Hong Kong - Shanghai Train vs. Plane

There are high speed trains, overnight trains and direct flights available to serve passengers travelling between Hong Kong and Shanghai. The most recommended is the direct flight due to having the shortest travel time, followed by high speed train with the relatively cheaper ticket price. Overnight train is the least recommended because of the lengthy duration.

Top Differences on Hong Kong - Shanghai Bullet Train, Overnight Train and Flight

Bullet Train Overnight Train   Flight
Schedule One pair per day  One pair every two days Over 60 pairs per day
Travel Time Around 8 - 8.5 hours  Around 19.5 hours  Around 2.5 hours
Ticket Price Around 1,650 for a second class seat  Around 500 for a hard sleeper  Around CNY 900 - CNY 2,500 for an economy class seat
Recommendation Rate 

See more: Hong Kong - Shanghai High Speed Train, Hong Kong - Shanghai Overnight Train, Hong Kong - Shanghai Flight 

More Flights than Trains

Only one pair of Hong Kong - Shanghai high speed trains are shuttling between Hong Kong West Kowloon Railway Station and Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. For more trains options, passengers need to transfer at Shenzhen North Railway Station.

There is one pair of Shanghai - Hong Kong overnight trains in operation for passengers travelling from Hong Kong Hung Hom Railway Station to Shanghai Railway Station or vice versa every other day.

Every day, nearly 60 pairs of direct flights are available between Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)/ Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA).

Shorter Travel Time of Plane than Train

The travel time from Hong Kong to Shanghai by bullet train takes around 8.5 hours while passengers need only about 2.5 hours to finish the trip by flight.

Cheaper Train Ticket than Flight Ticket in General

Passengers need CNY 1,008 to pay for a second class seat ticket on the Hong Kong - Shanghai high speed train; the ticket fare of a first class seat and a business class seat is CNY 1,646.5 and CNY 3,137.5 respectively. A hard sleeper on the Hong Kong - Shanghai overnight sleeper train costs CNY 477; the ticket price is CNY 696 for a soft sleeper and CNY 878 for a deluxe soft sleeper. An economy class seat on the Hong Kong - Shanghai flights cost CNY 900 - CNY 2,500 and CNY 3,000 - CNY 5,000 is needed for a business class seat.

Most of the time, the train ticket is cheaper. However, when a great discount is offered, the ticket fare of flights can be cheaper.

Train is more punctual.

In most cases, departure and arrival of the high speed train is very punctual compared to the punctuality rate of flight which are lower. Affected by weather conditions and air traffic control, flights may be delayed and sometimes even cancelled.

Faster boarding and customs clearance at railway stations compared to airports.

For passengers who travel from Hong Kong to Shanghai by plane, they need to pass through customs at both Hong Kong and Shanghai airports. But passengers can finish immigration check of both sides in Hong Kong West Kowloon Railway Station if taking the high speed train, which saves passengers’ time.

Further Reading: How to Travel between Shanghai and Hong Kong

- Last updated on Jun. 28, 2020 -
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