To travel from Shanghai to Beijing you can choose between flying, taking a train or a long distance bus. It is marginally quicker to fly when you allow for the time to get to the airport and for the time taken over checking-in. The cheapest option is to take a slower overnight train while the most convenient option is to take a high speed train.
How far is it from Shanghai to Beijing?
From Shanghai to Beijing the total distance to be covered is 1,160km which is about 721 miles.
How long does it take to get from Shanghai to Beijing?
From Shanghai to Beijing it takes from 2 to 2.5 hours to fly direct. A high speed train will take from 4.5 to 6 hours and a long distance bus is an overnight journey that takes 14 hours.
How much does it cost to travel between Shanghai and Beijing?
To fly from Shanghai to Beijing can cost from as little as CNY720 in economy class. If you choose to fly first class you may have to pay anything up to CNY5210. The cheapest seat on a train costs CNY200, this is for an uncomfortable hard seat which is not recommended on an ordinary train taking over 22 hours. A business class seat on a high speed train costs CNY2000 and a second class seat on the high speed trains cost CNY555. The long distance bus from Shanghai to Beijing costs CNY450.
How to get from Shanghai to Beijing by train
There are more than 40 high speed trains every day operating from Shanghai to Beijing. There is also the option of taking a slower overnight train to Beijing.
Is it necessary to book train tickets in advance?
It is advisable that you buy your tickets in advance as this is a busy route.
Which railway stations in Shanghai do trains to Beijing depart from?
In Shanghai, there are four main railway stations, so you should ensure that you travel to the correct one.
Most of the high speed trains leave from Hongqiao Railway station and arrive at Beijing South railway station. The overnight trains generally depart from Shanghai Railway station in the city centre.
How long does it take to get from Shanghai to Beijing by train?
From Shanghai, the high speed trains take between 4.5 and 6 hours to travel to Beijing. It takes from 8.5 to 12 hours on a semi-fast overnight sleeper train while the slower trains take up to 22 hours. The high speed trains are the best option if you are in a hurry; they are usually on time and very efficient. A berth on an overnight sleeper train takes longer but saves you the cost of a night in a hotel.
How much does it cost to get from Shanghai to Beijing by train?
During the daytime, a first class seat costs CNY1000 on a high speed train. It will cost CNY555 for a second class seat while the cost of a seat in business class is CNY2000.
The prices on a high speed sleeper train are CNY800 for a first class sleeper, with a second class seat costing CNY450.
Every evening the T110 train leaves Shanghai station at 6.02pm, arriving into Beijing station the next morning at 9.30am. On this train a deluxe first class sleeper costs CNY1200, a first class sleeper CNY550, a second class sleeper will cost you CNY400 and a hard seat costs CNY200.
Train travel tips
In China, train tickets are normally on sale 28 days before the departure date. You are advised to buy your tickets as early as possible. This is especially true in the peak travel periods around Chinese holidays.
The second class seats on high speed trains are comfortable and they recline. We recommend you take a sleeper for an overnight journey although the price of the deluxe sleeper does seem to be too much.
For a journey longer than one or two hours we would advise against taking a hard seat.
The food available in the dining car is expensive but usually very good, only Chinese is spoken though.
On the high speed trains there are some western toilets, on the other trains there are only squat style toilets and no paper is available.
How to get from Shanghai to Beijing by bus
Most travelers prefer to use other methods of transport over the long distance bus. There is just one operator with a single bus each day leaving from Shanghai Intercity Bus Terminal. The bus terminal is not far from the north square of Shanghai Railway Station. On arriving in Beijing the journey terminates at Xianglong Zhaogongkou Bus Station which you will find is in Fengtai district.
How long does it take to get from Shanghai to Beijing by bus?
This journey by bus takes approximately 14-18 hours and departs from Shanghai at 4pm.
How much does it cost to travel from Shanghai to Beijing by bus?
The cost of this bus journey is CNY380 with a child’s ticket costing half price. To qualify for a child ticket the child must be below 1.5m tall and be travelling with an adult. Children below the height of 1.2m can travel free but they must share the seat with an accompanying adult.
Bus travel tips
Sleeper buses are used on this route, with a bed available instead of a seat. There are two or three tiers of beds with the ‘pillow’ area slightly rising up and in fact rather inconvenient.
Squat toilets are available on board although the bus does stop every two or three hours which may be the better option.
Air-conditioning and heating is used when required and it can be somewhat excessive.
The bus drivers will only speak Chinese so communication could be a problem.
How to get from Shanghai to Beijing by plane
Shanghai has two international airports, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. On arrival in Beijing there are also two airports, The Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Nanyuan Airport. Most flights from Shanghai to Beijing operate from Pudong to Capital airports.
How to get from Shanghai city centre to the airport?
The easiest and cheapest option to get to either of Shanghai’s airports is by using the metro. Line 2 connects both airports with the city centre and costs from CNY3-9 depending on the length of your journey. You should allow one hour from the city centre to reach the airport. You could choose the Maglev from Longyang Road to Pudong airport. It takes just 8 minutes and costs CNY50, travelling at speeds of up to 400kmph.
A taxi from the city centre will cost around CNY150 to either airport and it should take about 50 minutes.
Another alternative is taking a shuttle bus. There are 9 shuttle lines to Pudong taking around 70 minutes and costing up to CNY30. There are 10 shuttle buses to Hongqiao airport with some regular bus services. The shuttle buses cost up to CNY30 from the city centre and takes about one hour. The buses on regular routes cost just CNY2 but they take longer with regular stops and can become very crowded.
How to get from Beijing’s airports to the city centre?
At Beijing’s Nanyuan airport the options into the city centre are shuttle buses or a taxi. Taxis cost about CNY40-50 and take around 30-45 minutes to get to the city centre. Shuttle buses operate to various points in the city centre and cost from CNY16-24 and will take around 90 minutes to complete the journey.
At Beijing’s Capital airport the options are the airport shuttle bus with 16 lines operating to locations across the city. They operate from 6am until 1am the next morning with 2 night lines outside these hours. The shuttle bus takes from 70 to 100 minutes and costs from CNY20-30. Taxis are available 24 hours a day and take around 70 to 90 minutes to reach the city centre costing from CNY100 to 150. A third option is the Airport Express Train that operates to Dongzhimen where you can transfer to subway lines 2 or 13 or go to Sanyuanqiao to transfer to line 10. It takes 60 to 80 minutes to reach the city centre and costs CNY25. It operates from the airport from 6.22am until 11.10pm.
How long does it take to get from Shanghai to Beijing by plane?
Flights take from 2 to 2.5 hours. There are 54 direct flights from Shanghai to Beijing every day.
How much does it cost to fly from Shanghai to Beijing?
The cheapest seats from Shanghai to Beijing cost from CNY720 rising up to almost CNY1500 in economy class. A business class seat can cost more than CNY5000.
Air travel tips
If you are prepared to travel in the early morning you will get the cheapest seats. Another way to secure a cheaper ticket is to book online and at least 3 weeks before the date of departure.
You should allow for delays as the airports in both Shanghai and Beijing have a poor record for flights leaving and arriving on time.