12 Hours in Shanghai

On my way to Cambodia for work I had a 12 hour layover in Shanghai and I was definitely not about to spend it all in an airport. For weeks I researched what I should do. Having already been to Shanghai years ago, I’d seen The Oriental Pearl Tower and places like it so I wanted to explore some place different.


1984 Bookstore, Brut Cake, Vienna Cafe and more all seemed like great places to visit but unfortunately were too far from the airport and seemed too complicated to get to. In the thick of my frustration, I stumbled upon the hidden treasure that is, Tianzifang.

An artsy area filled with shops, bars, restaurants and tea houses, galleries and more. You can spend hours weaving through the maze like alleys, admiring the architecture and searching for your next snack from all the amazing eateries.

After I searched for an ATM, the baggage drop off area and found the the Maglev train which is said to reach 430 km/hr, mine only went up to 300km/hr which is fast enough, I had about 6-8 hours of play time. I hoped on the train, took 2 subway transfers and finally arrived at Tianzifang.

My first stop was for breakfast at Kommune Cafe. When I arrived it was just opening so I had the whole place to myself. I ordered their Avocado and Tomato Smash with a Sri Lankan Chai Latte.  All pretty tasty.

I spent the next few hours exploring. Checking out the shops, searching for post cards and stumbling upon the amazing gallery of Xuanmin JIN. His photographs were breathtaking. It’s definitely a must see when you go! :)


I almost fainted when I found Craftxm, a store housing leather journals, sketchbooks, wallets bags and more. I love a good journal but I had to walk away as I had no room in my bag. :( next time I’ll go HAM!

I rested and people watched as I grubbed on some vermicelli noodles at a restaurant I don’t know the name of but it’s next door to Kafelaku Coffee. I was too hungry to take pictures but it was really good!

After a long travel day and all day in Tianzifang I was wiped. I made my way back to the airport, found some mochi ice-cream and binge watched 4400 as I waited for my flight!

If you’re ever in Shanghai make sure Tianzifang is on your list.


1. Download CityMaps2Go.
Before I left the States I downloaded the map of Shanghai and made of list of places I wanted to try, like Kommune Cafe. This was a huge help in helping me navigate how to get from the train station to my destination.

2. If you’re short on time, take the Maglev train. It cut down my travel time significantly and was quite enjoyable. At the airport, I got a round trip Maglev ticket plus Metro pass (85CYN)

3. Download the Shanghai Metro map. https://exploreshanghai.com/metro/

4. Get a VPN.
I used ExpressVPN. There are cheaper options out there but this one kept coming up with good reviews and I didn’t want to chance it so I paid the 12.95 for a month and just cancelled when I got home.

5. Download a currency calculator.

6. As far as money, I withdrew exactly $73.54 from the ATM. This was enough to cover my transportation, my 2 meals, snack, and some postcards. I’m not really big on souvenirs so this was plenty and I had a couple dollars left over.

How to get from Pudong International Airport to Tianzifang:

-Take the Maglev train to the last stop, Longyang Road Station
-Transfer to metro line 2 towards E.Xujing
-Ride 3 stops and get off at Century Avenue (There is also a Century Park so pay attention)
-Transfer to metro line 9 towards Songjiang St
-Ride 5 stops and get off at Dapuqiao station.

Once I got out of the station, I turned right on Ruijin
then turned right onto Taikang. You should see this sign indicating you’ve reached Tianzifang
From there I turned right and wandered until I found where I wanted to be.

Good luck!!