.............not all those that wander are lost..............

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Bullet train to Beijing.......

While we were investigating our proposed visit to Beijing we were alarmed to hear that there was a smog warning for the city - perhaps it wasn't going to be possible to make this trip after all. However, after a few days checking the weather forecasts we decided to go ahead. Trying to navigate some websites to book accommodation and visits proved rather fruitless so eventually I came across a site called 'china.net' which was offering organised tourist trips to the capital. Most of the packages included flights but we had already chosen to travel on the Bullet train. This meant that although the train took longer it would be an interesting journey - sightseeing out of the window was a more attractive option than sitting on an airplane. Finally we booked up a 3 day package with an extra day, which included the hotel room, being met and dropped off at the station, our own all day taxi, an English speaking guide along with breakfast every day, lunch for two days and a special 'Peking' duck dinner.

Mr Xu kindly offered to help us get some tickets for the bullet train to Beijing. It's incredibly useful to have someone like him around in a place like China. Not being able to speak the language is a great handicap but if you couple it with not being able to read it either then things can get really difficult!

So here is what we were going to do:-
Nov 7th: (B/L/D)
Today we will take you to visit Badaling Great Wall, Jade factory, Changling of Ming Tombs. Then having a Peking Duck Dinner in the most famous Quanjude Restaurant.
Nov 8th: Free day in Beijing
Nov 9th: (B/L) Beijing Departure
After your breakfast, take you to visit Tian'anmen Square, Forbidden City, silk store, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace. Then drop you off at railway station for train back to Shanghai. Tour finished.

The Shanghai Hongqiao station was large, very modern with 32 different platforms, a huge screen (fortunately with some English numbers on it for the train services) and quite a few organised groups of tourists wandering around. I think Mr. Xu was worried about us when he dropped us off at the Departures door but it was all very simple. The train was spectacular. It was clean, modern, with loads of space at our seats. All the way to Beijing it travelled at 306 km/h, smoothly and efficiently, mostly on a raised track, past miles and miles of fields and the occasional huge factory.

{Chinese high speed trains}

We arrived on time, and met up with Helen, our guide and our taxi. We were soon deposited at the Howard Johnson Hotel right in the centre of Beijing.  There were many fewer skyscrapers than Shanghai so the city had a more open feel. Luckily the smog had cleared. 

{Beijing South Station}

{The view from the window of the hotel - the clock woke us with its distinctive chime!}

{Looking the other way from our room - across the city skyline}

{The main Railway station - right opposite our hotel - but not the one we arrived at}

We unpacked and settled in, looking forward to being picked up the next morning for Day 1 of our tour.


http://abebedorespgondufo.blogs.sapo.pt/ said...

Very good.

Alan Sloman said...

Fascinating stuff! It looks a bit like Pittsburgh...
Who was doing the map reading?

Louise said...

Ooo, shiny train!