Shanghai, in southeast China, is bordered by the East China Sea to the east, Jiangsu province to the northwest and Zhejiang province to the southwest. It covers the south portion of the Yangtze Delta. As the most metropolitan city in China, Shanghai is very accessible and can be reached by air, land and water.
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Getting to/from Shanghai by Air
There are more than a hundred air carriers traveling to Shanghai from all over the country and the world, including American Airlines, Qantas Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa, Delta Air Lines, and Air Canada.
Air travelers to Shanghai may arrive at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) or Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA). Pudong Airport primarily serves international destinations and also offers some domestic destinations. Hongqiao mainly offers domestic flights and a few international flights.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
Shanghai Pudong International Airport is around 30 kilometers (19 miles) from central Shanghai and 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.
As Shanghai's largest airport, Pudong serves over 80 domestic and foreign airlines, and connects with over 100 international and regional destinations as well as over 90 domestic destinations.
Here's how to get to central Shanghai from PVG:
- Maglev train: The route runs between Longyang Road subway station in Pudong and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The 30-kilometer trip takes about 8 minutes. At Longyang Road Station, you can transfer to Subway Line 2, which will take you to the city center. See more information about the Shanghai Maglev Train.
- Shuttle bus: There are ten bus routes connecting Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport with train stations and Shanghai city center.
- Taxi: It takes about one hour to get from the airport to the city center and costs about 180 yuan each way in the daytime and about 250 yuan at night.
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA)
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is around 13 kilometers (about 8 miles) from central Shanghai and 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
It is the main domestic airport serving Shanghai, with limited international flights to Japan and South Korea.
Here's how to get to central Shanghai from SHA:
- Subway: You can take Line 2 or Line 10 to the city center and reach Hongqiao Railway Station, Yuyuan Garden, and People's Square.
- Shuttle bus: There are eight bus routes connecting the airport and the city center.
- Taxi: It takes about 30 minutes to get from the airport to the city center and costs about 60 yuan each way.
Transport between Pudong Airport and Hongqiao Airport
Take a Line 1 bus at Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. The journey takes 1½ hours.
Another option is to take Metro Line 2 from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Guanglan Road Station, and take Metro Line 2 in the opposite direction to T2 (Terminal 2) of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.
If you need to go to Terminal 1 at the airport, it is only one station away after you transfer to Metro Line 10. The whole journey takes about 2 hours.
Getting to/from Shanghai by Sea
Shanghai's ideal location by the East China Sea makes it easily accessible by boat. Shanghai has three international cruise terminals: Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, and Waigaoqiao International Cruise Terminal.
Being located at the junction of the Huangpu River and the Yangtze River Estuary, Shanghai Port Wusong Passenger Center operates boats from Shanghai along the Yangtze River up to Jiujiang, Wuhan, and Chongqing. Read more information on Shanghai Cruise Port.
Getting to/from Shanghai by Train
There are four main railway stations in Shanghai: Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, Shanghai South Railway Station, and Shanghai West Railway Station.
- Shanghai Railway Station: This is the largest railway station in Shanghai, and more than 70 pairs of trains run from there to large- and middle-sized cities, including Beijing, Xi'an, and Hong Kong.
- Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station: This mainly operates bullet trains to/from Beijing, Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou.
- Shanghai South Railway Station: The trains from this station mostly depart to Jiangxi Province, Zhejiang Province, and places in South China.
- Shanghai West Railway Station: This station mainly operates trains running from/to Nanjing and Wuxi.
Trains between Shanghai and Major Cities
It is very convenient to travel by train from Shanghai to major cities like Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, and even Hong Kong. A high-speed train (G train and D train) is a good option in terms of speed, facilities, and service.
|From||To||Travel Time by G Trains||Travel Time by D Trains|
|Shanghai||Beijing||5–6 h||11–12 h|
|Xi'an||6-7 h||11 h|
|Nanjing||1–2 h||2–3 h|
|Suzhou||½ h||½–1 h|
|Hangzhou||1–1½ h||1–1½ h|
See detailed information about trains from/to Shanghai:
Getting to/from Shanghai by Coach
Shanghai has an advanced highway network. Three westward National Highway Lines — 312 (stretching from Shanghai to Yining City in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region), 318 (stretching from Shanghai to Zhangmu Town in Tibet), and 320 (from Shanghai to Ruili in Yunnan Province) — all start from Shanghai.
National Highway Line 204 (Yantai–Shanghai) and Tongjiang–Sanyan National Highway run through Shanghai and link North China to South China.
Four main expressways (Shanghai–Nanjing, Shanghai–Jiading–Taicang, Shanghai–Qingpu–Pingwang, and Shanghai–Hangzhou) provide convenient transport between Shanghai and its neighboring cities.
The Shanghai Metro
As of December 2015, there have been 14 subway lines in Shanghai; the longest metro system in the world with 548 kilometers of track. A ticket costs 3 to 6 yuan based on the distance traveled.
Subway Lines 1 and 2 are the most popular among travelers. They link many famous tourist spots including People's Square, Century Park, and West Nanjing Road, and several important transport hubs like Shanghai Railway Station, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The interval between train departures is about 4 minutes.
More information about the Shanghai Metro.
It's a very convenient way to travel from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to the outskirts of central Pudong where passengers can interchange to the Shanghai Metro to continue their trip to the city center. If you want to experience the world's fastest train, you should not miss the Shanghai Maglev Train. It is the first commercial Maglev railway in the world.
- Distance: 30 kilometers (19 miles)
- Maximum speed: 431 kph (268 mph)
- Route: Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) – Longyang Road Station
- Shortest duration: about 8 minutes
- Interval: 15–20 minutes
- Operation times:
From Longyang Road Station to the airport station: 06:45–21:40;
from the airport station to Longyang Road Station: 07:02–21:42
- Ticket fares:
Standard seat: 50 yuan for a one-way ticket and 80 yuan for a return ticket;
VIP seat: 100 yuan for a one-way ticket and 160 yuan for a return ticket
Taxis are the most convenient means of transportation in Shanghai. Taxis in Shanghai are mainly Santana cars. There are five main taxi companies in Shanghai, operating taxis of different colors.
Here are the five companies, with their colors and hotlines:
- Qiangsheng Taxi (yellow): 6258 0000
- Dazhong Taxi (sky blue): 96822
- Haibo Taxi (white): 96933
- Bashi Taxi (light green): 96840
- Jinjiang Taxi (mazarine): 96961
Fares for Shanghai Taxis
- From 05:00 to 22:59: 14 yuan for the first 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) and 2.50 yuan for each additional kilometer (0.6 mile) up to 15 kilometers; 3.6 per kilometer afterwards.
- From 23:00 to 04:59: 18 yuan for the first 3 kilometers and 3.10 yuan for each additional kilometer up to 15 kilometers; 4.7 per kilometer afterwards.
Trips out of town: If you intend to hire a taxi out of town (such as to a water town) or to the nearby city of Suzhou, it is suggested that you first negotiate a price with the driver. Also, it is better that you hire the taxi for a round trip because most drivers are reluctant to go one way for a long distance. Instead of public taxis, a private driver and vehicle may be more convenient, enjoyable, and even more economical.
Be aware that some drivers or people in fake taxis might scam you by overcharging or giving counterfeit money. To help make sure that they don't scam you, make sure they turn on the meter at the start, and get a receipt.
At present, there are 18 ferry lines linking Shanghai's Pudong and Puxi Areas. The fare is a flat fee: 0.50 yuan/person on standard ferries, 2 yuan on air-conditioned ones; 1.30 yuan/bike on standard ferries, and 2.80 on air-conditioned ones.
Now the ferry has become one of the best vehicles to take by tourists to admire the gorgeous view across the Huangpu River. See more information about a Shanghai night cruise.
Shanghai City Buses
Public buses in Shanghai are often packed, but they are the most convenient and inexpensive way to loop the city. More than 1,100 bus lines in Shanghai run to every corner of the city.
Shanghai's public bus system is quite comprehensive. Shanghai Railway Station, People's Square, Xujiahui, and Zhongshan Park are hubs on the public bus network.
Bus numbering: Buses preceded by the numbers "2", "3", and "9" are rush hour buses, night service buses, and double-decker/tourist buses, respectively, and buses 1 to 199 run from 5am to 11pm.
Fares range from 1 to 3 yuan depending on the length of the routes or bus conditions: as a rule, the cost is 1 yuan for routes less than 1.3 kilometers, 1.50 yuan for routes over 1.3 kilometers, and 2 yuan for air-conditioned buses (indicated by a snowflake next to the bus number).
Our Private Alternative to Shanghai City Transport
Our private transport (with a guide for all your questions and translation needs) offers a far more reliable and fulfilling alternative to taxis.
- Railway Station transfer to the city center.
- Airport, train station, and port transfer to your hotel.
Tour Shanghai with China Highlights
Shanghai has a comprehensive and complex transport system. It is not easy for a foreigner to enjoy touring Shanghai in a way that saves time and energy. We are here to help.
Here are our most popular Shanghai tours, for inspiration:
- 3-Day Classic Shanghai Tour: You will be escorted by a local guide to see Shanghai's main attractions.
- 11-day CLASSIC WONDERS private tour: We take you to major attractions in various Chinese cities — the beautiful Li River in Guilin, the Great Wall of China in Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, and the electric skyline of modern Shanghai.
- 5-Day Essence of Shanghai and Hangzhou Tour: Visit the landmarks in Shanghai and Hangzhou like the Bund and West Lake.