I have lived a year in Shanghai and two in Kuala Lampur. From my experience, Shanghai is a by far the best of the Chinese cities for an expat like me to reside. Shanghai is the most populous city of China for no other reason. It is one of the fastest developing cities in the world.
Anything and everything is comparatively cheap here in Shanghai let alone the rent for an apartment. I lived in a fairly good but small apartment in an urban area of the city. Everybody here is in a rush. This makes most of them ill tempered. But I was lucky to have a cheery landlord who appears as though he haven’t heard English in his lifetime but never minded me coming home very late in the night or me keeping the apartment messy. Thanks to my real estate agent.
When it comes to the lifestyle of the people, it may seem quite strange to see many people in traditional dresses throughout the day. But that is the case of just people who are still living in the previous century or so. There is a very vibrant and dynamic population too in Shanghai who are up-to-date with the current happenings in fashion and lifestyle all around the world. You can see many people in the streets from various cultures and countries very much like us. So no expats will feel like stranded out in some other planet.
The pollution in the city is the main concern that is puzzling even the officials. It seems to be rising from day to day. The polluted atmosphere poses a threat to the skin. When it comes to skincare, I prefer natural and herbal ways. In a place this polluted, I give safety higher priority rather than beauty. Proper sunscreens or other facial creams are highly recommended. The streets of Shanghai is crowded with people from all over the world alike battling all such challenges.
This pollution has made much problem to the roadside food vendors too. Food from such shops may seem like an unwanted risk in our lives. But if you are into some great international food, there are places that do offer it. When you are planning to stay in Shanghai for a fairly long time, you will come to understand that cooking your own food is much healthier and cheaper. For a foreigner in Shanghai, it might take more than a month to fit into the new-found routine.
The night life in the city is one rather interesting. Even though the government seem to have certain pre-historic kind of rules and beliefs, the city has got a really active night life. The traffic in Shanghai is nightmare during the rush hours like any other prominent cities. But the city has a well-established and reliable metro and subway system. The metro rails of Shanghai is one of the longest in the world. You can buy almost all items for a fairly minimum price in Shanghai.
There are markets that sell almost anything under the sky. When it comes to fish and meat market, you might see even the most unexpected ones from insects and snakes to even crocodiles! The exact cultural background and beliefs of China is a bit strange and indigestible for expats. But it is quite a relief to see such a large and busy city being friendly to foreigners and immigrants from all over the world.
So, the final verdict is yours to take. Do you believe Shanghai deserves your acquaintance?