Hi Shanghaiist, Some friends and I were talking about taking a road trip out of Shanghai but we don’t know the best place to rent a car, or if we’d need a licence — and we’re not sure where to go! Tell us what you can, pal. — Scott, Shanghai
Well Scott, we’ll start with the car details. There are a few car rental options from the airport, such as this one, and this site seems to look at all of the major car rental companies. One example of an offer is 564.35 USD for an economy 4-Door Car with A/C for a week.
The main two companies in Shanghai are Hertz and Avis. The Hertz website will simply inform you of of their two locations, in Puxi (Chang Feng Centre, Suite 306, 1088 Yan’an Xi Lu, tel: 62116381) and Pudong (379 Pudong South Road, Jin Sui Building,, Suite 16, B-C Pudong New Area, tel: 68869320), and although you can’t book online with them, their staff speak English. When we phoned, we were given another number — 62522200 — to someone who can apparently speak “better English”.
You can book online with Avis, which has five locations in the city, including Fuxing Lu, Changning Lu, and the Pudong and Hongqiao airports.
If we wanted to rent a car for three days in February and collect it at Fuxing Lu, it would come to:
- Volkswagen Golf or similar, 714 CNY
- Volkswagen Santana or similar, 984 CNY
- Volkswagen Passat or similar, 1614 CNY
- Ford MiniBus or similar, 1794 CNY
- GM Buick GL8, or siimilar 2064 CNY
If you have your driving licence from home, then you can go to the police station and get a Chinese one. The address is
1101 Zhongshan No. 1 Road, and their number is supposedly 65168168, ext. 5332. (The staff at Hertz told us that the number was 64987070.) They have moved: Xinzhuang Facility No. 2, 179 Qinchun Lu, Minhang District (闵行沁春路179号 莘庄二号场). Tel (which is often busy): 64987070 ext. 54280. They are only open Monday through Friday.
They’ll give you a booklet which contains 100 questions and answers.
You must remember these within about five minutes, then you’ll be asked 20 of them in a computer test. The staff will tell you any answers you don’t know (usually). You must then go to a large, rectangular room where there are several smaller rooms with … games? … tests? For example, you sit down and have your hands and right foot on buttons. You are looking at blue, red and yellow lights, which correspond to each limb. When the yellow lights flashes, for example, you must press the right hand button — but NOT if it buzzes at the same time. Seriously. There are several of these tests — some others are more logical, such as sight tests — and all the while you will most likely have a room full of Chinese people crowding round staring as you go through each test. In the final test, you must make your way in and back out of a ghastly labryinth, in the centre of which rests an angry minotaur, that you must slay. Good luck with that one. (You might want to try taking a long rope with you so you can remember the way out.) They have changed their practices: After getting a photo taken and having your eyes and ears tested, you are indeed given a booklet of 100 questions and answers. You are allowed an indefinite amount of time to study these. Then, you are called to a computer screen to take the test. You must get 90 questions out of 100 correct. No one will tell you the answers, but it’s all pretty easy. Feats of strength are no longer included in the testing, unfortunately. From memory, it will cost not more than a couple of hundred yuan. We believe the whole thing cost us only 155 kuai, which is about the same in what you will pay in cab fare to and from Minhang. It is suggested you arrive at the facility before 11 am. The whole process should only take a couple of hours. If successful, you will be issued with a fully “standard” Chinese driving licence.
As for where to go? Check the our Road Trip piece …
Cars and driving in Shanghai (Enter Shanghai)
 Not really.
Also on Shanghaiist:
Road Trip: Hangzhou, Suzhou, Zhouzhuang and more
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