Discover Shanghai in less than 24 hours: Group launches free layover transit tours

(c) Edward H | Shanghai

International layovers don’t have to mean waiting for hours in the airport terminal; it’s also possible to make the most of the short window of time and explore the country you’re transiting in. Enter “Shanghai Express”, free layover city tours launched by Group to show travellers the top highlights of Shanghai before their next flight – all within a few hours.

Starting from 15 April 2024, international travellers stopping by the Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) for over eight hours will have the opportunity to take part in these layover city tours – the first of their kind in Shanghai. You don’t have to worry about researching where to go and how either, as these tours take charge of everything: airport pick-up and send-off, attraction tickets, e-sim cards, and more. So, all you need to do is turn up.

The tours will be available to international travellers who are eligible for China’s 72/144-hour visa-free transit policy, as well as those holding a 24-hour temporary entry permit issued by the airport border inspection.

“As visa-free transit policies open up new avenues for international travellers to explore China, Group is excited to unveil this innovative programme for those with just a short stopover,” said Ms Han Feng, Head of Marketing at “We will leverage our extensive resources to ensure a memorable tour experience and provide world-class customer service to help flyers enjoy what Shanghai has to offer.”

Exploring the city between flights

Upon passing customs after arrival at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, travellers may head to the Group currency exchange counter on Island A in the Departure Hall of Terminal 2 for in-person registration. A professional guide will be available at the counter one hour before the start of each tour to assist with the registration process. Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Travellers will be able to choose from several tour timings. Each free tour accommodates a maximum of ten travellers and lasts five to six hours, including transportation from and back to the airport.

The tours feature some of the top attractions on the AI-powered Trip.Best list for Shanghai based on user reviews and expert curation, leading visitors on a journey through the past, present, and future of the bustling metropolis.

Current itineraries include

Shanghai Highlights City Tour (9:00-14:00): a tour of classic Shanghai highlights, including exploring traditional Chinese architecture in the Yu Garden and viewing Shanghai’s iconic and futuristic skyline at the Bund.

Strolling Under the Trees Citywalk Tour (16:00-22:00): a tour for the romantics and urban history lovers, which includes a city walk through the old villas and charming cafes along the beautiful Wukang Road, an immersive visit to the Yu Garden, and a stroll along the historic Bund.

Huangpu River Cruise Sightseeing Night Tour (18:00-23:00): a unique experience in the city that never sleeps – including the breath-taking night view of the Bund aboard the Huangpu River Cruise and a deep dive into the bustling Yu Garden at night.

Led by English-speaking guides, each tour includes transportation, tickets, e-sim cards, and team insurance. Those seeking to travel light may store their luggage at the airport or on the shuttle bus if space permits. Please note that the free tours do not include meals, though our guides will be more than happy to offer dining recommendations.

Detailed information about the tours can be found here.

Discover the beauty of China with ease

The Shanghai Express Tours are set against the backdrop of Group’s various initiatives to support international travellers to discover the beauty of China with ease as the country relaxes visa requirements.

With visa-free entry extended to Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg on 14 March, China is now visa-free for eligible travellers from 15 countries. recently launched an initiative with the Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site in Xi’an to provide overseas online integration to offer international travellers deals, guided tour options, and more information about its astounding Terracotta Warriors and remarkable history. Group has also been working with airlines to provide international and domestic flight combos to encourage more travellers to venture beyond traditional hotspots. The “Explore China” campaign, launched with Air China in March, gives travellers from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland a free additional flight within China when they purchase a single round-trip flight to the country.

The “Beyond Shanghai: Experience China” campaign, launched with China Eastern Airlines in February, also rewards customers booking flights to Shanghai with a complimentary domestic flight within mainland China.

To enhance convenience for visitors to China, Group has implemented various initiatives. Notably, the China Travel Guide on the app offers practical information on navigating the country. It covers topics such as entry requirements, internet access, payment, transportation and more with easy-to-follow tips and explanatory videos. Since its release in September 2023, the guide has served more than 100,000 international travellers planning to visit China.

Furthermore, to streamline payment options for visitors, Group has also partnered with Alipay, a leading digital payment and lifestyle service platform. Through this partnership, selected packages and travel guides are available on the Alipay app, providing support for international visitors.

Meeting the needs of all kinds of travellers, whether you’re just passing through or planning a deep dive, Group is committed to using its expertise and resources to make such trips memorable, and help you explore China’s endless possibilities.