Shanghai’s humid subtropical climate contains four distinct seasons. Winter can be cold, with temperatures that drop to freezing, although snowfall is rare. This makes the season the least expensive for travel, but only until the Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year. This holiday shifts dates from year to year because it’s based on the lunar calendar, but falls around late January – mid-February and lasts for 23 days. During the Spring Festival, not only will the city be extremely busy, but also many shops and even some tourist attractions close. During the spring, comfortable temperatures and less precipitation than during summer make it a popular time for travelers to visit. Make sure you book your flights and accommodation ahead of time. Heat, humidity, and plenty of rain make summer less comfortable for tourists, so you might find some good deals if you visit in June – August. Tourist season picks up again in late September and October, after typhoon season, with drier weather and temperatures of 23 – 27 degrees Celsius.
Several airlines offer non-stop flights from the US to Shanghai’s two airports. You may choose from Delta, American Airlines, China Eastern, United, Air China, and Hainan Airlines. Numerous international airlines offer flights with one or more stops into Shanghai.
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is one of two international airports in Shanghai and an important aviation hub serving mainly domestic and regional flights. It’s situated around 13 kilometers west of Downtown Shanghai. If you arrive at Hongqiao Airport, these are your options for travel to the city center.
Shanghai Metro lines 2 and 7 can take you from either of Hongqiao Airport’s two terminals to the city center. Get on line 2 at Terminal 2 and ride to the People’s Square in about 30 minutes or take line 10 from Terminal 1 and get off at Yuyuan Garden in about the same amount of time. The fare for either is ¥4.00 RMB.
You can hail a taxi from Terminal 1 at the arrival hall exit, or from Terminal 2 at the south side of gate 4. Travel time to the People’s Square is about 30 minutes, and the fare is ¥50.00 RMB.
From Terminal 1, you can take bus 806 or 1207 to get downtown for a fare of ¥2.00 RMB. If you arrive at Terminal 2, board any of these buses: Hongqiao hub lines 4 or 9, airport line 1, line 941, or line 361 (the night bus). The fare for daytime shuttles is ¥4.00 RMB, and for the night bus, ¥16.00 RMB.
Pudong Airport mainly serves international flights, so this is where most international tourists land. Here are your transport options into Downtown Shanghai.
Shanghai Metro line 2 will get you from the airport to People’s Square in 62 minutes, for a fare of ¥7.00 RMB. You may also take the Maglev from the airport, get off at Longyang Rd. in only 8 minutes, and then take Metro line 2 into the city center in 18 minutes. The Maglev costs ¥50.00 RMB and the Metro costs ¥4.00 RMB, so you pay a total of ¥54.00 RMB, and your total travel time is 26 minutes.
A taxi into Downtown Shanghai from Pudong Airport will cost you approximately ¥200.00 RMB, and the trip will take about 45 minutes.
You can take Pudong Airport shuttle bus 2 from the airport to City Terminal, or the night bus 361, to the same destination. The travel time is the same, at around 60 minutes, but the night bus costs ¥30.00 RMB, while the other is only ¥16.00 RMB.
If you’re planning on renting a car while visiting Shanghai, it’s definitely worth checking for deals on car rentals with momondo.
The best way to get around in Shanghai is to use their affordable and efficient public transit. The bus and subway systems are relatively easy to navigate; both have signage in English and Mandarin, and the subway even has announcements in English. At convenience stores and any metro station, you can buy a Public Transportation Card (jiao tong ka), load it with credit and travel on buses, the metro, and even some taxis.
There are 15 subway lines with connections all over Shanghai, stopping at or nearby the main attractions and commercial areas. They run from 5:30am to midnight daily, and fares range from ¥3.00 RMB for the first few stops to ¥10.00 RMB for the most distant ones. Shanghai’s bus system is extensive as well, although the buses may be crowded, and you will need to keep a close eye on your valuables. The bus fare is ¥2.00 RMB.
Bicycles and scooters
For those who have a romantic notion to join the crowds on a bicycle or scooter, we recommend that you think twice before doing so. Shanghai’s traffic is chaotic, and drivers rarely offer courtesy to cyclists, or pedestrians for that matter. However you choose to make your way on the streets of Shanghai, it’s best to keep your wits about you.
U.S. citizens traveling to China must obtain a visa prior to arrival and have a passport with at least 6 months’ validity remaining. The lack of either will result in a fine and immediate deportation. You can apply for a 10-year multiple-entry visa, useful for repeated travel to China. For foreign nationals, please check < "http://visa.ywpw.com/ChineseVisa/nonUSCitizen_en.html" target ="_blank">this link for information.
Shanghai is a dazzling, fast-paced city of bright lights, lofty skyscrapers, a blend of diverse architectural styles and bustling markets. Here are a few sights you should add to your itinerary.
Wondering about tipping etiquette in Shanghai? Strictly speaking, the government forbids it, though it still happens in some of the swankier restaurants. Tipping never happens in smaller restaurants and taxi drivers are likely to hand your change back to you.
When greeting people in Shanghai, it is customary to present them with your business card. If possible, have some cards printed with Chinese text on the reverse. When you are introduced to a local, take out your card, bow slightly, and present it with both hands. They will probably respond in a similar manner.