Knowing the different types of Shanghai Airport transportation into the city is a good way to avoid getting lost, stranded or ripped off.
Whether your destination is Pudong or the Bund, there are many transportation options available to you that are reasonably priced, comfortable and safe.
They will be waiting for you like lions to prey once you exit the International Arrivals Lounge at Pudong Airport.
Your transportation options dwindle the deeper you get into the night, usually leaving you with only a taxi cab.
I wish I had known more about the airport to city transportation options when I landed for the first time in Shanghai's Pudong International airport.
Because I knew so little about the Shanghai airport transportation options, I ended up in a beaten up old taxi cab with a driver who refused to acknowledge that he was driving in circles around my final destination near the Bund.
"Hey, Driver. I can see the place over there. You're just driving in circles around it," I said to him.
"No ... No ... The road here very different your country. Must go way I told." He said with a fat smile.
"Please, Driver. It is late at night and I didn't book a room in advance. I'm not sure where I am going to stay and I don't have much money."
The driver seemed to feel sorry for me and we were at the front door of the hostel I had chosen out of my guidebook.
The problem is that you can't really ask anyone for help. Every person you meet within 1000 yards of the Arrivals Gate has a stake in what cab you take, what you eat along the way and what hotel you stay in, regardless of the impact on you.
So they lie to you. I don't blame them. They have to earn a living and if that means they recommend you into a bad hotel room during the cab ride into the city, so be it.
So, here is the truth about the Shanghai Airport transportation options available to you from the Pudong International airport into Shanghai CN.
Read on to learn about the actual going rates for taxis into the city as well as hours of operation, costs, intangibles as well as other options for transport into Shanghai (The Maglev, Anyone?).
I arrived late into the night at the Shanghai Pudong Airport. It had been a long flight and I was anxious to get into a room and on top of a mattress as soon as possible.
I got into a taxi cab because no other Shanghai airport transportation options were available so late at night. The 430 kph (270 mph) Maglev train shuts service at 9:30pm and it was way past that time.
The Maglev would have been my first choice for transport from the airport into the city.
I highly recommend getting on that 430kph Rocket Train (Maglev) if you can. It's by far the best Shanghai airport transportation option.
It speeds directly into the city and connects the Pudong International Airport with Shanghai's vast Underground Metro System.
Once you get yourself into the arteries of the underground Metro system, you're able to reach just about anywhere, however remote, within the city of Shanghai.
Seriously, the thing goes everywhere. You may get lost but that can be fun also, as long as you can find a way back to the underground station, you will always have a way home.
But a ride on The Maglev is special and should not be missed. It's a step above the other Shanghai airport transportation options. It's how the Maglev gets you into the city center that makes it so special.
The train doesn't actually touch the track. It floats over a magnetic field that acts like an invisible barrier, separating the train from the tracks beneath it.
Without the drag of the 30 rotating steel wheels that most trains have, the Maglev is free to hit speeds that were impossible for a very long time.
It is so fast that when you look out the window at 430KM/H, the trees, houses and buildings become a blur of color and individual items become one awesome special effect.
This Shanghai airport transportation is closer to a UFO than a bus.
Warning to Ganja users:
Please have a first ride aboard the Maglev without influence of narcotics. Grown men have peed their pants and others claim to have fought off attempts by aliens to remove their pants.
All were young and foolish. The worst offender had saved his largest joint for the trip and smoked it while standing at the end of the tracks, waiting for the train to arrive.
Don't let that be you! Say NO before a ride on the Maglev!
The Maglev might be the most ideal Shanghai airport Transportation option because of the time saved and the relatively low cost.
The Maglev costs ¥50RMB ($7USD) for a one-way ticket or ¥40RMB ($6USD) for passengers who are flying that day and can prove it with a flight ticket or otherwise. The round-trip return ticket on the Maglev, Shanghai costs ¥80RMB ($11USD) and VIP tickets cost double the standard fare.
I don't know anything about the VIP tickets and what 'double the cost' actually buys you. I am going to pay the cost next time. It's only $11USD more for the VIP Return Ticket and a chance to find out what really happens behind the eternally drawn satin curtains at the front of the train.
If you beat me to it then write about it so we don't have to live like slaves, too afraid to take those first steps beyond the satin curtains.
The Maglev departs from either the Pudong International Airport or the Shanghai city center. It runs every 15 to 20 minutes on a 6:45am to 9:30pm daily schedule.
The MagLev will get you from the airport to the Longyang Road MagLev/Metro station on the Pudong side of downtown Shanghai in as little as seven minutes.
A taxi would take about 30 minutes for the same trip.
And cost you ¥200RMB or about $30USD.
Avoid the Stress on the Day of Your Arrival
By choosing the right Shanghai airport transportation for you.
Some flights can be longer than usual and arriving at your destination late into the night is not uncommon. The only time I will consider spending outside of my tight budget is for the convenience and piece of mind that certain services can provide.
I will sleep in a leaky hut if I think the hotel owner down the road is overcharging people and are rude to boot!
I will pay an extra $1.20USD to ensure I have a room of my choosing booked for the night of my arrival, especially any major city in China.
Sometimes, after a particularly long and grueling day I have shelled out the extra bucks to get picked up at the airport and gently guided right to the doorstep of my previously booked hotel room.
Find out more about the Maglev Airport Transfer service.
If you can't handle the speed, then there is also a budget shuttle service. Sometimes the flight is a long one and I may be arriving late at night.
The last thing I need is the hassle and worry of where I'm going to get a cab and if they know where my hotel is and if they are going to rip me off or not (The cab driver).
That is where I spend the money and get one of these airport transfers.
I may scrounge every penny from that day forward but it can be money well spent to have someone waiting for you at the airport with your name on a sign.
From that moment forward everything is taken care of and you have no reason to worry and nothing to do but relax on that first day.
The best budget One-Way and Return Shuttle Bus Transfers from Pudong International Airport to the doorstep of your hotel can be booked online before you even go.
Learn more about the Airport Shuttle Bus Service.
I Took a Cab
What a mistake. Of all the Shanghai airport transportation options available to get into the city, I was stuck with a Taxi Cab.
It cost me nearly as much as the Airport Shuttle Bus Service, which would've picked me up at the airport, carried my bags and driven me right to the doorstep of the hotel I had picked out of my travel guide.
Few cab drivers speak English so have a map and the address to your destination written down on a piece of paper. The taxi driver will want to check it 18-40 times during the long ride so keep it handy as well.
Even if you don't want to book a Shanghai Hotel in advance then at least write down a few addresses of hotels in the area of Shanghai you'd like to stay.
'Helpful' people become less likely to bother you and Taxi Drivers stop driving in circles when they see that you are sure of your destination.
Most of the taxis that are part of the Shanghai airport transportation system are regulated. They are forced to charge a flat fee regulated and enforced by the government.
This doesn't seem to stop them from getting lost, though. And that is despite the GPS system mounted on the taxi's Dashboard.
Shanghai Pudong Airport Taxi Rates (Regulated)
Distance rate in Shanghai: 0~3 KM 3~10 KM Above 10 KM
Daytime:(5:00~23:00) ¥11RMB / KM ¥2.1RMB / KM ¥3.2RMB / KM<
Nightime:(23:00~5:00) ¥14RMB / KM ¥2.7RMB / KM ¥4.1RMB / KM
If you are sitting in a traffic jam then you are charged for 1KM of travel for every 5 min that you go no where.
I hope this Shanghai Airport Transportation summary has helped you decide which option you'll choose.
Happy trekking everyone!
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