The most important issue when you arrive in such a huge city like Shanghai is how to find your way by metro and outside the metro. walking down the streets. When I arrived in Shanghai in October 2017, for our MBA DMB located in ESSCA Shanghai university, it was not easy to find my university by myself.

The most important is how to find your way in China.

Shanghai Metro is the world’s longest, covering 548 km across 337 stations and 14 lines. Compare that to New York, whose subway system covers 368km. Weekdays see more than 8 million people riding the metro in Shanghai, roughly equivalent to the population of New York City. Why should you ride the metro over taking a taxi? You’ll avoid wasting precious time in the gridlock that cripples Shanghai’s streets.

  • Cost

Shanghai Metro has an excellent website with a fare calculator. Journeys under 6km cost ¥3. To go from downtown Shanghai to Hongqiao Railway Station or Hongqiao Airport costs ¥7; to go to Pudong Airport from the same area costs ¥9.

  • Tickets

Single-journey cards can be purchased at machines inside every metro station. These machines accept ¥1 coins and small denomination bills. After you tap out at the end of your ride, the electronic barrier keeps the card, which is then recycled.

1 – To find your way down the tube

  • My 1st experience in the Metro of Shanghai was simply how to take a ticket from the machine which is in Chinese
  • You should know that even Shanghai is very international, most of Chinese people do not speak English.


  • So after more than 1 hour by trying to find how it works even if I was  trying to find Chinese people who did speak English, I was lucky because I found 2 Chinese Millenials who only know a bit of English. But we found a way to pay the tickets that I needed to go from People Square Station to Shanghai Zoo. What was funny is that when I arrived I could not go out with my ticket. So the security guide asked me in Chinese but I did not understand anything but he understood that it was not easy for me and he left the opened door for me.
  • Security down the Metro of Shanghai in an habit. Before entrance you always have to put your bag or luggage in the security check-in place.

2 – What should you know about the Metro of Shanghai?

  • Your ticket that you pay in the machine that you need to pay in cash
  • You can also use a digital Access if you have WeChat or Alipay with a Chinese account only
  • As I discovered 3 weeks after, metro cards could be available with a minimum amount of 20 RMB (Payment of your metro card). The only way to pay is in Cash if you do not have a Chinese Bank account
  • Shanghai Metro card :


  • 1 metro card (with a minimum amount of 20 CNY in cash) > 1 Day Metro card : If you’re in Shanghai for more than one day and don’t want to purchase one of the above passes, this makes the most sense; you’ll be able to skip the queue for single-journey tickets and use the card to pay for cabs.
  • One- and three-day passes can be purchased in any station, but only at the ticket desk, and you’ll need cash. One-day passes cost ¥18 for 24 hours of unlimited rides. Three-day passes cost ¥45.
  • Shanghai Public Transportation Cards are refillable cards that can be used on the Maglev, metro, buses, taxis, ferries, and on public transportation in neighboring city Suzhou. Cards cost a refundable ¥20 and can be purchased at the ticket desk in any station. You can then add money there, at convenience stores across the city, or at add-value machines inside metro stations.images-1

Shanghai very useful APPs are: 

  • Shanghai Metro Map and Route Planner
  • Shanghai Metro Subway
  • Maps-me : to find your way out of the Shanghai tube


Therefore today I know Shanghai metro by heart and I use it every day. One good tip that you can meet wonderful Chinese people down the metro.

Read more about Shanghai Tube:

Shanghai Metro Map and Route Planner – IOS

Shanghai Metro Subway – Android

MAPS-ME : to find your way anywhere in Shanghai