Select Page

Couchsurfing with locals in Shanghai

Couchsurfing with locals in Shanghai

During our travels we have had the most fun when befriending locals and spending time with them.

Couchsurfing is a great way of doing this – you have your own profile set up, stating whether you want to ‘host' or ‘surf' and you can then search based on your preferences.

We hosted travellers several times in our London flat before leaving and loved it.  For a host, you get to meet like minded travellers from all around the world.  For a ‘surfer' you get to stay somewhere (for free) with a local and see a place from their point of view.

In Shanghai we stayed with Edward Khang, a Bornei native now living and working in Shanghai:

Couchsurfing host posing at Shanghai financial district
Posing with our couchsurfing host, Edward, in front of Shanghai's financial district

The sexy Shanghai skyline:

Edward was kind enough to not only host us but to show us Shanghai.

The Bund area of Shanghai is a mile long promenade walk along the water front in central Shanghai opposite the financial district.  This area gives you some of the best views of the incredible architecture in China's financial heart just across the river:

Financial district view from the Bund promenade
Admiring Shanghai's financial district from the Bund

The Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower was our favourite building:

Night view of Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower
View of Shanghai's beautiful Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower at night

We also visited the very cosmopolitan French Concession area in Shanghai, with very European looking buildings:

Photo from the very cosmopolitan French Concession area in Shanghai
Photo from the very cosmopolitan French Concession area in Shanghai

Our couch surfer host in Shanghai also took us out with his friends.  We visited “Spicy Joint” restaurant, specialising in Sichuan food (very tasty!):

Eating Sichuan food in Shanghai
Eating delicious Sichuan food at the Spicy Joint restaurant in Shanghai with our couch surfer host and his Spanish friends
Drinks with friends at the Liquid Laundry bar in Shanghai
A night on the Shanghai town at Liquid Laundry bar

Food adventures in Shanghai:

No post on our blog would be complete without a few words and photos from us of our food adventures.

Trying barbecued chicken feet in Shanghai
Stefan not really taking well to barbecued chicken feet in Shanghai
Trying fresh water fish with sweet sauce
Sebastien trying fresh water fish with sweet sauce
Trying stir fried snake hot garlic sauce
Stir fried snake hot garlic sauce

Our couch surfer host took us out to try Shanghai dumplings – larger then normal dumplings with a “soup” like juice inside:

Trying Shanghai dumplings
Our couch surfer host took us out to try Shanghai dumplings

And some snacks we didn't try in Shanghai:

Chicken feet snacks at Shanghai supermarket
Chicken feet snacks at a Shanghai supermarket

Another snack we didn't try was frog related (tried before in France and not really impressed).  Frogs are sold in supermarkets in Shanghai, which shows the influence of the French here in this “Paris of the East” city:

Frogs for sale in a Shanghai supermarket
Frogs for sale in a Shanghai supermarket – showing the influence of French cuisine

Day trips from Shanghai:

Shanghai is a good base from which to make day trips to the surrounding areas.  We only had time to make one short visit to the nearby wealthy town of “Suzhou”.  Suzhou is a 20-40 minutes train journey from Shanghai and is popular for its beautiful gardens:

Admiring the beautiful gardens at Suzhou
Sebastien admiring the beautiful gardens at Suzhou
Nomadic Boys admiring Suzhou beautiful gardens
Nomadic Boys admiring the beautiful gardens at Suzhou

And as ever in our travels in China, we were asked to pose for a photo with these two charming Chinese girls.  We always oblige on condition that Stefan gets to pose with the one of the Chinese girl's very dramatic sun glasses:

Photo with random Chinese girls
Random Chinese girls asking to have their photo taken with us.

We loved Shanghai and didn't expect to.  It's just another very developed Asian city.  But staying with our Couch surfing friend, Edward, changed the experienced and made it one of our best memories in China.

Next, we say bye bye to Shanghai and board the speedy Chinese train for the tropical Chinese south:

About to board the train bound for Guilin
Nomadic Boys about to board speedy Chinese train for the tropical South


⭐️ TRAVEL INSURANCE — We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.

⭐️ SAFETY & SECURITY — All travelers can sometimes encounter danger when traveling. CloseCircle is your “virtual body guard” mobile app which provides security alerts and support wherever you are in the world. They have a 24/7 emergency response team monitoring their users who will contact you immediately if the SOS swipe button is activated. Support can include anything from practical advice, to free evacuation from areas with extreme weather or security risks. You can read more about CloseCircle in our article about how to stay safe whilst traveling.

⭐️ ONLINE ANONYMITY — A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a must in many countries: it allows you to surf anonymously and maintain your privacy whilst traveling. You'll particularly need it in countries where dating apps are blocked by the government. We recommend ExpressVPN, a reliable and cost effective service which we used and loved during our travels.

⭐️ HOTELS or APARTMENTS — When we plan a trip, we always look for the best hotel deals. We love because not only do they have a comprehensive listing of accommodation options, they also offer the best prices. Added bonus: they provide 24/7 support and free cancellation for most listings.

⭐️ SIGHTSEEING and ADVENTURES — When we travel somewhere, we like to seek out the best experiences, whether it is cooking with locals in Bangkok, hiking on a glacier in Patagonia, or going on a wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. Our favorite place to look is GetYourGuide because they have over 30,000 highly rated activities, a user-friendly booking process with free cancellation and a 24 hour customer support.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click on them, we may receive compensation which keeps our website alive and helps us bring you to more destinations.

For more, watch our China travel video as we ate our way from Beijing in the North all the way to the south via Pingyao, Xi'An, Shanghai, Yangshuo through to Shangri-La:



  1. Thanks Kerry 🙂

  2. Hi guys!
    I’m a 28yo gay guy from New Zealand. I just stumbled across your blog researching my week long trip to Shanghai in mid January 2015.

    Great to hear about your positive couch surfing experience – I’ve never done it and am tempted to try it as I don’t know anyone in Shanghai!

    Keep up the good work 🙂


  3. Bosco will kill u if he see this pic hahahahahaha

    • I thought it’s a lovely photo of him Sean?

  4. It’s great to hear you had a brilliant couchsurfing experience, it looks like Edward was an amazing host who helped you get under the skin of the city. The food there looks pretty extreme though – I’m guessing it’s not veggie-friendly 🙂

    • Actually Amy – the Chinese make the best vegetables ever! Our favourite was stir fried with garlic – so so tasty.

  5. “Frogs are sold in supermarkets in Shanghai, which shows the influence of the French here in this “Paris of the East” city”. I think it quite likely that the Chinese were eating frogs before (or independently of) the French – they are also commonly eaten throughout east Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Vietnam. Anyway, great pictures of food and friends from you boys!

    • Thanks for your comment Wilfrid. I think we got confused as there were specific frog based dishes particular to Shanghai, like “Rice incenses frog” and “Stir-fry a frog a short time” (literal translations from one menu), which we were told were influenced by the French.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like:

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive our latest travel stories, exclusive deals, travel tips. We are also offering a free ebook revealing the 10 best apps every gay traveller should have.

You have Successfully Subscribed!