ACL 2019 - Shanghai Away


#1

Hey everyone!

I’m looking at travelling to China for Sydney’s ACL match against Shanghai SIPG on April 23rd.
I’m probably going to book flights this week and I do know that a visa is required for China.
It’s the first time I’ll be travelling overseas (bar Wellington away) to watch Sydney play. Is anyone looking to head over as well for this match? Any tips for those with experience who have maybe traveled away previously against Shanghai Shenhua?

Thanks in advance.
Haisam.


#2

Hey mate, I went to Shanghai away in 2011 and then moved over there for work for 3 years from 2012-2014 and my wife is Chinese too so I visit relatively often. I’m actually here visiting my in-laws at the moment. Happy to help with any questions. Not sure what you’re after in terms of tips but here are a couple of random thoughts:

  • Yes, visa definitely required. The Chinese visa centre is on Elizabeth St opposite Museum Station (don’t go to the consulate in Camperdown).
  • The Hongkou Stadium is very easy to get to. Right by a metro station a few stops from the centre of the city. Edit: Sorry just noticed we’re playing SIPG not Shenhua. SIPG play at Shanghai Stadium, and, unsurprisingly, it is also located right next to a Metro stop (Shanghai Stadium, Line 4). The Chinese and their infrastructure eh? A bit further from the centre of town but still very convenient.
  • When we went in 2011 somehow SFC got free tix in the away end for the travelling supporters. Not sure how regularly this happens, but maybe keep an ear out on here closer to the game.
  • Shanghai is a fun town if you know the right places to look. Plenty of worthwhile drinking establishments serving a large community of ex-pats. The directory on smartshanghai.com has heaps of info all in English. Also Time Out Shanghai.
  • Non-Chinese internet is always a hassle in China. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, everything Google related (Gmail, Youtube etc…) is all blocked so you’ll need a VPN if any of that is important for you. Importantly, not all VPNs work in China. I can recommend ExpressVPN, which I’ve been using on my current trip. They pay extra special attention to the Chinese customers to somehow get around the firewall where other companies just don’t. Also, remember to set the VPN up before you leave home because all the VPN websites are, of course, also blocked in China.
  • Expect to need cash on the trip. Local people almost always use apps on their phone for payments these days (e.g. expect to see buskers and even beggars with printed QR codes). As a result many places will not accept credit cards where you might expect they would. Plenty of ATMs though, just be prepared to use them.

Anyway, good luck for the trip. Happy to help out with other questions if I can.


#3

Thanks so much for that! That’s an amazing amount of information.
I might email the club in regards to tickets and see what they can do.
I do have Express VPN already which I used in Russia when I was there for the WC so glad to know that works over there.
You’ve covered quite a bit. If there is anything else I need to know, I’ll be sure to ask you. Thanks very much for the information. Much appreciated.


#4

By the way, if anyone decides to sign up with Express VPN, this referral link will get both of us 30 days free.


#5

As I understand it, VPN is not necessary when Vodafone roaming?


#6

Flights booked :smiley:

Just got Sydney to Shanghai return 700 p.p. from Good Friday to the Friday after on China Eastern!


#7

What are the chances of getting some merch made up to errr… promote The Star over there?

I’m thinking of t-shirts reading “Free To Bet”.


#8

Sorry I don’t have Vodaphone and have never heard from someone who does.


#9

It’s possible to avoid a visa for stays <7 days (and save the $100 or so)… If you plan your flights right.
Essentially you enter under a Transit without Visa.

But you need to be transiting the Shanghai area (and nowhere else in China) - so going from one country to another (and Hong Kong and Taiwan count)
Eg. Sydney-Shanghai-HongKong-Sydney is valid

Last year I went to the Shanghai F1 (14 April this year) and flew SYD-PVG,HGH-HKG-SYD (booked via Qantas with the Hangzhou-Hong Kong leg on Cathay Dragon)

Best resource probably this one
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/china/708095-china-24-72-144-hour-transit-without-visa-twov-rules-master-thread.html

I got out of Shanghai and spent a couple of days in Suzhou and Hangzhou (think of them as Newcastle and Wollongong geographically) just with high speed trains in between.

If roaming on mobile don’t need VPN but probably will for hotel WiFi (most chains used to VPN to Taiwan but they’ve cracked down on this). I just VPNd back to my home router.

Didi is the Chinese Uber - set it up before you go - takes most foreign CCs and translates everything including in app messages to English.

Seemingly still no way to setup WeChatMoney or AliPay (the two main QR pay apps) without a Chinese bank account - so cash it is.


#10

This is a great tip, thanks. I had assumed Didi was WeChat Pay only. But you’re right, I just set it up with a Mastercard. There seems to be two apps by the way, Didi and Didi Greater China. Only Didi Greater China seems to work here so make sure you set up the right one.