Whether you opt for a plane or train, travelers can conveniently travel to Shanghai, China's financial hub.
Flying is the quickest travel time, but by the time you factor in security screening and travel time to and from each airport and potential flight delays, it's often easier and more reliable to take the train. More than RMB220 billion was spent to build China's high-speed rail system (gāotiě)—the largest in the world—that crisscrosses four provinces. If you're looking to travel on the fastest high-speed trains, book the "G" category trains.
Inspiring trips that include a stop to Shanghai include the 8-Day China Golden Triangle Tour, 11-Day China's Highlights Tour, 12-Day Highlights from Shanghai to Beijing Tour, 13-Day Best of China Tour, and 14-Day Beijing to Shanghai Winter Tour.
Duration: 2.5 hours by plane; 4 to 15 hours by train
Flying affords the quickest travel time between Beijing and Shanghai. There are more than two dozen daily flights between Beijing Capital International Airport, the world's second busiest airport, and Beijing Daxing International Airport, the capital's new starfish-shaped airport, to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
Because of the frequency of flight delays in the heavily trafficked Beijing-Shanghai corridor, the high-speed train is the most efficient option between Beijing and Shanghai even though the travel time can be twice as long. Both high-speed and regular express trains make the journey daily along the 819-mile (1,318-kilometer) Beijing-Shanghai Railway portion of the train network.
More than 40 trains run daily from Beijing South Railway Station to Shanghai Hongqiao Station; three trains that make many local stops operate between Beijing Railway Station and Shanghai Railway Station and the longest local train journey goes from Beijing Railway Station to Shanghai South Railway Station.
From Hong Kong
Duration: 3 hours by plane; 8.5 to 19 hours by train
A tourist visa may be required to travel from the former British colony of Hong Kong to China, which has separate immigration and customs procedures from Hong Kong. Depending on your country of citizenship and your itinerary, you may be eligible to travel in China for up to 72 hours without a visa via China's 72-hour Transit Visa Exemption or for up to six days without a visa via the 144-hour Travel Visa Exemption.
Flying affords the quickest travel time between Hong Kong and Shanghai. There are more than two dozen nonstop daily flights from Hong Kong International Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Flying between the two cities is a breeze, particularly because most major airlines allow passengers to check-in 90-minutes to one full day before their flights locally in-town at Hong Kong MRT Station and Kowloon MTR Station.
Those seeking the scenic route can take the one high-speed train that travels along the 1,237-mile (1,990-km) route from Hong Kong West Kowloon Station to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. A much slower classic sleeper train option is available from Shanghai Railway Station to Hong Kong's Hung Hom Station, but it's a long, 19-hour journey that departs every other day and is not recommended.
Duration: 2.5 hours by plane; 6 to 21 hours by train
Flying affords the quickest travel time on the 844-mile (1,359 km) journey between Xi'an and Shanghai. If you opt to fly, there are dozens of nonstop flights from Xi'an Xianyang International Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
The high-speed train is the most efficient option between Xi'an and Shanghai even though the travel time is more than twice as long. Approximately nine high-speed and half a dozen regular trains whisk travelers daily at speeds up to 236 mph (380 kph) between Xi'an and Shanghai. High-speed trains operate daily from Xi'an North Railway Station to Shanghai Hongqiao Station.
There are one or two overnight "D" trains (non-bullet, express trains) that operate between Xi'an North Railway Station to Shanghai Railway Station. There are local, slower overnight trains from Xi'an Railway Station and Xi'an South Railway Station to Shanghai Railway Station, but these can take up to nearly 21 hours, so we don't recommend them. While the high-speed overnight train trips are time-consuming, passengers can efficiently save one night's accommodation and a day of travel by opting to slumber in a sleeper train.