Forbidden City in Beijing

Forbidden City in Beijing

For first-timers traveling from Shanghai to Beijing, taking a high-speed train rather than a regular flight is recommended.

The distance covered during a flight is 1,088 kilometers. A journey by high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing takes 4½ to 6 hours while it takes 2½ hours by airplane.

However, considering the ticket price, time, and convenience, traveling on a high-speed train is the best choice.

Here, we have detailed the differences between taking a train journey or a flight from Shanghai to Beijing.

Less Waiting Time for a Train

A flight is faster than a high-speed train journey but, including the commuting and waiting time, the total travel time isn’t that different. Also, you will have less waiting time when taking a train.

Here’s a table to compare the total travel time from Shanghai to Beijing by train and by air.

Travel Time from Shanghai to Beijing by Train and Air
High Speed Train Flight
4 h 18 min (fastest) 2 h 30 min
Punctual Occasional delays
From the Downtown Area to the Train Station and Airport
Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station Shanghai Pudong International Airport Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
Taxi 30 min 1 h 30 min
Subway 1 h 1 h 30 m 2 h
Maglev - - 20 m
Security Check and Boarding Time
Waiting Time 30 min 1 h 30 m 1 h 30 min
From the Downtown Area to the Train Station and Airport
Beijing South Railway Station Beijing Daxing International Airport Beijing Capital International Airport
Taxi 20 min 40 m 40 min
Subway 30 m 1 h 1 h
Total 6½ to 8 hours 6 to 7 hours 5½ to 6½ hours

Train Ticket Prices Are Fixed and Easy to Budget For

A high-speed train ticket costs from 553 to 1,748 CNY for different seat classes. The ticket prices are fixed so you can budget and plan for your trip anytime.

The cost of a flight ticket always varies due to different airlines, seasons, and seat classes. In most cases, a flight ticket for an economy seat is more expensive than a high-speed train ticket for a second-class seat.

Ticket Prices for Train Journeys and Flights from Shanghai to Beijing
Second-class seat First-class seat Business-class seat Economy seat
Train 553 CNY 933 CNY 1,748 CNY -
Flight - - 2,500 CNY > 600 CNY

Download our China Train Booking app to book your train ticket >>>.

A Train Is Always Punctual

High-speed trains in China are always punctual (except in extreme weather) while flights have occasional delays. In 2019, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport improved its punctuality performance from 57.2% to 94.83%. This is a great improvement but there are still some cases of delays.

Every day, 39 high-speed trains run from Shanghai to Beijing while more than 40 flights are in service. Please see an example of the schedules in the table below.

Train Schedules from
Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Beijing South Railway Station
Train No. Time Duration
G6 07:00–11:36 4 h 36 min
G2 09:00–13:28 4 h 28 min
G134 13:00–19:26 5 h 48 min
G170 15:52–21:18 5 h 26 min
G22 19:00–23:18 4 h 18 min

Flight Schedules from
Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Beijing Daxing International Airport
Airline Time Duration
CA8161 06:50–09:25 2 h 35 min
Flight Schedules from
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport
Airline Time Duration
HO1251 10:55–13:10 2 h 15 min
HO1253 15:30–18:05 2 h 35 min
CA1522 17:50–20:15 2 h 25 min
MU5125 20:00–22:25 2 h 25 min

A Train Is More Convenient for a Family

Family on the train

Family on the train

Taking a high-speed train in China is very convenient for people who are carrying large luggage and those with children. You don’t have to wait to consign your luggage and you don’t need to worry about your children suffering from any pain in their ears or having any discomfort on an airplane.

Moreover, a seat on a high-speed train is more spacious for a passenger to stretch out.

Of course, a flight is more suitable for people who are going on a business trip and have very limited time for commuting. If you are lucky enough to avoid the traffic jams in Shanghai and Beijing, taking a taxi to any airport can be fast and convenient.

Traveling by Train Is a Different Experience

China has the largest rail network in the world. It supports the fastest speed of 350 kph from Shanghai to Beijing.

Unlike taking a flight, which seems more popular with international travelers, traveling on a high-speed train provides you with more fun and sights to see.

To book train tickets in China, use our handy app - China Train Booking app (App Store, Google Play, Android APK) will help you better plan your trip. 

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Mar. 25, 2020 Updated by: Jolie Chow