parisian and Tudor styles, plus classic Chinese styles, with tree-lined neighborhoods - it is one of the most extremely varied cities in the world.
  • Explore the various temples and museums and notice the plethora of architectural styles.
  • A trip to Shanghai wouldn't be complete without having some tea in a tea house.
  • Tours aren't exactly the most indie experiences in the world, but after exploring Shanghai on your own for a while, you might want to make it easy on yourself. A river tour is a great way to check out the Shanghai skyline.
  • Take home the ultimate souvenir from China - food! Take a cooking class and learn how to cook one of the world's great cuisines.

Read: Shanghai Redux.

Why you should add Shanghai to your RTW travel list

  • How's this for diverse: Shanghai's the "Paris of China," "Pearl of the Orient," and "Whore of the East"
  • Experience a colorful past and the city's thriving new presence in China
  • The "Pearl of the Orient" promises exotic delights and adventure
  • Shanghai is your gateway to eastern China
  • Explore the 3,900-mile Yangtze river from its mouth in Shanghai
  • Shanghai City Beach offers a myriad of activities for travelers.

Read: One Foot in the Future: Shanghai.

Why you should not add Shanghai to your RTW travel list

  • If you aren't an experienced traveler, Shanghai, and China as a whole, is going to be extremely intimidating.
  • The language barrier is a major obstacle as English is not prevalent, making seeking out authentic experiences very difficult.
  • While you can get by on a backpacker budget, if you want some comfort, you're going to have to buck up.