International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987


Culture Corner

Getting Around Shanghai

The Huangpu river cuts through the center of Shanghai with several bridges connecting the east and west banks. The Bund is located on the on the western bank or the Puxi side while the skyscrapers are on the eastern side, or the Pudong. There is a a long elliptical road that runs around and through the center of the city called the First Ring road. The convenient subway and bus system in Shanghai make it a breeze to get around town.

To learn more about the different ways to navigate Shanghai, please read the descriptions below.

Types of Transportation

Shanghai Metro
Shanghai offers the largest metro in Asia with 11 metro lines and 221 stations. For only $0.50-$1.00, participants will be able to go just about anywhere in the city. Transportation cards can be purchased that further reduce this rate, allowing students to easily add money to their card whenever necessary.

Taxis in Shanghai are relatively cheap. A typical fare from one side of this immense city to the other will likely cost less than $15.00. There is an initial fee that is charged when you get into the taxi, and then they will charge an additional amount per meter. The amount being charged should be able to be easily read on the running meter. Do not expect the driver to speak English or read pinyin, and make sure to have a written address in Chinese characters with you.

Only take a taxi if it is easily identifiable with the typical hood light on top of the car and a meter in the car. There are many unofficial "taxis" in which someone will take a flat rate and drive you somewhere in their own car, but these are not recommended.

City Buses
Buses are everywhere in Shanghai. With a very cheap price (less than $0.50), participants can travel anywhere in the city. However, taking buses at rush hours could mean much longer rides. It will be very important get familiar with the bus routes before attempting to take one. The ISA Shanghai Office can provide you with bus route maps and tips on how to get around.

There are two train stations in Shanghai: Shanghai Railway Station and Shanghai South Railway station. You can go just about anywhere in China from Shanghai by train. Tickets can be purchased at the stations or ticket offices all around the city.

Transportation Passes

The most common and convenient way to get around Shanghai is to buy a pre-paid Public Transportation Card. With the transportation card, you can ride buses, taxis and subways. The card will have an initial cost of 20 RMB and you can add money on the card as necessary. When you are done with the card, you can give it back and get your 20 RMB back. The Shanghai subway can be really crowded at times, so it is a pain to get in a long line to purchase a ticket every time, which makes the Public Transportation Cards very convenient.