How to Travel from Beijing to Shanghai

Written by Sally Guo Updated Jul. 1, 2021

The distance from Beijing to Shanghai by train is 1,318 kilometers, and by flight, it's 1,100 kilometers. The fastest bullet train takes just 4 hours and 18 minutes, whereas flying typically takes around 2.5 hours.

How to travel from Beijing to Shanghai, whether by train or flight, depends on your priorities. 

1. By flight: Flying is ideal if you're in a rush. Most business travelers opt to take a flight.

2. By bullet train: The best way to travel from Beijing to Xi'an is by high-speed train. It is the most comfortable and cost-effective option, and most tourists prefer to take the train.

3. By overnight train: If you're on a tight budget, consider the overnight sleeper train to save on ticket costs and a night's accommodation.

Beijing to Shanghai Map

Beijing to Shanghai Map

Travel from Beijing to Shanghai by Train or Flight?

  By Bullet Train By Flight
Price CNY 922.5 for the first-class seat;
CNY 577.5 for second-class seat
CNY 2150 for full-fare economy class
Duration 4.5-6 hours 2-2.5 hours
Total Travel Time 7-8.5 hours 6.5-7 hours
Frequency About 40 pairs of trains Over 60 direct flights
Punctuality Usually on time Occasional delays/cancels
Seat Comfort More legroom Very limited leg space
Terminals Beijing South, Shanghai Hongqiao, Shanghai Railway Station PEK, PKX, PVG, SHA
Traveling with Children Recommended Not recommended

Travel Duration Comparison

Flight: The flight from Beijing to Shanghai takes approximately 2.5 hours, making it the fastest option.

However, you might have to spend extra time getting to and from the airports, often outside the city center. Additionally, you must arrive at the airport 2 hours early for check-in and go through thorough security procedures.

Train: Depending on the type of train, the travel duration on a high-speed train from Beijing to Shanghai ranges from 4.5 to 6 hours, while normal-speed trains take around 12 to 20 hours.

Train stations are closer to the city center than airports, so you'll spend less time getting there. Also, security checks are usually quicker than at airports. Typically, arriving at the station 40 to 60 minutes before departure is enough.

Beijing to Shanghai by train or flight

Cost Comparison

Taking the train from Beijing to Shanghai is more affordable than flying, offering a budget-friendly option for travelers.

Flight tickets are significantly more expensive during peak seasons than train tickets. A flight ticket from Beijing to Shanghai costs RMB 2150 (USD 307) for full-fare economy class, while a high-speed train ticket only costs RMB 922.5 (USD 132) for the first-class seat.

However, airfares fluctuate wildly, with 20% to 60% discounts available during off-peak seasons.

Comfort Comparison

Airplane seats are narrower than the seating on high-speed trains (first-class seats). While taking the train, you can move around within the carriage, allowing you to stretch your legs and walk around during the journey. You can also enjoy the beautiful scenery outside the window along the way.

Beijing to Shanghai by Train

Two types of trains operate between Beijing and Shanghai: high-speed trains, which are fast, clean, and modern, and ordinary trains, which are slower, lower quality, and exceptionally budget-friendly.

Beijing to Shanghai by High-speed Train - the Best Way

Taking a bullet train is the most recommended and popular way to travel between Beijing and Shanghai. It travels at an average speed of 300kph and is always on time, making your trip fast and smooth.

About 40 bullet trains depart from Beijing South Railway Station and arrive at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station daily, taking around 4.5 to 6 hours. The fastest train takes 4 hours and 18 minutes.

Different Types of Seats on Bullet Trains
Second-class First-class Business-class
RMB662 (US$95) RMB1060 (US$151) RMB2318 (US$331)

Go to China Train to book a bullet train from Beijing to Shanghai.

Beijing to Shanghai by Overnight Sleeper Train - the Cheapest Way

An overnight sleeper train is ideal if you're on a tight budget but still seeking a relatively comfortable journey. It's the cheapest but also the most time-consuming way to travel from Beijing to Shanghai.

Beijing Railway Station to Shanghai Railway Station
Train No. Departure - Arrival Duration Softer Sleeper Ticket
1461 11:56 - 06:45+1 day 18h 49m RMB476.5 (USD68)
D7 19:22 - 07:25+1 day 12h 3m RMB971 (USD139)
D9 19:36 - 07:46+1 day 12h 10m RMB971 (USD139)
T109 20:03 - 11:02+1 day 14h 59m RMB497.5 (USD71)
D5 21:21 - 09:27+1 day 12h 6m RMB971 (USD139)
Shanghai Railway Station to Beijing Railway Station
Train No. Departure - Arrival Duration Softer Sleeper Ticket
1462 12:15-10:46+1 day 22 hrs 31 mins RMB476.5 (USD68)
T110 16:30-08:32+1 day 16 hrs 2 mins RMB497.5 (USD71)
D8 19:08-07:14+1 day 12 hrs 6 mins RMB971 (USD139)
D6 21:15-09:26+1 day 12 hrs 11 mins RMB971 (USD139)
D10 21:21-09:24+1 day 12 hrs 3 mins RMB965 (USD138)

Read more detailed information on Beijing - Shanghai Trains.

Beijing to Shanghai by Flight - the Easiest Way

Flying directly from Beijing to Shanghai is the quickest option. The flight typically takes 2 to 2.5 hours, and depending on the day of travel, prices range from CNY 800 to CNY 2,150.

Subway and airport shuttle buses are available for convenient transportation between airports and the downtown area. If you prefer a hassle-free experience, contact us, and we can arrange a private car with an experienced local driver for your journey.

Travel Beijing and Shanghai with Us

Would it bother you to search and book the transportation and hotel on your own? Do you need tips on perfectly arranging your Beijing-Shanghai trip within your scheduled time and budget? Do you know how to escape from the crowds? Our travel experts are waiting to customize a fun-packed journey just for you!

Maybe our Beijing and Shanghai Bullet Train Journey will inspire you:

You Might Like to Read

Create My Trip

Need Help?

Request a custom itinerary today and get one step closer to your personalized trip

Create Your Trip