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

transit from airport

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.

Beijing to Shanghai Train vs Plane

Bullet train is the best way to travel from Beijing to Shanghai. It is extremely punctual- no worry about cancellations or delays, and reasonably priced- absolutely cheaper than a flight. Here’s a summary of major differences between bullet trains and planes traveling from Beijing to Shanghai:

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

Beijing - Shanghai by high speed 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 Beijing to Shanghai overnight train:

Train Number Departure Station to Arrival Station Duration Seat Type
1462 Beijing 11:55 → Shanghai 06:57 next day 19h2m Hard Seat: 156.5 CNY
Hard Sleeper: 283.5 CNY
Soft Sleeper: 455.5 CNY
Z281 Beijing 19:10 → Shanghai South 09:45 next day 14h35m Hard Seat: 177.5 CNY
Hard Sleeper: 304.5 CNY
Soft Sleeper: 476.5 CNY
T109 Beijing 20:05 → Shanghai 11:00 next day 14h55m


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

air ticket

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 400 CNY to 1610 CNY 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.

Travel Beijing and Shanghai with Us

Visit Beijing with us

Would it bother you to search and booking 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.
Back to Beijing Transport

Need Help?

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

Create Your Trip