How to Travel from Beijing to Shanghai: By Train or Plane?

Written by Vivian Updated Oct. 9, 2023

The distance from Beijing to Shanghai is 1318 kilometers (819 miles), with very convenient inter-city transportation. How do you travel between them, by train or plane?

We recommend traveling by bullet train because it is an option much cheaper than flying.

Shanghai Hongqiao Station

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station

Beijing to Shanghai Train vs Plane

Travel Duration

Flight: The flight from Beijing to Shanghai takes approximately 2 hours, making it the fastest option.

Train: Depending on the type of train, the journey duration on a high-speed train can range from 4.5 to 6 hours, while regular trains take around 12 to 20 hours. Trains generally take longer but can offer more flexibility and comfort for longer journeys.

Departure and Arrival Locations

Flight: Flights depart from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) and arrive at either Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) or Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA).

Train: Trains depart from Beijing South Railway Station and arrive at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station or other Shanghai railway stations, depending on the type of train.

Comfort and Convenience

Flight: Flights typically offer more amenities, such as in-flight entertainment, refreshments, and more comfortable seating. However, you may need to arrive early for check-in and go through security procedures.

Train: High-speed trains provide comfortable seating with ample legroom, power outlets, and sometimes meal services. Depending on the class of the ticket, trains often offer a more spacious and relaxed travel experience.


Flight: Generally, flights tend to be more expensive than train tickets, especially during peak travel seasons. However, prices can vary depending on the airline, how early you book, and any ongoing promotions or discounts.

Train: Train tickets are usually more affordable compared to flights, offering a budget-friendly option for travelers.

Traveling from Beijing to Shanghai
  By Bullet Train By Plane
Price CNY 933 for the first-class seat;
CNY 553 for second class seat
CNY 1490 for full-fare economy class;
but usually offered 20%-60% discount
Duration 4.5-6 hours 2-2.5 hours
Waiting Time Get to the station 40 minutes early. Get to the airport at least 2 hours early.
Frequency Daily About 29 departures from 06:36 to 21:21 Over 50 direct flights
Punctuality Usually on time Occasional delays/cancels according to weather
Space More legroom Very limited leg space
Traveling with Children Recommended Not recommended

Beijing to Shanghai Train

Two kinds of trains are available between Beijing and Shanghai: bullet trains- fast, clean, and modern, and ordinary trains- slow, lower-quality, and incredibly budget-friendly. They provide quite different travel experiences.

Beijing to Shanghai Bullet Train

It is the most recommended and popular way to travel between Beijing and Shanghai by bullet train. It travels at a speed of at least 200kph (120 mph) and is always on time, making your trip fast and smooth.

About 29 bullet trains depart from Beijing South Railway Station and stop at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station every day. It takes 4.5 to 6 hours depending on the train you pick, and costs CNY 553 for the second class seat, CNY 933 for the first-class seat, and CNY 1748 for the business class seat.

Different Types of Seats on Bullet Trains

Beijing to Shanghai Sleeper Train

If you are traveling on a tight budget but also want a relatively comfortable journey, traveling by overnight sleeper train would be a perfect choice. It is the cheapest but also the most time-consuming way to travel from Beijing to Shanghai.

Below is a schedule of the Beijing to Shanghai overnight train:

Train Number Departure Station to Arrival Station Duration Seat Type
1461 Beijing 11:56 → Shanghai 06:45 next day 18h49m Hard Seat: CNY156.5
Hard Sleeper: CNY283.5
Soft Sleeper: CNY455.5
T109 Beijing 20:03 → Shanghai 11:02 next day 14h59m Hard Seat: CNY177.5
Hard Sleeper: CNY304.5.5
Soft Sleeper: CNY476.5


1. The schedule listed above is updated on July 1st, 2021.

2. Soft sleeper is private and has larger elbow room, while hard sleeper is open and has very limited space.

Beijing to Shanghai Flight

It is the fastest way to directly fly from Beijing to Shanghai. There are more than 50 flights traveling from Beijing Capital/Daxing International Airport to Shanghai Pudong/Hongqiao International Airport every day.

The flight takes 2-2.5 hours and the flight price ranges from CNY 800 to CNY 1700 depending on the day you go.

Subways and airport shuttle buses connect Beijing’s two airports with the downtown area. If you want a hassle-free transport service, contact us and we can arrange a private car with an experienced local driver for you.

Shanghai Hongqiao Airport

Shanghai Hongqiao Airport

Travel Beijing and Shanghai with Us

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

Maybe our newly-designed Beijing and Shanghai Bullet Train Journey itinerary will inspire you:

  • Explore the secrets of Chinese emperors at the Forbidden City;
  • Climb up to Mutianyu Great Wall to get great views;
  • Get panoramic views of the bund on the Shanghai Tower;
  • Take a boat ride to an ancient water town near Shanghai.
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