A long Shanghai (Pudong – PVG) layover is fantastic because it’s really easy to get out of the airport and actually see Shanghai!
Shanghai is one of the 11 cities you can visit without a tourist visa if you are there on transit! Make sure that you check the rules about the visa-free transit beforehand just to make sure that you won’t run into problems at the airport. I highly recommend checking Travel China Guide‘s information on China’s 72-hour visa-free transit rules.
Pudong (PVG) is a fantastic layover airport because getting from the airport to downtown Shanghai is so EASY and FAST!
You can take the regular subway from the airport to downtown Shanghai, but I absolutely must recommend the high-speed MAGLEV! From the airport, there is only one stop, and that is Longyang, so no worries about getting lost, getting on the wrong train, etc. 🙂
Of course, it’s much more expensive than the regular train/subway at 50 yuan one way or 80 yuan for a return trip, but the time that you save definitely makes the extra money worth it!
One way takes less than eight minutes, and the train goes up to 431km/h, as you can see in my picture to your left! WOW!
I don’t know why, but not all trains reach that speed but don’t worry; one way is still only about eight minutes!
Enjoy the smooth, comfortable, hassle-free ride!
However, before you can board the Maglev, or any other train in Shanghai, you have to go through security. You need to put your things through before you pass through the ticket gates.
Like everywhere else, some security guards are more strict than others. Some permitted women to just hold their purses/bags open in front of them and quickly rush off, and others didn’t. Since one guard let three women in front of me go that way, I thought I’d try. Sadly, the guard wouldn’t let me. Dang!
Once you get to Longyang, you can transfer to the regular subway system. Once you get to the ground level from the escalator, just cross the street. The station you will enter is Longyang Road Station, and it’s on lines two, seven, and sixteen.
However, before you go down to the main floor, you’ll see the Maglev’s cool mascot along with a sign directing you to the Shanghai Maglev Museum on the ground floor.
If you are a little pressed for time, and/or if you’re interested in science, technology, engineering, and/or the Maglev, you’ll definitely enjoy yourself at the Shanghai Maglev Museum!
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the museum was free, and I hope that it still is when/if you go see it!
There are displays on the history of transportation, the development of the Maglev, and of course, the science behind it. The displays are in English as well as Mandarin, so you can really a great deal. There are a few interactive sections.
I hope that all this will make your layover in Shanghai better! Shanghai is a great city with so much to see and do. I hope that I will have more layovers in Shanghai in the future!