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Since January 30th, 2016, Shanghai has extended its visa-free transit policy from 72 hours to 144 hours (6 days). It provides more convenience and flexibility to businessmen, travelers, and passengers who are passing through Shanghai to their final destination.
It is called the 144-hour visa-free policy. But it is possible to make your stay longer than 144 hours without a visa. First, you need to know how the 144 hours are calculated.
The 144 hours start counting down from 00:00 following the day of entry.
For example, you enter Shanghai at 6am on June 1st, 2016; your stay period starts counting down from 00:00 on June 2nd and you can stay until 23:59 on June 7th. So you actually have more time than 144 hours if you can find suitable transport.
The most popular way to get to Shanghai is by airplane through Pudong Airport and Hongqiao Airport. But it is not the only option.
Passengers traveling to Shanghai by boat and train can also enjoy this policy.
It means that you can get off a cruise ship at Shanghai Port or Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal and take an excursion tour in Shanghai without a visa before you continue your cruise journey.
If you are traveling in Hong Kong, you can take a train from Hong Kong’s Hung Hom Railway Station to Shanghai Railway Station with an onward ticket leaving for a third country/area, and you don’t need to apply for a China visa.
Besides Shanghai, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province are also included in this 144-hour visa-free policy. If convenient, you can also choose to travel through Nanjing Lukou International Airport and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport.
Hangzhou in Zhejiang, and Suzhou and Nanjing in Jiangsu are famous tourist cities around Shanghai. It is convenient to travel to them from Shanghai by high-speed train. Make the most of your 144 hours to take a tour of these cities.
|To||Travel Time by G Trains||Travel Time by D Trains|
|Shanghai–Hangzhou||1–1½ h||1–1½ h|
|Shanghai–Suzhou||½ h||½–1 h|
|Shanghai–Nanjing||1–2 h||2–2½ h|
|Hangzhou–Suzhou||1½–2 h||1½–2 h|
This policy requires that passengers must be in transit to a third country or region. Hong Kong and Macau are considered as third countries/regions for transit purposes. You can include them in your itinerary to meet the policy’s criteria and also do some sightseeing there.
Here is an example for your reference:
US – Shanghai/Jiangsu/Zhejiang (6 days) – Hong Kong (3 days) – US
This 144-hour visa-free policy allows passengers to arrange their travel plans to China and even the countries in Southeast Asia in a more flexible way, and it saves a lot of trouble.
Shanghai is an important gateway to Southeast Asia. There are many flights between Shanghai and major cities in Southeast Asia.
You can transit through Shanghai without a visa and enjoy a tour in Shanghai to adjust to Asia before you head to the next Asian country.
|To||Number of Direct Flights Per Day (Approx.)||Journey Time (Approx.)|
|Shanghai–Bangkok, Thailand||12–15||4 hours 30 minutes|
|Shanghai–Phuket,Thailand||6||5 hours 5 minutes|
|Shanghai–Chiang Mai, Thailand||3||4 hours 10 minutes|
|Shanghai–Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam||2||4 hours 15 minutes|
|Shanghai–Hanoi, Vietnam||1||3 hours 20 minutes|
|Shanghai–Siem Reap, Cambodia||1–3||4 hours 30 minutes|
|Shanghai–Phnom Penh, Cambodia||1–2||4 hours 15 minutes|
|Shanghai–Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||3–5||5 hours 20 minutes|
|Shanghai–Singapore||9–10||5 hours 30 minutes|
There are hundreds of historical, cultural, and scenic attractions in Shanghai. It is impossible to cover all of them in your itinerary but the most popular attractions, as detailed below, should not be missed.
Learn more places to have fun with your kids in Shanghai.
Hangzhou and Suzhou are two important tourist cities near Shanghai. If your time permits, add them into your tour itinerary.
Hangzhou, one of the Seven Ancient Capital Cities, was praised by Marco Polo as "the most beautiful and prosperous city in the world". It attracts a large number of visitors with its beautiful West Lake and tranquil water towns. It takes 1–1½ hours to travel there by train from Shanghai.
Suzhou is renowned for its classic gardens and traditional waterside architecture. The famous attractions include the Humble Administrator's Garden, Tiger Hill, and the Garden of the Master of Nets. It takes 30 minutes to an hour to travel there by train from Shanghai.
Day 1: Shanghai arrival
Day 2: Discover Shanghai: the Bund, Yuyuan Garden, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Museum
Day 3: Travel to Hangzhou (1 hour by bullet train), Lingyin Temple, West Lake, a tea plantation
Day 4: Travel to Suzhou (2 hours by bullet train), the Humble Administrator's Garden, Tiger Hill, the Garden of the Master of Nets
Day 5: Tongli Water Town, Shanghai departure
See a detailed tour itinerary on: Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou Bullet Train Tour.
We have designed a dozen Shanghai tours to help our customers take advantage of the 144-hour visa-free transit policy. Here are the most popular tours, for your reference: