Cheap Flights to Shanghai

Shanghai photo

Shanghai overview

When to fly

Although the temperatures are high throughout the summer, many people book flights to Shanghai between May and November. Labour Day which is May 1 is a particularly busy time. This is also known as International Workers’ Day and is associated with the start of spring. Expect the city to be very crowded during this public holiday. Other peak times usually occur around National Day (October 1) and Chinese New Year (January or February, the exact date depends upon the lunar calendar). The atmosphere in Shanghai during the Chinese New Year celebrations is electric. A number of events take place across the city, including a number of lantern shows. The most popular is at Yu Garden. Fairs also take place, in particular Guqi Garden New Year Fair which has a whole host of traditional Chinese festivities, including lion and dragon dances, lantern shows and children’s activities.

If you are looking for cheap flights to Shanghai and are happy to brave the colder weather, the months of December, January and February are the best. Although do consider that Chinese New Year falls during this period and Shanghai will be teeming with people. You may also be able to find cheaper flights to Shanghai and lower hotel rates during the shoulder season months of March and April.

City overview

Once upon a time, the Huangpu River, which divides Shanghai into east (Pudong) and west (Puxi), was the centre of the opium trade. Today, it is the largest city in China. Millions of people from around the world take flights to Shanghai each year to visit or do business.

Take a flight to Shanghai and visit Pudong, the ultra-modern financial hub. It was a farmland less than 20 years ago, but its skyline now is futuristic, dominated by the colourful Pearl TV Tower, the Jinmao Tower and the World Financial Centre Tower.

In contrast, Puxi is the older part of Shanghai. It boasts the Bund riverfront park (there are more than 50 historic buildings in different architectural styles - British, French, Russian, German, American), the French Concession Area, Yu Yuan Garden in the Old Town and swanky haute couture shops.

Despite its overt bow to commercialism, the city also features many traditional Chinese treasures, some of which can be seen at the Shanghai Museum. Vast collections of jade artefacts, traditional costumes and furniture are all on display.

Shanghai climate

The climate in Shanghai is humid subtropical. Summer temperatures can soar to the mid-30s with 80 per cent humidity, which can be off putting to some travellers. Similarly, the damp and chilly climate during winter discourages many visitors from booking flights to Shanghai during this period. December and January temperatures can hover around the freezing mark, but snow is rare. The most temperate seasons are spring, although it’s sometimes rainy with unpredictable temperatures, and autumn, which is mostly dry and sunny. In May and October the temperature is very comfortable, usually in the teens and 20s. Typhoons can be a risk during summer and the beginning of autumn.

Getting around Shanghai

The roads are crowded, and, thanks to Shanghai's superb public-transport network and cheap taxis, there's no need to even think about renting a car. The public transport system covers metro, buses and trolleybuses. Pick up a Shanghai Public Transportation Card if you are staying for a few days. It can be used on all modes of public transport including the ferries that connect Pudong with Puxi. Several parts of Shanghai, the Bund for example, can be explored on foot. There are also biking tours.

how to get from the Airport to the City

From Pudong international airport (PVG), there are buses and taxis, but the best way to get downtown is by Maglev train. The 30 km trip takes just seven minutes. 

There are also buses and taxis from Hongqiao Airport (SHA). Or, take a bus or taxi to Songhong Rd. Station and catch the subway to the city centre there.

Shanghai insider information

Things to do in shanghai

  • The Lu Jia Bang Road market has tailors who will run you up a new wardrobe in a couple of days. 
  • The Jade Buddha Temple, built in 1882, and then rebuilt in 1928 after a fire, houses two Burmese jade Buddha statues. 
  • The Confucius Temple also offers a quiet space away from the city hustle and bustle. 
  • Yu Yuan Garden, the Garden of Leisurely Repose, was built by a wealthy official in the late 1500s to please his parents. It's a charming example of a China garden with pavilions, bridges, rockeries and fish ponds. 
  • Fuxing Park is the only French-style park in Shanghai. It was called Gujiazhai Park before the French bought it (in 1900) to station armies. There is a statue of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, sharing one body. It's a popular place to practice Tai Chi early in the mornings.

Find the best prices for you!

Prices found by our users for local departures to Shanghai

Airports for Shanghai

Cheapest flights to China

How much do things cost in Shanghai?

One-way ticket (local transport)
$ 0.80
1 km taxi journey
$ 0.50
Petrol (1 litre)
$ 1.34
Taxi - fixed fee
$ 2.79
Bottle of beer (imported beer)
$ 3.14
Large bottle of water
$ 0.85
Bottle of wine
$ 15.96
A dozen eggs
$ 2.70
Clothing & Shoes
Pair of jeans
$ 103.07
Pair of Nike shoes
$ 133.27
Local draught beer (0.5 litre)
$ 2.99
Meal at McDonald's or similar
$ 6.88
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre)
$ 0.73
$ 5.71
How much does an apartment cost in Shanghai?
1 bedroom apartment in city centre
$ 1379
3 bedroom apartment in city centre
$ 3976
3 bedroom apartment outside of centre
$ 1521
1 bedroom apartment outside of centre
$ 698

Popular flight searches

International departures to Shanghai