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How to Travel from Shanghai to Chengdu

Shanghai and Chengdu enjoy developed transportation networks. It is very convenient to travel from Shanghai to Chengdu.

We will now introduce the three most common ways to travel to Chengdu from Shanghai: by high-speed train, by airplane, and by overnight train. Read on to find out which is the best option for you.

1. Travel from Shanghai to Chengdu by Airplane (Recommended)

Taking a flight is the easiest and fastest way to travel from Shanghai to Chengdu.

  • Duration: 3½ hours
  • Departure: Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport / Shanghai Pudong International Airport
  • Arrival: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
  • Flight schedule: about 45 direct flights per day
  • Ticket price: The airfares vary between flights, seasons, and departure times.
The BundThe Bund

Recommended tours:

Both Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport offer about 20 flights to Chengdu in various periods.

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is 23 kilometers west of the Bund. It takes about 40–50 minutes to get there by car from the Bund. This airport mainly serves domestic flights.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport is 42 kilometers east of the Bund. It takes about 40 minutes to 1 hour to get there by car from the Bund. This airport mainly serves international flights.

If your hotel is near the Bund, the downtown area, or Hongqiao Railway Station, we suggest you depart from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. If your hotel is near Shanghai Disneyland, we suggest choosing Shanghai Pudong International Airport for departure.

2. Travel from Shanghai to Chengdu by High-Speed Train

This option is suitable for mid-budget travel and when you don't mind spending a lot of time on transportation.

High-speed trainHigh-speed train

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station has more trains in service, giving you more choice. There are four high-speed trains bound for Chengdu. It is near Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, being within walking distance.

Shanghai hongqiao railway stationShanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

Compared to Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station is a long way from the city, being about 50 minutes' drive from the Bund.

Shanghai Railway Station is located in the downtown area, being about 20 minutes' drive from the Bund. However, there is only one high-speed train.

You can choose a suitable train according to your schedule. We suggest choosing a G train, which is faster than a D train.

Recommended tours:

Contact us for a private tour of Leshan and Mount Emei.

3. Travel from Shanghai to Chengdu by Normal Train

This option is suitable when you're traveling on a budget. It is the cheapest way to travel from Shanghai to Chengdu. It is a challenge and an adventure. You need to spend a night or even two in the train.

Normal trainHard sleepers in a normal train
  • Duration: 31½–39 hours
  • Departure: Shanghai Railway Station / Shanghai South Railway Station
  • Arrival: Chengdu Railway Station
  • Train schedule: four trains per day
  • Ticket price: 259 yuan (US$37) to 776 yuan (US$110) according to different seat types and train numbers

We suggest choosing a train that departs from Shanghai Railway Station because it has more trains in service and is close to the downtown area with convenient transportation links.

There are different types of seats on a normal train: hard seats, hard sleepers, soft sleepers, and advanced soft sleepers (only some overnight trains have these).

Normal trainSoft sleepers in normal train

If you choose a normal train, avoid taking a hard seat. It is a terrible experience to share a small space with six people and you will get hardly any sleep.

Hard sleepers, which have six beds in a small compartment, and soft sleepers, which have four beds in a private room, are better.

Advanced soft sleepers are the best option. These allow two people to share a room but the cost is expensive.

You'd better purchase your ticket in advance if you want to book a hard sleeper or soft sleeper.

Day Trip from Shanghai to Chengdu (Not Feasible)

ChengduFor a Chengdu, you need at least a full day.

It is not practical to have a day trip from Shanghai to Chengdu.

The earliest flight from Shanghai is at 07:35 and it arrives in Chengdu at 11:05. You need to finish your visit at 18:00 and get back to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. The last flight departs at 21:00.

This means you have little time for sightseeing and, therefore, it is not worth it.

An overnight stay in Chengdu followed by a day trip is recommended if you have a tight schedule: spend a night in Chengdu and start your tour the following morning. Book your tickets and private transportation in advance for an efficient travel experience.

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