Shanghai, China (CN)
Shanghai Pudong International Airport is the main international airport serving the city (the other, serving mainly domestic flights, is Shanghai Hongqiao). It lies along the coast, around 30km east of the city.
The airport has two almost mirror-image terminal buildings facing each other, with a train station, car parking and shuttle bus route in between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
Travelling between terminals
A free shuttle bus runs between the terminals every 10 minutes, taking five minutes. You can take the bus from Terminal 1, Exit 1 of the domestic departures and Exit 8 of the international departures level, and Terminal 2, Exit 23 of international departures and Exit 27 of domestic departures.
With such a comfortable, fast and yet inexpensive rail service available, it makes sense to use it. Note that if you're transferring to Honqiao Airport, it's best to allow five hours' transfer time to take into account traffic and transport changes.
The high-speed Maglev (magnetic levitation) train gets you to Longyang Road station in the city centre in just eight minutes - travelling at speeds of up to 431km/h. There, you can change to Metro Lines 2, 7 and 16.
Location: Train station between Terminals 1 and 2
Cost: CNY 50 one-way, CNY 80 round-trip (within 7 days) to Longyang Road Metro station
Operating hours: 07:02-21:42 daily, every 15-20 minutes
To save money, you can also take the Metro Line 2 from the airport to Longyang Road, Lujiazui, People's Square and Hongquiao International Airport. Your journey will be considerably longer, though, with a journey to People's Square taking around one hour.
Tip: If you’re travelling with a bag on the Metro you'll be asked to put it through an X-ray scanner. To get through more quickly, just open it and show the contents to the guard on duty. Of course, this may not be possible with large pieces of luggage, in which case, you may prefer to take a taxi.
Location: Train station between Terminals 1 and 2
Cost: CNY 6 to Longyang Road, CNY 7 to People's Square
Operating hours: 06:00-22:00 daily, every 8-10 minutes
There are eight different buses which depart from the airport and go to various destinations within Shanghai.
Bus Route 1: To Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station via Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
Bus Route 2: To Jing'an Temple (City Terminal Hub)
Bus Route 4: To Hongkou Stadium Hub (Huayuan Road), via Deping Road at Pudong Avenue, Wujiaochang and Dabaishu
Bus Route 5: To Shanghai Railway Station, via Longyang Road Metro Station, Century Avenue at South Pudong Road (Lujiazui) and East Yan'an Road at Middle Zhejiang Road (People's Square)
Bus Route 7: To Shanghai South Railway Station, via West Huaxia Road at Shangnan Road and East Huaxia Road at Chuansha Road (Chuansha)
Bus Route 8: To Nanhui Coach & Bus Station
Bus Route 9: To Xinzhuang Metro Station
Location: Arrivals area of Terminal 1 and 2
Operating hours: 07:00-23:00 daily
If you’re carrying a lot of luggage or don’t feel like squeezing yourself onto the Metro, a taxi from the airport is the most convenient way to travel. A taxi to the People’s Square takes around 45-60 minutes. Be sure to grab a taxi from the ranks outside the terminals (they're separated according to their destinations), rather than a driver who approaches you, as it's likely they'll overcharge you.
Tip: It's best to have your destination and nearby landmarks written in Chinese – the Information Desk will help you with this.
Cost: Around CNY 160-200 to People's Square (rates increase by about 35% from 23:00-05:00)
If you’re from one of these countries, you no longer need to get a visa in advance for trips less than 144 hours. Print out the details of your connecting flight and fill in an Arrival Form to enjoy visa-free travel for 144 hours in China. Other cities offer visas on arrival, for a fee, but this service is offered free to facilitate the travel of international visitors. Be aware that you must fly out of the same airport you flew into.
Terminal 2 at Shanghai airport is always busy, which means there are extensive queues. Generally there are only 3-4 officers processing passengers so you’ll certainly want to allow sufficient time to get through – unless your flight is delayed, of course!
If you can rely on one thing at Shanghai airport, it’s that the flights are likely going to be delayed. Military intervention often affects flight times so be sure to keep an eye on your flight status. Additionally, gates can change without notice and may result in a dash across the airport to board on time.
Well-dressed “staff” may approach you in the airport to sell you a SIM card so you can access the Wi-Fi network. They will say the card is free and then tell you that you must pay for data. It is unlikely that the card will work in your phone. If you need to buy a SIM card go to one of the shops in the airport instead.
With Shanghai’s 72-hour transit visa, you can get out of the airport and see the city. Explore the leafy Fuxing Park and the tree-lined streets of the French Concession. Take a taxi north to the Jade Buddha Temple where you’ll see robed monks and beautiful architecture. Finish off with some shopping in Xintiandi and a meal at Crystal Jade, one of Shanghai’s best Cantonese restaurants.
If you need to make photocopies, long distance calls, or to use the Internet, head to Gate 7. The business centre will help you get all of your work done before boarding flight.
The centre is open from 6:00am to 11:30pm.
For money exchanges, wait until you’re at a hotel or a bank. The airport exchange offices charge hefty commissions, up to RMB 60 per exchange. Cash points at hotels allow you to exchange up to $400 of major currencies for just RMB 20.
Most lounges in Shanghai are named after the gate they're located next to. The majority of the lounges are located in international terminal 2.
Rental cars for international guests are not common in China. Driving requires a Chinese license which can be hard to get and traffic in China is often considered dangerous. Therefore there is no specific rental car center.
However there is a AVIS rental station in at the airport: Shanghai Pudong Intl Airport Terminal, Shanghai, 201202, CN (08:30-22:00 every day)
It is quite common for people to stop at the Science & Technology Museum or People’s Park metro stops to pick up various items on their way to the airport. Both stations are on Line 2 (the same as the airport) and easy to navigate on foot with luggage. The shops have great options for authentic gifts and souvenirs.
Head to the airport museum in the international departure terminal near Gate D90 to learn more about Shanghai’s cultural history. They exhibit art from both Shanghai and Europe, in an 'East to the West' theme that will provided a vivid cultural experience.
The Ramada Airport hotel has been recently renovated and makes a good choice for a last-minute accommodation. Amenities certainly leave something to be desired but if you just need a place to rest between flights, the rooms are clean and the Wi-Fi is reliable and complimentary. Room rates start at RMB 950 per night.
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