China Guide

Getting Around Shanghai | Travel guide to Shanghai, China

Getting around Shanghai

You will likely arrive in Shanghai through the Pudong International Airport when on international flights which is approximately a 45minute ride into the city centre. There is a train service that runs from the airport to Pudong, but isn’t ideal for those not actually staying in Pudong. It is therefore best to catch a taxi into the city as it is often more convenient and much faster.

If you are arriving from a domestic flight, you will likely land at Shanghai Airport, a short distance from the city centre. Unlike the international airport, Shanghai Airport does not have a train running into the city so you will need to take a taxi for the short 25minute ride into town. There will be an official taxi line outside the airport and it is strongly recommended you join the line rather than accept a ride with a tout as they will more than likely charge you a lot more.

Once in Shanghai there are several methods you can use to get around.

Rental Cars

While there is the option of hiring a car and driving yourself around, the insane traffic and Chinese street signs can prove to be a problem. Therefore even the most confident of drivers will probably be deterred.


Shanghai busses are an inexpensive but difficult mode of transport for foreigners. While they are cheaper than taking a taxi, the bus drivers know no English, therefore getting on the right bus and getting to the right place can be more trouble than its worth. Also, with Shanghai’s ridiculous traffic, busses tend not to move very fast.

Subway (Metro)

With some major improvements made over the last few years, the Shanghai subway, or metro, has now increased in capacity. The great thing about the metro is that the stops are written in English also, making locating your stop much easier. It is also a relatively cheap way of travelling. Do be careful with your belongings however as pick pocketers have a field day in the often busy subways.


Taxis are by far the easiest and most reliable form of getting around Shanghai. They are also rather inexpensive in comparison to global standards. However it is important to carry destination cards with you destination written in Chinese as again, it is unlikely they will speak English.