Shanghai has air connections with all of China's main cities and many international destinations as well. Almost all international departures and some domestic flights as well leave from Pudong International Airport. Note: If you're leaving on a domestic flight, be sure to confirm in advance which airport serves your flight. Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before departure for international flights, and 1 hour before departure for domestic flights (more if there's any kind of health alert in force, as you'll be required to fill in a health form and have your temperature taken). Note that check-in for international flights officially closes 30 minutes before departure, so budget plenty of time. Visitors no longer need to pay a separate departure tax as this is now included in the cost of the plane ticket. Remember to fill out a departure card, then proceed to emigration with passport, boarding card, and departure card. At Pudong Airport, there are exchange counters just inside the departure hall to convert your remaining yuan to your home currency, but you will have to show proof of the initial exchange (either the exchange receipt from the bank or hotel desk, or the ATM withdrawal receipt), and there is now a ¥50 service fee.
For those flying to Beijing, there are frequent Shanghai-Beijing shuttle flights that depart practically hourly from Hongqiao Airport (Terminal 2). Fares can start from as low as ¥800 one-way.
Airport-bound passengers not wanting to splurge on a taxi can take the airport bus from the Shanghai Airport City Terminal (Shanghai Jichang Chengshi Hangzhan) at Nanjing Xi Lu 1600. Buses (¥22) leave for Pudong Airport every 15 minutes between 6am and 7:30pm. Buy your ticket on the bus. Buses for Hongqiao Airport (¥4) leave every 20 to 30 minutes between 6am and 8pm.
Tickets for domestic flights (and international flights) on Chinese airlines can be purchased at the airport or through travel agencies such as CITS (Beijing Xi Lu 1277, Guolu Dasha; tel. 021/6289-4510 or 021/6289-8899, ext. 263), or the Shanghai Spring International Travel Service, Dingxi Lu 1558 (tel. 021/6251-5777), though there will be a service charge. There are a plethora of other travel agencies all over town offering discounted airline tickets, but you'll usually need to speak some Chinese to get the best deals from them. Whatever you do, shop around. You can also go directly to the airlines and specifically ask for the lowest discounted (dazhe piao) ticket (they may not automatically give you the lowest rate, so you have to ask). Besides having ticket booths at both airports, Shanghai Airlines has an office in town at Jiangning Lu 212 (tel. 021/6255-8888; www.shanghai-air.com), and China Eastern has offices in town at Yan'an Xi Lu 200 (tel. 021/6247-5953 or 021/6247-2255). Many Chinese also use the website Ctrip (www.ctrip.com) to book their e-tickets, which you can do with a credit card or PayPal account. Another popular online Chinese booking service that takes credit cards (surcharge applies) or cash (you pay when the ticket is delivered) is eLong (www.elong.net).
Shanghai is well connected by train to many major Chinese destinations, including Beijing (10 hr.), Guangzhou (16 hr.), Hong Kong (18 hr., Train K100), and the nearby towns of Hangzhou (2 hr.) and Suzhou (35 min.). For the Shanghai-Tibet train (52 hr. on the Qinghai-Tibet railway), foreigners have to purchase an expensive Tibet tour package in order to travel this way. The website www.travelchinaguide.com has Shanghai train schedules in English that can be very helpful in planning your trips. At press time, work had commenced on a high-speed rail line between Beijing and Shanghai that would more than halve the travel time to under 5 hours, though details were sketchy about when construction would be complete. For now, five express trains (D302, D306, D308, D314, D322) run every evening between 9:10pm and 9:35pm to Beijing Station (Beijing Zhan), sometimes referred to as Beijing South (Beijing Nan Zhan), arriving between 7:20am and 7:40am (10 hr., ¥730 for soft sleeper; ¥327-¥409 seats). There is also a day-train to Beijing (D32) with seats only, which leaves Shanghai at 10:30am and arrives in Beijing at 8:50pm. Round-trip Beijing-Shanghai tickets for Z or D trains (return trip within 3-20 days) can be purchased up to 20 days in advance, though the rail authorities can change the purchasing window at any time.
At Shanghai's main railway station, Shanghai Huoche Zhan (inquiries tel. 021/6317-9090; tickets tel. 021/9510-5105), which is located north of the Suzhou Creek in Zhabei District and is accessible by taxi or the subway's Metro Lines 1, 3, and 4, there is now a bank of self-service ticket kiosks (in Chinese and English) in the main building, selling tickets for all trains throughout China. In general, train tickets can be purchased 3 to 10 days in advance (up to 20 days in advance for Z or D trains) at the railway station or at any number of satellite ticket offices around town, including one just off the Nanjing Lu Pedestrian Mall at Guizhou Lu 124, and another one at Jinling Dong Lu 2. Tickets can also be bought through CITS, any travel agency, or through your hotel ticket desk, though fees will of course accrue, ranging from ¥5 at CITS if you purchase it yourself to ¥50 from some hotel ticket desks.
Starting in 2011, high-speed trains bound for cities in Jiangsu Province like Nanjing, Wuxi, and Suzhou (as well as other destinations yet to be determined at press time) will depart from the Hongqiao Railway Station (Hongqiao Huoche Zhan) in the western part of the city past Hongqiao Airport, and accessible via Metro Lines 2 and 10.
Although a few Hangzhou-bound trains still depart from the Shanghai railway station, the majority now leave from the Shanghai South Railway Station (Shanghai Nan Zhan) (tel. 021/6317-9090) in the southern part of town. This station is reachable by Metro Lines 1 or 3.
Warning: Larger bags will be X-rayed when you enter the railway station departure hall, so keep any film in your hand luggage.
The Shanghai International Ferry Co. Ltd. (tel. 021/6537-5111; www.shanghai-ferry.co.jp) has a weekly sailing to Osaka on Tuesday at 11am, while the Japan-China International Ferry Co. (Chinajif) (tel. 021/6325-7642; www.fune.co.jp) operates ships bound for Osaka and Kobe. Ships depart from the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal (Guoji Keyun Zhongxin) at Dongdaming Lu 500 (tel. 021/6181-8000 or 021/6595-2299), not far north of the Bund. Tickets are available at Dongdaming Lu 908, 15th floor, D-G (tel. 021/6537-5111), or at travel agencies.
Domestic boats bound for Putuo Shan (12 hr.) now depart from the Wusong Passenger Terminal (Shanghai Gang Wusong Keyun Zhongxin) (Songbao Lu 251; tel. 021/5657-5500), about a 30- to 45-minute taxi ride northeast of the Bund at the mouth of the Yangzi River. Tickets can be bought at the terminal or at travel agencies such as CITS.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.