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Shanghai is a huge city, and getting across it might feel overwhelming. Here are the most efficient ways to get between both of Shanghai's international airports (Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport) and the downtown area to help you navigate your first journey into the city center once you arrive in Shanghai.
We recommend private transfers over taxis, the Metro, and shuttle buses for convenience.
China Highlights can help you arrange a private transfer from Shanghai's airport to your downtown hotel, or wherever you want to go from the airport after your arrival. Prices start at 25 USD per person, depending on your group size and how much luggage you have. This is the most convenient way to get from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to downtown Shanghai by far, as you'll be taken care of from door to door.
A taxi in Shanghai from Pudong International Airport to downtown will cost between 150 and 190 RMB, and take approximately 45 minutes. This can be longer if you're traveling during rush hour, but is an easy option especially if you're traveling with children or have a lot of luggage.
We've put together some tips on traveling by taxi in China that will help you before your trip. The most important thing is to make sure you've got your destination written out in Chinese (ideally printed off a hotel website) before getting in the taxi. Not all taxi drivers speak English.
This is your cheapest option, and probably the fastest if you're coming in around peak times. Shanghai Metro Line 2 will take you from Airport Station to People's Square in approximately 67 minutes, and costs 7 RMB. Trains run between 6:00 and 22:00.
The Maglev can get you from the airport to Longyang Road on Metro Line 2 in just 8 minutes, potentially knocking 20 minutes off half the journey and ticking off a record-breaking experience in the process, all for 50 yuan.
While this is a fast option during rush hour, be aware that trains will be very full during this time.
There are 10 airport bus lines available to the center of Shanghai from Pudong International Airport. They cost 20–30 yuan, and journeys take up to 1½ hours. Shuttle buses may be too challenging with the language barrier and finding the right stop for you.
For travel from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport to central Shanghai, we recommend private transfers over taxis and the Metro for convenience. Buses are available but probably too complicated with the language barrier and route-finding issues.
China Highlights can help you arrange a private transfer from Shanghai's airport to your downtown hotel, or wherever you want to go next! Prices start at 25 USD per person, depending on your group size and how much luggage you have. This is the most convenient way to get from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to downtown Shanghai.
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is a little closer to the city; a taxi will take around 30 minutes and set you back between 100 and 150 RMB. This is the most convenient way to get to Shanghai's downtown from the airport if you have heavy cases or are traveling with kids, but beware of taking taxis during rush hour if you are tight on time.
Not all taxi drivers speak English so most important thing is to make sure you've got your destination written out in Chinese (ideally printed off a hotel website) before getting in the taxi.
From Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, this is your cheapest option at 5 RMB. You can take Subway Line 10 from the airport's Terminal 1, and Subway Line 2 or 10 from the airport's Terminal 2. Trains run every 6-12 minutes between 5:35 and 22:50, and take about 35 minutes to People's Square.
This is a fast option during rush hour when traffic will be busy on the roads, but trains will also be very full during this time.
As mentioned above, we have an airport transfer service that can give you complete peace of mind. One of our experienced drivers will await your arrival at Shanghai Pudong International Airport or Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, to take you to a vehicle designed for a comfortable ride based on how many people you are traveling with.
If you want more support than just the airport transfer alone, we have loads of Shanghai tours to choose from! Options include numerous tours to explore China starting in Shanghai, a Shanghai Family Disneyland Tour, or a shorter 2-day Shanghai and Water Town Tour to see some of Shanghai's older and smaller surrounding towns.
Not sure where to start on planning your trip? Or think you'll need or would like more help than just the pick-up service? Get in touch with China Highlights to create your own China trip.