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In April I will land at Shanghai's PVG airport in the late afternoon and attempt to then get to Hangzhou that evening. I don't speak Mandarin and I will have been flying for 20 hours, so I expect to be a bit wiped out! Any guidance on how best to get a train or bus to Hangzhou? (I wouldn't mind the high speed train but I think PVG is a long way from the closest terminal)

Do I need to purchase a bus or train ticket in advance? Will there be ticket stations where people speak (a little) English?

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In addition to @dda's answer,

  • There is a direct bus from PVG to Hongqiao. (but the information might not always be accurate, as it frequently changes.)

  • Except the very busy season, the ticket is available at the counter. There are enough tickets even 30 minutes before the departure.

  • People at ticket counters speak a little English, but the communication might not pun out smoothly.

  • There are two arrival stations at Hangzhou - Hangzhou station and Hangzhou East station. Hangzhou station is closer to the city centre and more convenient for most people.

  • You can use Ctrip to check the timetable in English.

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There are lots of trains going to Hangzhou, from Shanghai South (regular trains) and Hongqiao (high-speed trains). This website gives you the schedule and prices. It's in Chinese: the 2-hour rides are Shanghai South-Hangzhou, the 45-60-minute rides from Hongqiao.

From Pudong to Hongqiao, you'll need 1.5 hours, Maglev and metro line 2. By taxi it could take forever and a day. Traffic there is mental, and late afternoons, oh well.

I suggest you print out "杭州站" (Hangzhou station) and present that (and your passport, plus a 100-yuan bill) to the ticket booth at Hongqiao station. You'll get a ticket, some change and your passport back.

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