My 16 hour shanghai airport layover

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layover in china

You'll need these tips if arriving at Shanghai Airport

On a flight I did from Melbourne to Shanghai to Frankfurt, I had a 16-hour layover at Shanghai Airport. You may think I’m crazy for choosing a long layover, but I think it’s one of the best flight options when you have two long, connecting flights. The only catch is that if you are thinking of doing a long layover in China, you will need to apply for a Visa Free Transit Visa, which is free and can be done at most airport in China.

Here is why I choose a long layover.


One of the main reasons I chose the Air China flight was because of the great price. Even after I added a Shanghai transit hotel, I was still going to save around $300 AUD on my flight. I would fly Air China again as, in my opinion, they are a good value for money, clean, and I felt safe. All it would cost me was a little extra time, which I was fine with.

Transit hotel to recharge

Instead of having a 2-hour layover when you do the quick stretch, grab an overpriced airport meal, a quick face wash, and a toothbrush. I was able to go to my transit hotel, sleep in a comfortable bed, eat a great hotel breakfast buffet, and then head back to the airport for my connecting flight feeling fresh.

Sight Seeing

I didn’t do this on my transit, but it’s something that can definitely be done even on shorter layovers, around 6 hours. I think this is a great way to start a trip, like a mini holiday before you arrive at your final destination, and you get to experience a new country.

Now, in saying all this, I obviously enjoyed my travel through Shanghai airport, but I did do research into planning my long layover to ensure it went smoothly and I wasn’t left sleeping at the airport. If you’re planning a long layover, here are the main points you need to check before booking.

Firstly, can you leave the airport?
Secondly, if you can leave the airport, do you need a visa? Some visas could be expensive, and you’ll end up spending more than a flight with a short layover. China is a great layover option because of the free transit visa you can pick up at the airport.
Thirdly, check if the transit hotels are affordable.
And lastly, check if your layover is long enough for you to leave the airport.

Recommended day trips while transiting in China

We booked this trip using these TRUSTED sites


china layover
china layover

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