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Top travel tips and where to stay for the Chinese Grand Prix

Legally F1
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Friend of FanAmp, LegallyF1 (Lindsay), attended the Chinese Grand Prix - here are her top tips from what to pack, where to stay, and how to fly to and get around Shanghai!

The Shanghai Grand Prix made its triumphant return to the F1 calendar in 2024, and for those willing to make the trip to China it is a can’t miss event! If you are interested in attending the Shanghai Grand Prix in the future, here is everything you need to know. 

If you want to hear more about attending the Chinese Grand Prix including fun on track activities and local transit, check out Lindsay's on track article!

How to prepare for your Chinese Grand Prix trip!

Where do I purchase Chinese Grand Prix Tickets?

This year, race tickets were first made available through a ticket sale website operated through WeChat. However, the website crashed almost immediately after going live and the future of ticket sales became a bit of a mystery. While there were a small number of tickets available through third-party sellers, and many tickets were eventually put up for re-sale, it seemed like the most effective way to get a face-value ticket for the Chinese Grand Prix was to have a local connection to help you hunt tickets down. Because there was so much trouble with the ticket sales this year, it is unclear if this process will be the same for future races. 

What are my flight options to get to Shanghai and how much will it cost?

Shanghai has two international airports: the Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and the Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA). While Shanghai Hongqiao is significantly closer to the Shanghai International Circuit, this airport is primarily for domestic and regional flights. So, chances are, if you are booking travel to Shanghai, you will be flying through Shanghai Pudong, located across Bund from downtown Shanghai. 

Most major airlines either offer direct flights to Shanghai from the United States or Europe. For example, living in Atlanta my airline of choice is Delta, so my trip consisted of co-booked flights on Delta and Korean Air. Depending on your loyalty or local hub, it should not be difficult to find the flight you need to take you to Shanghai! There is also the option to book on Chinese airlines, like China Eastern or Air China, but options on these airlines may be limited—for the most part they only operate direct flights to Shanghai through Los Angeles. 

Chinese GP Traveling to Shanghai
Chinese GP Traveling to Shanghai

Another thing to keep in mind when booking flights is that, because China has only been re-opened to international travel for about a year now, flights are still expensive. While slightly inconvenient, it is often cheaper to fly from the United States to other cities in Asia, like Seoul or Tokyo, before continuing to Shanghai. Booking these flights on separate reservations can help to save anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars. 

Most flights to Asia also originate on the west coast, and flights originate elsewhere in the United States are significantly more expensive. If you do not live on the west coast, an additional stop within the United States may also help to reduce airfare costs. A flight directly from Atlanta to Seoul was nearly double the cost of a flight from Seattle to Seoul, so I opted to make an additional stop in Seattle to save a few thousand dollars. 

However, the ultimate cost differentiator when booking flights will be the type of ticket you opt to purchase. Economy tickets, purchased about 3-months in advance, will likely run about $2000, with business class costing around $6000, and premium economy being somewhere in between. But as with most international travel, it is best to book flights as early as possible to get the best deal!

Where should I stay in Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix?

Shanghai is one of the largest cities in the world, so there is no shortage of options when it comes to finding a place to stay!

Location, Location, Location

I want to stay in the heart of Shanghai!

If you want to get the full Shanghai experience, staying in The Bund is a must! The Bund is the metropolitan center and home to the iconic Shanghai Pudong skyline. Spend your morning strolling along the Bund before heading out to the track in Jiading, and return post-race for fantastic dining and nightlife! 

Chinese GP Shanghai People's Square
Shanghai People's Square

Just up the road from The Bund is People’s Square, which is also home to several great tourist attractions. There you can find the Shanghai Museum, People’s Square, and People’s Park. Like The Bund, the People’s Square area is part of the Huangpu District and there are plenty of options for dining and entertainment. Staying near People’s Square, you may also have an opportunity to observe the People’s Park Marriage Market, where parents of unmarried adults will gather to try to find suitable spouses for their children. While I didn’t have a chance to observe this myself, I have heard from others who have that it is quite the sight to be seen.   

What if I want to stay closer to the track?

There are also several options for staying closer to the track while still being in a metropolitan area. For example, Hongqiao is more on the outskirts of Shanghai but is still a convenient location with a bustling central business district. Other neighborhoods further west in Shanghai include Qibao, Nanxiang, and of course, Jiading where the track is located. If opting to stay outside of the city center, be sure to do your research about accommodations and dining to ensure you are up for the experience. 

What are my hotel options in Shanghai?

Park Hotel Shanghai
Park Hotel Shanghai

While airfare costs have surged in China post-pandemic, hotel prices remain very reasonable. While prices during the race weekend itself are going to surge of course, if you book early enough you can get a great deal on luxury hotels, even in the Bund! For western travelers, hotel chains are most accessible due to local regulations regarding providing accommodations to local travelers. This is not to say that non-chain hotels do not permit foreign travelers, but be sure to do your research before booking a local hotel to ensure you will not be turned away when you arrive to check in.

Are there any alternatives to hotels?

As a foreign traveler, staying in a hotel is pretty much your only option. Airbnb ceased operations in Shanghai several years ago, and while there are several Chinese alternatives like Xiaozhu and Tujia, very few properties (if any) are available to be rented by foreigners due to local rules and regulations. Because hosts must collect and report passport information of all foreign guests, they often choose to only allow locals to rent their properties to avoid the bureaucratic inconvenience. 

Is there public transportation in Shanghai?

As with any major metropolitan area, there are countless ways to get around Shanghai! The most convenient and commonly used are DiDi, taxis, and the metro system. 

DiDi Transit

DiDi Transit Shanghai
DiDi Transit Shanghai

DiDi operates just like your favorite rideshare app and is typically regarded as the best way for foreign travelers to get around in Shanghai. Just input your desired destination in English, and the app will take care of the rest! 


Several taxi companies operate in Shanghai, but traveling by taxi can be difficult because of the language barrier. If you do want to travel by taxi, be sure to download the China Taxi App before you go so that you can more easily communicate with your taxi driver. 


Shanghai has an impressive subway network, which even inspired Zhou Guanyu’s special edition helmet for his first home race in Shanghai! Metro Man and Shanghai Metro are great apps for helping to navigate the metro system. The metro also has a stop just a short walk from Shanghai International Circuit, so no matter where you are staying in Shanghai this is a convenient and affordable option for getting to and from the track each day!

What you need to prepare for your Shanghai trip and the Chinese Grand Prix

Do you need a passport and visa?

Travel to China from most countries requires a passport and visa, which you will need to apply for in advance. Anyone with a valid passport can apply for a Chinese visa, and there are several companies that can help you will this process. For example, I used Visa Express  

There are four types of Chinese visa: diplomatic, courtesy, service, and ordinary visas, with ordinary visas being the most common for foreign travelers. I have a L Class ordinary visa, which is essentially a basic tourist visa and what you would apply for to visit for the Grand Prix. The good news is that most visas are good for 10 years, so once you have one you can return to Shanghai as many times as you would like prior to the visa expiring. 

What should I pack?

April is one of the most pleasant times of year to visit Shanghai. Temperatures on average are in the high 60s to low 70s, with lows only dropping into the low-to-mid 50s overnight.  Just beware that spring is the rainy season in Shanghai, so make sure your rain gear finds its way into your suitcase. This year, the temperature over the race weekend hovered around 70 degrees and was cloudy with some intermittent rain. 

You also do not want to forget to pack all your race day essentials. For me, this includes:

  • Tissues, Wipes, Hand Sanitizer
  • Sun Protection (Hat, Sunglasses, Sunscreen)
  • Ear Protection (I like noise cancelling ear buds the best)
  • Camera
  • Good pair of Walking Shoes
  • Poncho and Umbrella

If you’re interested in a full guide to packing for a race day, check out FanAmp's Race Day Essentials Guide

What currency should I bring? Can I use my Debit or Credit Cards?

While having local currency used to be a must when traveling to China, that is not really the case anymore. WeChat pay is the dominant form of payment, so I would highly recommend getting that set up before traveling to China—the only caveat is that, if you do not have a Chinese bank account, you can only sign up for WeChat Pay with a Visa or MasterCard. If you are unable to connect to WeChat Pay, your (non-Amex) bank or credit card should still be accepted at most places. That all being said, it is always a good idea to carry some cash just in case! We did almost have to break into our cash to pay for lunch at the track because the cell service was so weak, and we were having trouble accessing WeChat. Cash will also be useful if you want to go to a local market and bargain for some tchotchkes! 

Other Shanghai Tips!

  • Do not drink the tap water in China unless it has been boiled for hot tea or coffee. The same goes for ice in beverages from most places (hotels and nicer restaurants are usually alright), brushing your teeth, the works. 
  • What many people do not realize before traveling to China is that not all restrooms are what they refer to as “western restrooms” with toilets, so be prepared. It is also possible that the restrooms will not have toilet paper, so I always will always carry tissues with me. Wipes and hand sanitizer certainly does not hurt either. 
  • Most phone carriers are compatible with Chinese cellular networks if you have an international plan, but always check your carrier before traveling just to be safe. If your carrier is compatible, there is no need to purchase a Chinese SIM to use during the duration of your stay.
  • Hotels, restaurants, and other public places will also have WiFi networks that you can connect to if you want to cut back on data costs. I have found that the WiFi can sometimes be far slower than data because it is government-regulated, and many websites will also be blocked when using WiFi. A VPN (like Express VPN) can be used to access blocked websites, but this does not help with the internet speed. 
  • It is always a good idea to bring a universal outlet converter just in case. Most hotels have various outlet types from all over the world, but any electronics with a US-style 3-prong plug can only be use with a converter. 

What apps should I download before arriving in Shanghai?

Shanghai Must Have Apps
Shanghai Must Have Apps
  • Google Translate (or another translation app of choice)
  • WeChat – This is the holy grail app for locals. It is a search engine, messaging and social media app, payment and money transfer app, and everything in between. I found the search engine to be very helpful in preparing for my trip, as there was a lot of information about the Shanghai Grand Prix that could only be found on Chinese websites via WeChat. And as I mentioned, WeChat Pay was a must while I was in Shanghai—aside from meals and my hotel payment, I exclusively used WeChat Pay. 

Lindsay's Shanghai Experience

Packing and Preparations

Race Tickets

Unfortunately, I cannot provide a lot of insights on the ticket purchasing process because I had the help of several locals in tracking down race tickets. All I know is that, weeks after ticket originally went on sale, they miraculously found and bought tickets for the original sale price. 


My packing got off to a very rough start—I had ambitious goals of fitting everything in a carry-on suitcase but as a chronic over packer I just was not able to make this happen. Aside from my race items, packing was relatively easy since this was a work trip after all. Once I had my work clothes all sorted, I turned to my race outfits and necessities. With rain in the forecast for the race weekend, I made sure to pack a water-resistant jacket, umbrella, and rain ponchos just to be safe. I also packed some snacks for the plane and the race, my camera, friendship bracelets, my ear protection, and wipes, tissues, and hand sanitizer.

Now did I overpack for this trip? Yes, yes, I did. But the larger suitcase was worth it because I was able to bring back goodies from my trip!

Traveling to Shanghai

My journey to Shanghai started bright and early, waking up at 5:00am for my first of three flights on my way to Shanghai. I made the early morning trek to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, and from there hopped on a 5-hour flight to Seattle. I was lucky enough to secure an upgrade to Delta’s Comfort+, so I had a little extra leg room to make the flight more tolerable. When I landed in Seattle, I had about a three-hour layover before heading off on the middle and longest leg of my journey. 

Traveling to Shanghai through Korea
Traveling to Shanghai through Korea

For this 11-hour fight to Seoul, I decided to splurge on Prestige (business) Class, and the extra cost was completely worth the comfort! 

Because I hardly slept on my flight to Seoul, I was exhausted when we landed! But I just had a few more hours to go, so I powered through. And even though I was basically sleepwalking at this point in my trip, I did immediately notice how nice the Seoul airport was. It was so clean, well-organized, and the duty-free shops filled with Korean skincare—yes please! This leg of my trip was honestly a blur, and on my flight from Seoul to Shanghai, also on Korean air, I barely kept my eyes open for dinner before sleeping the rest of the flight.

Unfortunately, my flight landed in Shanghai at the same time as several other flights, so the customs line was so long. It took about an hour and a half to get through customs, but then I quickly collected my bag and headed to my hotel in The Bund, which was about 30 minutes away from the airport. I did have a private car arranged to pick me up from the airport, but if this had not been the case, I would have just taken a taxi. 

Even though the trip was super long and exhausting, it was definitely worth it for the week that I had in Shanghai!

Hotel in Shanghai

Pulling up to my hotel, I instantly knew I made the right decision deciding to spend most of my week staying in The Bund! I booked the Westin Bund Center, which was only about $250 per night. I also got upgraded to a suite when I checked in, which was a huge bonus! The price of this hotel was closer to $500 per night during the race weekend, but I would say that is still a bargain considering the location! I was only about a 10-minute walk from The Bund, Yu Garden, and Nanjing Lu, and there were countless phenomenal restaurants also within walking distance. 

On Thursday, I left The Bund and moved to the Le Meridien in Qibao, which is about 45 minutes west of The Bund. 

Le Meridien Qibao
Le Meridien Qibao

While this was less expensive than staying in The Bund during race weekend, the Le Meridien is still a luxury hotel and of course was priced accordingly. While it was not the same as being in The Bund, I enjoyed having an opportunity to experience a less-popular area of the city. Qibao also has a very cool “old town” area built to reflect the appearance of ancient Chinese towns. I also ate several fantastic meals in Qibao, including a traditional hot pot dinner.

Public Transportation

My most frequently used form of transportation while I was in Shanghai was DiDi—it was the most convenient for getting around and was incredibly cost effective. My 15-minute ride into the office each day from my hotel was less than $5, which is an absolute steal compared to Uber or Lyft prices! 

I also used the metro to get to and from the track, and I can see why locals are so fond of the metro as a means of transportation! I am very picky when it comes to public transportation, but Shanghai’s metro system was one of the best I have experienced. As a foreigner it was also very easy to navigate—the ticket kiosks had an English option, and all stops were announced in English as well. 

Chinese GP Ticket Vending Machine
Chinese GP Ticket Vending Machine

Transportation in a country like China where there is such a significant language barrier can be very daunting, but with these options I never found myself being concerned about whether I would be able to get from one place to another. 

Tourist Attractions and Food

While the primary reason for my trip to Shanghai (aside from attending the race) was for work, I still was able to fit in some sightseeing and incredible meals in on the side. 


Staying near The Bund, I started every morning with a walk along the river but also made my way back at night to see all the lights of the Pudong skyline. The Bund at night is a must if you truly want to capture the atmosphere of Shanghai!

Shanghai View
Shanghai View

I also spent some time walking around People’s Square outside of the Shanghai Museum, and also ventured over to the nearby Park Hotel which is famous for being one of the first hotels in Shanghai to host foreign travelers. Attached to the Park Hotel is the Park Hotel Deli, which always has a line out the door and up the street. 

From what I have heard, it is a Shanghai establishment that is a must-try! 


The highlight of my trip was definitely the food, and I did not have a bad meal while I was in Shanghai! I started my week having Yunnan food at Lost Heaven in The Bund, went to Canton Disco in the Shanghai EDITION hotel for Dim Sum, and had several meals from local restaurants including (very!) spicy Szechuan and Shanghainese food, and a traditional hot pot experience. 

Shanghai Food - Hot Pot
Traditional Shanghainese food

If you are looking for a more comprehensive guide for everything to do and eat in Shanghai, check out Off to the Races' Off the Track Guide!

If you want to hear more about the fan experience attending the Chinese Grand Prix, check out that article. For tickets visit P1 Travel and to figure out where to sit, check out our Chinese Grand Prix Seating Guide [COMING SOON].

Already attending the Chinese Grand Prix? Join FanAmp to chat with other race-goers!

Want to check out all of Lindsay's Chinese Grand Prix content? Check out her socials or chat with her on FanAmp!

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