Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (meaning Rainbow Bridge Airport in Chinese) is one of 2 airports serving the bustling city of Shanghai, the other being Pudong Airport. Although given international status, Shanghai Hongqiao is mainly a domestic airport today (as most of its international flights had been shifted to Pudong Airport in 1999). The few international flights it still offers connects only to nearby North Asian cities such as Tokyo and Seoul. Still, Shanghai Hongqiao - serving Shanghai, the largest city in China by population - remains a very busy airport, handling around 30 million passengers yearly. It was the first civilian airport in Shanghai and has more than 80 years of history as of July 2014.
Located less than 15 kilometres from Shanghai’s city centre (closer than Pudong Airport), getting from the airport to the city is not difficult. Tourists can take the Metro straight from the subway station at the basement of the airport terminal, which goes direct to the city and even further on to Pudong Airport.
Alternately, tourists can also take one of several public bus services which link the airport to the city. For those opting for more comfort and flexibility a taxi from Hongqiao Airport to the city centre would cost less than CNY100 and with a journey of about 20 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.
For those traveling out of Shanghai, Terminal 2 of Hongqiao Airport is situated right next to the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, which is served by the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway, Shanghai-Hangzhou High Speed Railway and Shanghai-Nanjing Intercity High Speed Railway, making the commute to those cities extremely fast and easy.
What to see and do
If you’re in Shanghai you have to visit the city’s iconic landmark and the face of many Chinese stamps: the Oriental Pearl Tower. Standing at an imposing 468 metres, the Oriental Pearl Tower was built to resemble pearls shining on a plate of jade (stones of special significance to the Chinese) and is China’s pride and joy. Sporting a most unique structural design - multiple spheres of various sizes are located both on the base and the peak of the tower - the Pearl Tower is a real treat for the eyes and definitely worth a closer look.
Next, don’t miss one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city: The Bund, a waterfront located along the Huangpu River. Another icon of Shanghai, the Bund is a stretch of road along which many different types and styles of little buildings sit (little because building heights are restricted in this area) and looks like a chic shopping district taken right out of Europe and transplanted into Asia. Luxury retail shops abound on this stretch of road - the likes of Cartier, Rolex, Dolce and Gabbana etc. all want their presence known on this high-end district, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées of China.