How to Plan Shanghai Hangzhou Tours
It is a great idea to travel Shanghai and Hangzhou together, because they are two of most popular travel destinations in China with amazing places to visit, fantastic culture to experience, developed tourism industry. At the same time, they are located near to each other. One only needs 1 hours to transfer between Shanghai and Hangzhou by high speed trains. Planning a Shanghai Hangzhou tour is easy as following steps:
Best time to go
- To Shanghai
Mild and Most, this is how the weather generally is in Shanghai. There is seldom extreme weather like strong snow, rainstorm, typhoon, which make Shanghai suitable for travel all year around. It has a distinct four seasons – warm spring, hot and rainy summer, cool autumn, dry and cold winter. The yearly average temperature is about 18 °C. Generally speaking, the autumn days (September to November) is the best time to visit Shanghai when it is cool, clean and comfortable. Other months are also good time for travel because visiting Shanghai is mainly about cultural sites rather than seasonal nature scenery. learn more about Shanghai Weather
Hangzhou is temperate and humid due to the coastwise location. It is a typical Four Seasons city, offers different but pleasant scenery to enjoy in each season. March to May is the season for colorful flowers and green willows at the West Lake. People usually love to Ta Qing (go for a walk in the country in spring) or spend some leisure family time boating, flying kite on West Lake. Summer days (June to August) are great time to see lotus of West Lake, but rain a lot. Summer is also the hottest season in Hangzhou with an average temperature around 33.8°C. Also prepare well for strong sunlight, heat and mosquitoes. Autumn (September to November) brings you the most enjoyable and beautiful days in Hangzhou. It is time to see red leaves, golden mountains and chase the sweet Osmanthus hidden among hills and streets. It is also the time to watch the biggest and brightest moon of the year at West Lake. December to the February of next year is the winter days as well as the off season for tourism. The possible snow fall will change the West Lake a pure fairy world. learn more about Hangzhou Weather
Shanghai in Autumn
Hangzhou in Spring
Decide Your Travel Length
Both Shanghai and Hangzhou are not some destinations big and diverse that you should stay for weeks. The attractions of both cities are conveniently located in the urban area and nearby suburbs with easy accesses to reach by driving, subways, or trains. Generally speaking, you are suggested to spend two or three days for sightseeing in Shanghai, and then extend with a day tour or two days’ tour to Hangzhou. With 4 or 5 days, you can cover all the best highlights of Shanghai and Hangzhou in a single trip, such as the Bund, Yu Garden, Nanjing Road even Disneyland in Shanghai, and West Lake, Hefang Street, Longjing Plantation in Hangzhou.
Yu Garden, Shanghai
How to travel: Shanghai - Hangzhou or Hangzhou - Shanghai?
According to our local-based experience, most travelers traveled from Shanghai to Hangzhou mainly because the dominant role of transportation center that Shanghai is playing in the eastern China regions. Currently, Shanghai is connected to most of major international cities in the world by flight. From North American, Europe or East Asia, you have flexible choices of flight schedules. At the same time, Shanghai is one of the busiest transfer hubs for both domestic flights and trains (including bullet trains). From Shanghai, you can easily find an access to any region in China by flight or train. Hangzhou is less chosen as starting city of travel, most because it has fewer international airlines. It is usually visited as a side trip from Shanghai, or a part of long China tour. If you happen to arrive Hangzhou firstly, it is also available to travel from Hangzhou to Shanghai.
High Speed Trains Between Shanghai and Hangzhou
Choices of Transportation
- High Speed Trains (Most Recommended): The modern bullet trains cost you only about 1 hour to transfer between Shanghai and Hangzhou, at the same time, offers you a comfortable travel conditions. Currently, there are more than 60 bullet trains transfers between or make stops by Shanghai and Hangzhou, starting to operate from around 6am to 9pm (8pm from Hangzhou to Shanghai). Many travelers take the early morning train to Hangzhou from Shanghai, and return by later trains in the afternoon or evening after visiting the top sites in Hangzhou. learn more about Shanghai Hangzhou High Speed Trains
- Driving: For those who travel by a small group, driving is a great option. It is only an about 185km’s driving, taking about two and a half hours on well-paved high ways. Compared to public transfers, self-driving will be more flexible.
Notes: there is no direct flight between Shanghai and Hangzhou for travelers because of the short distance, neither the ships.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Inside Space of Bullet Trains
Explore highlights in Shanghai and Hangzhou
Highlights of Shanghai – Garden, Western-style Streets, Modern Architecture and Blocks, Disneyland, Museum
- Where to Visit for in 2 Days
D1: Firstly go to appreciate some national precious relics in Shanghai Museum, then visit the traditional Chinese garden art at Yu Garden, and join the crowds of Yuyuan Bazaar. Next, climb the second highest building in Shanghai ( SWFC) to have a panoramic view of Shanghai. Lastly, go for some leisure walking at the prosperous Nanjing Road and the Bund.
D2: Firstly take a visit to Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center to see how Shanghai became a cosmopolitan city from shabby fishing village, then go to stroll around the peaceful French Concession area, or go to experience local traditional Buddhist culture at Jade Buddha Temple. The rest afternoon is free for your departure from Shanghai.
- What to Do for More Days
Have a day tour to visit a water town – Zhujiajiao or Fengjing;
Plan a day’s happy adventure at Shanghai Disney Land;
Take a Side trip to Suzhou and return back to Shanghai in a day.
Highlights of Hangzhou – West Lake, Dragon Well Tea, Ancient Street, Buddhist Sites
Brief Day Tour – After early arrival at Hangzhou, firstly spend about 2~3 hours touring West Lake (boating, walking, cycling), then go to explore nearby Lingyin Temple and Feilai Peak. Next, go to a Dragon Well Plantation Village to experience Chinese tea culture. Lastly, leave Hangzhou by high speed trains.
In-depth Two Days Tour
Option A: add a half day’s trip to your itinerary, you can go to get the panoramic views of Hangzhou city and Qiangtang River from Six Harmonies Pogoda, then go for a walk on the ancient Hefang Street to experience local history and culture.
Option B: take a side trip to one of the most beautiful water towns in China – Wuzhen which is only 80km away from Hangzhou city.
Recommended Shanhgai Hangzhou Tours
Yu Garden in Shanghai
Dragon Well Tea Plantation in Hangzhou
Wuzhen Water Town in Hangzhou
Choose accommodations in Shanghai and Hangzhou
Accommodation will not be a problem for your vacation in Shanghai and Hangzhou. Both cities are two of most developed cities of either economy or tourism. There are a bunch of international luxurious hotel brands running hotels in both cities, including Shangri-La, Continental, Starwood, Hilton, etc. Most hotels are situated conveniently in the city central areas. There are also a lot of great domestic hotels established for tourism, ranging from economy class to luxury 5-star standard. These hotels are usually located near to the tourist sites, such as the West Lake, Hefang Street in Hangzhou, and The Bund, Nanjing Road in Shanghai. Please click Shanghai Accommodation and Hangzhou Accommodation for details.
Shanghai JC Mandarin Hotel
Extended destinations between Beijing & Xian
It is advisable to travel Shanghai and Hangzhou with nearby popular destinations, such as Suzhou, Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), or Wuxi and Nibo if you have extra days. Generally speaking, it takes 1~2 days for Suzhou, 2 and 2 days for Huangshan, 1 days for Wuxi, 1~2 days for Ningbo.
If you want to travel Shanghai and Hangzhou with other hot destinations in China, it is easy to connect with Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Yangtze River, even Tibet very easily. Check following itineraries:
Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou
- Things to do in Shanghai
- Things to Do in Hangzhou
- Interesting activities in Shanghai
- Featured Activities in Hangzhou
- Shanghai Weather & Seasons
- Hangzhou Weather & Seasons
- Hotels in Shanghai
- Hotels in Hangzhou
- How to get to & around Shanghai
- How to Get to & around Hangzhou
- Shanghai FAQs & Tips
- Hangzhou Maps
- More Shanghai Travel Guide
- More Hangzhou Travel Guide
Recommended Beijing Xian Tours
Top 3 Beijing Xian tours chosen by most customers to explore Beijing Xian in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
- 10 Days China Golden Triangle Plus Hangzhou Paradise Tour
Shanghai / Hangzhou / Xian / Beijing
- 7 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Mt. Huangshan Tour Package
Shanghai / Hangzhou / Huangshan
- 5 Days Essence of Shanghai & Hangzhou Tour
Shanghai / Hangzhou / Shanghai
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