Since its West Lake’s proclamation as a world heritage site in 2011, Hangzhou is often described as one of the most beautiful destinations in China. Hangzhou’s West Lake District is rich in cultural and historical sites and has become a tranquil escape for residents and visitors of Shanghai. Thousands of holidaymakers and business travelers arrange day trips to Hangzhou as often as possible, to escape the chaotic pace of Shanghai. With Shanghai being only 200 kms away, which is the best route between the two cities?
For quick reference, this table provides a summary of the transportation options and how each ranks on the import travel criteria: time, convenience, comfort, cost, and the level of Chinese skills required.
From Shanghai to Hangzhou Final Destination
(+subway and/or taxi)
|Time||2 – 2.5 hrs||1h 15 – 2 hrs|
|3 – 3.5 hrs||2 – 2.5 hrs|
(Most Transit Switches)
|Comfort||Low To Moderate||Highest||Lowest||High|
|Preferably Yes||No||Definitely Yes||Definitely Yes|
- English is not common, even in large cities like Shanghai. If you don’t speak or understand Mandarin Chinese, using the bus or train can be more challenging and time-consuming. Taxi drivers also don’t speak English, so communicating a destination out of Shanghai and negotiating rates can be a challenge.
- We take into account the time required for you to get to the train/bus station and the time needed to reach your final destination in Hangzhou.
- Time: 2 – 2.5 hrs (for first-time travelers), 1.5 – 2 hrs (for experienced travelers)
- Convenience: Lowest
- Comfort: Low To Moderate
- Cost: LowSecond to traveling with a professional car service for this short trip, trains are the safest and most comfortable way to travel. In any 24-hour period, over 4o trains make their way between the two cities. China’s impressive high-speed trains are now available between Shanghai and Hangzhou. These travel at over 350 km/h and last as little as 45 minutes! The high-speed trains run every 30 minutes during peak hours and are relatively easy to navigate for first-time users. English vending machines are scattered around the Shanghai Hongqiao and Hangzhou stations with tickets available so you won’t need to worry about booking ahead of time.
► Departure Train Stations in Shanghai:
- Shanghai Railway Station is linked to metro line 3 and 4 and located relatively close to Shanghai downtown.
- Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station is one metro station away from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport (SHA). It’s convenient to take a train to Hangzhou for passengers arriving at this airport. From here, it takes half an hour to get to Shanghai city center.
- Shanghai South Railway Station mainly operates non high-speed trains (K and T).
► Arrival Train Stations in Hangzhou:
- Hangzhou Railway Station is one of the major stations in the city, ranked first-class. It’s just a 15 minutes drive from the famous West Lake.
- Hangzhou East Railway Station is located further from Hangzhou city center. It’s served by a station of the same name on line 1 and line 4 of the Hangzhou Metro.
► Train Schedule:
- From Shanghai Railway Station
3 departures available:
|1h 41 min|
|1h 24 min|
- From Shanghai Hongqiao
More than 130 G and D type high-speed trains daily, from 06:00 to 21:30, every 10-15 min.
Duration: 45 min. – 1h 45 min.
- Shanghai South Railway Station
K and T type trains daily, from 04:22 to 23:30, every 30 min. Travel time: 1 h 30 min.
Duration: 1 h 50 min. – 3 h 22 min.
► Train Ticket Price:
|G Train||Second Class Seat||CNY 73 – 92.5 (USD 11 – USD 14)|
|First Class Seat||CNY 117 – 147.5 (USD 18 – USD 22)|
|Business Class Seat||CNY219.5 – 278.5 (USD 33 – USD 42)|
|D Train||Second Class Seat||CNY56 (USD 8)|
|First Class Seat||CNY 89 (USD13)|
|K and T Trains||Soft Sleeper||CNY153.5/US$23|
There are several types of trains you can use. The fastest and perhaps most comfortable train is the G-train, with journeys lasting 45 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes each way. D trains are also high-speed trains but slower than G trains. If you’re not bothered by journey time, the most cost-effective K- and T-trains can take between 2 and 2.5 hours,departing from Shanghai South Railway Station. Regardless of which time of the year you’re going, the older trains (K and T) seldom have working air conditioning and are likely to be packed with passengers. If you’re traveling on business, any of the high-speed trains will likely be better suited, removing any excess hassle or chaos you may wish to avoid on your trip.
- Time: Slowest, 3 – 3.5 hr
- Convenience: Low
- Comfort: Lowest
- Cost: Lowest
If you’re making the journey during the day, then using the bus might be the most convenient option. The highway between Shanghai and Hangzhou is considered one of the best roads in China. The average bus ride lasts between two to three hours and costs about CNY 70 – CNY 130. The trains may be quicker, but the busses depart more frequently. You’re able to find a bus every 10-20 minutes anytime between 8 AM and 8 PM from Shanghai’s several bus stations.
► Shanghai to Hangzhou Bus Departure:
|Intercity Bus Terminal|
09:20, 12:25, 15:50
|Shanghai South Long-distance Bus Station|
07:00, 07:55, 09:00 , 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:35, 14:10, 14:40, 15:45, 16:00, 16:50, 18:00, 18:10,19:00
|Pudong East Long-distance Bus Station|
06:30, 07:20, 08:30, 09:20, 10:30, 11:30, 14:10, 18:30
|Chuansha Bus Station||08:50, 12:30|
|Nanhui Bus Station||9:25|
► Bus Ticket Price: CNY 70 – CNY 130
► Duration: 2 h 30 min – 3 h
If you’ve landed at Shanghai’s Pudong airport and plan to hop on a bus on your way to Hangzhou, the long distance buses are easy to find on the first level of Pudong’s departure hall. Directly from the airport, your journey will take the best part of 3 hours.
It’s worth noting, that as with any public transport in China’s major cities the buses will likely be crowded during peak hours.
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- Time: 2 – 2.5 hours
- Convenience: Low
- Comfort: High
- Cost: Low to High, not fixed
Taxis in China are not as easy to use and navigate as you may think. China’s roads can be quite chaotic; it is, after all, the world’s most populous nation. At times, the roads flow heavy with traffic and might seem overwhelming. Signposts written in Mandarin, drivers trying to get to work or back home as quickly as possible, and some heavy honking are all things you may encounter.Taxis will get you to Hangzhou in 2 to 4 hours, depending on traffic and your exact destination. If you’re considering using a taxi, you’ll want to research the dos and don’ts of traveling in one beforehand. Scams and rude drivers are, unfortunately, not uncommon.
If you’re considering using a taxi, it’s advised that you do some research on the company you’re using beforehand. There have been several reported instances of kidnapping in China for long distance taxi rides. While it may seem like an exaggeration to warn of such cases, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Often, outside of airports and train stations there are un-uniformed individuals that drive independent taxis known as ‘black taxis.’ These are not from any company and should not be trusted. Taxis from bigger, more reputable companies are usually regulated and have the driver’s identification and company number in clear sight. These assure you of the integrity of the driver and the car itself. Plus, if you experience any issues or forget something in the car, it’ll be far easier to report when using a big taxi provider in China.
- Time: Quickest, 1hr 15 min
- Convenience: Highest
- Comfort: Highest
- Cost: Get a quote
It’s recommended that you don’t attempt to rent a car and drive yourself through China. The roads and foreign driving habits could be dangerous for those not experienced in driving on Chinese roads. If you are not fluent in Mandarin or Cantonese you’ll also have a very difficult time trying to read the road signs.
The most comfortable and reliable method of travel is using a professional car service. The drivers provided will speak English fluently, your pick up times will be guaranteed, and the car ride itself will be most comfortable. You won’t need to concern yourself with any of the stress or hassle associated with traveling through China.
Hangzhou is one of China’s most precious gems. The West Lake district is something every visitor should experience. The tranquility, heritage, and beauty of the West Lake gives visitors a view of the sharp contrast with the thriving and bustling city of Shanghai. It’s incredible to see just how much China has grown in the last few decades.
Getting to Hangzhou is fairly easy, depending on which transport route you choose to take. A reliable car service or one of China’s high-speed trains are definitely the easiest and most convenient choices. Whichever route you choose, you will surely enjoy visiting one of Asia’s most beautiful cities.
Shanghai To Hangzhou Summary
With the numerous options available, there’s really no “best way” to get to Shanghai from Hangzhou. However, depending on your requirements and your initial location, there are clear winners:
- If you’re concerned about price but don’t have plenty of time to spare, you should consider taking a ‘Shanghai-Hangzhou’ high-speed train.
- If you’re traveling on a very tight budget and are very concerned about the price (and have more time to spare), you should take the long-distance Bus.
- If your number #1 priority is receiving an amazing service, traveling with comfort, and choosing a time-efficient option, then you should consider booking a Private Car from Shanghai.
If you’re planning a trip from Shanghai to Hangzhou, take advantage of our online discount (click the image below) and book your private car and driver now! Make your journey stress-free and contact our 24/7 team at Bookings@ChinaCarService.com.
OUR TOP AIRPORT TRANSFER CITIES
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