Flying To and From Shanghai

Shanghai has two airports. Most international flights arrive to Pudong Airport, while domestic flight arrivals are split between Pudong and Hongqiao airports. Although Pudong Airport is more modern, you’re probably better off flying into Hongqiao as it makes for a quicker and cheaper trip into the city.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (上海浦东国际机场)

The modern Pudong Airport is the busiest airport in China in terms of international passenger traffic. Located 30km east of Shanghai, the airport is situated on the eastern fringe of the Pudong District by the coast. First opened in 1999, the second terminal opened in March 2008 and the majority of foreign airlines, along with Air China, China Southern and Shanghai Airlines, now arrive to this terminal. Pudong Airport is linked to every major destination in China and most major destinations in the world.

Shanghai Pudong Airport Website:

Getting to and from Shanghai Pudong Airport

By Maglev: There’s much fanfare about the high-speed magnetic levitation train that connects Pudong Airport to the city. The German made train began operation in 2004 and seems like a tourist gimmick as much as anything else. Still it does the job of taking passengers 30km closer to the center of Shanghai in just over 7 minutes when running at top speed. The train travels at a maximum speed of 431km/h, but at certain times of the day it only runs at a maximum of 300km/h. The Maglev terminates at Longyang Rd subway station, still a distance east of the city center. Passengers can then continue on the subway or by taxi (about ¥40 to the Bund). The Maglev fare is ¥50 one way (¥40 if you show your flight ticket) or ¥80 return. The Maglev runs between 6:45am and 9pm with a departure every 20 minutes or so.

By Subway: Line 2 of the Shanghai subway runs all the way from Pudong Airport, through the center of Shanghai (stopping places like Lujiazui, Nanjing Rd East and People’s Square) and on to Hongqiao Airport. It’s a long (75 minutes) trip to the city center, but it’s very cheap at ¥6.

By Bus: Although not as flashy as the Maglev, the buses from Shanghai Airport can take you closer to your destinations. There are numerous lines in operation. The most useful ones are as follows:

Line 1 runs directly between Pudong Airport and Hongqiao Airport every 15-25 minutes from 6am-9:30pm (fare: ¥30).
Line 2 runs from the airport to Jingan Temple every 15-25 minutes from 5:30am-9:30pm (fare: ¥22).
Line 5 runs from the airport to Shanghai Railway Station every 20 minutes from 5:30am-9pm, making a few stops en route (fare: ¥18).
Line 7 travels directly from the aiport to Shanghai South Railway Station every 30 minutes from 6:50am-9:30pm.

There are also buses from Pudong Airport to Suzhou (see here), as well as Hangzhou, Nanjing and several other destinations in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. See the airport website for schedules.

By Taxi: There’s a well-ordered taxi rank at Pudong Airport. The fare to the center of Shanghai will be around ¥150 and take about an hour.