I am being offered a job in Hangzhou or Shanghai. So I am trying to get more feedback from what it's like to live in Hangzhou (rather than Shanghai).
I have been in Shanghai before as a tourist and was really impressed by the city, but I guess living there would be a different experience. I have never been to Hangzhou, but read that it is a pleasant city, to visit, but what about living there ?
So I would like to know what you, as expats, foreign students, etc. think about Hangzhou vs Shanghai ?
I speak a bit of Mandarin (I can have very basic convesations) and still have a bit of time to progress before coming to China. But I can not read characters (yet). I wonder if life could be difficult in Hangzhou if I don't read the characters. Would it take a long time to learn the chinese characters to be able to direct myself in the city, read a card in a restaurant, etc ? Can you have a english navigation app on your phone ?
I am also wondering how big is the expat community in Hangzhou ? I bet that the week-end that would be ok, but is it hard to find people to go out during the week ? Pros and cons of having a smaller expat community than in shanghai ? (people looking at you in the streets ?)
How 's the night life in Hangzhou ? and is it only Thursday to Saturday ?
What about people ? I heard and read that Shanghai people are very money driven, will chose their friends depending on what they do, where they live, what car they drive, etc... is that really true ? How is it in Hangzhou ? Is it easy to mix with locals, do many of the young (20-30) speak good english ? (cause my mandarin might not be enough to have a very long and interesting conversation).
Would you say that life is much cheaper in Hangzhou than in Shanghai ? I am afraid that Shanghai might be quite expensive, but I understand that Hangzhou is not that cheap given that it is very touristic.
How much would you pay for the rent in Hangzhou compared to Shanghai ? (for example 2 BR in good location)
for a meal
for a beer,
Or living with the same standards, how much money would you think i would save if I live in Hangzhou rather than Shanghai ?
How is the traffic in Hangzhou ? is it easy to move around ? are the bikes useful to move in central Hangzhou ?
Would you recommende to live near the West lake ? it looks like all the action is taking place there, no ?
And also, what do you think of both cities in general, re parks, outdoors, culture, etc ?
Thank you very much for you help !!