Do you plan to spend only 6 to 24 hours in Shanghai? Don’t know what to do in the city during a long period of waiting for an onward flight? This article tells you how to enjoy a stop-over or a day trip in Shanghai.
Shanghai as an important metropolis in China, is one of the main passenger transit places, owning one of China’s largest airports - Pudong International Airport. Many travelers from overseas choose Shanghai as an entry for China visits.
144-Hour Visa-Free Access
Shanghai is one of the cities that have a 144-hour visa-free policy. Travelers from 51 countries and regions can go to Shanghai without visa and they can stay there for 6 days. During the visa-free time, permitted passengers can get around in Shanghai.
See more details of China 144-hour visa-free transit policy.
How to Get to Shanghai from Pudong International Airport
It takes about 1 hour to get to the urban area of Shanghai from the airport, and you need to go back to the airport 2 hours before your flight leaves.
Luggage Storage at the Airport
In Pudong International Airport, there are 6 left-luggage offices offering baggage storage:
Terminal 1 Building: between Gate 4 and Gate 5 and between Gate 10 and Gate 11 in the Departure Hall; between Gate 6 and Gate 7 in the Arrival Hall.
Terminal 2 Building: near Island A and Island M in the Departure Hall; near the International Exit in the Arrival Hall.
It is a good idea to leave your baggage at your departure hall.
The price of luggage storage varies according to luggage size and the storage time. Leaving large luggage costs 50 Yuan a day, and leaving smaller pieces is cheaper.
You can take the metro, the Maglev train, a bus or a taxi to get to the inner city.
Metro line 2 can take you to the urban area. In the airport, there are clear signs guiding to the metro stop. You need to change from a four-car subway train to an eight-car one at the Guanglan Road (广兰路) stop so that you can continue your journey.
Note: The subway trains traveling from the airport to Guanglan Road station have 4 cars, running from 6am to 10pm. The 8-car trains travel from Guanglan Road station to East Xujing (徐泾东) station, with a longer operating time.
Taking Shanghai Maglev train can shorten your journey. The line runs between Pudong International Airport and Longyang Road (龙阳路) station, and it only takes 8 minutes to complete the distance of 30 km (19 miles). You can transfer to subway line 2 to continue your journey.
The place to buy a ticket is on the second floor of Pudong International Airport Station.
Single Trip: 50 Yuan for Economy class; 100 Yuan for VIP class
Round Trip: 80 Yuan for Economy class; 160 Yuan for VIP class
There are 10 airport bus lines available, traveling between the airport and the inner city of Shanghai. Follow the signs at the airport, to direct you to the bus ticket center. The ticket costs 20 to 30 Yuan.
Taking a taxi is expensive but convenient. The distance between the airport and the city center is about 50 km (31 miles). It costs about 180 Yuan if you go to popular commercial centers or tourist attractions like Xujiahui (徐家汇), Lujiazui (陆家嘴), People’s Square and Jing’an Temple (静安寺).
Recommended Half-Day/Day Tour Itinerary
Pudong Airport – Yu Garden – the Bund – Nanjing Road - People’s Square–the Oriental Pearl Tower - Pudong Airport. Apart from the time traveling between the airport and the city center, visiting the five attractions takes at least 12 hours. So select attractions according to your interests and available time.
1. Yu Garden (豫园): The gardens are very beautiful with a classical Chinese style. The nearby markets offer countless selections of traditional Chinese crafts and souvenirs. You can take your favorite ones home.
Prices: 40 Yuan during busy season (1st April to 30th June, 1st September to 30th November); 30 Yuan during low season (1st December to 31st March, 1st July to 31st August)
Opening Hours: 08:30-17:00 during busy season; 08:30-16:30 during low season
Recommended Tour Time: 2-3 Hours
Address: No. 137, Anren Street, Huangpu District
Getting There from the Airport: Take subway line 2 to East Nanjing Road station, and transfer to line 10 to Yu Garden station. The station is about 700 meters from the Yu Garden.
2. The Bund (外滩): This corridor along the Huangpu River provides a very scenic stroll and leisure spot. The Bund is also special for 52 European-style buildings lining the riverside, dating back to 1990s. Landmark buildings of Shanghai like the Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai Tower are opposite the Bund.
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Recommended Tour Time: 2 hours
Address: Along the Huangpu River, Huangpu District
Getting There from the Last Destination: Take bus 64 at New North Gate (新北门) stop to Middle Jiangxi Road Hankou Road (江西中路汉口路) stop. The Bund is about 400 meters from there. You can also go east to the bank of the Huangpu River and walk north along the river to the place. Both ways take 20 minutes.
3. Shopping and Eating in Nanjing Road (南京路): It is one of the most famous pedestrian streets in Shanghai. It consists of East Nanjing Road and West Nanjing Road and the east one is more popular. A wide range of products and delicious food are offered there.
Price: The place is free to access. The prices for shopping and eating vary.
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Recommended Tour Time: 2 hours
Address: Huangpu District
Getting There from the Last Destination: The east end of East Nanjing Road is the Bund, so walk south along the Bund corridor and get to the Chenyi Square where there is a sculpture of Chenyi (the first mayor of Shanghai). East Nanjing Road is opposite the square. The Swatch Art Peace Hotel is on one side of the road, the Citibank is on the other side of the road.
4. People’s Square: The People’s Square is surrounded by the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Nanjing Road, Jing’an Temple, etc. It is like Central Park of New York city, the most central point in Shanghai and good for sightseeing.
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Recommended Tour Time: 1-2 hours
Address: No. 120, People’s Avenue, Huangpu District
Getting There from the Last Destination: The square is south of Nanjing Road. When you finish walking along East Nanjing Road, you will stand at the crossroads between Nanjing Road and Middle Tibet Road (西藏中路). Turn left (south) and walk along the Middle Tibet Road; you will find the square on your right side. It is a 10-minute walk.
5. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower: As the fifth highest tower in the world, it is the best place to take a bird's-eye view of the Bund, both by day and by night. The main facilities are Shanghai History Museum, Revolving Restaurant and Space Capsule.
Option A: 220 Yuan per person for all three spheres + Shanghai History Museum
Option B: 160 Yuan per person for the first and second sphere + Shanghai History Museum
Option C: 35 Yuan per person for Shanghai History Museum
Opening Hours: 8:30-21:30
Recommended Tour Time: 2 hours
Address: No. 1, Pudong Century Avenue, Pudong New District
Getting There from the Last Destination: Take subway line 2 on People’s Square (人民广场) station to Lujiazui (陆家嘴) station. The tower is about 650 meters from the station. The journey takes 20 minutes.
6. Return to the airport from the Oriental TV Tower: Three hours before your boarding time, it is time to return the airport. Get back to Lujiazui subway station and take line 2 to the Pudong International Airport. It takes about 1 hour.
Meals and Restaurants
There are lots of tasty foods in Shanghai. Famous for its flavorful sauces, Shanghai’s cuisine is a must-try for you. Also, you can taste Western food, Thai food or other regional food in the city. See more details of Shanghai food.
Generally, the food consumption per person is about 100 Yuan a day in Shanghai and eating at high-end restaurants costs much more.
We select two famous restaurants and two well-known snack streets among Shanghai's mainstream restaurants and snack streets for you as following: (The Shanghai’s restaurants Page offers more options for eating in Shanghai.)
Shanghai Oriental Pearl Revolving Restaurant
It is a buffet restaurant located at the top of Shanghai Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower. The restaurant offers a wide range of cuisines with a comfortable environment. The alluring view will be changing as you sit in one place. One circle takes two hours. You can taste delicious food while appreciating wonderful landscape.
Average price per person: 300 Yuan
Opening hours: Lunch: 11:00-14:00; Dinner: 17:00-21:00
Tel: 021-58797138, 021-58828886
Address: Inside the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, No. 1, Pudong Century Avenue, Pudong New District
How to Get There: Take subway line 2 from the airport, transfer to a 8-car train of the same line on Guanglan Road (广兰路), and then get off at Lujiazui (陆家嘴) station. The journey takes about 1 hour.
M On The Bund
M on the Bund is located on the top floor of the seven-floor former Nissin Shipping building by the Huangpu River. You can appreciate spectacular images of the Bund while tasting European dishes and creative cuisine in the riverside restaurant.
Lunch: Monday–Friday, 11:30am–2:30pm
Brunch: Saturday–Sunday, 11:30am–3pm
Afternoon Tea: Saturday–Sunday, 3pm–5pm
Dinner: Every evening, 6pm–10:30pm
Lunch: 198 Yuan or 268 Yuan per person
Brunch: 298 Yuan or 328 Yuan per person
Afternoon Tea: 138 Yuan per person
Dinner: Depends on what you order
Tel: 021-6350 9988
Address: 7/F, No. 20, Guangdong Road
How to Get There: Take subway line 2 from the airport, transfer to a 8-car train of the same line on Guanglan Road (广兰路), and then get off at East Nanjing Road (南京东路) station. The journey takes about 1 hour.
Old Town God Temple Snack Street
With the design of Ming and Qing dynasties’ architectural style, the street gathers massive amounts of snacks of China. You can munch all the yummy foods such as xiaolongbao (small steamed buns), tangbao (a steamed dumpling filled with minced meat and gravy), strong-smelling preserved bean curd and so on.
Average price per person: 20-100 Yuan
Address: Fuyou Road, Huangpu District
How to Get There: Take subway line 2 from the airport, transfer to a 8-car train of the same line on Guanglan Road (广兰路) to East Nanjing Road (南京东路) station, and then take subway line 10 to Yu Garden (豫园) station. The journey takes about 1.5 hour.
South Yunnan Road
This street is perfect for tourists looking for Chinese fare as it is filled with restaurants specializing in cuisines of different regions. Famous foods are kebab, wonton, xiaolongbao, Shaoxing sliced cold chicken, boiled salted duck, etc.
Average price per person: 30-100 Yuan
Address: East Yan’an Road, near South Zhejiang Road, Huangpu District
How to Get There: Take bus line 5 from the airport, and get off at Yan’an Road Middle Zhejiang Road stop. It takes 50 minutes and costs 20 Yuan.
Hotels can be found everywhere in Shanghai, and almost all hotels have hour rooms. The prices of hotels vary according to the location and star level. Generally, a standard 3-star hotel costs 300-400 Yuan per night. Hotels around the airport cost 200-1000 Yuan per night while ones in commercial areas and near attractions are more expensive.
Shanghai is a shopping paradise. Popular shopping places are Nanjing Road, Huaihai Road, Yu Garden, and many shopping plazas. See Our Shanghai shopping Page; you will find out more shopping areas and what you can buy in those places (including silk, antiques, snacks, books, qipao and electronic items).
Suggested Layover Itineraries in Shanghai