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The Fastest Train? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Train Travel

Travel on the world's fastest train.

To reach Shanghai from the airport, travel on the MagLev. This is the world's fastest train, it travels at 270 mph and is propelled by giant electromagnets. As they switch it on you feel the train hover before it shoots a long the track.

The train travels on the track 747,30ft above the ground, it tilts around the bends instead of slowing down for them. This means if you look out of the window during the tilt you see the ground below. The trip is accompanied by a computer announcer who advises you to 'watch your children and your luggage,' after welcomig you to Shanghai. The Maglev was intended to link Shanghai with Beijing but even before the track between the airport and Shanghai was completed, the money ran out. So just as you begin to become accustomed to the speed, the train comes to a sudden halt and you complete the journey with a taxi ride. So in a few minutes you travel on the world's fastest train followed by the world's slowest taxi ride.

After the train journey book into the Grand Hyatt, the world's highest hotel. It has 88 floors. In the room, the windows are floor to ceiling and give you a fascinating view. Looking down to the streets below people look like ants as they scurry along the pavements.

If you venture out for a walk at dusk, you will notice the flasing adverts and neon lights are starting up and beginning to light up the skyline. Twenty minutes from Pudong, the new business district you may find yourself at the Bund Tourist Tunnel. From here travel on the mini Docklands Light Railway, it travels under the Huangopu River. This train only travels at three or four miles per hour and the onboard entertainment is 1970's sci-fi music.

When the train emerges from underneath the river you arrive on the world famous Bund. This is a riverside street wher you find Michelin starred restaurants, bars and a Hugo Boss packed into old colonial buildings. Two worlds a river a part, looking down the Bund reminds you of Paris in the 1920's turn and look back over the river to the bright, modern, futuristic world of Pudong.

You can explore the city via interconnected shopping arcades, that sell nothing but Nikes and mobile phones. It is like walking through a maze travelling up and down escalators. Suddenly, amongst all the skyscrapers you find Renmin Park. It is an amazing area of tranquility in all the hustle and bustle of the city, around the park you can see people practising their martial arts. In the park you should think about the size of Shanghai. Sixteen million people live and work in this concrete and glass city. It has 4,000 skyscrapers which is double the number in New York. The city is beautful in its own way.

If you need to escape the hustle then aim for the lesser built up areas. Find the streets of wooden shacks and see a fish market. Watch the locals pick up a bargain and the sellers kill the fish, so at least the buyers know they are fresh. Keep walking until you find old Shanghai. Here you will get a flavour of the old town and be able to sample dumpling soup in a back kitchen.

Looking at the shanty neighbourhood reminds you of what happens when a government has huge ideas. This is a consequence of a dictatorship, if the government decide that Shanghai will be the best city in the world, then it will be. All this is done without a thought for the ordinary citizens who will have their houses and buildings demolished to make room for another office or apartment block.If people put up any resistance they are dealt with. This can be illustrated in the case of Zheng Enchong who is in prison after being detained for 'supplying state secrets to foreign entities.' In fact, he is a human rights lawyer, from Shanghai, who was the representative of 500 families who had been evicted from their homes without compensation. He had brought a class action against a wealthy developer, now he is in prison and his wife has only seen him once since his arrest.

Looking at the shanty towns you begin to realise that these could be bulldozed at any time. You will also notice that the neon lights are switched off at 10 pm this is to make sure that the people can cook their meal, because earlier they have had to sacrifice their electricity so that the advertisements can be lit up.

Shanghai is a city of many differences, make sure you explore the city and look for the real city.

Information about China

How to get there:British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly from Heathrow to Shanghai, for more information telephone 0870 850 9850 or click on-line www.ba.com or for Virgin Atlantic telephone 0870 574 7747 and on-line at www.virgin-atlantic.com.

Where to stay: The Grand Hyatt, the world's highest hotel, has double rooms from . Book direct on 0845 888 1234 or www.hyatt.com. Or you could try The Shangri-La, on the Pudong side of Shanghai. A double room starts at for more information telephone 0800 028 3337 or on-line at www.shangri-la.com. The Shangri-La is smaller than the Hyatt but it is closer to the river and is just as deluxe.

Where to eat and drink: Try the Bund, this is probably the most exciting stretch of eating, drinking and shopping experience in Asia.

You will find Armani, the only Evian spa outside France, and three super star restaurants at Number Three. For more information telephone 00 86 21 6321 7733 or on-line at www.threeonthebund.com

There are huge selections to choose from all along this road.

You can book a holiday like this through any travel agents or try on-line at www.timesonline.co.uk/chinatravel.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 February 2007 )
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