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Shanghai Transportation: Getting to/from Shanghai by Plane, Train, and Boat

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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Want to see Shanghai without a visa? Passengers from 51 countries or regions can enjoy a 144-hour visa-free stay in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang. See detailed information about How to Transit Through China for 144 Hours Without a Visa.

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.

Pudong AirportShanghai Pudong International Airport

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 AirportShanghai Hongqiao International Airport

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

Get to Shanghai by SeaGet to 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

Railway Stations

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
Guangzhou 7–9 h NA
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

Shanghai subwayShanghai subway

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.

The Maglev

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

Shanghai Taxis

Shanghai TaxiShanghai Taxi

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.

See China Taxis for more taxi tips>>

Shanghai Ferries

Huangpu River The Huangpu River night cruise

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.

Tour Shanghai with China Highlights

Tour Shanghai with China HighlightsTour 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.

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