What to see on a long Shanghai Layover
If you find yourself with a long layover in Shanghai don’t fret, it’s quite simple to leave the airport, check out a few sites and still make it back in time for your departure; it’s also a great opportunity to check out the city if you’ve never been.
We were on our way from Canada to India, and the layover in Shanghai is exactly what we needed to break up the long flights, it gave us time to stretch our legs and check off another country visited on our bucket list.
When you get off the plane in Shanghai you will come out in the customs area, if you want to go straight to your connection just go left and get in the “connections” line; but if you’ve got time and want to head out to see the city turn right, grab a declaration form and go through customs. When you’re at customs all you need to do is ask for a 24 hour visa.
* You don’t need to apply for a visa before hand because you’re only in the country for a few hours and they will grant you a “24 hour Transit Visa” when you get to the boarder *
Once you clear customs hit up an ATM at the airport and make your way to the Metro lines. Depending on the time you arrive the MagLev train might be running (which is the fast train), but it wasn’t for us, and the regular Metro line worked great!
Jump onto Line 2 (the green line) and head for “Peoples Square”; from here you will be able to explore some great parts of the city in a short amount of time, all within walking distance to one another.
From Pudong International Airport it will take roughly 1 hour to reach Peoples place. Once you get out of the metro terminal you can walk to Nanjing Road, which is great for checking out some shops, food vendors and beer gardens, the whole street is for pedestrians so you don’t need to worry about the traffic. You can spend around 1 – 2 hours depending if you want to shop or sit down to have some food or drinks.
After you’ve had a bite to eat, and done some people watching it’s only a 20-25 minute walk East to see the Bund; the beautiful Shanghai skyline. We sat here, had a coffee and admired the view for around 30 minutes then kept wandering on.
From the Bund we walked South along the river for another 20 minutes until we reached Gucheng Park, where we wandered through the Yu Gardens and watched people working out in the park. You can spend as much time as you have permitted in the gardens as they are really beautiful to see but keep in mind it will take you around a 30 minute walk to get back to people’s square for the metro back to the airport.
*Remember it’s 1 hour each direction on the metro from Pudong International airport to People’s Square *
A Reasonable Time Table for your Layover
- Allow for 1 hour to get through Customs when you land & 1 hour for Security when you get back to the airport.
- 1 hour metro ride either direction. (So 4 hours of your layover will be spend in airport lines and on the Metro)
- People’s Square & Nanjing Road – You can spend between 1-2 hours here
- 20 – 25 Minute walk to the bund (with traffic a taxi will take around 10 minutes, but it’s fun to walk down the streets and check out some of the local shops along the way)
- Spend about 30 minutes at the Bund, admiring the skyline and watching people along the river front
- 20 minute walk to Gucheng Park & Yu Gardens, the walk along the river is pretty, but if you want take a taxi (around 7 minute drive with traffic)
- Spend between 1-2 hours in Gucheng Park and at Yu Gardens.
- 30 minute walk back to People’s Square where you will take the metro back to Pudong International Airport.
This is a good base for if you have a Layover, you can spend more or less time in each place if your layover is more or less than 10 hours.
We only spent 45 minutes walking through the park and gardens then sat at the beer gardens in People’s Square for an hour before catching the metro back to the airport.
Enjoy your layover adventure in Shanghai!