How not to ride the world’s fastest train
In 2011 we made a quick two-night stopover in Shanghai on the way to Vietnam.
Here are 13 things we experienced in the city.
1. Riding the Maglev
The Maglev train from the airport is the fastest train in the world and operates at 430km/h. It links the airport with the city in just 8 minutes. Sadly it doesn’t always operate at full speed and that included the time when we rode it. We travelled into Shanghai at 300km/h. The Maglev train doesn’t actually even extend to the true centre, and it is necessary to get a subway to complete the trip.
2. Walking the Bund
The Bund is the waterfront area in the centre. It is quite beautiful and crammed with old buildings. It is good for people watching too. It is a popular stroll both for the people of Shanghai and visitors to the city.
3. Staying in Pudong
The modern area across the river from the Bund is really impressive. It is even more impressive considering it was all built within the last 25 years. We enjoyed ascending one of the tall buildings and wandering around the many shops and restaurants around the area.
4. Having a drink whilst looking at the city night view
We found a bar in a hotel and ordered a couple of beers and sat there admiring the night view. Perhaps it is the concentration of the buildings but I think it beats Hong Kong for colour and illumination.
5. Visiting the History Museum
The city has a fascinating past and this is told remarkably well at the Shanghai History Museum.
6. Enduring The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel
The tunnel links links the Pudong side of the river with the Bund side. It is just over 500m long and has a mini maglev tram system running in it. You board the tram and are subjected to a colourful multimedia show. I suppose it isn’t bad but it does seem a bit pointless.
7. Visiting the City of God Temple
Set in a bustling shopping district this is one of the few old temples in Shanghai
8. Walking around Yuyuan Garden
The garden is a pretty good example of a Chinese garden and really worth a walk around. It dates from 1577.
9. Eating Pork Dumplings for Lunch
The soup dumpling, or xiaolong bao, is one of Shanghai’s most famous foods. They have a tasty spicy pork filling including a bit of hot tasty broth. They were delicious. Although the ones in Taiwan are probably better in our opinion.
10. Drinking Tea at a Tea House
We had a relaxing experience drinking tea in a traditional Shanghai tea house.
11. Wandering around the French Concession
The French Concession existed from 1849 to 1949 and is still one of the most sought-after places to live in Shanghai. Its gorgeous tree-lined avenues are well worth a wander around. There are trendy little art shops and outdoor cafes to stop at too.
12. Tasting Shanghai Cuisine
Lots of lovely food experiences including red-braised pork with bamboo shoots and fish smothered with scallions
13. Having a drink at the Astor House Hotel
I love old hotels and especially the famous ones in large cities. The Astor House (1858) is Shanghai’s candidate in the list of the most famous hotels in the world. It is well worth a visit if only for a drink in the bar.