Can you get around Shanghai without a car? Yes, you absolutely can. Shanghai offers a range of public and alternative transport options that make it easy to explore the city. From the extensive metro system to the convenience of bike-sharing programs, getting around is straightforward and accessible to everyone.

Shanghai’s public transport network covers nearly every corner of the city. The metro, buses, and taxis connect all major areas, including tourist attractions and business districts. For shorter distances, bicycles and walking offer a refreshing way to see the sights up close.

Follow my guide to learn about the different ways to travel around Shanghai without a car.


Connectivity: Shanghai’s metro network is vast, with 16 lines and 395 stations connecting essential locations across the city.
How to Get the Metro: Look for stations marked with an ‘M’ and buy tickets from machines or counters. English guidance is available, making it easier for non-Mandarin speakers.

Shanghai’s metro system is a lifeline for locals and visitors, offering a quick, reliable way to navigate the bustling city. With extensive coverage, it links airports, railway stations, and key attractions efficiently.

The availability of English signs and announcements ensures a smooth experience for international travellers. Opting for the Shanghai Public Transportation Card can further simplify travel across different modes of transport.


Connectivity: Taxis in Shanghai are always available, providing a convenient travel option for all distances.
How to Hail a Taxi: You can flag down a taxi on the street or book via apps like Didi Chuxing. Carry your destination in Mandarin to aid communication with drivers.

Taxis in Shanghai offer a flexible and comfortable way to explore the city. They are accessible 24/7 and can navigate through the city’s dense traffic effectively.

The ability to hail a cab directly on the streets or through a smartphone app like Didi Chuxing adds to the convenience, although having your destination written in Mandarin is advisable for smoother communication.


Accessibility: Shanghai supports bike-sharing programs, perfect for short-distance travel within the city.
How to Rent a Bicycle: Use apps to scan QR codes on bikes from companies like Ofo and Mobike and leave them at designated spots when done.

Bike-sharing in Shanghai is an eco-friendly, efficient way to move around, especially for short distances. It offers the freedom to explore the city at one’s own pace, with the convenience of picking up and dropping off bicycles anywhere.

The system is user-friendly, requiring just an app to unlock a bike, making it a favourite among both residents and visitors for quick commutes.


Route Coverage: Shanghai’s bus network extensively covers the city, reaching areas beyond the metro’s reach.
How to Catch a Bus: Look for bus stops across the city, where you can buy tickets directly on the bus.

Buses in Shanghai provide an affordable way to traverse the city, complementing the metro by serving areas it doesn’t reach. Despite being crowded during peak hours, buses offer a real glimpse into the daily life of Shanghainese. With stops everywhere and simple ticketing on the bus itself, this mode of transport is accessible to all, though having destination details in Chinese can be helpful.


Accessibility: Many of Shanghai’s attractions are within walking distance of each other.
How to Navigate: Use a map or a digital guide to find your way around.

Walking around Shanghai is feasible due to the proximity of many attractions and enriching, offering a closer look at the city’s vibrant street life and hidden gems. It’s a perfect way to experience the local culture intimately, with the option of joining guided tours for a deeper understanding of the city’s history and landmarks.

Sightseeing Bus

Route Coverage: This bus service takes you around Shanghai’s main tourist spots with various lines for different interests.
How to Catch a Sightseeing Bus: Purchase tickets at Tourist Information Centers or hotels and hop on at any designated stop.

The sightseeing bus in Shanghai is an excellent way for visitors to cover major attractions without the hassle of navigating public transport. It offers a guided experience with routes designed to showcase the city’s architectural marvels, museums, and more.

This option combines convenience with informative commentary, making it a smart choice for those looking to learn while exploring.


Route Coverage: Ferries run along the Huangpu River, offering views of the Bund and Pudong skyline.
How to Catch a Ferry: Buy tickets at ferry terminals along the riverside, especially popular at the Bund.

Taking a ferry in Shanghai presents a unique perspective of the city from the water. It’s a scenic and serene way to travel, contrasting the bustling city streets. The ferry ride offers stunning views of Shanghai’s iconic skyline, making it a must-do for first-time visitors and a favourite among photographers.

Maglev Train

Connectivity: The Maglev connects Pudong International Airport with the city centre, offering a rapid transit option.
How to Ride the Maglev: Purchase tickets at the airport or city terminal, with clear English instructions available.

The Maglev train stands out for its incredible speed and efficiency, whisking passengers from the airport to the city in just minutes. It’s an experience in itself, showcasing advanced technology and providing a convenient start or end to your Shanghai journey. For those short on time, the Maglev is a thrilling and practical choice.

Didi Chuxing

Service Area: This app-based service works citywide and is available round the clock.
How to Hail a Cab through Didi Chuxing: Use the app, which supports English, to book your ride and track it in real-time.

Didi Chuxing is the go-to app for hassle-free taxi bookings in Shanghai, offering a reliable and convenient way to get around the city. It caters to a range of preferences from budget to premium rides, all bookable with a few taps on your smartphone. The app’s English support and real-time tracking feature enhance the user experience for international visitors.

E-bikes and Scooters

Coverage: E-bikes and scooters are popular for navigating Shanghai and suitable for all city areas.
How to Rent an E-bike or a Scooter: Rental shops across the city offer these, sometimes requiring a deposit and passport copy.

E-bikes and scooters provide a fun, flexible way to explore Shanghai, allowing for quick movement through its streets.

They offer an alternative to walking and public transport, giving you the independence to discover the city at your own pace. With numerous rental shops available, finding a scooter or e-bike is easy, though it’s wise to be prepared with a deposit and identification.

I hope this guide helps you to move around Shanghai easily without a car. You can enjoy the city’s sights and sounds with many transport options available, from metros and buses to bikes and walking.

Follow this guide, and you will find that getting around Shanghai without a car is not only possible but also a pleasant experience.