We live at Beichen, in the North. Good transport links - we’re a 5 min walk from the subway and there’s loads of buses. There’s Western restaurants and cafes, a mall and Walmart and Metro nearby. Metro I think is the only one in the city. There are a good few expats living around here. Don’t know about bars - they seem to all be further south.
For another perspective, we went against using an agency, preferring word of mouth. That way we found nannys who had worked for families for many years which we considered strong evidence of their good quality child care. I would trust this more than the word an agency who benefit financially from your business. You may end up with a personality difference, but they are likely to be pretty good at their job - unless the other foreign family are totally lying, and why would they?
From my research， 35/hour for non full time. About 3k per month for full time - 9-5 mon-fri type thing.
It seems usual to find nannys (Ayi) from other foreign families who don’t need them any more, perhaps due to leaving the country, or their children starting school. Do you have wechat? Once you arrive, you can ask in wechat groups. It would be difficult to arrange too far ahead because the nanny who is available now many not be available when you arrive.
Our nanny is lovely and I know of numerous other families who are very happy with theirs.