I read two travel books these days: one on Boston (by Marie Morris) and the other on New York (by National Geographic Society). Both of them offer a section on transportation, like Entering Boston or Gates to New York. It is very helpful and let understand the locations of LGA or JFK.
This experience reminded me that not many people really know the difference between PVG or SHA. Let me explain it.
Here is the typical Jian Shuo Wang style of map:
© Jian Shuo Wang
Wendy rated 7 point out of 10 for this map. I thought she may give a 9. :-(
As you may guess, neither of the airport is located in the downtown.
Hong Qiao Airport (SHA) is much nearer to the city than Pudong Airport (PVG). SHA is on the west of the city and PVG is at the far-east. A20 is the outter ring of the city. SHA is exactly located at west part of the ring while the PVG connects to the A20 via a highway A1. You get the idea, right? Refer to the map.
Hong Qiao Airport (SHA) is older than Pudong Airport (PVG). SHA was the first airport in Shanghai. PVG was built when the expansion of Hong Qiao Airport became impossible when the city grows and surrounds the airport. The equipment of Hong Qiao Airport became old while PVG is brand new.
Hong Qiao Airport is for domestic flights only. Pudong Airport serve both international and domestic flights.
Pu Dong Airport is bigger than Hong Qiao. With the second run way constructed, it aims to be an international aviation hub like Tokyo or Hong Kong.
Pu Dong airport has MagLev connected to the Metro Line #2. There is no Metro or Maglev for SHA.
No Metro (subway) access at both airport.
There are airport buses for both airport, and Airport Bus #1 connects the two airports.
Avis serves at both airports.
How to Choose
Unless you are flying between Shanghai and large cities in China, like Beijing or Guangzhou, you often have no choices. For international flights, the only airport to depart and arrive is PVG. For many small cities, there are only very few flights every week and there is only one possible airport, SHA or PVG.
If you do have choices, you can consider the following factors:
- Price. The construction fee for both airports are the same (50 RMB for domestic, 90 RMB for international flights and 10 RMB for short distance branch flights), but the transportation from the airport to other places are of big difference. It takes at least 100 RMB to get to downtown from PVG, while the price is about 60 – 90 RMB for SHA.
- Are you an Airport fan? If you’d like to see a modern and beautiful airport, definitely go to PVG. PVG has great architecture and great facility. Beside that, you can also take a ride of Maglev and experience a train running at 430 km/hour. For business travelers who fly between Shanghai and Beijing so many times a year, they often choose SHA because it is nearer to the city and smaller, which means less money, less time and less walking distance.
- Arrival time. If you arrive late, SHA may be better since the Maglev closes at 5:30 PM now and you only have two choices to leave the airport – bus or taxi.