Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Where to live in Shanghai ?

This is the first question most Indians have when moving to Shanghai. They want to know which is a good place to stay, where more Indians live and so on.

First thing to clarify is - There are two areas in Shanghai, Puxi and Pudong. They are quite far away, so if you want to decide on a place to live - first you need to decide where you will be working , your office - is it located in Puxi or Pudong ? Accordingly you need to choose. It is possible, ofcourse, you live in Puxi and work in Pudong, not that it can not be done. But it is a really long commute, with the traffic in peak hours it is really a waste of time.

Second thing - your child'(ren)s school. Do you want to be right next door to the childrens' school, so they don't need to commute a long way, or you want a middle road and stay in a place where both the Father/Mother and kids have a little commute, but live in a place where there are more Indians ?

Where do Indians live ? Which compounds ?

Well, in Puxi, there is a compound called Yanlord Riverside Garden.
Address : 388 Furong Jiang Road, cross road of Tianshan road.Changning district.

There is another compound right across the road to this, which is Oasis Riviera, Address: 883 Shui Cheng road, Changning District.

These two compounds have quite a number of Indians.Both compounds have good facilities like clubhouse, childrens play area, a small super market inside the compound, and are at a reasonable distance from most International schools. There are also wet markets ( to buy vegetables) and other shops within walking distance.
Rents vary, with the size of houses - there will be two/ three/ four bedroom apartments and rents vary from 18000 to 25000, RMB for the smaller ones, to even 50 K rmb for the duplex type flats. Remember to negotiate hard with the agent.

In Pudong :

Shimao Riviera Garden - Address : 1 Weifang w road, Pudong.
Yanlord Gardens - Address : 99 Puming Road, Pudong.

These compounds are also where Indians live, and are have similar amenities and rents as mentioned above.

Other than this, In Minhang area, near all the International schools, there are few Indians in the villas, or other apartment complexes - the advantage being that they are very near to the school and have more green space around.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I am sorry I have not visited my blog in a loooong time.

For all those who commented or asked questions and not got a reply - am sorry about that ! I see that its a long time since the comments were posted, so it might not be relevant to answer the question - the persons must have already found the answers !

The reason why I was not attending the blog ? We moved back to India, oh a long time ago ! Since then, no time..

So, to answer a few questions asked in the comments section.
Where do indians live ? well,  Yanlord Riverside Garden, in Puxi.Yanlord Gardens and Shimao Riviera in pudong,  is  where indians lived more. But now, Indians are almost everywhere... more no of indians are in shanghai than before.. You should tell your agent that you want places where more indians live and they will take you there.You can then decide.

Somebody was asking about alcohol (!!) yes, its freely available, when I was there Beer was cheaper than mineral water. Now.. prices and all, dont ask me.Am not qualified to answer this question. :) Bhoomi stores the Indian grocers stocks indian made liquor.

Schools.. I have already mentioned.. SSIS, the singapore school is closest to Indian curriculum. IB curriculum, all the international schools have IB . You need to google
international schools in shanghai and go to the websites of the schools, and decide.
Shanghai expat website has some discussions on schools too.

And yes, if you work in Puxi, better to stay in Puxi, and Pudong stay in pudong. You can commute, but it is a hassle. I am not sure whether now they have more Metro lines that make it convenient.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cost of Living in Shanghai

There have been requests from people wanting to know cost of living in Shanghai, so they will know what to negotiate in their package. I did not do this post, since I cannot keep updating it with time, so it would not be current. I will put down few items, but see the date of my post here, so that you know the relevance to the time of your posting. More up- to- date information, go to Shanghaiexpat.com .. the link is on the bottom right hand side of my blog..

Conversion Rate of RMB to Rupee as at June 2015 - 1 rmb is around 10 rupees. google the exact rate for latest .

So, for basics : Housing - the rates vary greatly here, from 5000 rmb to 25,000 rmb for a two bedroom flat of 150 to 160 sq.m ( convert the rmb into rupees using the current dollar rate, keeps fluctating). Depending on the location, amenities, and whether the compound is expat/ local, the rates will vary accordingly. For single people, they can try sharing apartments. Do not tell the agent your actual budget, quote a lower one say around one to two thousands, and then you will find one in your budget.. they tend to go over your quote. Bargain hard, and ask for everything you will need in the beginning itself, like heating lamps in bathrooms.. very essential, otherwise its very hard in winter.
Where to live - whether in Puxi or Pudong depends on where you will be working, and if you have children, according to their schools too.
Update : Since I wrote this post, Carrefour, the hypermarket chain, has opened up online shopping.. so now you can just click this link, find out the prices of what ever you want on this site.. you will get a fair idea of up to date prices .


Updated prices as on June, 2015
Food :
Milk :Local milk, fresh : 17 to 22 rmb per litre.Milk, UHT packs, one litre - local : 18 to 20rmb. Imported : goes from 16 rmb per litre to 25 rmb per litre, depending on country of origin.
Vegetables :Rates depend on where you buy.. the vegetable market is always cheaper, and Carrefour is costlier. Best bet is to tell your ayi to buy, they will get the cheapest rate.
Potatoes : 8to 10 rmb per kilo, . Tomatoes : 10 to 15 rmb, onions : 10to 15, One head of cauliflower 8 rmb, Cabbage - 5rmb to 8 rmb, Spinach - 10 rmb for a bunch. Coriander - 2 rmb for a bunch.
Fruits : Bananas : 12 to 18 yuan for a dozen, though they sell them by weight here.Apples, 8rmb to 10 rmb for one kg, imported cost more.
Rice : Thai rice varies from 80 rmb to  120 rmb for a 5 kg bag.
Indian groceries : all of them will be three times as expensive - Dals range from 20 rmb to 25 rmb a kilo. 5kg bag of basmati rice is 120 rmb. 5 kg bag of atta - 115 rmb.

Utilities : Electricity bills and Gas bills will be high - depending on the size of your home, and also quality of construction - a better insulated house will be definitely warmer and will mean low elec. bills, so if your company pays only rent and not bills, opt for a costlier but better insulated house ( insist on double glass windows ) - the newer compounds are better in this regard. Electric bills vary from 200 rmb per month to 2000 rmb ( in peak winters/ summers), Gas bills - since all water is heated by gas - also range from 400rmb to 1000 rmb. Water bills - low, around 100 to 200yuan. Telephone - basic is 125 rmb, calls are extra - local calls do not cost much, international calls.. not sure, you can check the rates on the net...oh, and an internet connection costs around 130 rmb per month, depends on the plan.

Schooling : I will post more about schools later, but international schools are very expensive here, ranging from 90,000 rmb per annum to 1,80,000 rmb per annum. If your company doesnt pay schooling, it will be tough. School bus fees also around 80,000 rmb per annum - or more depending on the distance between school and home.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Schools in Shanghai.

There are a number of international schools in shanghai. Which one you want to choose will depend upon your budget, the age of your children, where you will be staying - and where you will be going after your stint here is over.

Disclaimer : I have not gone to most of the schools listed here, and opinions given by friends of mine in those schools, are the basis. I don't support any school. I don't feel any school is less than the other - the decision is yours to make, go to all the schools, take a tour ( all of them will give you a tour of the school.. just call and make an appointment). See how far the school is from your home, how long it takes from your home to the school.

Local schools - unless your children are fluent in Chinese it will be difficult for them to go to local schools - subjects will be taught in chinese.

For all these schools, just google the names and you will get the websites, you will get a up to date information on fees, age for class to be enrolled, etc. If your company does not provide school fees - you might want to think about bringing your children along.. the fee are pretty high.

Academic year : The academic year here starts in August every year, and ends in mid June.

Syllabus : There is no particular syllabus like the Indian CBSC or ICSE in Shanghai.
No hindi is taught, if you want your child to learn Hindi, or your mother tongue, get your own books, and tutor your children. They will learn chinese in school any way, and if your child is older you will need to have a tutor for your child to supplement the teaching at school.

The school that comes closest to Indian method of teaching, with continuous tests, exams, and grades is Shanghai Singapore International School. Its fee is also among one of the lowest - these two reasons are why many Indian children study there. If you are in Pudong, it might not be convenient - both the school's campuses are in Puxi. The school provides lunch, at no extra charge, and the chilren can carry lunch boxes too.

There is also the British International School - there are Indians who have admitted their kids there thinking that the british system is like the Indian system - but it is not. It's a good school, but if you want something which is exactly like Indian schools - it will not be - there are no text books, no tests ( though they do have assessments ). If you are relocating from the UK may be its a good option, though I am not sure - my friends whose kids are studying there .. this information is through them. But they do have two campuses, Puxi and Pudong. They also have good sports facilities.The minus point, according to my friend, was the lunch - the lunch is provided by the school, which costs 26 yuan per day. The student has no option of taking a lunch box, unless he/ she provides a medical certificate that the lunch provided by the school does not suit his/her health !
It sounds strange but she had taken her child out from the school, as they were vegetarians and the kid could not eat most of the lunch. It was a while ago, though, so you might want to check with the school before you join.

Shanghai American School : If you want an American style education - this is the one for you. No uniforms, more free style of education, with emphasis being on creative thinking rather than exam oriented method of education. If you want to go back to India after this, then it might be a problem. The school has good sports facilities too. They also have two campuses, Puxi and Pudong. I think the lunch system is the same as British International School - you might check. The school also has a waiting list most of the time.

Yew Chung International School : This school is one of the few international schools which is located in the centre of Puxi. It will mean the kids do not have to commute a long distance. The Singapore, British, and American schools in Puxi are in Minhang, which is fine if you live there, but if you live in center of Puxi - it will mean the children have to commute 45 minutes to 1 hour everyday, that is one way - meaning total time would be around 1 and half to 2 hrs everyday.
The school follows Hong Kong method I think, and I heard that the chinese language levels expected are high as well. Its fees also on the higher end. You need to pay extra if you go in for school provided lunch, but students can carry their own lunches, if you live near you can even send hot lunch at lunch time !

Kindergartens :
Thankfully there are good Kindergartens for younger children within the center of the city. They take children from 18 months old and above, but some of them might have a waiting list. Most of the International schools have a kindergarten too.
Some of them :
Stars and Stripes Kindergarten
Rainbow Bridge International School (has up to primary school)
Soong Ching Ling kindergarten

Other schools :
Shanghai Community International School
Shanghai United International School
Concordia International School
Dulwich College
Shanghai Rego International school
I might have missed a few, but I think I covered most. There is no one school that is suitable to all, you will have to choose depending on budget, commute time and the age of your children.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where to find ...

Note : for all these places, you can see in the City Weekend website - the website address is on the right side below..check the listings for a location near your home.

Curd or Dahi : Many who come here without knowing another Indians try to set curd with the yogurt we find in the super market.. don't ! It will not set. Go to any Indian restaurant, or call them up and order something,( since they might not deliver only one dish of curd) along with the plain dahi or curd.. they will give you your starter dahi.. then you can set it. In the winter, curd will take a long time to set, sometimes not set at all, remember to keep it in a warm place..set it during day time when temperature is more, keep it in your living room where the heater is on.. If you feel it is required, you can find yoghurt maker, ACA brand, in appliance stores - GOME, SUNING, and other stores where home appliances are sold. The yogurt maker just needs to be plugged in so that the dahi sets even in cold weather.

Bhendi : No fresh Bhendi, sometimes when we do find it, the quantity is too less and its also expensive. Frozen bhendi - at the Living Shop, Gubei road, huang jin cheng dao. Its not so great but something is better than nothing.

Curry leaves : Rarely found - best bet is Pines, the Market place, they have branches - they also stock some indian groceries. Various locations in Shanghai.

Children's clothes : Nihong Children's plaza, Pu' an road - Jinling road.
For babies and children upto 2 to 3 years old, there is another Nihong kids market at Wu Yi road, near the indoor gymnasium. ( closed now) Remember to bargain.

Sports equipment, sports shoes, gym clothes, swimming gear, - Decathlon.

Kitchen stuff, curtains, sofas and any home decor - Ikea, Cao Xi road.

Clothes to be made on order - including Woollen jackets, trousers, shirts - The fabric Market at Lu jia Bang road.

Most other stuff - regular groceries, tissues, toiletries,stationery, even electronic stuff - Carrefour ( generally low priced than other super markets, except vegetables and fruits, very expensive in Carrefour, better to buy in the local market). Carrefour has imported food items as well.
Any other imported food you want, might find in City Shop.

Bathroom mugs : this is one item which we hunted for a lot when we came here.. you can find it in the local shops, small shops selling hardware, plastics, and miscellaneous items.. but it might be difficult to find such a shop in your neighbourhood. The best way to tackle this is to buy a water jug in Carrefour, take off the lid, and use it like a regular mug in the bathroom.

Organic Vegetables, imported grocery : City Shop ( multiple branches, google it) and online ordering,  kate and kimi.com, - Fields china - fields.cn... google for the links.
online shopping on amazon.cn also is possible, if you have the translate function in your browser. Baidu translate works well.

Electronic/ Computer related : The cyber market near Huai hai road, or in the Grand Gate way, Xu jia hui.

Stationery, some special art material : Fuzhou road, near peoples square has a lot of art / craft suppliers.

Party stuff, like going away gifts, streamers, ballons - the party shop, Ruby's party, both on Hong mei road.You can also check city week end listings.
There also a number of shops near Yu Yuan, a whole shopping complex filled with miscellaneous stuff - but a bit crowded and stuffy,and they do not speak english so you might want to take someone along for bargaining.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some useful tips

Language :
This is the hardest part of living here - not knowing the language. Though its changing slowly, most of them here do not understand english. When they do speak english, they do not understand our accent. To make things more complicated, everything has a chinese name, not like in India, where we have common english phrases like road, light, fan, bus, taxi - the chinese have a name for everything in their language and do not know the english equivalents.
It helps if you know the language, so as soon as you arrive try and join chinese classes. There are a lot of language schools teaching chinese, you can either join one of them, or try through some friends to get teachers willing to come to your home and teach. Language schools will be more expensive, with a one to one or group class, and someone willing to come home,if they are students wanting to earn some pocket money will be less expensive, and more flexible to your needs - if you are a housewife you will want to know what different household items, vegetables are called in chinese - and if you are an employee, you will want to know about computers, telephone conversations - so it might be easier.

It really helps in the beginning to have a translator come to your house on a hourly basis, ( everyone charges by the hour) to explain to your maid ( called ayi) what you require of them, to call up the apartment management office, or repair men, etc. It will also help you to buy a english - chinese book with useful phrases - you can find them in Carrefour, the hypermarket, or other book shops. It helps a lot. You might also consider getting a sheet typed out with questions like " where is the bath room ?" " where can I find....?" and also names of vegetables and get it written down in chinese. Also, if you are a vegetarian, get that written down as well on a card, to show to the waitress at any restaurant. The chinese do not have a vegetarian concept, so explain this well to the translator that vegetarian means no meat, as well as fish and eggs. It will help you avoid any embarassments, or irritation at finding that your noodles have eggs when you wanted a vegetarian dish. Of course, when you go to Indian restaurants you wont face a problem since they will have indian staff.

Maids :
They have what they call Ayis, ( its the chinese name for aunt actually, not maidservant) who will come to your house and work for you. The expense is higher than in India, right now the rate is something like 18 yuan to 25 yuan per hour, which works out to a monthly bill of 1800 to 2500 yuan, , depending on how many hours you will want to have them working for you. Part time is more expensive than full time maid. Part time, like three to four hrs a day - ,full time meaning morning to evening, around 10 to 12 hours a day, helps if you have babies or small children to take care of.One day of the week, they will take a holiday, there is no let go for that rule. You can decide which day you want her to take off, generally its either saturday or sunday. It does seem a lot of money, but believe me, the ayis are much better, and more efficient, and more work oriented than our maids back home. They are also honest. Many people just give them the keys to the apartment to come, work and lock up after they leave. You need to be careful too, does'nt mean you leave too many valuables around - just take reasonable care. The only problem will be the language - see tips above. They will do what ever you tell them, in the time they agreed to work for you, wash dishes, clean and mop the floors, ( this is a terrible job to do in winter believe me) put clothes to dry, iron the clothes ,( laundries are expensive here, and difficult to find one who will just do ironing), make the beds, buy vegetables , cut vegetables - some even cook, though its difficult to teach them rotis and other indian dishes.
Best way to find one is through neighbours or friends, whose ayi will have a friend who is willing to work. There are also ayi agencies - more expensive, but you can find through them, and they will translate for you what you require of the ayi, some people like that option. What ever you choose, take a copy of the ayi's identity card ( all the citizens have id cards - mandatory) and keep it with you. Check with your apartment complex, some will need you to register your maid ( to keep track and prevent possible theft) - you will just need to fill in some form and give a copy of your ayis id .

Update :
As I said before, life gets easier... I saw this on some other website, might help you to buy one of these. I have'nt  used them or seen them, but what I saw on the website seems good . I wish I had one of those when I was a newbie.  These are fridge magnets which have words in english and chinese on them, to use while communicating with your ayi.


As this blog was written a long time ago, we used to have to resort to all these things. now a days we have smart phones which translate - makes life a lot easier.

Help Lines : The government run service, Shanghai call centre, is a really good service. Keep this number in your mobile, call when you want some translation, tell your taxi driver the address in Chinese, etc - 962288. They have helpful, english speaking operators to help.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What to bring ?

This is some thing I had no clue to, when I was packing in preperation to come here. I was told that there were no Indian grocery stores, so I had to take lot of groceries - but thats about it. There were few things that I wish I had brought, instead of the groceries...

You can ship what ever you like, except ofcourse inflammables, explosives, etc. Food items, I think few items like dairy goods are prohibited, not sure. But your shipping company will know what you can, and what you cannot ship here.

MOST IMPORTANT : For those who are going to ship their goods here, the most important thing to remember is, whether you ship or send the goods from India to here, the consignment CAN NOT be delivered to you, unless you have a residential permit. The residential permit, will take three to four weeks to obtain, as there are a line of things to be done, medical exam,apply for permit, and also the customs clearance at the port... so be prepared - have the basics in your carry on baggage when you come : Namely, cook ware - smallest pressure cooker, a tava, a small frypan, a pan for tea/ milk, few plates, cups, glasses, spoons,serving spoons ... I have a number of people whom I had specifically told this, then they would just pack everything in their shipment, and just bring clothes.. and they would have one month to the time their shipment would arrive - and then they can not buy everything, since all goods are already in the shipment, would be unnecessary expense.. nor could they adjust, not having proper cooking equipment. It is not easy for Indians to cook in one dish or eat in one plate - we need so many things ! So be prepared for the one month, to avoid the " Oh, I dont have ANYTHING to cook proper food.. but I dont want to spend money on things I am going to get any way in my shipment "...
Or just be prepared to spend money on things which you will have double of, or give away later.

So, heres the list :

Start with the Gods' name, as they say in India ...

Hindus : Sorry, there are no hindu temples here, only the Buddha temples. They will burn incense and offer prayers, but no priests, no rituals. You are one of those who will not start a day unless you prostrate before god, please get your Gods' pictures, pooja saaman, like lamps, wicks for lamps, (oil and ghee, agarbatthi you can buy here) camphor, etc. You can find Mandirs (or mantapam if you call it so) to put Gods'pictures in, near all the big Buddha temples - thats what we did. Not a great quality, but will do. But, when you light lamps and agarbattis, do be careful, The floorings are all wooden here and most construction material is of the kind will catch fire quickly. We had two cases of fires in Indians' homes here, so I know. When you do light a diya, just take care when you go out that its not still alight - and when you sleep too, be careful.
Carry cassettes/ cds of gods'pujas like ganesh chaturdhi, lakshmi puja, satyanarayan puja - use the cds or cassettes to do puja.No purohits here !

Muslims : Sorry, this is only a friends view, not mine so please forgive me ! There are two or three mosques where you can offer prayers. My friend tells me Halaal meat is available but she has to travel far for it, and so it is a little difficult, but not impossible.
Fuyou Lu Mosque, Huangpu district, Phone : 63282135
Pudong Mosque, Pudong Phone : 50540416.
Song Jiang Mosque, Songjiang Phone : 57714057.
Huxi Mosque Xu hui Phone : 62597389.

Churches : Again, same thing. There are churches, but am not sure how many offer english service.
All Saints Church Luwan, Ph : 63850906.
St Ignatius Cathedral Ph : 64382595.
There was a post in Shanghai expat website that the above church offers english service but I am not sure they do now or not. You will need to call and find out.Let some chinese friend help you.

Medicines :
If you have a problem for which you need to take medicines regularly ( diabetes, Blood pressure, thyroid,etc) - do bring a stock along, may be 4 to 6 months stock. It does not mean I want to scare you that there are no medical facilities around here - there are quite a few good hospitals, and very good doctors too. But, you will need some time to get settled here, and last thing you want to do is run around hospitals, not knowing the language, trying to explain your problems - when you still have to find a home and settle down. With the language problem - and here you do not get some medicines over the counter like in India. You will get Paracetamol for fever, cough and cold medication, but the names are different. Even the pharmacies and their staff know the names in chinese - which makes it more problematic. So get some Crocin, cold and flu medication, stomach upset medication ( this is most important isnt it ?:) ) antacids, multivitamins - and any other medicines you need to take everyday. Homeo medicines, if you are used to, get what ever you think you may need, since you don't get homeo medicines here.

If you have children, do visit a pediatrician before your trip, get all vaccinations up to the day you leave ( most vaccines are same here too, you can get them vaccinated here also ) - and get the doctor to give you a list of medicines to use in case they have fever, cold, cough, etc.

Groceries : As I mentioned we have Indian stores, which supply most of the groceries.
Remember, all the prices here are way more than what you will pay in India for the same, so if your company pays shipping costs, it might help to save you some money if you stock up. Yes, sometimes the stores run out of stock, and their shipments are not cleared by customs, so it takes few weeks some times to get the groceries you need. So get used to keeping some stock - do not get caught short. Here the weather is cool most of the year, so groceries do not spoil so fast as they do in india.
Rice/ Atta :
For people whose main diet is rotis, it is fine for them, since atta, whole wheat flour is available - but for people from the south, and other states where rice is eaten more than rotis - You will have to get used to eating sticky rice. Yes, sticky rice. The rice we buy here is sticky, and does not taste the same. It feels odd for a few months, but most of us here get used to it, since there is only one more option, which is not always available. The Indian kitchen supplies sona masuri rice, at an exorbitant price of 16 rmb ( roughly equal to 85 rupees ) a kilo. The basmati rice is almost the same price I think. While finicky eaters can buy from there, be warned - the stock is not always available.Personally I do not spend so much money on this rice. We got used to the Thai rice which we get locally here. Idly rice - mostly we do get, sometimes there is a shortage.

Dals, beans : Tuvar dal, channa dal, moong dal, they are all available. Masoor dal - sometimes not. You can get kabuli channa, and rajma. Masalas - the regular garam masala, pav bhaji, chole masalas, yes. Sambar and rasam powders - not so much. When you do get, you might not get the brand you are used to. Best to get used to making your own :)

Rava, sooji : Sooji/ rava for upma, Besan, Poha, yes, generally you do get. Dalia ( broken wheat) is terribly expensive when you do get, for some odd reason. If you use a lot then perhaps stock up on Dalia.

Spices : Cinnamon (dalchini), Cloves ( laung) , Star anise, saunf, Cumin ( jeera) are spices which the chinese use as well, so you get them even at the chinese supermarkets. Cardamom ( elaichi) , Coriander seeds ( dhania) are available at Indian stores. Regular turmeric ( haldi), Chilli powder, are available.

Kitchen stuff :

Utensils :
Stainless steel utensils here are not of good quality - and very expensive. Especially Spoons , forks etc .. get spoons atleast, if you can't ship your goods..
Kadhais - get all the types you are used to. Chinese cooking differs from indian cooking in that all cooking is done on high heat, so the woks (thats what they call their frying pans) you get are bigger in size, of course it is possible to do our cooking in them - its just that it is convenient to get what we can, since we are so used to our kind of cooking vessels.
A Tava, the flat pan we use for making rotis, dosas.. definitely get them, one for dosas, one for rotis.. You will not find a tava here. If you cant...Making rotis and dosas in a saucepan.... not nice ! Even if you cannot ship, a nonstick tava or two is not such a weight.
Rolling pins, you can find - but if possible get your own. The ones here are bigger and not so handy.
And yes, Pressure cookers are available here, though the working is not the same - they do not give out whistles like our Prestige or Hawkins...There have been friends who bought and used the cookers here. If you are bringing your cookers, do bring spare parts for them - the gaskets, safety valves, handles. You can not find spare parts for the cookers we buy in india.

Tea strainers / milk strainers : Get the jaali you use for straining tea and milk - you wont find the plastic or metal ones here handy.. the people here do drink tea, but they have special containers to drink tea which hold down the tea leaves as they drink - and they do not boil milk, if and when they drink milk - so get the strainers.. I know kids do not like to drink milk with the cream bits in it :)
Storing containers/ Dabbas :
This is one more thing every one wishes they got from India. We Indians need a lot of dabbas for storing groceries, different dals, masalas...here,they do not use so many types of groceries, or have storage containers suitable for our kitchens. So lug some Pearl pet containers if you have the space and option. Most of us did not know this, we come here and search in vain for suitable dabbas. Of course we get innovative, start storing the condiments in empty juice bottles ( yes we do !), buy Milo jars, use it up, then use the glass jars.. but still.. very difficult when you are used to good storage containers we get back home. Some glass jars which are airtight, you do get, but they are very expensive.

There is a store called Ikea here, all of us go there to stock up on stuff..
you can click on the link below - see what stuff they have, to get an idea...
You can also go to other departments in the website, just to get an idea of the prices, and what stuff is available...


You will get the address and site map of Ikea in the website itself, you can navigate.The nearest metro station is Cao Xi road station, its just across the road from the station.

Electical/ electronic equiment :
Most of the houses here are given for rent fully furnished. The houses have all the amenities, Television,Refrigerator, Washing Machine,Airconditioning, Telephone connection, Internet connection and all the furniture - sofas, dining tables, beds etc. Contrary to popular opinion, the electronic items here ARE NOT CHEAP. They are as expensive as, if not more than, the items we find in India. But ofcourse you need not buy anything, the landlord will provide.
South Indians, and those who love to make ( or eat) idli, dosa... bring your wet grinders,if possible. If not, get atleast a Sumeet or Preeti Mixie.. The grinders we get here are not good enough to handle tough grinding jobs like dosa and vada batter.
It will make your life much easier, believe me. This was the top item next to the pressure cooker most of my friends said they missed bringing and regretted it.

Clothes :
Most of the clothes here are made to fit locals. Read : "Slim, thin, match stick figured "...
If you are lucky to be one of the slim types, you will find some clothes to fit here. If you are medium build, well... may be. If you are large built, like me... then you better stock up on jeans, trousers , tops - if you find ones to fit you may not always like it.

Now that we are talking about clothes - the weather. The weather is dicey here. Firstly, it is cold weather most of the time. September and May are pleasant months, when you can wear light clothing..June, July and August are summer and really HOT and Humid, like Bombay, even more.
October, March and April are cooler, require a light jacket / sweater to be worn. Something like Bangalore / Delhi climate in winter. November to February... brrrr...
I dont want to talk about it, its summer now but.. its pretty cold, even though the temperature doesnt reach much below zero deg. centigrade, its cold and windy. You need a thick winter jacket, a sweater and an inner thermal,( by the way thermals - inner warm wear are cheaper here than in India)... you get the point. The trick is to put on layers and layers - which then can be removed or added according to you are inside or outside. You will need a goose/ duck down jacket for the winter.
You can buy good goose down jackets here, or even get them made to order.
There is a big fabric market here, where many of us go to get clothes custom made. That will be your option if you are unlucky enough not to get shipping paid by the company...

Childrens' clothes can be bought here, they have a lot of variety and styles, especially for girls.
Shoes, ditto. If you have small feet, you get a lot of variety... say Bata size 7 - till then no problem. Even then, some people told me that they do not like the styles. There are places where you can get shoes custom made. Me and my family ? we are all blessed with enormous feet.. and we get ours from India every time we go there.

The main problem is, the locals are built differently. We are more bulky around certain parts ( ahem !!) and they are quite thin and not rounded at all..so while their XL might fit the shoulders, it does not fit the bust - same with pants. The waist will be a 34, but the hips ?? No way. The same problem with undergarments.. Best to get a big stock from India, unless you want padded ones ( hope you get my point..).

Books :
This is something one tends to get only if they get shipping.. books are bulky and heavy.
If you like to read, and if you have children who do, please get all your favorites..
and chilrens' books. The books are very expensive here, especially childrens'books..if you want to have your kids connected to indian heritage and culture, get Amar Chitra Kathas.. and comics too.. comics are not to be found.

Cosmetics :
Talcum powder - not that you will need a lot here in this climate - you can't find here, only Johnsons' baby powder - so if you want get a few.
Bindis : Ladies, remember - the locals do not wear bindis, do get a stock.
other cosmetics like compacts, lipsticks, nailpolish, yes we do get brands like Revlon, Maybelline, and other international brands - but then, very expensive. Sometimes its difficult to find your favourite shade - since these peoples' complexion is different from ours - the shades of make up are different. So if you are particular about some particular shade of make up - I can't be much of a help with this section, I do not wear much make up but I get know how from my friends...
Other stuff like toothpaste, soaps and shampoos - all the big brands are here - colgate, sunsilk ( called hazeline here), Surf ( called OMO), Tide, Lux, Dove,Head and shoulders, Dettol, and much more. You will find some which will suit you.

Baby stuff - most Johnson and Johnsons stuff is available - and yes, Diapers are Expensive with a capital E.Pack some in your shipment if you have space.

Depilatory creams, wax strips.. again very expensive..and waxing in saloons - verrrry expensive. so get some stock ( not that you will get much chance to show your skin off except June to September - other months are pretty cold ).

Toys :
This is the shocking factor for most parents when they reach here, to find that toys are not cheap here at all ! The problem is that, when you buy in India, the "china ka maal".. it should have been exported with out much duties, to encourage buyers - so they are cheaper in India. And another thing, if you have kids in the age range where they will see cartoons and want stuff related to it ( say, Ben 10 stuff for boys) it will not be found here, simply because the cartoon is not popular here... I had GREAT problems last year finding a "Power Ranger" sword for my kid.. only people with kids in the age range will know what I am talking about. Then, we have a "Toys R Us " shop here, where we sometimes find stuff you want, at a price four times what we will pay in India for it. Shocking, sad but true.

For example, and please see my date of posting when ever you read this, the prices will change as you read : Cost of Scrabble board game in India : 540 rupees. Cost of Scrabble in Shanghai : 268 yuan, meaning something like 1608 rupees. The exchange rate varies but generally One yuan currently is something like 10 rupees. I had some relatives coming over so had the game sent over, and saved some money :)

And the quality of toys too is not so great, they keep breaking but then I guess you know that.
Yes, and you wont find Carrom Boards here, nor Cricket bats, or cricket stuff. People tend to play base ball here - no one knows cricket much. There is a wonderful store here called Decathlon where you find all the sporting goods and accessories you will want, from Tennis, badminton, swimming to skiing and camping.

Movie DVDs :
Hindi movie dvds are available at Bhoomi stores. But you might not always find what you are looking for. You need to buy another Indian language dvd - stock up from home. You will NOT find other language DVDs. Some times, by just sheer luck you might end up finding an odd hindi dvd with a dvd shop or street vendor.I found Krrish, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Kabul Express.. Asoka is famous - seems to turn up everywhere.
Once you have a circle of friends, you can buy and also start circulation the dvds..makes sense doesnt it ?