Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting Around Shanghai

Getting Around Shanghai

getting around shanghai, shanghai metro

While in Shanghai, I tried to learn how to get around. And the one thing I learnt was the Shanghai metro.

Actually, when I first arrived, I was a lil hesitant to take the Shanghai metro - was very afraid that I would get lost. But after a few days, I took some courage to actually learn the system.... and honestly, it was quite easy and efficient, and a nice experience.

getting around shanghai, shanghai metro ticketIn fact, it was not that difficult, even for an English speaking foreigner. The automated ticket machines are quite user friendly, and even comes with a choice of Mandarin or English. Or one can ask the assistance of the service crew (the guy in blue) - just make sure you know your station and show to him.

getting around shanghai, shanghai metro cardTicket prices start at a rather affordable 3 yuan and one gets this Single Journey Ticket - which is like a 'touch & go'/ 'easylink' card.

getting around shanghai, shanghai metro gantryPassing the gantry is easy, just by tapping the card. Btw, this is one of the bigger Shanghai metro stations (People's Park station), which is an interchange.

getting around shanghai, shanghai metro stationAnd then, it's time to go and wait for the train (usually another level below, despite the ticketing machine already a level down).

getting around shanghai, shanghai metroThe waiting areas are really neat and clean. This station is one of the better ones (all are good actually) - very brightly lit!

getting around shanghai, shanghai metro toiletAnd interestingly, this one has a toilet at the waiting area, just in case one needs to go before hopping onto the train!

getting around shanghai, shanghai metro, shanghai metro trainAnd once in the train, the train rides are pretty smooth. The seats are spacious, though can be crowded at times (like during public hoildays or peak periods) - and I mean, super crowded! For this photo, it's considered quite normal.

getting around shanghai, shanghai metro televisionOne more thing I like about the Shanghai metro trains is that there is TV as well, which is actually working!

I find that the Shanghai metro is really a good way to explore Shanghai. It has 9 lines (yes, 9 long lines!), which covers nearly every main part a tourist should go in this China city.

getting around shanghai, shanghai metro cabBut, if rushing with the crowd is not your type, you can take a more relaxed transportation - the Shanghai taxi/ Shanghai cab. They are everywhere, and you hardly need to wait long for one.

The only difference in Shanghai (or China in this instance) is that you sit in front, beside the driver... though of course, it's up to you should you want to sit at the back.

Prices start at 10yuan, with the meter increasing at an affordable pace and drops you at the doorstep of your destination.

But for me, I'll suggest you try both to get a real Shanghai experience :)


  1. i visited shanghai a few years ago but i didnt get the chance to experience the shanghai metro.

    i've traveled via subway in beijing last year and it was an unpleasant experience. it was always painfully crowded. :(

  2. I joined a tour to Shanghai few years ago and didnt experience and enjoy as much as you. This time when I go Beijing I will join a tour and then go on my own to experience more things there.

  3. Thanks for the info!

    I tried Guangzhou metro some years ago. There, announcement was made in 3 languages - Mandarin, Cantonese and English.

  4. Impressive to see the subway got toilet, working TV and it look very clean as well. Sg mrt have lot of to learn rather than raising fare.

  5. Good info, QC. Thank you for sharing.

    BTW, though I'm not a frequent LRT-user, I think our KL LRT looks comparable too. No?

  6. i so enjoy this post. keep em coming.

  7. Sometimes in KL, I also sit beside the taxi driver if I'm in the mood for chit chat. Otherwise, prefer to sit at the back.

    The Shanghai metro station looks very clean, but I think KL's LRT station is not bad too : )

  8. getting around with subway is indeed one of the most convenient mode of transport of travelling around in Shanghai. Infact I prefer to travel with subway on my weekend trips in Shenzhen too. Not only the travelling time is fast, it can beat the traffic jam, but also a very clean and safe mode of transport. Our KL LRT will definitely have a tough time to catch up to this par standard of quality service and cleanliness.


  9. yer last words "real Shanghai experience", i wonder if they have trishaw. tq.

  10. @life-ramblings
    sorry to hear on that. im lucky i guess as i didnt really rushed with the crowd much except on new year's eve :)

    i think that's the diff between tour and free & easy. tour gives a better understanding of the stories/ histories, but for me, i like free and easy to really soak in the current mood and understanding the place & people better :)

    wow, 3 languages. thats quite something! :)

    i think ur right - shanghai metro has really caught up and in fact, gone beyond :)

    haha, ur right. it is really good! :) hey btw nice seeing you here! :)

    @happysurfer & foongpc
    i think our lrt is not too bad. i especially like the monorail and even putraline. but i think there's a bit of room for improvement:
    1. more stations & lines to cover the expanding city and pj
    2. better lighting in the stations, and even more shops (more lifestyle than just a station)
    3. better interchange system (rather than exiting one to the other)

    hope im not too demanding huh :)

    thank you! a few more still! haha

    yes, agree with you here. its cheaper minus the jam! haha.
    our lrt needs some catching up - i agree! :)

    i dont think so haha. though now that u mentioned, they should bring back those carts heh, maybe those horse carts at nanjing lu! :)

  11. I guess you are right. KL LRT need beter lighting and of course need more lines and stations. It's good to be demanding, then only got improvement, right? : )

  12. @foongpc
    haha hope im not too demanding! but on a serious note, i think what we should do is always benchmark ourselves with the best in the world - i realise countries that do this are usually on the top :)


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