Your bags are packed and your flights are booked, but is the thought of navigating Shanghai in a foreign language stressing you out? Not to worry! Follow this 3 part guide to prepare for your upcoming trip to Shanghai!
Getting From the Airport to Your Hotel
You have now arrived in Shanghai and you are facing the hardest part of your trip: getting from the airport to your hotel. We are here to help!
Getting a Taxi
The best way to get a taxi at the airport is to wait in the official taxi line. Once you have cleared immigration, look for taxi icons on the signs to direct you to the line. Drivers that approach you offering rides are sketchy and are known for overcharging. Under no circumstances should you engage with anyone on the way to the taxi line.
Tip: Always have your hotel address written in Chinese as well as in English to show to the driver but if you have trouble communicating with the driver, call your hotel and ask the front desk to speak with him. From Pudong International Airport (PVG) to People’s Square, the center of the city, takes about 45 minutes and costs about 150 RMB to 190 RMB, barring any traffic jams.
Pro: Probably the easiest and least stressful option. You can have a quick tour and see Shanghai’s cityscape from the comfort of your taxi. Plus, your driver will drop you off right in front of your hotel, so you won’t have to worry about locating it on your own.
Cons: The most expensive option and if you hit traffic, you could see your travel time doubling and sitting in traffic is not the best way to start your trip. Still cheap compared to other cities of Shanghai’s size, you aren’t going to be spending more than US$30 for most downtown locations.
The High-Speed Maglev Train
Another option for traveling out of the airport is to take the Maglev train. Look for the Maglev icon on signs to direct you to the station. A single trip ticket is 50 RMB or 40 RMB if you show them a ticket stub for a same day flight. Round trip ticket (valid within 7 days) is 80 RMB. The train operates from 6:45 a.m. to 9:40 p.m. The terminal station is Longyang Lu, from this station you can take a metro (lines 7 and 2 connect at the Longyang Lu station) or you can take a taxi which is about a 20 minutes ride to downtown areas.
Pros: Possibly the fastest option and reasonably priced. Plus, you will have the very memorable experience of sitting on the world’s fastest commercially operating train with speeds up to 268 mph.
Cons: After getting off the train, you will have to either find a cab or hop on a metro which will add another travel expense. Additionally, moving your luggage on and off the Maglev to a taxi or metro can be heavy and annoying.
Taking the metro is by far the cheapest option, about 9 RMB for your trip out of the airport but using the metro can be a bit tricky, especially with a lot of luggage. Traveling to People’s Square on the metro takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Metro lines in Shanghai are very busy, so you will most likely not have a seat and will be crammed into the train cars. Be aware of your luggage and personal belongings while on the metro.
Pros: So, so cheap! You will be saving some funds to spend on other things during your trip. Plus, you will be instantly thrown into Chinese culture by experiencing how the majority of Shanghai’s 24 million residents travel around the city. And this gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with Shanghai’s metro map for the rest of your trip. Did I mention it was cheap?
Cons: Traveling by metro is hectic and not always fun with a lot of luggage. You will probably not have a seat and will have to stand with your luggage close by. And then, of course, once you get off the metro you will have to navigate to find your hotel, also not a lot of fun with heavy luggage and unfamiliarity with the city.
Sigh a breath of relief once you arrive at your hotel! You did it! Take a nap and get ready for your trip, because now you are in Shanghai!!