Shanghai is two hours away from Beijing by plane. If you are in need of a getaway from Beijing and do not want to rusticate in the countryside, this place is the best for you. Shanghai is considered as the financial capital of China and one of the municipalities of the country. It’s a modern and cosmopolitan city with tons of skyscraper and highways.
There are several ways to reach this city, you can plane or train it from Beijing. If you plan to fly, you have two airports to choose from: Hongqiao and Pudong. These two airports are located at the opposite sides of the city. Hongqiao is mainly domestic and is located west of the city. Pudong airport which has two terminals serves mostly the international riding public is located east of the city. To train it, there are two stations : Shanghai Main and Shanghai South. To check the train schedule and prices, browse through my train guide here. For flight information, you can try http://www.ctrip.com or http://www.elong.com.
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Last August 1, the Beijing South Station officially started operations and the first train out was the new C-trains to Tianjin. These trains travel at a top speed of 350 kilometers per hours or 100 meters per second. Travelling between Beijing and Tianjin is further cut into half from the previous 1 hour to 30 mins.
One way ticket cost 69 yuan for first class and 58 yuan for second class. The picture on the right is in the second class area. Tickets can be purchased at the train stations (main, west and south) 3 days in advance.
According to my friend who travels to Tianjin regularly, there are a lot of people currently riding the C-trains because it’s new. Travelling to the South station is not too convenient as you can either take the bus or taxi only. The nearest subway stop is Xuanwumen in line 2 then ride a taxi bound south past 6 major roads. It’s located in between the South 2nd ring road and third ring road.
Make sure you know where you’re getting off in Tianjin as they could either take you to Tianjin Main (天津站) or Tianjin West (天津西站) Station.
Pictures from xinhua
In my previous blog, I already mentioned the ins and outs of travelling by train in China. Getting the train schedule on the other hand is a bit of a pain specially if you don’t read/write Chinese.
In this blog, I will teach you how to use huochepiao.com’s train schedule. It’s still in Chinese but I will put some English translation on the essentials here.
Step 1. Using Microsoft Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, type http://www.huochepiao.com on the url field.
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Chengde (承德) – Summer Imperial Resort & Eight Outer Temples
Chengde is the site of the summer imperial resort where Emperor Qianlong takes time off to hunt in the old days. It’s approximately 4-1/2 hours north of Beijing by train from Beijing Station (北京站). It is located in Hebei province. The Summer Imperial Resort and the Eight Outer Temples are the main attractions of this place. They are also World Heritage Sites. From what I read, the average annual temperature is 8 degrees Celsius.
My travel buddy and I went there last December 30, 2007. We took the train which departed at 630am and arrived Chengde at 1048 am. When we arrived at the station, we were welcomed by strong chilly winds and colder temperatures. We headed straight to the ticket counter to purchase our return ticket for the next day. The line was so long and slightly chaotic. There were only 3 windows open and the hall is in dire need of cleaning.
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Sorry for the delay but work is a bit toxic. As promise, here’s a 3-day itinerary should you wish to visit Henan Province from Beijing. Feel free to use this as reference on your trips and if you have any other suggestions, please leave some comments for others to see.
Brief background: Henan province is in Central China. 河南 literally translated to English as “South of the River”, was the core area of ancient China for the first half of Chinese history. It is also the most populous province in China by residency. Henan province has temperate climate for China standards. IMO, best time to visit would be late Spring or early Autumn.
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