Couchsurfing with locals in Shanghai

Sebastien Chaneac

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

Happy travels are safe travels

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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:

Sebastien Chaneac

Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

9 thoughts on “Couchsurfing with locals in Shanghai”

  1. 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 🙂


  2. 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 🙂

  3. “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.


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