In this Go Shanghai Card review, we’ll explore what the card offers, how it works, and whether it can help you save money on your trip there. Enjoy!
So, you’ve decided to visit Shanghai! As the most populous city in the world, Shanghai is also one of the most visited. Still, if this is your first visit to China, be prepared for a little culture shock.
For the typical American travelers, visiting China isn’t like traveling to Europe or the Caribbean. Be prepared for significant language barriers, weird toilets, internet firewalls, and an incredible experience.
With that said, Shanghai is a bright, modern, bustling metropolis with some amazing sightseeing opportunities – including its iconic skyline. It’s more expensive than many places in China but it is still one of the cheapest places to travel in the world – far cheaper than many European and American cities. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re not looking for ways to save where you can, am I right?
Great food can be had for relatively cheap, and hotels aren’t exorbitantly expensive. There’s also lots of sightseeing you can do for free or almost free (outdoor markets are among my favorite activities in Asian cities). But, getting there isn’t cheap, so it’s smart to look for ways to save on flights. Additionally, if you want access to the landmark towers or the sought-after museums and tours, you’re gonna have to drop some green.
Thankfully, there is a way to save on sightseeing expenses – the Go Shanghai Card. In this review, I’ll explain how this attraction pass works, what’s included, how much it costs, and who should consider it.
So, are you ready to save while in Shanghai? Here’s how!
Go Shanghai Card: How it Works
The Go Shanghai Card is an all-inclusive attraction pass featuring entry to 13 of Shanghai’s top tourist sites for one low price. You can buy a one, two, or three-day pass and visit as many attractions as you’d like during that time frame.
Here’s the best part: When compared to regular admission prices at the gate, the Go Shanghai Card can cut your sightseeing costs in half! (More on that later.)
Once you buy your pass online, you’ll immediately receive it via email. You can use a mobile version of the pass on your phone (with the free Go City App), or you can print a copy if you prefer. Either way, all you have to do is show your pass at each attraction and head on in!
Like other Go City Cards, including the Go Chicago Card, this all-inclusive card works on a consecutive day basis. That means you can visit as many attractions as you’d like during the time your pass is valid. Your pass becomes active when you visit your first attraction.
It’s important to remember that the Go Shanghai Card works on a “calendar day” basis, not 24-hour periods. For example, if you buy a three-day pass and activate it Friday, the pass is valid for the rest of Friday (no matter what time you first used it), and all of Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, it’s usually best to activate your pass in the morning so you can make the most of your first day.
Attractions Included on the Go Shanghai Card
The Go Shanghai Card includes admission to 13 of the top attractions in the city, including:
- The Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower – $44.29
- Happy Valley Shanghai Theme Park – $33.96
- Shanghai World Financial Center Observatory – $26.58
- Yu Garden (Yuyuan) – $5.91
- Shanghai Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour – $14.77
- Shanghai Zoo – $5.91
- Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck – $17.72
- Shanghai Tower: Guanfu Classical Art Museum – $14.77
- Pujiang River Cruise Tour – $19.20
- Shanghai Changfeng Ocean World – $26.58
- Shanghai Museum of Glass – $25.43
- Shanghai Film Park – $11.81
- Shanghai Grand View Garden – $8.86
Go Shanghai Card Pricing
So, now that I’ve got you hyped up about the included attractions, you’re probably wondering how much the Go Shanghai Card is going to set you back. Here you go:
|Pass||Regular Price Pass|
When it comes to value, clearly, the three-day pass is the best deal. At regular price, it averages out to $50 a day. Could you do all 13 attractions in three days? Maybe…if you really rushed. I think it’s reasonable to say you could do three per day, though.
So, let’s say you’re buying the three-day pass and are planning to visit nine attractions total. If you leave out the cheapest four, the regular admission costs would add up to $223.30. The pass only costs $150, so you’re saving over $70 per person. That’s awesome!
However, if you’re familiar with passes like the Go Cancun Card, you probably noticed that there’s no designated child pass. That means, if you’re traveling with family, you’ll have to buy a Go Shanghai Card for everyone at full price (womp, womp). Since some attractions offer lower pricing for kids, that does eat into some of your savings.
If you choose to visit cheaper attractions and leave out some of the more expensive options, that will eat into the discount, too. The Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower and Happy Valley Shanghai Theme Park have the most expensive regular admission costs ($78.25 combined), so make sure you use the Go Shanghai Card to visit them if you want to get the best bang for your buck.
Top Reasons to Buy the Go Shanghai Card
Save Big on Sightseeing Admission Costs
The biggest reason to buy a sightseeing pass is to save money, right? The Go Shanghai Card claims it can save you up to 55% off the cost of regular admission. Although I think that is a little bit of a stretch (more on that below), the potential savings are still way more than respectable. Using our example from before, if you visit the 9 most expensive attractions using the 3-day pass, you’ll net a savings of about 33%. No, that isn’t as impressive as 55%. Still, it is a pretty good deal, and it falls in line with similar passes in other cities.
Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
Bus tours are an excellent way for first-time visitors to get introduced to a new and exciting city. The Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour comes with the Go Shanghai Card and includes three routes to choose from. Tours are narrated in eight languages, including English (yay!) You can stay on the bus and take in the tour or hop off at one of the multiple stops to go to an attraction. You can hop back on when you’re done.
Carry Less Cash
If you’ve never visited China before, you’re in for a few surprises. One thing you may not have anticipated is that your credit cards might not be accepted. The Chinese rely heavily on a digital payment system kind of like ApplePay called WeChat. It only connects to Chinese bank accounts. So, unless you have one of those, you’ll be using cash a lot more than you’re accustomed to. Carrying lots of cash when traveling can be a risk, and constantly hitting ATMs can get expensive. When you buy the Go Shanghai Card ahead of time, admission to Shanghai’s hottest tourist destinations is prepaid, so there is no need to worry about your payment method.
Other Benefits of the Go Shanghai Card
- Guidebook – Every Go Shanghai Card comes with a guidebook that gives you the low-down on all of the included attractions. Things like address, directions, business hours, and more. The guide is available to use online or as a printable PDF.
- Convenience and Flexibility – Unlike some sightseeing passes, the Go Shanghai Card is available as a digital or physical pass. If you prefer the hassle-free digital route, you can use the Go Shanghai Card via the free Go City App. If you feel more comfortable with a hard copy, you can print it and carry on.
Where the Go Shanghai Card Falls Short
The Go Shanghai Card can definitely help you save money on sightseeing in Shanghai. However, there are a couple of shortcomings worth noting.
First, unlike most sightseeing passes, the Go Shanghai Card does not offer child pricing. That means you’ll pay full price if you want to buy a pass for your kids. That’s a problem because some of the included attractions charge lower admission prices for children, diminishing the value of your sightseeing pass.
It’s also important to note that, in China, child status tends to be defined by height rather than by age. For example, at the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, kids under one meter (about 3.3 feet) in height get free admission. So, you probably shouldn’t buy a Go Shanghai Card for your small kids.
Additionally, the savings claims on the Go Shanghai Card seem to be a little inflated. As I mentioned before, the Go Shanghai Card advertises 55% in savings, but that isn’t realistic. If purchased at regular price, the 3-day Go Shanghai Card would save you 41% if you visited all the attractions. That number is obviously less if you don’t get to them all – which is fairly likely.
With that said, can the pass save you money? Heck, yes! A 30-40% savings is still great. But, can the Go Shanghai Card save you 55%? I don’t really see how.
Who is the Go Shanghai Card Good For?
Travelers on a sightseeing mission – If you love jam-packed days full of sightseeing and tourist activities, then an all-inclusive attraction pass like to Go Shanghai Card will be a great fit for you.
First-time visitors – If it’s your first time visiting the metropolis of Shanghai, you probably want to see the top tourist spots anyway, right? With 13 of the best attractions included on the Go Shanghai Card and the chance to save money, this pass is likely a good fit for you.
Travelers visiting the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower and Happy Valley Shanghai Theme Park – If you know you’ll visit these two sites, you’re likely to get good value from the Go Shanghai Card since they are more expensive.
Who Should Skip the Go Shanghai Card?
Families with small children – Well, mom and dad shouldn’t skip it, but it might not be a good deal to buy it for your kids. The Go Shanghai Card doesn’t offer child pricing, even though some of the included attractions do. So, depending on the regular child admission price, you may or may not save money by buying your child a pass. Remember also that child pricing in China is often based on height instead of age. If your children are small, their admission might be free or pretty cheap. If they’re tall, they might be charged as adults. So, it pays to check these things out before springing for a Go Shanghai Card for your kids.
Sightseers who like to take their time – All-inclusive sightseeing passes work best for travelers who thrive when they have a busy itinerary, which usually includes several consecutive days of visiting multiple attractions. Sightseers preferring a more relaxed pace probably won’t get their money’s worth with the Go Shanghai Card. If you prefer taking things slow, or like to do a day of sightseeing followed by a day of relaxing,the Shanghai Explorer Pass may be a better fit.
Budget travelers – Ok, if you’re traveling to Shanghai from the U.S., you’re probably not an extreme budget traveler…but if you are, you’ll enjoy the culture shock of Shanghai without visiting the pricey tourist attractions featured on the Go Shanghai Card.
Tips for Getting the Most from the Go Shanghai Card
- Visit the most expensive attractions – At $44.29, the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower is by far the most expensive attraction included on the Go Shanghai Card, followed by the Happy Valley Shanghai Theme Park at $33.96. If you want to get the maximum possible value from your pass, you should make sure you visit both.
- Visit at least 3 attractions per day – To make the Go Shanghai Card worth it, you need to make sure the price you pay for the pass is less than what you would pay for admission without it. This means visiting multiple attractions per day. It depends which pass you choose and which sites you visit, but if you visit the two most expensive sites I mentioned above, three sites a day should result in a nice savings.
- Buy the 3-day pass – The 3-day Go Shanghai Card offers the best value, as long as you’re interested in most of the included attractions and don’t mind a few busy days in a row.
- Visit attractions near each other on the same day – Save time by planning your days with efficiency in mind. You should visit attractions that are near each other on the same day, so you don’t waste time in transit. For example, the four towers included on the Go Shanghai Card are within walking distance of each other – so it makes sense to try to do them on the same day.
- Activate the Go Shanghai Card in the morning – Your pass is activated when you use it to access your first attraction. It’s then valid for the number of days you purchased. Remember, it’s based on calendar days, not 24-hour periods. To make the most of your first day, activate the pass first thing in the morning.
How to Buy the Go Shanghai Card
Think the Go Shanghai Card sounds like a good deal for you? Get your Go Shanghai Card here.
Once your purchase is complete, the pass will immediately arrive in your inbox. You can keep it on your smartphone using the free Go City App or print a copy. Either way, just use it at your first Shanghai attraction and you’re good to go!
You have one year to activate your pass before it expires. If your travel plans change, you can get a refund on a non-activated pass within 30 days of purchase.
Go Shanghai Card Review: Is it Worth it?
So, is the Go Shanghai Card a good deal? That depends!
If you have small kids, think twice about buying a Go Shanghai Card for them. You’ll pay full price, even though some of the attractions offer discounted admission for children.
However, if you’re planning to visit most of the attractions, then the Go Shanghai Card is almost certainly worth buying – provided you don’t mind a busy two or three days of sightseeing. You’ll get access to 13 of the most popular tourist attractions in Shanghai, and you’ll save money when you visit.
I hope this Go Shanghai Card review has helped you decide if it’s the pass for you. Thanks for reading and enjoy Shanghai!