Trekking with Becky

Shanghai (Pudong – PVG) Layover

A long Shanghai (Pudong – PVG) layoverย 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. ย 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!


The Maglev

The Maglev, which is short for magnetic levitation.

You can take the regular subway from the airport to downtown Shanghai, but I absolutely must recommend the high-speed MAGLEV! ย From the airport, there is only one stop, and that is Longyang, so no worries about getting lost, getting on the wrong train, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚


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!


Wowsers!  431 km/h!

Wowsers! 431 km/h!

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! ย WOW!

I don’t know why, but not all trains reach that speedย but don’t worry; one way is still only about eight minutes!

Enjoy the smooth, comfortable, hassle-free ride!


Security at every station in Shanghai!

Security at every station in Shanghai!

However, before you can board the Maglev, or any other train in Shanghai, you have to go through security. ย 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. ย Some permitted women to just hold their purses/bags open in front of them and quickly rush off, and others didn’t. ย Since one guard let three women in front of me go that way, I thought I’d try. ย Sadly, the guard wouldn’t let me. ย Dang!


Once you get to Longyang, you can transfer to the regular subway system. ย Once you get to the ground level from the escalator, just cross the street. ย  The station you will enter is Longyang Road Station, and it’s on lines two, seven, and sixteen.


The Maglev mascot.

The Maglev mascot.

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!


The Maglev Museum

The 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. ย 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! ย Shanghai is a great city with so much to see and do. ย I hope that I will have more layovers in Shanghai in the future!


85 thoughts on “Shanghai (Pudong – PVG) Layover

  1. Lowell

    Hi Becky, youโ€™re blog is awesome and very informative . I need your input on lay over in Shanghai. Weโ€™re coming in from US and has 7 hr lay over in Pudong in the evening from 5 pm to 12 am. Is it enough time to catch a glimpse of Shanghai and maybe get a bite for dinner in downtown. Which one would you recommend to go at this time of day be in time to get back to airport. Thanks Lowell

    1. Becky Post author

      Thank you so much!

      Yes, thatโ€™s enough time to go downtown to see the Bund and get a quick bite to eat if you take the Maglev. Make sure that you get back to the airport very early though; PVG is not very efficient. Also make sure that your luggage is taken care of. There is a service that will take care of your suitcase while youโ€™re out.

      Good luck, and have a blast! ๐Ÿ˜„

  2. jetsetterjenny

    Hmm My group has a 5.5 hr layover. Anyone think that’s enough time to catch a cab to Disney’s Toy Story hotel to grab a bite and maybe do some strolling around their downtown disney and come back? I heard the cab ride is about 20 mins? I’m not sure how much time we need to get back through security if we just have our carry ons.

    1. Kumari

      It’s the immagration that may slow you up took us an hour and a half to get out of the airport then remember you have to go through imagration again when you go back to the airport and security so I would give myself atlest 2 hours ( more depending on your fear of missing a flight) before your flight to be at the airport.

  3. Sarina

    Hi Becky, I am sure there are tons of the same questions but I didn’t read every comment. How much should I exchange for a 11hr layover, from 6am to 5pm? It’ll be 3 of us, and we’ll be storing our stuff at the airport, we all have global entry, if thday helps get through quicker. We won’t be shopping too much, just eating and sight seeing.
    I see recommendations for the fast train, the bund and water town. Is there more you see and do cheaply, other than shop? Thanks for any help you can offer.

  4. Angela


    Awesome article, A group of friends and i will have about a 24 hour layover and will definitely do a one way on that train. We will be in there from 7 PM – 7 PM. Anything else you recommend we see, do , eat?

  5. Isaiah V.

    Hi Becky,

    I will be having a layover for 15 hours coming from the USA heading to Phuket. I see you recommended the Bund and Qiboa as places to visit while in town but I wanted to know would you recommend staying in the transit are for a couple hours to sleep since we arrive at 5:00 am and leave at 9:30 pm. I read in an earlier post that you also said that most things don’t open until 11:00 am so I was wondering what would be an ideal time to venture out since we would have to be back in the airport for the connecting flight by 6:00 pm.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Becky Post author

      Fifteen hours from 5am to 9:30pm is PERFECT! I wouldn’t even bother worrying about a nap. I’d go crazy and do as much as possible and then crash on the next flight. ๐Ÿ˜€

      You can go to the Bund or to Qibao anytime, and the stores/stalls nearby are open during regular hours. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any places to stay for just a few hours. I stayed at a hotel overnight.

      I hope this helps, and have a blast! I’m envious!

      1. Kylie Le

        Hi Becky, I’m not sure how to create my own post on here so i’m replying to Isaiah’s post instead to get to you! I have a 15 hrs layover at Shanghai with China Eastern airline this December, I’m getting mixed information about whether we can or cannot leave the airport to explore the city. Do you by chance know if there’s any restrictions that don’t allow travelers to leave the airport during layover? I’m a US citizen and this would be my first time attempting to leave the airport to explore another country (i picked the long layover on purpose), so i want to make sure i have all information i need to know. Thanks for much!! I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience!

  6. Ananya

    Hi Becky!

    I took a 15 hour layover so that I have a little more time to explore the city. I land at 6 in morning, and fly out at 9 in night. I have no knowledge of Chinese. What are the 3 Mandarin words that helped you survive? ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, it looks like Google Maps don’t have offline maps for china. How did you navigate? What are the places you suggest I see ? I am a vegetarian, so I don’t think I can explore the food there; but I want to see the city, culture and do a little bit of shopping ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Raj

      Hi Ananya – when will you be in Shanghai?
      I am traveling from Delhi to Los Angeles with a 10 hour stopover on September 23rd. I am looking for a travel companion.


    2. Raj

      Great Article – Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

      I have a 10 hour stop over (11am to 9pm) & planning to visit both Bund & Qibao (got to know about it thru your article – thanks).

      Do you think I can do both? If so, which one should I visit first? And how do I travel between bund & qibao?

      Please advise.


      1. Becky Post author

        Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so glad that I’ve been helpful!

        You can do both, but it depends on how you are when it comes to photos and exploration. If you don’t want to shop, you’ll make it down the street to the Bund quickly enough, and you won’t spend too much time browsing all the stalls at Qibao.

        It’s hard to say which to do first, but if you’re trying to prioritize in case you run out of time, it depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for. If you want the feeling that you’re really in Shanghai, then I’d say the Bund, but if you just want the feeling that you’re really in China, then I’d say Qibao.

        I used the subway to get to both. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Good luck, and have a blast! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Lim Anabel

    Hi Becky! Your site is a life savior! I will be having a 6hr 35mins layover in Shanghai on a wednesday from 5.30pm to midnight. Do u think its possible for me and my 3 year old daughter to grab a quick bite/good coffee from downtown and back? Are the subway stroller friendly? Will it be extremely crowded since it is peak hour? Thanks in advance. Lotsa love.

    1. Becky Post author

      I’m so glad! Thanks!! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Provided that it won’t take you and your daughter forever to get out of the airport and that you take the Maglev, I think it’s possible. The subway will be difficult with a stroller, but not impossible. Since it’s Shanghai, I have always found the subway to be crowded no matter what time it was.

      Good luck, and I hope everything works out for you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. Denise

    I am so relieved to read these posts. In mid-September, I’m heading to visit my brother in Japan and have a 12 hour layover in Shanghai (Pudong Airport). I want to take the Maglev and subway into Shanghai and see a few things and eat some good food. I will arrive at 4AM and leave around 4PM. I am traveling solo and have no knowledge of the language. Will I be able to navigate the subway without much problem? Can I see the Bund and a temple in a 12 hour layover? Thank you for this great site.

  9. Cheryl M

    Love your posts Becky! Thanks for all the great advice! My husband, 2 kids (7 and 5) will be flying in to Shanghai towards the end june at 4:30pm on china eastern and leaving at 12:10am, basically 7 hours or so. Assuming our flight isn’t horribly late, we’re thinking of taking the maglev and heading into the city, look around and grab something to eat. From what i gather from your posts, leave the airport, hop on the maglev, exit at longyang, hop on subway. I was looking to see if there are quick night boat tours on Huangpu River. Do you think we’ll have enough time? With 2 little kids, what do you suggest? if our flight leaves 12:10am, what time should we start heading back to the airport?

    1. Becky Post author

      Thanks, and sorry for taking so long to get back to you!

      There are evening boat tours, but I don’t know how late they run. Since you have two little kids, you can take them to the Bund; on the way there (between the Bund and the subway station), you’ll see a cute tourist train that you can take with them. They might also be interested in the different kinds of food at the market in Qibao.

      If you already have your boarding pass and if you don’t have to worry about luggage, I’d head over to arrive an hour and a half before take-off at the latest. Pudong isn’t the most organized/efficient airport.

      Let me know if I can help you more. Have a great trip! ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Cheryl M

        thanks — last question- – how much RMB money should we take from an ATM? because we won’t be there long — i’d hate to take TOO much out!

        1. Becky Post author

          Ooooh, that’s hard to say, but I’d definitely take more than you think you’ll need because China doesn’t accept Visa or MasterCard unless they were issued IN China. The most expensive thing you’ll probably spend money on is the Maglev. Food, souvenirs, etc. are relatively cheap. I’m sorry…I can’t really give you an exact amount. One subway ride is maybe 3 RMB, and food can only be that or a bit more depending on where you go.

  10. Meg Leach

    Hello so a group of my college friends and I have a 9 hour layover in shanghai. We land at 4:00am and leave at 1pm. All of us have never been to shanghai and we would love to spend it outside of the airport. Any ideas of doing anything (even if it’s getting coffee by the river) would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you:)

  11. FINOY

    I am scheduled to land around 1 AM; leave at 4:10 PM. What are your recommendations? I would love to take the train and do some things. When should I be back at the airport?

    1. Becky Post author

      I’d get up as early as possible to go sightseeing. ๐Ÿ˜€ If you get up early enough, you should be able to do the Bund and Qibao. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you don’t have to check-in and you don’t have to drop off luggage, I’d make it to the airport an hour and a half early. If not, I’d aim for 2-3 hours early; PVG can be really slow and unorganized. ๐Ÿ™

      Good luck, and have a blast trekking Shanghai! ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. B Wu


    We have a 23 hour lay over on a monday afternoon arriving at PVG at 2:30 PM and then don’t have a a flight out until 1 PM the next day on tuesday afternoon! What do you recommend we do first, we’ll have our suitcases. I’m not sure if our airline China Eastern airlines accommodates us with our housing that early in the day? What about our luggage, any suggestions? Also what would you do in the 23 hr layover! How do we get from place to place? Do you have a great supposed itinerary for great touristy places but local beauty and eats?


    1. Becky Post author

      Sorry that my reply is late. ๐Ÿ™ I hope that you managed to have a great, trouble-free layover with the info in this post.

  13. Yana

    Hi Becky,
    Great blog! We have a 12 hour layover in Shanghai in early December landing at 12:20am and taking off around noon the next day. Neither maglev nor metro will be running when we land, so we were going to take a taxi to the city and maglev back. Are taxis safe from scams? What would be a good itinerary for our layover? We want to see the bund and maybe go have a drink at one of the high rises. What else do you recommend given the timing?

    1. Becky Post author


      Taxis are not 100% scam free. Be careful. DO NOT go with anyone in the airport offering you a taxi no matter what; wait ’til you get out and find a legitimate (marked) taxi.

      Here’s what happened to me in Beijing –

      Since you only have the morning and PVG can be unorganized and a pain, I’d say get to the airport at least 2.5 hours early. I’d really just stick with the Bund to be safe.

      Good luck, and have fun. ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. Cristie

    Hi Becky,

    We have a 5 and a half hour layover in Shanghai next Sunday evening from 4:30 – 10:00 p.m. Assuming our flight is on time and we get through immigration rather quickly, we were hoping to take the Maglev and Subway down to The Bund and grab a quick bite to eat before returning to the airport to continue onto Vietnam. How much cash would you recommend we take out in Chinese Yuan at the airport before leaving in order to cover our Maglev/subway tickets and a quick bite to eat? Are there ATM’s in the terminal after immigration before leaving the airport? Also, if we are planning to be back at the airport 2 hours before our departure, is 45 minutes enough time to get from Nanjing East station to Pudong taking the subway and Maglev?

    Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Becky Post author

      Hmmmm, only 5.5 hours is cutting it close. Getting out of the airport usually isn’t too too bad, but getting back in through immigration, security, etc. can take forever. Pudong isn’t one of the most organized, efficient airports. ๐Ÿ˜›

      I’m sure that there are ATMs, but I haven’t used them so I never kept my eye out for them. Depending on how much you’re thinking of spending on food, I’d say that 200 yuan ought to be waaaay more than enough. That should cover your return Maglev tickets; you’ll only need a few yuan for the subway, and then however much you want to spend on food and souvenirs. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Forty-five minutes should be enough time to get from Nanjing East to Pudong via the subway and the Maglev. Keep in mind that the Bund is a bit of a walk from Nanjing East subway station. Give yourself more time just to be on the safe side.

      I hope this all helps. ๐Ÿ˜€ Have a GREAT time, and Happy Trekking! ๐Ÿ˜€ Give me a shout if I can help you with anything else. ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. Daniel Lee

    We have an 18-hour layover while in transit from USA to Philippines. My two-year-old daughter and I have USA passports while my wife has a Philippine passport and USA green card. Arrival 6am departure midnight.
    My plan is to surprise them by complaining about the long layover and then leaving the airport and getting a taxi to the new Shanghai Disneyland. I will call the airline to ensure our baggage is checked on through so we don’t waste time retrieving and waiting in line to store it.
    Not yet sure if we will go back from Disney to the airport or make a quick trip to downtown Shanghai and back via the maglev. Would like to do that but unsure if enough time and if we are not too tired!

    1. Becky Post author

      WOW! That layover has the best time – 6am until midnight! I’m jealous. ๐Ÿ˜€

      I LOVE your plan! What a wonderful surprise. Just a couple of quick things though. 1) Make sure that your wife can leave the airport; check the link I included to make sure that a Philippine passport holder has the same privileges when it comes to the transit visa. 2) Be extra careful if you’re going to take a taxi –

      ๐Ÿ˜€ Happy Trekking! ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Daniel Lee

        As I understood almost all nationalities can exit the airport without visa if in China less than 24 hours, but rereading websites particularly official Chinese ones I now think I was misunderstanding.

        The 24-hour no visa transit is for IN AIRPORT only, and for 51 countries there is a 72 and 144 hour no visa. Philippines at this moment is not one of the 51 countries so we will have to get her a visa.

        I also seem to have misunderstood the procedures to get a regular visa; for Philippine passport holder in USA it is fill out application, attach picture, pay $30, and make two trips to consulate in downtown Los Angeles to drop off and pick up.

        I don’t yet know what documents might need to be submitted with her application, one website said 6 months certified bank statements etc. We will see.

        1. Becky Post author

          I meant the 72-hour transit visa so you can leave the airport; sorry about the confusion.

          That sounds like a major pain, but I hope it all works out well. ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. Daniel Lee

            We made it to Shanghai Disneyland! My wife did get a visa for her Philippine passport and that is a different line than my daughter and I with USA passport and no visa needed, the Chinese immigration officials had visa line go really fast no visa line took about 45 minutes.

            After entry we changed into rain gear inside the airport terminal (weather report called for rain all day), and stored our single carry on suitcase in a locker. Then we took a taxi to SDL, even though I had a print out of the park name and picture of Princess castle driver had a little hard time finding the park and where to drop us off.

            Upon arrival walked a short distance to security and got through no problem, then waited for park opening. Even with the rain a lot of persons waiting to get in most with no rain gear or just an umbrella.

            In the park went to Pirates first rode twice within 15 minutes, they use lots of big IMAX type screens not nearly as good as Anaheim Pirates animatronics. Rode 7 dwarves single line wife and I both in around 15 minutes, ride not good in rain because it is outdoors and rain hits the face, in single line they pair up with another rider I had a stylish Chinese girl close next to me.

            With 2-yr-old daughter went on Winnie Pooh and Peter Pan, Pan was better. Had lunch got Mickey Pizza, cold and rain and wind started getting to wife also jet lag catching up to us so decided not to try and reach downtown Shanghai but just finish SDL and go back to airport.

            Went to Stars Wars Launch Bay, that was warm and out of rain, Darth Vader was mean to kids including my baby daughter, he put his face to her and then the next group of kids he just walked out of the room.

            Rode Tron it may be the best roller coaster in the world and best ride at any theme park. No wait and there is a single-use two hour locker for no charge. Jet lag really kicking in got disoriented during ride so couldn’t do it a second time.

            Walked through Princess Castle noticed persons climbing stairs that wind upwards from the inside, too tired and cold to attempt it. Took taxi back to airport and retrieved luggage from locker. On way to airport noticed lots of very tall apartment buildings looked like stereotype communist terrible place to live.

            Disappointed we didn’t get to downtown Shanghai and get to ride Maglev but bad weather took our energy, on the plus side we did most of the best rides at SDL.

          2. Becky Post author

            I’m glad that you had a great time and that you had no trouble getting out to Shanghai Disney!

            Thanks for sharing your experiences! I’m sure that they’ll be helpful to anyone on this site who wants to go. I hope you’ll get another layover in Shanghai again so you can take the Maglev and go downtown. ๐Ÿ˜€

          3. Kumari greer

            I have a 23 hour layover with my family of 5 USA passports I found the visa information confusing could you let me know what you needed to do. Plan on leaving airport

          4. Becky Post author

            If you have another destination, you can leave the airport with the 72-hour transit visa, for which you don’t need to apply in advance. Have a blast in Shanghai! ๐Ÿ™‚

          5. Kumari greer

            Yes we’re continuing on to Bali so it’s just a layover. I reserved a hotel by yu garden but just wanted to make sure there was nothing else I need to do in advance. Same airlines whole trip. Thank you!

  16. Nicholas C

    Great Article Becky, I am planning to layover in Shanghai 12:00am-1:00pm, will this time work to go trekking? Will things be open? I really want to try some food, hopefully some dumplings. Do you think it is do-able?

  17. Stacy

    Thank you! This is great! I’ll have 9 hr layover in Shanghai, and want to get out to see one thing and eat dumplings. Did you have any issues with luggage? I’m guessing it’ll be checked through, but I’ve been on one international flight where I had to collect my luggage midway through, go through customs with it, then put it back in queue to check. Did you have to collect your luggage? It doesn’t seem like it from your post? I’d appreciate your advice. Thanks!

    1. Becky Post author

      Only once did I have my luggage not go straight through, but I found a service that holds luggage. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was easy and a great relief while I went sightseeing.

      Good luck, and have a blast! ๐Ÿ˜€

  18. Randy

    Hi Becky, traveling to phuket Thailand for a week in December and have a 16 hour going and A 20 hour layover in Shanghai coming. Do you have a budget recommendation hotel and should we take the maglev. To a hotel or near Airport. First timers and two of us.

    1. Becky Post author

      Wow! What great long layovers! ๐Ÿ˜€ The Maglev will save you tons of time and hassle. It’s definitely worth taking. ๐Ÿ˜€

      I only stayed in a hotel in Shanghai once, and here it is –

      I chose it because at the time, it was closest to a metro station and of course, cheap. Best of luck, and enjoy Shanghai! ๐Ÿ˜€

      If you’re thinking of trying AirBnB, get a discount from me here –

  19. Kristine

    I also will have a 5 hour layover. I really just want to take the maglev to the nearest market for shopping (not a mall) clothes, purses, souvenirs, etc. What is your suggestion of the best place to shop with that time frame? Thanks – I also enjoyed your very helpful article.

    1. Becky Post author

      Sorry, but I don’t know about markets. The Maglev only has one stop, and you can check out the free Maglev museum. Right across the street is a metro station. There is a mall in the station where you go to the Bund.

      Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Five hours is tight…I hope you manage okay. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Noppi

    Hi becky…I will have 5 hours transit, wondering if i will have enough time to explore the city. I just want to snap some picture. How about the immigration? Are they nice to foreigners? How long it takes from getting off the plane to maglev train? And can i buy maglev ticket plus line 2 metro in the same ticket booth? Or i have to buy separately? How many hours i have to come back before my flight? Is 1 hour enough? My luggage will be checked in already. I have no luggage with me

    1. Becky Post author

      I’ve found that immigration officers in China don’t really say anything. They just look at you and stamp your passport, although I think it’s because of the language barrier. If immigration isn’t busy, it won’t take you long to get to the Maglev. You can only buy Maglev tickets at the booth, and it’s cheaper to get your return ticket at the same time. You buy your metro ticket at the metro station from the machine. ๐Ÿ˜€

      One hour is cutting it close. Getting through security can be a nightmare there.

      Good luck! ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. Noppi

    Did u go to shanghai downtown? I will have 5 hours transit, wondering if i will have enough time to explore the city. I just want to snap some pictures

    1. Becky Post author

      Yes, I went downtown, but based on my experience with that airport, I’d be watching the clock constantly and head back early. With only five hours, I’d just go downtown to the Bund via te Maglev and that’s it. Of course, that depends on how long it took me to get out of immigration.

      Good luck, and have a blast! ๐Ÿ˜€

  22. Lani

    Hi Becky,
    I will have a layover at PVG for 15 hours (7:30pm until the next morning). You recommend seeing the Bund and Qibao which I’m so interested in doing, but I’m afraid everything might be closed by the time I get there? What do you recommend I do instead of bund/Qibao isn’t an option? I also plan on getting a hotel but unsure if I should find out outside or inside the airport? Also just to verify, I won’t need a visa to exit the airport? I’m American, traveling to Korean. Thanks Becky!!

    1. Becky Post author

      Since the Bund and Qibao are open-air city districts, so they’re never closed, per se. If you only have time for one, I’d go to the Bund since it’s the iconic, signature Shanghai spot. ๐Ÿ˜€

      As far as I know, you won’t need a visa to exit the airport since one, you’re American and two, you have a second destination (Korea), but double-check this website just in case –

      Have a GREAT time! ๐Ÿ˜€

  23. Anna

    Thank you so much for your advice Becky! I have a short 5 hour layover in the Pudong airport and I’ve never been outside of Canada before so I thought it might be nice to see a little bit of the city – if possible. Do you have any short trip recommendations or would it be safer just to stay in the airport? Also how is the airport…is there stuff to do? And (last question) if I do leave the airport, do you know if shops and businesses will take Visa or american money – or would I need to exchange some money?

    Thank you so much!

    Vancouver, Canada

    1. Becky Post author

      Hi Anna! ๐Ÿ˜€

      First of all, CONGRATS on seeing new countries for the first time! ๐Ÿ˜€ Travel is absolutely amazing and highly addictive!

      Oh dear…only 5 hours. That’s a tough call. Assuming that your flight into Shanghai is on time, that you manage to get through immigration quickly, and that you don’t have to worry about dropping off a bag for safe keeping, you may be able to take the Maglev to town and for the sake of time, take a taxi to the Bund. Make sure that you have it written down somewhere in Mandarin.

      The thing is that if you’re like me – take your time soaking in everything and exploring – you won’t enjoy it nearly as much. Give that a lot of thought. The last thing you want is to be late getting back to the airport and potentially miss your flight. ๐Ÿ™

      You will definitely need Chinese cash. It is illegal for them to accept payment of any kind that is not Chinese, including credit cards. Shocking, I know! My hotel in Beijing wouldn’t take my Visa or MasterCard because they weren’t Chinese. Good thing I had enough cash!

      I hope this helps, and whatever happens, have the time of your life! ๐Ÿ˜€ Where are you going after Shanghai?

      Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you come again!

  24. Raul Saet

    Hi Becky,

    Will 5 hours be enough to ride the maglev, then just take some photos at the water village and maybe across the water for some photos of the shanghai skyline. If there’s time to spare after all that, maybe a few minutes at the maglev museum before heading back to catch our flight?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated..

    Thanks in advance,
    Raul Saet
    Santa Clarita CA

    1. Becky Post author

      Wow; 5 hours seems to be really tight. If all you’re going to do is snap a few shots, then you’ll be okay. However, there are so many interesting things to see that you can easily get carried away taking all kinds of pictures. I highly doubt that you’ll have time for the Maglev Museum after doing both Qibao and the Bund; you still have to get to both those places via subway after you get off the Maglev. Of course, you can try taking a taxi, but if you’re going to do that, have the places written out in Mandarin for the driver.

      Good luck, and I hope this helps. ๐Ÿ˜€

  25. Jen

    Hi Becky,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences! I will be on an evening 16 hour layover in Shanghai in April and am wondering what your experience was like taking the train and wandering around….I’ll be there from 4:30pm to 9am and was thinking of taking train to explore for dinner, then staying at a hotel at/near airport. If I don’t know the local language, are there some signs in English or do you recommend learning some key characters and phrases? Thanks for any more info you have about navigating from airport and back.
    Did you feel safe? Did you travel around at night at all? Did you exchange $ at the airport or somewhere else?

    Thanks again for sharing your adventures ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Becky Post author

      Hi Jen!

      Taking the trains in Shanghai and wandering around were great. A lot of signs have English, but they might crack you up since there’s a lot of Engrish. ๐Ÿ™‚ I only know three words in Mandarin, and I’ve survived in different parts of China.

      The easiest way to get anywhere in Shanghai from the airport is by public transit. As you saw in this post, I highly recommend the Maglev. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s GREAT! However, BEWARE of taxis. If you haven’t already, check out this post about my ruined layover in Beijing because of the scam taxis – – which I’ve seen in other parts of China.

      I always exchange money at the airport since I never have enough time to do it at the bank before leaving. Check what the rate is with your credit card; chances are good that it would be cheaper for you to get money from an ATM with your credit card than through an exchange counter.

      Here are to Photo Friday posts from my layovers in Shanghai; one is of the Bund – – and the second one is of Qibao, which is Shanghai’s historic water village –

      I hope this helps, and THANKS for visiting and commenting! Don’t be shy to give me a shout again! ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Chaliece Zafra

        Hi Becky! I’m wondering if you can take the maglev to see the bund and the water village in less than 9 hours? Do you know if they are close enough or should we just pick one?

        1. Becky Post author

          Hi there!

          The Maglev only has one stop, and that is Longyang Road. From there, you have to take the metro to either the Bund or to Qibao. You could do both in less than 9 hours if you just want a quick look at both and then head back to the airport, but if you’re like me and you want to take your time in order to really soak it all in, then I recommend choosing one so you won’t feel rushed. There are all kinds of shops and food at Qibao, not to mention a temple nearby and other tidbits to explore. You can also do a lot of browsing/shopping on your way to the Bund from the metro station.

          Anyway, here’s a link to a good Shanghai metro map –

          I hope this all helps, and have a GREAT time! ๐Ÿ˜€

  26. Chantelle

    Hi Becky, I’ll be travelling to the Philippines in December and I have an 18hour layover in Shanghai. I am travelling alone but would like to explore the city. Would you recommend exploring on my own or joining a tour?

    1. Becky Post author

      Hi Chantelle! ๐Ÿ˜€

      That sounds like an awesome trip! I recommend exploring by yourself. You can do whatever you want at your own pace. It’s extremely easy and CHEAP to navigate by subway. Look online to see what you want to see most, although I have to recommend the Bund and Qibao, the water village –

      I hope this helps, and give me another shout if you have more questions. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Becky Post author

      Thank you very much, Trudy! I’m so happy that you’re a regular visitor! Please, subscribe and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. Reagan

    Everything is very open with a very clear description of the
    issues. It was truly informative. Your site is very useful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

    1. Becky Post author

      Thank you very much, Reagan. I’m so glad that I’ve been helpful! Please, keep visiting and if you’d like, please subscribe to the mailing list. ๐Ÿ˜€

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      1. lyka

        hi becky, im have a 9hrs layover in shanghai is it possible to go out the airport without the chinesse visa? thnx ur blog is so helpful

  29. Laurence E. Blow

    Thanks for the upbeat report on the Shanghai maglev, Becky. It really is a wonderful technology demonstrator, especially if you’re in a hurry to get to or away from the Pudong International airport.

    And I think you meant to say, about visiting the science museum, “…If you’re NOT a little pressed for time, and/or if youโ€™re interested in science…” but it’s good that you mention the museum at all. There aren’t that many places in the world to visit where you can experience good-quality displays about the magnetic levitation technology, but the museum at Longyang Road station is one of the best.

    By the way, you wondered why all trains don’t reach the 431 km/h top speed. It’s simple. Some years ago the Chinese operators decided to conserve energy (save money) during off-peak periods, so they dropped the running speed down to 300 km/h, matching that of conventional steel-wheel trains such as the Shinkansen family. Not much time is lost, as you point out, and it’s still a great experience.

    Thanks again for this post about maglev.

    Larry Blow
    Arlington, Virginia USA

    1. Becky Post author

      Thank you very much for your informative comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I said “if you’re pressed for time” because I was thinking about the time and any possible problems you might run into going somewhere else rather than the museum right there. However, I do see your point. One can easily spend a couple of hours in there. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks again, and come back soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

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