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
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
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
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.