After 10 days in Hong Kong, I was heading to Shanghai. The Flights to and from Shanghai were on Dragonair ; and were included in the price of the ticket that I bought for JFK-HKG-JFK. When I checked the price of Dragonair RT HKG-PVG, it was $500 USD. That was another reason I chose CX over a * A airline this time. I took a 5 minute Taxi from the Hotel to the Airport Express Train Terminal in Central Hong Kong at 7:00 AM. Then payed the $ 100 HKD fee for the 1 way trip on that train to Chek Lap Kok, which was voted best airline in the world 2007. The train ride takes about 30 minutes and its a nice ride with interesting waterfront sights along the way. The train srops and lets you off on the Departures Level. Dragonair is in Terminal 1.
The Departures area is a beautiful open natural light filled space with excellent views of the
Lantau Island Peaks ( if its not raining ). There were few people here this early and the entire place had a relaxed atmosphere compared to other airports I've been to, probably due to the superb layout and design, plenty of extra workers on hand to help people check in, and also a well staffed help desk right in the middle of the terminal.
When taking the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car to the Po Lin Monastery to see the big Buddha, you have spectacular views of the airport. This is the longest Cable Car in the world. These are the pics from the lower part of the Cable car, but it goes much higher than this. This ride is a must for any aviation fan, and a great deal at only $ 88 HKG for a round trip. Better still, you're able to watch your favorite widebodies take off from while hundreds of feet above them. You observe the takeoff roll, and climb, with gear up, and still see the plane far below you. I was excited to watch all the movements on the runways. The family from Mainland China in the cable car with me must of thought I was a bit strange and smiled at me like I was a special needs person.
There are two fine coffee shops and light refreshment stands on wither side of the long terminal. They're a great idea and a help if you're hungry or early for your check in. You also get Free internet with the purchase of anything to eat or drink. Of course, wifi is everywhere in the building if you a have laptop .
People using the free "internets."
Dragonair check was quick. Sadly , I couldn't get a window seat to take pictures, but seat to the left of me was empty , so I had plenty of room to stretch out. Security passport in HKG was fast and easy due to large number of staff.
I cant believe Burger King does so much business here. Why no Taco Bell? Taco Bell would kill in Hong Kong. They could sell fish Tacos too. I wasn't hungry yet so I just had some coffee.
The Hong Kong Tourism Department might ask you to take a survey for a few minutes. How could I say no. They ask how much you earn, married, kids, where do you go, did you see this or that tourism poster, how long was your stay etc. I said I went to Happy Valley and the "Come Racing Tour" So they gave me an enamel pin with a horse on it.
View behind the middle seat on this A330.
Legroom for Dragonair A330. No IFE on this 2 hour flight. Boarding and takeoff right on time. No delays.
Hot meal on this short flight is very nice. Plenty of beverage service and the courteous, smiling FAs made this an enjoyable trip. I sensed these Dragonair FAs were happy to be doing their jobs and were proud of their airline. In Shanghai, I had to enter Mainland China with the Visa pasted into my passport. Dragonair had passed out the old arrival forms and now there were new ones, so we all lost our place in line to return to the previous hall to get new forms. But other than that it was easy.
The arrivals hall for Shanghai is not as well signed in English as Hong Kong, so its easier for foreigners to get lost. As great as the Shanghai Maglev is, the signs to find your way to the train are small and ill-placed. It was difficult to find my way to the Maglev, but eventually I found it. The Maglev connecting walkway was almost empty and the train was only about 70% full, which seemed odd.
The Maglev is a must. Top speed on this run was 431 Kph ( 268 mph ).
But the ride is over in about 4 minutes. After getting off the train I had to leave the Pudong Longyang Road Station and walk outside for a hundred meters to connect to the Shanghai Metro Line Subway Line 2. The Subway was crowded and luckily I had studied up and knew where I was going and didn't need directions.
I exited Peoples Square and had to walk to my hotel, because I couldn't find an empty taxi at 4 PM that afternoon.
It wasn't too bad of a walk, but the freezing rain made it a bit chilly. My Hotel was the New Harbor Service Apartments. When I checked in I asked if I could be upgraded no charge, and the clerk said sure, and gave me breakfast tickets for the week. Its a reasonable place to stay and very central, so I enjoyed it. They had a massive breakfast buffet with a 3 chefs in special hats who would cook your eggs to order and bring them to your table. I was at breakfast everyday at 7AM and there must have been 4 staff for each hotel guest.
The Hotel is situated a block from Yunnan Nan Lu, one of the Best Streetfood and Restaurant District areas in Shanghai. So at the end of the day, or before you go out at night, your always only a few steps away from amazing food.
They put me on the top floor in a suite with wood floors and a kitchen with a full size fridge. Very Nice. The room was heated with air conditioning units. This was not good. It took an hour for the room to heat up, and the weather was very cold , damp and rainy, snowy. When I returned to the room to shower and change and go out after a day of sightseeing I needed a long hot shower.
I should note that the tap water in shanghai was a "brownish rust coloration" and it smelled like pond water. There were signs that said dont drink it, but you didn't need themas a warning. I was worried it might be piped straight in from the Huangpu River, but after a couple of days I got used to it and it didn't bother me. I wonder if the water is like that all over the city.
Night Views from the 18 floor. Notice the double basketball court. It was full every day.
Walking around Shanghai was cold and sometimes a bit miserable when it rained. But I was determined to spend all day , everyday seeing everything I could, so I powered through the sleet , snow or whatever. They're tearing Shanghai down so fast to put up new buildings; even I could tell how fast the old buildings were vanishing 2 hours after I arrived in the city. I feel happy I was able to see some of the streets of the Old City before they are transformed into condos and other tall office buildings with less character. I stopped to have coffee and tea frequently , and eat copious amounts of great snacks from the street vendors. There are many places to have fantastic and inexpensive foot massage / reflexology. I think a one hour foot massage was about 35 or 40 RMB. But the entire time I was in Shanghai, I never saw a blue sky once, or the sun. There was a haze of some kind over the city. It was a mix of smog and fog or clouds.
NO time to take the Maglev to PVG, had to check in for early flight.
Almost 150 RMB for the taxi ride to PVG. The taxi driver was a lunatic, driving 85 mph in rain. I guess they dont have radar patrols in Shanghai. PVG is beautiful, new and only slightly less flashy and plush as HKG. Even Early this airport had large crowds in all areas.
Taxiing at Beijing Airport I took the following pics:
After getting off the plane at a remote stand, they bused us to the terminal past these planes.
The arrivals hall was mobbed with people and unlicensed taxi drivers trying to get you into their car, it was difficult to find someone and ask in English where the bus to Beijing Train station departed. A few steps from the Arrivals Hall was the bus stop. One way to the center of Beijing is about 2 or 3 USD.
The bus ride takes a full hour because of traffic....beautiful toll booth.
Beijing traffic is horrendous. Totally appalling. The subway is good and improving , but not every area is connected to another area. I took a 1 mile taxi ride to my hotel that took more than an hour.
Its OK, because it was freezing cold and the taxi was warm. Thankfully , the driver didnt smoke. He must have been the only non-smoking taxi in Beijing. They say 1 out of every 3 cigarettes smoked in the world is smoked in China. In Beijing, thats easy to believe. In the end I got out and walked the rest of the way with my rolling suitcase and left the taxi far behind. Taxis are not expensive in Beijing, even on long rides, but its frustrating... and I cant sit still for that long.
Beijing was cold and I kind of question my own sanity for going in the winter. But Beijing's timeless outdoor venues were beautiful and mystical covered in snow and ice. On the day I was going to the Simatai great wall , the tour bus was canceled because it was so cold not enough people showed up. So Ill have to go back for that again. After a long day outside in -15C temperatures i needed a massage and a hot bath, sauna before changing and going out at night. Unlike in Shanghai, where I couldn't get a taxi to save my life, there were always plenty of cabs any hour day or night in Beijing.
Beijing doesn't have a large number of bars and clubs, but they have a few truly excellent ones : Coco Banana, Baby Face , Cargo and a number of others. Packed full of people on even Sunday and Monday nights. After 9 the traffic dies down and you can get where you need quickly.
Taxi Ride to Beijing Airport for an early flight on a China Eastern A330 back to PVG. The Departures area was much nicer than Arrivals.
A very nice trip report, thank you for sharing, really great photos! Makes me want to go back to China ...
Quoting Sh0rtybr0wn (Thread starter): As great as the Shanghai Maglev is, the signs to find your way to the train are small and ill-placed. It was difficult to find my way to the Maglev, but eventually I found it. The Maglev connecting walkway was almost empty and the train was only about 70% full, which seemed odd.
Usually, it is to 70 % empty...
Quoting Sh0rtybr0wn (Thread starter): I should note that the tap water in shanghai was a "brownish rust coloration" and it smelled like pond water. There were signs that said dont drink it, but you didn't need themas a warning. I was worried it might be piped straight in from the Huangpu River, but after a couple of days I got used to it and it didn't bother me. I wonder if the water is like that all over the city
You can't drink tap water in Shanghai (and whole China), but its color is usually not brown ... Maybe try another hotel ...
Quoting Sh0rtybr0wn (Thread starter): Almost 150 RMB for the taxi ride to PVG. The taxi driver was a lunatic, driving 85 mph in rain. I guess they dont have radar patrols in Shanghai.
Did you notice that he slowed down every time there was a bridge? Radar is attached to basically every bridge, so they slow down before they drive under it, keep slow for a few seconds and then speed up again
If he gets caught by a police radar patrol the fine is probably more than 300 RMB, more than he earns in weeks ...
Quoting Sh0rtybr0wn (Thread starter): Beijing traffic is horrendous. Totally appalling. The subway is good and improving , but not every area is connected to another area. I took a 1 mile taxi ride to my hotel that took more than an hour.
Almost missed a flight once ... 2.5 hours from downtown to the airport ... Beijing traffic is really mad.
Quoting Deguoren (Reply 1): Did you notice that he slowed down every time there was a bridge?
Quoting Deguoren (Reply 1): 2.5 hours from downtown to the airport ... Beijing traffic is really mad.
My taxi driver never slowed down, I didn't notice the bridge radar. There were other cars on the road all driving close to 90mph. it was dark and rainy. I thought I would end up in a " Live Leak " video for sure. I think without drastic action, such as making half of cars stay off the street for weeks, a big story on the news during the Olympics will be the traffic.
Quoting NZ747 (Reply 2): Reminds me of my trip to China two year ago and makes me want to go back.
I want to eventually return in the summer months and see other cities, towns, and the western part of the country. Its a hard decision; whether to go back to a country I've already visited or go someplace new. I want to do both.
Quoting Dimoko (Reply 3): people that are surprised that you are taking their picture.
Its always best in the moment just before people realize you're taking a picture, but sometimes the timing isn't right. Most people are kind of amused that somebody else would take a picture of them, so its O.K.
Nice trip, reminded me of my trip to China a few years back.
Quoting Sh0rtybr0wn (Thread starter): Then payed the $ 100 HKD fee for the 1 way trip on that train to Chek Lap Kok, which was voted best airline in the world 2007.
- I think you mean airport.
Quoting Sh0rtybr0wn (Thread starter): Dragonair had passed out the old arrival forms and now there were new ones, so we all lost our place in line to return to the previous hall to get new forms. But other than that it was easy.
- Hmm, not too clever.
Quoting Sh0rtybr0wn (Thread starter): Almost 150 RMB for the taxi ride to PVG. The taxi driver was a lunatic, driving 85 mph in rain
- They tend to be like this everywhere in China, I think they are all wannabe racing drivers.
Quoting B747forever (Reply 8): How nice that Dragon Air offer you a hot meal on a 2hr flight. Many US carriers shall do the same.
No kidding. Al 4 2 hour flights in china had meals and multiple beverage services. I think Everyone felt happy and content because of the pleasant "full service" nature of the flight.
Quoting BAViscount (Reply 9): But what on earth was that pile of mush they gave you to eat on Air China?!?!
That was pork and noodles and it was better than it looked. Its a sort of linguine and white clam sauce style dish, but made with ground pork. The food gets kind of heavy in Northern China, I guess they need the extra calories to dominate the cold weather.
I miss the great food in Hong Kong. I would kill for some Dim Sum.
When you go, take a taxi from the Big Buddha to Tai O fishing village and then back. Its only 5 or 6 USD, but you save hours waiting for the bus to fill up. The taxi drivers on Lantau think they're in a NASCAR Race. Very fast in those little blue cabs.
You can take a half hour ride in a small fast boat around part of the island and see pink dolphins. Arrange the boat at the entrance to the fishing village. It only costs 20 HKD ( about 3 USD ), and I think the real "Dolphin Sightseeing Trip " costs a few hundred USD. In the distance beyond the pink /purple dolphins swimming and diving for fish , were 3 huge menacing fishing trawlers. It made me worry about the survival of those special dolphins. I was happy I was able to see them.
Did you like Macau? I enjoyed walking around the Largo de Senato buildings in the oldest part of the city with the historic sights and walking down to A Ma temple was fun too. I wanted to bungee jump off the Macau Tower , but there was an extremely long waiting line, or queue, as they say in the trade.
No, I didn't get to do Macau and a bunch of Hong Kong, except for the food, Victoria Peak, and the Symphony of Lights. Before Hong Kong I went to Bangkok and spent so much time going around that intriguing city! Thanks for the recommendations; I'll have to better plan my next HK trip!
The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.