Although tickets to the newly opened China Art Palace and the Shanghai Power Station of Art (home to the Shanghai Biennale until March 2013) are free, they're not exactly easy to acquire. Here's our take on three approaches to getting in - just turning up, calling ahead, and booking online.
Just turn up
On a recent weekday visit to the Shanghai Biennale, we were allowed in without having to present a ticket. There was even a ticket booth. We believe you should be able to get in just by showing up, but follow the booking process below if you want to be absolutely certain you won't be turned away.
At the China Art Palace however, tickets are unequivocally required. Our attempts to get in without one were rebuffed, making prior registration a must to avoid a wasted journey.
Forget the ticket hotlines
Despite having three dedicated ‘ticket hotlines’ for the China Art Palace (400 9219 021, 400 6505 717 and 962 388), none of them actually allowed us to book tickets over the phone. Each hotline only has limited English service and callers are simply directed to the website booking system every time. Save yourself the hassle and head straight online (see below).
How to register online
1. Tickets can be booked at artshow.eastday.com from 10am-5pm daily. From the homepage select either the China Art Palace (red button) or the Shanghai Power Station of Art (blue button).
2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and press the large red button to choose your visiting time.
Tickets can only be booked two days ahead, no more, no less. So, for example, if you register on a Monday, you will only be able to visit the Art Palace on Wednesday.
Choose from four arrival times between 9am-4pm daily at the China Art Palace and from 9am-5pm Tuesday – Sunday at the Shanghai Power Station of Art. ('预约已满' means the session is fully booked).
3. Once you have selected your time, fill in your details on the form, using our example image (below) as a guide. Select your ID type from the ringed dropdown menu, 护照号 means passport number.
For the China Art Palace, use the tick boxes to purchase entry to see 'Qing Ming Shuan He Tu' (the panoramic animated scroll which caused serious queues when it was first shown during Expo 2010). These cost 20RMB/adult, 10RMB/student and are free for those over 70, children under 1.3 metres, soldiers and the disabled.
Each person can only book a maximum of three tickets for the China Art Palace or five for the Power Station of Art, and a particular ID number can only be used to register once each month. Select the number of tickets from the drop down menu box in the top right corner.
4. Once submitted you will receive an online booking number via SMS to your mobile. This has to then be exchanged for a physical ticket at one of six locations the day after registration, and the day before your visit to the museums.
These six locations are:
Hai Shang Culture Centre, 1222 Pingxingguan Lu, near Guangzhong Lu.
Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, 425 Dingxiang Lu, near Yingcheng Lu.
Shanghai Grand Theatre 300 People's Avenue, near Huangpi Bei Lu.
Shanghai Culture Square 225 Shaanxi Nan Lu, near Yongjia Lu.
Shanghai Circus World 2266 Gonghexin Lu, near Guangzhong Lu.
Shanghai Art Museum 325 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huangpi Bei Lu.
* Please note the ticket collection offices are closed on Sundays
It’s also worth taking the time to vote in the website’s online poll in the left column asking users how they can improve the ticket booking process when this ‘trial period’ is over.
A - Keep the ticket booking process the same.
B - Keep the online booking process but allow the SMS code to be used as ticket instead of having to collect them in person.
C - Cancel the online booking process, tickets will be sold onsite in a first come, first serve basis all day.
D - Cancel the online booking process, tickets are first come, first serve and there is a daily limit on the number of visitors to reduce congestion. When the museum is full visitors will have to wait outside until congestion clears.
Claire Slobodian and Chao Xu