A historic Far Eastern hub, Shanghai can be reached by plane, boat, long-distance bus, national highways and rail. It has two international airports with shuttle services to nearby cities, three main train stations with high-speed trains and special "holiday trains" to scenic areas and more than 40 long-distance bus stations with more than 1,000 routes. It also boasts the world's largest public transportation system moving the most people every day.

Although international car rental agencies are represented at the airport, you would not be able to drive in China unless you have a Chinese driver's license as international driving permits are not recognized. The options is to rent a car with driver or hire a taxi for a trip.

Even though Shanghai has many bike lanes, traffic makes cycling daunting. Visitors, however, can sign up for bike tours of many parts of the city or register in the Forever Bicycle Company's hire-a-bike program that rents bright orange bicycles around town. With an official ID and a deposit (around $12), you can pick up a rental card at the Xujiahui Tourist Information Centre outside the Xujiahui metro station.

Getting around Shanghai by metro is fast, safe and convenient with 14 subway lines at last count. Line 1 and 2 are the most useful for tourists. Line 1 (red), the first subway line launched in 1993, runs 38 kilometers (24 miles) north-south, linking major attractions and transportation hubs, including the Shanghai Railway Station. Line 2 (light green) goes east-west for 60 kilometers (37 miles), connecting Hongquiao and Pudong airports and major commercial streets and attractions. Fares are based on distance traveled, but buy a pre-paid Shanghai Public Transportation Card to keep it simple. Schedules are determined by when the first and last trains leave stations, which is generally 5 - 6 am and 10:30 - 11:30 pm.

City buses are identified by numbers or Chinese characters. Downtown lines are numbered 01 to 200, rush hour lines 201-299 and night lines 301 - 399. But expect buses to be crowded and slow-moving. The Shanghai Public Transportation Card can be used on most routes. There are also 10 tourist bus lines starting at Shanghai Stadium and fanning out in one-day tours in the city center, the suburbs and neighboring areas. The frequency of departure varies.

More the 150 taxi companies operate in the city with the sky blue Dazhong taxis and the orange Qiangsheng fleet being the most recognized. Fares are more expensive here than in other cities ($2 for first three kilometers or two miles) with fuel surcharges, wait-time charges and after mid-night differentials, but you can bargain at night. Your fare will be rounded off, so having a Shanghai Public Transportation Card is convenient.

Discover other cities