How to Plan a Trip to Shanghai

So you are going to visit the megacity of Shanghai. With some serious planning and research leading to it,  you can have a hassle free Shanghai tour, seeing the major Shanghai sights and enjoying as much fun as possible.

Cruising on Huangpu River & the 632-meter high Shanghai Tower

There are a few things you ought to know when preparing for a smooth and rewarding trip to Shanghai.  Of course, here I’m humbly eager to know any travel tips you will add to the list after your trip to Shanghai.

How to Get to Shanghai and Away

By Air

Shanghai is connected by numerous domestic and international flights from the major cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lhasa, Guangzhou, Kunming and a plethora of the cities around the world.

Shanghai has two airports – Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport (SHA) . Shanghai Pudong International Airport is located in Pudong new zone ( east of Huangpu River ), about 30 kilometres from the city centre while Shanghai Hongqiao Airport is located in Puxi ( west of Huangpu River ), in the western suburbs of Shanghai, only 13 kilometers away from the city center of Shanghai.

Most of the international flights arrive at Shanghai Pudong Airport while Shanghai Hongqiao Airport mainly serves domestic flights. But Shanghai Hongqiao Airport also has several international flights to central Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and central Seoul’s Gimpo International Airport. So it is important to know from which airport you will depart or arrive in Shanghai.

Shanghai Pudong Airport is about 40km apart from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. The two airports are connected by subway line 2 and airport shuttle bus lines, which is very convenient if you need to transit between the two airports. Taking Subway Line 2 from Pudong Airport to Hongqiao Airport Shanghai takes one and half hours at the ticket price of 15 Yuan.

If you are going to take metro line 2 from Pudong airport to the downtown or vice versa, you have to get off at the station of Guanglan Road (广兰路) and interchange for  downtown direction or Pudong airport.

First Subway Train leaves from Pudong Airport at 06:00am; First train arrives at Pudong airport at 06:35am.
Last Subway Train leaves from Pudong Airport at 22:00; last trains arrives at Pudong Airport at 22:35.

If you prefer to take Shanghai Maglev from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, your final stop is Longyang Road (龙阳路), from where you are able to interchange for Metro Line 2 going to downtown Shanghai. Both Maglev and Metro are on the second floor linked to the middle of the 700-meter long corridor. So if you are going to take Maglev, you should go to the middle part of the long corridor connecting the two terminals. Shanghai Pudong International Airport also operates 8 airport shuttle bus lines. Taking the shuttle bus from Pudong Airport to Hongqiao Airport takes you one and half hours at the price of 8 yuan. The taxi from Pudong airport to the downtown Shanghai: 48km, about RMB165 (taxi fare).

The Terminal 2 of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is part of the Hongqiao Comprehensive Transportation Hub with a zero-distance transfer with Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. Subway Line 2 easily takes you to the downtown Shanghai, plus the convenient shuttle service.

By Rail

Arriving at or leaving Shanghai by train is a popular way of transport for Shanghai trip. Of all the 6 railway stations in Shanghai, there are three major train stations – Shanghai Railway Station and Shanghai South Railway Station, and Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station.

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station
Mainly designed for bullet trains  high speed trains (G) between Shanghai and Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, Shanghai and Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Fuzhou, Wenzhou, Nanchang, Xiamen and some other cities in China.

It is billed as the largest railway station in Asia. It is a part of the Hongqiao Comprehensive Transportation Hub. The station achieves a zero-distance transfer with the Terminal 2 of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.

Shanghai Railway Station
Add: No. 303 of Moling Road in Zhabei District

The major destinations and trains starting from Shanghai Railway Station: Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, Chongqing  and Hong Kong.

Shanghai South Railway Station
Add: No. 289 of Old Humin Road in the south Xuhui District
The major destinations and trains starting from Shanghai South Railway Station: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Guilin and Kunming.

Overland Travel to Shanghai

Shanghai has a few long-distance bus stations. The most useful bus stations are Shanghai Hengfeng Road Bus Station, Shanghai South Bus Station, Shanghai Long-Distance General Bus Station and more.

Shanghai is a highway transportation hub connecting the major cities in China including Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Jiaxing, Changzhou, Zhengjiang, Hefei, Huangshan, Wuhan, Qingdao, Beijing…

Shanghai Hengfeng Road Bus Station
258 Hengfeng Road, Shangai Tel:63175757
Shanghai South Bus Station
666 Shilong Road, Xuhui Disrict Tel: 021-021-54362835
Shanghai Long-Distance General Bus Station
1666 Zhongxing Road, Zhabei, Shanghai Tel: 021-66050000

Arrival on Cruise Ship

Shanghai has two major cruise ports – Shanghai Wusongkou Cruise Port and Shanghai Port International Cruise Port. Shanghai Port International Cruise is located not far from the Bund, the city center of Shanghai while Wusongkou Cruise Port is about 22km north of the downtown Shanghai.

Check out the three links for more travel information on the cruise ports and service concerned:
Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal
Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal
Shanghai Cruise Port Transfer Service

When to Visit Shanghai

The best time to visit Shanghai could be anytime during spring, summer and autumn, depending on the kind of traveling experience and sites you want to see. Coming from different corners of the world, people have their own favorite time or seasons to plan Shanghai Tours.

Most foreign visitors prefer spring and autumn to visit Shanghai due to the comfortable weather: neither too hot nor too cold. High season: March, April, May, Sept and October Shoulder season: June, July and August Lower season: Nov. 15 till Feb 28 next year

Shanghai Layout

The navigation of Shanghai is exhausting mainly due to the “random” city layout of Shanghai. Shanghai is quite different from Beijing and Xian whose city layouts are based on the former imperial grid patterns as ancient capitals in successive daynasties.

But behind the seemingly irregular city pattern of Shanghai, people still can have a fairly clear picture of Shanghai orientation. The city proper of Shanghai is divided into two parts by Huangpu River – Puxi (West of Huangpu River) and Pudong (East of Huangpu River). Check out Shanghai Layout for more information.

Get Around in Shanghai

Getting around in Shanghai is also very convenient with the most advanced transportation system including metro, maglev, taxi, and public buses. Check out How to Take a Bus In Shanghai.

Taking Shanghai metro is the most preferred mode of city transport in Shanghai since it is easily manageable. There are 11 metro lines (including the Shanghai Maglev Train), 223 stops and 368 km of tracks in operation, making it the longest metro tracks in Asia and the third-longest in the world.

Shanghai Taxis are plentiful. There are over 100 taxi companies in Shanghai. Of all the taxi companies, Dazhong, Qiangsheng and Jingjiang are most strongly recommended. Dazhong is sky blue: the largest taxi company in Shanghai. The drivers are very professional and all the cars are new and in good condition.

Shanghai Taxi Rates:
Comprehensive Price: price = base fare RMB 14 (first three kilometers) + RMB 2.5 for every succeeding km within 10 km and RMB 3.6 for every succeeding km after 15 km; Night drive ( 23 – 5 am ): 30 % up.

Taxi call or Enquiry in Shanghai:
Dazhong: 021-96822
Qiangsheng: 021-62580000
Jinjiang: 021-96961
Bashi: 021-96840
Haibo: 021-96965

Where to Stay in Shanghai

There are over 300 star-rated hotels in Shanghai. So you have a difficulty job to find an ideal hotel. You may look for the hotels through the online hotel booking travel websites such as – – – and many more.

More recommended hotels in Shanghai below:

Shanghai Budget Hotels
If you don’t want to spend lots of money on luxury accommodation, you still can have a decent and comfy stay in Shanghai.

1. City Hotel Shanghai Add: No.5-7 South Shanxi Road Shanghai, Tel: 86 (21) 6255-1133
2. Anting Villa Hotel Add: No.5-7 South Shanxi Road Shanghai Tel: 86 (21) 6255-1133
3. Captain Hostel Add: 37 Fuzhou Road, near Sichuan Zhong Road, Shanghai
4. The Pujiang Hotel Add: 15 Huang Pu Road, near the Bund, Shanghai Tel 86 21 64246388
5. Old House Inn Add: No. 16, Lane 351, Hwa Shan Rd., Shanghai Tel: 86 21 62486118
6. Charms Hotel Shanghai No.619 Jiu Jiang Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 53594900
7. Hongqiao Kingtown Hotel Add: No. 1111 Tianshan Road Shanghai Tel: 86 21 61281111
8. JinJiang Inn (Expo) Shanghai No.300 Banquan Road Pudong District Shanghai Tel: 021-58321888
9. 7 Days Inn (Shanghai Hongqiao) Add: 1050 Wuzhong Road, Minhang District, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 544223683
10. Hanting Express (Yan’an Road) Add: No. 1066 Yan’an West Road, Changning District, Shanghai Tel: 86-4008106868

Shanghai Luxury Hotels
Shanghai is fast becoming a city of opulence. Five-star luxury hotels can be found everywhere in Shanghai. If you are going to pamper yourself while on business or leisure travel to Shanghai.

1. Pudong Shangri-La Add: 33 Fu Cheng Road, Pudong, Shanghai Tel: (86 21) 6882 8888
2. The Grand Hyatt Add: Jin Mao Tower, Pudong, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 5049 1234
3. The Peninsula Hotel Shanghai Add: 32 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 23272888
4. JW Marriott Shanghai Add: 399 Nanjing West Road, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 5359 4969
5. The Portman Ritz-Carlton Add: 1376, Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 62798888
6. The Puli Hotel & Spa Add: 1 Chang De Road, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 32039999
7. The Four Seasons Add: 500 Weihai Road, Shanghai Tel: 86 (21) 6256-8888
8. Add: 1288 Lujiazui Ring Road, Shanghai Tel: (86) 21 3867 8888
9. The Westin Bund Center Add: Bund Center, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 63351888
10. The Langham Xintiandi Shanghai Add: 99 Madang Road, Shanghai, Tel: (+86) 21 2330 2288

Shanghai Boutique Hotels
In Shanghai, more and more boutique hotels are popping up and there are a few posh properties that the discerning traveler will enjoy taking advantage of.

1. JIA Shanghai Add: 931 West Nanjing Road, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 6217 9000
2. Pudi Boutique Hotel Add: 99 Yandang Road, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 51016060
3. URBN Hotel Add: 183 Jiaozhou Lu, Shanghai, Tel: (8621) 5153 4600
4. Mansion Hotel Add: 82 Xinle Road, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 5403 9888
5. Sky Fortune Boutique Hotel Add: No.358 Hongxu Road, Shanghai,Tel: 86 21 3405 9898
6. Rhea Boutique Hotel Add: No.1388, JinQiao Road, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 50708666
7. Langham Yangtze Boutique Hotel Add: No.740 Hankou Road, Shanghai 86 21 6080 08008.
8. Hengshan Moller Villa Add: 30 Shanxi Road, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 62478881
9. 88 Xintiandi 380 Huang Pi Road South, Shanghai Tel: (86 21) 5383 8833
10. Casa Serena Boutique Hotel Add: 68, Taicang Rd Shanghai Tel: 86-21-53821600

What to See in Shanghai

The attractions in Shanghai are plentiful with numerous sites spreading in its vicinity such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi and Huangshan. For the metropolitan city of Shanghai, it is worth checking the top 10 things to do in Shanghai to meticulously plan your 2-4 day short visit.Please find below our suggested Shanghai travel schedule for your reference only:

1) Shanghai in One Day
Day 01: People’s Square, Shanghai Museum, the Bund, Jinmao Tower, Yuyuan Garden(Bazaar) , former French Concession, Xintiandi

2) Shanghai in Two Days
Day 01: People’s Square, Shanghai Museum, the Bund, Jinmao Tower, Yuyuan Garden(Bazaar) , former French Concession, Xintiandi
Day 02: Qibao Town and Zhujiajiao Water Town

3) Shanghai in Three Days
Day 01: People’s Square, Shanghai Museum, the Bund, Jinmao Tower, Yuyuan Garden(Bazaar) , former French Concession, Xintiandi
Day 02: Qibao Town and Zhujiajiao Water Town
Day 03: Shanghai – Suzhou – Zhouzhuang Water Town Where to Dine in ShanghaiShanghai cuisine, collecting the traditional of old Shanghai and the fad of new Shanghai, is a place gathering all kinds of snacks. Its taste is different from the pure sugary of Macao and Hongkong, and the peppery of Sichuan.

Shanghai Old Town Snack Street (by the Yuyuan Garden)
It collects all kinds of flavor snacks of Shanghai including: Characteristic Snack in Lubolang, Vegetable Stuffed Bun in Songyuelou, Pigeon-egg Dumpling in Sweet-scented osmanthus Hall, Eight-treasures rice pudding in Songyuelou, Nanxiang Xiaolongbao (Steamed Pork Dumplings), Ninbo Rice Ball, Wine Dumpling, Spiced Beans,etc.

It is highly boasted the Snack Kingdom. Check out:
Top 10 Best Restaurants in Shanghai
Top 10 Shanghai Classic Vegetarian Restaurants

What to Buy in Shanghai

When outsiders and foreigners come to Shanghai, they would invariably like to buy some of those commodities with special Shanghai flavor to be brought back home as souvenirs, keepsakes or gifts for their relatives and friends.Check out:
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai.

Clothes & Shoes
If you are interested in boutiques, especially Qipao (Chinese Cheongsam), Changle Road, the Chinese Cheongsam street is a nice destination. It contains about 20 Chinese Cheongsam shops and most of them provide tailoring services.

Shanghai is one of China’s most important regions for silk production and export. The variety of silk fabrics available is astounding including silk, damask, damask silk, brocade, crape, arrowroot, gauze etc.

Weaving and Embroidery
In Shanghai you will find excellent weaving embroidery in many different styles. Shanghai Weaving Clothes are more and more popular these days for its unique technique and mixed styles.

If you are a enthusiast of porcelain, you can go to Shanghai Museum where some of the best porcelain are on offer.  In some big department stores, you may find porcelain made in Jingdezhen.

How to Enjoy Nightlife in Shanghai

As a common understanding, Shanghai has the most colorful night life in China, but if you have ever participated, you may feel it is probably the most colorful one in the world!Check out How to enjoy Shanghai Nightlife?

The Bund
The Bund is a must see when watching in Shanghai at night. The Bund concentrates almost all of the beauty of the shades in Shanghai, attracting folks to enjoy the night. Many tourists are attracted by its illuminated night scene.

Shanghai Xin Tian Di
Xintiandi has many visitors. If you are visiting Shanghai for the first time, it is much safe to go Xin Tian Di for the nightlife. Xin Tian Di, the most fashionable area cultivated in the distinctive Shikumen Buildings. However, every building has a modern interior and its unique bares, shops and restaurants are more and more popular with the tourists.

Nanjing Road
As the most famous Pedestrian Street of Shanghai, Nanjing Road collects most hundreds of Modernize commercial Mansions, China’s time-honored shops and specialties stores, where it is possible to pick up a bargain or enjoy a tasty morsel to eat.

Acrobatics is an interactive art. Every body, young or old, educated or not, can easily appreciate. Without language and culture barrier, you certainly feel the influx of adrenaline in your flood. Watch and experience the professional acrobatic group do really unforgettable show to your amazement and satisfaction.

Night Cruising on Huangpu River
The best way to see the perfect scenery of Shanghai and have a full view of Huangpu River is to take a boat trip. Cruising on the Huangpu River is a must for first time visitors.

Some Useful Travel Tips

1. Health & safety
1) Shanghai Huashan Hospital: This hospital is one of the best option if you need meidical service in Shanghai. Add: 12, Wulumuqi Zhonglu, Shanghai Tel: 021 – 52889999
2.Fast Facts
1) Shanghai Tourism Administration: 10th Floor, 10 Dagu RD, Shanghai Tel: 86 21 23111111
2) Bank of China in the downtown: 1988, Yan’an Xi Rd, Shanghai ( 9am-5pm Mon-Fri, 10.30am-3.30pm Sat & Sun) 021-62090090
3) Post Office: 1757 Beijing West Road, Jing’an, Shanghai – 021-62881608 (9am-6:00pm Mon-Fri)
4) PSB in Shanghai: 128 Wuning South Road, Jing’an, Shanghai – 021-62310110
For latest Shanghai travel information, please check out Shanghai Travel Blog.

Hassle-free Shanghai Guided Tours

If you don’t want to do a self-guided tour and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Shanghai:

Shanghai Tour
Shanghai Day Tour
Shanghai Multi-Day Tour
Shanghai Evening Tour
Shanghai Cruise Port ( Transfer& Excursions )
Shanghai Beijing Tour
Shanghai Xian Tour
Shanghai Car Rental with Driver

Further Readings

Top 10 Attractions in Shanghai
Shanghai’s Top 10 Iconic Landmarks
Top 10 Markets in Shanghai
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do at night in Shanghai
Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Shanghai
Top 10 Things to Do in Winter in Shanghai
Top 10 Souvenirs in Shanghai
Top 10 Photo Spots in Shanghai
10 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Shanghai
Top Things to Do for Kids in Shanghai
Top family-friendly spots to visit in Shanghai
Top 10 Shanghai Museums
Doing things the local way in Shanghai
Shanghai Cherry Blossom Festival

How to Plan a Trip to Shanghai
Best time to visit Shanghai
How to Visit Shanghai on a Budget
Where to stay in Shanghai
Visit Shanghai in December
How to Visit Shanghai in November
Visit Shanghai in October
How to Visit Shanghai in March
Visit Shanghai in February
Shanghai in January Travel Guide
Shanghai Layout, the city layout of Shanghai

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station
Public Transportation at Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai Hongqiao Airport
Huangpu River Cruis e Ticket Booking (Tickets, Photos and Map)
Shanghai Hop On Hop Off
Ferry from the Bund to Pudong
The highest al fresco dining venue in China
Shopping in Pudong Shanghai
Top 10 Shanghai Classic Vegetarian Restaurants
Beijing Shanghai high speed rail
Ticket Booking for Beijing Shanghai High Speed Rail
Top 10 Shanghai Budget Hotels
Top 10 Shanghai Luxury Hotels
Top 10 Shanghai Boutique Hotels

Tips for Visiting Nanjing Road in Shanghai
The Neon-Colored Nanjing Road
Night walk along Nanjing Road in Shanghai
How to Visit the Bund in Shanghai (Tips, Photos & Map)
The Bund at Night pictures
Foggy Pudong Skyline at Sunrise, Shanghai
The Bund and Small Pool of Rainwater
Early Morning Kite Flyers on the Bund in Shanghai
Historic Buildings on the Bund in Shanghai (the 22 heritage buildings)
Evening View of the Bund and Pudong Skyline Shanghai
How to Visit Yuyuan Garden and Bazaar
The Old World Charm in Shanghai (Tips, Photos & Map)
How to Visit Lujiazui in Pudong
How to Visit Zhujiajiao Water Town
How to Visit Qibao Ancient Town
How to Visit Tianzifang
How to Visit Xintiandi
How to Visit Shanghai World Financial Center
How to Visit Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai
How to Visit Shanghai Tower
Tips for Visiting People’s Square, Shanghai
How to Visit Shanghai Auto Museum
Feeling Chinese New Year’s Atmosphere in Shanghai

How to Visit Wuzhen Water Town from Hangzhou and Shanghai
Huangpu River in Shanghai VS River Thames in London
Some similarities and differences between Paris and Shanghai

Any questions, just drop a line.

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