How to get around Shanghai: info, costs and advice

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Martí Micolau

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Shanghai, one of the largest and most modern cities in the world, is a dynamic and lively metropolis, full of places and aspects to discover. Thanks to its incredible development, the city has become a very important economic, financial and commercial center. Taking a tour of Shanghai is like being projected into the future. This "super city" represents the highest expression of China's unstoppable wave of modernity. However, away from the glittering towers of Pudong, there is still a world steeped in Chinese tradition, with a charming colonial atmosphere to be discovered.

To better organize your itinerary and avoid wasting precious time navigating the city, it is essential to know how move to Shanghai! Here are all the info, costs and our tips for visiting the destination!


  1. Useful Tips
  2. How to get from the airport to the center of Shanghai
  3. How to get around on foot
  4. Con i mezzi pubblici
  5. By car
  6. User questions and comments

Useful Tips

Moving is only recommended to discover some individual neighborhoods. Buses are also to be avoided as they are too crowded. Rather we recommend using the metro and taxis which turn out to be quite convenient.

we recommend download a smartphone application, for example Explore Shanghai, which offers updated maps, a search engine to calculate routes, distances, means of transport and travel times.

Equally recommended Shanghai Public Transportation Card. It is a rechargeable transport card that costs 100,00 yuan (€ 12,60), of which 20,00 yuan (€ 2,50) is used as a deposit and the remaining 80,00 yuan (€ 10,10) ) as a spendable value. The card allows you to pay for taxis, metro, buses and ferries and to avoid queues at the counters, to buy tickets every time, and to handle money.
The cost of the ticket is deducted directly from the card based on the fare of the vehicle. The card can be purchased at all metro stations, but also at banks and 24-hour shops or other outlets.

  • Recommended solutions and means: metro and taxi, on foot only in the individual districts
  • Solutions and means not recommended: bus, car
  • City cards and season tickets recommended: Shanghai Public Transportation Card (100,00 yuan / € 12,60 -), Metro Day Pass (from 18,00 yuan / € 2,30)

How to get from the airport to the center of Shanghai

Shanghai has two airports: Shanghai Pudong International Airport, 30 km east of downtown, and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, 13 km west. Most foreign airlines land first, but wherever your plane lands, you can easily get into the city from both airports. Furthermore, they are connected to each other by metro line 2.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

  • Distance from the center: 30 km / travel time: 1 h
  • By train: Maglev Train line, magnetic levitation monorail train / ticket cost: 50,00 yuan (€ 30,00)
  • By metro: line 2 / ticket cost: 10,00 yuan (€ 1,26)
  • By taxi: average cost 250,00 yuan (€ 31,50) / travel time: 1 h
  • By bus: average cost 25,00 yuan (€ 3,15) / numerous lines marked with "Airport Bus Line X"


  • Distance from the center: 13 km / travel time: 30 min
  • By subway: lines 2 and 10 / ticket cost: 5,00 yuan (€ 0,60)
  • By taxi: average cost 100,00 yuan (€ 12,600) / travel time: 30 min
  • By bus: average cost 10,00 yuan (€ 1,25) / from Terminal 1 lines 806, 807, 938 and 1207. From Terminal 2 line 941, Hongqiao Hub lines 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

How to get around on foot

We do not recommend walking on the streets of Shanghai given their level of crowding and the objective difficulty in getting around: the best solution to get around the city is to take advantage of the excellent city subway system.

But getting around on foot becomes a winning solution when you have to visit individual neighborhoods, discover the large city parks, perhaps during the Hanami period, the cherry blossoms (a phenomenon that can also be admired in China, not only in Japan), or immerse yourself in the oldest areas of the city, made up of temples and shops. Alternatively, you can also discover some areas by participating in a small group bike tour, ideal for settling in the city, during which you will always be accompanied by a local guide who will allow you to move in total safety!

Con i mezzi pubblici

Moving to a city as big as Shanghai can be scary, but really the metro system is quite simple to use, and allows you to quickly reach the main attractions of the city. Our advice is to use mainly subway and taxi, since they are quite affordable.


The Shanghai metro system is great, and it undoubtedly represents the best way to get around the city. The trains are fast, cheap and clean, although they can be crowded at rush hour, as in all large metropolises. The Shanghai Metro has 13 lines, underground and surface, and connects the entire metropolis.

The lines that you will most likely use are 1 and 2. Line 1 crosses the center for a long stretch connecting places that are very popular with those visiting Shanghai, among which we mention the former French concession, XinTianDi and Piazza del Popolo; Line 2 instead connects the nerve centers of the city and is particularly useful for moving between the center, railway stations and airports. Among the most important places connected by line 2: Jing'An, Nanjing Street (NanJingLu), People's Square and LuJiaZui (center of PuDong).

Il ticket price it is really cheap and is calculated based on the distance traveled, starting at 3,00 yuan (€ 0,40). Children under 120 cm in height travel for free when accompanied by a paying adult.

  • from 5:00 am to midnight
  • Ticket / single ride cost: from 3,00 yuan (€ 0,40)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: 1 Day Pass 18,00 yuan (€ 2,30), 3 Day Pass 45,00 yuan (€ 5,70), Maglev & Metro Pass 55,00 yuan (€ 6,95)


In Shanghai there are about 1.000 bus lines, however to get around the city it is probably the least advisable means of transport. In fact, they are often very crowded, especially on weekends, and it is not as comfortable and practical as the subway.

The stops are exclusively in Chinese, and the drivers often don't speak English, so for a tourist it is quite complicated to use as a service. It should also be considered that traffic in the city does not allow maximum punctuality of the cars, for this reason we recommend using other more comfortable and equally economical public transport.

Another point that could be confusing is the cost of the ticket: Most lines require a 2,00 yuan (€ 0,25) ticket, some running downtown only 1,00 yuan (€ 0,15). There are no passes or booklets, but the Shanghai Public Transportation Card can be useful.

  • from 5:00 to 23.00 / series 300 are active all night
  • Ticket / single ride cost: downtown shuttle bus 1,00 yuan (€ 0,15), most buses 2,00 yuan (€ 0,25)


As an alternative to buses, we recommend using Shanghai taxis, available at any time and at discounted rates. Unfortunately, few taxi drivers understand English, so we recommend you download the free app Taxi Card Shanghai, with which you can search for your destination on the map or by typing in English and create a virtual card in Chinese characters to show to the taxi driver.

There is no dominant color reference, Shanghai taxis are colorful and all major companies have their own distinctive color. Small and medium-sized companies usually use dark blue and dark red colors. One of the best known and most appreciated companies is Dazhong Taxi, blue / aquamarine color, with the number 96822 written on the side, it is the telephone number.

Taxis in the city are over 50.000, in circulation 24 hours a day and without limitation on holidays. The starting price of the ride is 24 yuan (€ 11,00), with increases of 1,40 yuan (€ 2,00) every 0,25m after the first 500km. The basic night rate (from 3pm) is 23 yuan (€ 00).

  • 24 hours on 24
  • Ticket / single ride cost: first 3 km 11,00 yuan (€ 1,40) + 2,00 yuan (€ 0,25) every 500 m

By car

It is highly not recommended to drive in Shanghai due to the constantly heavy and congested traffic. Without forgetting the difficulties that can be encountered to succeed in decipher the signs written with Chinese ideograms. If for various reasons you could not help but have a car in Shanghai, we recommend choosing an accommodation that has a parking space in order to leave your vehicle safe and then move around the city using public transport.

If you really don't want to give up total independence in moving around and visiting the city without any kind of constraint, a good compromise could be to rent a car with driver, preferably speaking English. You will travel in total freedom without having to worry about traffic and language problems.

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