When you fly in to Shanghai, chances are – you will land in one of its two main airports: Hongqiao International Airport or Pudong International Airport. Hongqiao is located around 13-15 kilometers (8-9 miles) out of the city center. Pudong, on the other hand, is located much farther – around 30-25 kilometers (19-20 miles) out of the city center. But the good news is – they are both connected to the city via a good public transportation network!
– Hongqiao International Airport –
Hongqiao is mainly servicing domestic flights, with only a handful of international flights taking off and landing there on a daily basis. Some of its main airlines, include – China Eastern Airlines, Juneyao Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, and some others. It has two main terminals: Terminal 1 and 2. It’s one of the oldest and busiest airports in the whole country.
Getting from the airport:
The easiest way to get to the city center is to take a subway (metro). Terminal 2 is serviced by two subway lines: Line 2 and 10. Terminal 1 is serviced by Line 10. Once you hop on the subway – it is very easy to switch to a different line, depending on your final destination. If this will be your first time arriving to China – please read our helpful guide: How to Use the Metro in Shanghai.
The second option is to take a taxi – which should cost approximately 70-100 Yuan (not more than $20), to the city center (People’s Square). The entire ride should last approximately 25-40 minutes (or longer – depending on the traffic). Helpful hint: make sure to have a copy of your destination’s name and address in Chinese characters. 99.99% of Chinese drivers do not speak nor understand English language (including the famous English brand names, such as “Marriott hotel”, etc.)
The third option is to take a bus, but if you do not speak any Chinese – we wouldn’t recommend this option. In case you do speak the language: you can take a bus #806, 807 or 1207 from Terminal 1, or bus #941, airport bus line 1, Shuniu line 4, or Shuniu line 9 from Terminal 2.
Download a fully copy of Shanghai’s metro map here.
– Pudong International Airport –
Pudong is mainly servicing international flights. It’s a relatively new airport – it was opened fairly recently, in 1999. Some of its main airlines, include: China Eastern Airlines, Air China, China Southern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, and many others. Just like Hongqiao – it also has two main terminals: Terminal 1 and 2.
Getting from the airport:
The easiest way to get from the airport is also the fastest – by taking its famous, World record-winning Maglev train. The train is mostly famous for two things: it does not have a live train conductor – it runs on autopilot, and its speed – it covers 30 kilometers (19 miles) in exactly… 8 minutes! It runs every 15-20 minutes and it costs 50 Yuan one way, or 80 Yuan for a roundtrip.
Maglev train only runs between two stops – Pudong airport and Longyang Rd. From Longyang Rd you can catch a subway – line 2, and get to the city center in to time at all (this is the best option). You can also catch a taxi from this point which will take you to the center, and will cost approximately 100-150 Yuan (the ride will last much longer – around 30-60 minutes, depending on the traffic, and your destination).
The second option is to take a subway from the airport. Line 2 stops at Pudong. It’s the cheapest option to get to the city, but it’s also a longer one.
The third option is to take a taxi – it should cost between 150-250 Yuan. It’s also one of the slowest choices, as the ride can take anywhere from 45 minutes to more than 2 hours, depending on the traffic. P.S. Once again – remember to have your destination’s name and address written in Chinese characters, as mentioned above.
Finally, you can also take a public bus from Pudong airport, but as we already mentioned – it might be very problematic for those who do not speak the Chinese language. There are several different routes and lines (including one that runs between Hongqiao and Pudong airports) – for more information see this page.