Hangzhou & Shanghai

Author: , July 22nd, 2016

Hangzhou & Shanghai

The sun is setting…I think. I’ve arrived in Shanghai after a 15-hour flight, and I’m not sure what day it is, let alone what time of day: the permanent haze that hovers over much of China’s 3.7 million square miles masks any clues. Shanghai Pudong International Airport offers a harsh juxtaposition of the familiar and the unknown, a theme that will reappear throughout my journey to two of China’s major east coast cities.

I hop on a shuttle bus that takes me southwest from Shanghai’s city center to Hangzhou. The cities blur together along the two-hour journey (or 45 minutes by bullet train), where endless clusters of high-rise complexes blend into one another. Imagine the Vegas Strip held up to a mirror, an endless stream of towering residential buildings, outlined in neon and saturated floodlights. But as I peer out the window amid the slowly chugging traffic, closer inspection reveals a kind of post-apocalyptic urban planning to accommodate the country’s 1.3 billion inhabitants. Construction cranes pierce the skyline and it’s hard to tell whether certain projects are underway or have been abandoned midstream. China, I am soon to find out, is a country and a people of contradiction.

HANGZHOU – RIVER DEEP, MOUNTAIN HIGH

For most Westerners (including myself prior to this trip), Hangzhou may not be on your China bucket list, but consider adding a few days to your itinerary to explore a city that, at least by the standards of ear- lier centuries, was one of the most powerful ports in the world. The Sui Empire finished the Grand Canal in 609 CE, a 1,100-mile engineering feat that finally connected Hangzhou to Beijing in the north and positioned it as a vital trading post.

Hangzhou’s port eventually filled with silt in the 15th century, but skip ahead 600 years or so, and you’ll find a thriving metropolis for the new millennium. It’s now a major technology hub with Alibaba Group at its epicenter, a multi-faceted e-commerce company that holds the record for the largest IPO of all time on the New York Stock Exchange, totaling $25 billion. Put that mind-boggling figure momentarily aside, along with worries that China could conceivably crash the global economy. Hangzhou’s wonders lie in its natural beauty and deep traditions of culture and cuisine. Transcend political agendas and appreciate the region for its hidden gems that remain some of China’s greatest gifts.

By Matthew Wexler – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Carlos Melia – High Speed Train Beijing to Shanghai and Back

Author: , July 4th, 2015

Carlos MeliaIf there is a great way to travel within China is by their super comfortable High-Speed Trains by CRH – China Railway High-Speed. We connected three destinations Beijing – Shanghai – West Lake/Hangzhou using both their Business and Economy Class. 300 Kilometers and hour to move across China in full comfort and smoothly. One suggestion, buy your tickets online time before your trip. If you need help with reliable ways to do this, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Our journey began at Beijing Nan South Train Station, which not only was immaculate clean, but also huge. So please allow time to arrive, get yourself familiar with the gates, and DO NOT FORGET, you need to collect your tickets, and than takes at least 10 to 15 minutes. In 4 hours and 48 minutes, after an ultra comfortable ride, we arrived to Shanghai Hongqiao Train Station.

Here you can see all my photos on our experience in Business Class. The configuration from Beijing to Shanghai was totally different from the one back. But on both cases, we had a full flat bed cocoon seat. The downsides are: no internet on board. Despite they do have personal TVs, there was no entertainment available.

During the ride you will get snacks, drinks and a full meal (which you might or not like). The formation has a Cafeteria car, but be careful, you might not like what they have to offer. Our choice was beer and nori, literally. On my way back I decided to buy my own snack at the train station.

On our ride from Shanghai to/from the West Lake/Hangzhou, since this is a one hour and 20 minutes ride, they only offer Economy Class, which was totally fine and comfortable too, with a fine seat and pitch.

Without a doubt, I will chose the High-Speed train over flights anytime. If possible, if you take the trains arriving to Beijing or Shanghai after 11PM, book your car transfer in advance and have someone waiting for you at the train station. Otherwise you might cue for two hours to get a taxi out.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog | China Gay Travel Resources

China Celebrates Shanghai Pride Next Month

Author: , May 18th, 2014

Shanghai Pride 2014This year’s Shanghai Pride Week, titled Pride6 in recognition of its sixth anniversary, will take place from 13th to 22nd June. A week-long string of events has been planned to boost the LGBT’s community position in China and raise awareness around LGBT themes including marriage equality, sexual health and societal acceptance. Run by volunteers from the not-for-profit group, ShanghaiLGBT and other NGOs, Pride6 is expected to bring thousands of people together at a multitude of fun social and advocacy events.

While retaining many of the activities that have made Pride Week a synonym for ‘Party Week’ among the LGBT and friends community, organisers are determined to incorporate more serious elements into this year’s Pride. Marriage equality will be one of these elements; with support for gay marriage hovering at around 30% in Beijing and Shanghai,Pride5 will discuss ways to raise and promote the issue among the wider public and politicians. To that end Pride5 will feature two panel discussions on workplace discrimination and gay marriage.

Organisers are also hoping to boost interest in Shanghai’s Gay Film Festival which will be held during Pride Week.

By Kelly Riker – Seasons of Pride | China Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events