March 17, 2016, by Danny Bav
How to survive a trip to Shanghai (上海)
So all of our friends were busy travelling at weekends, so my friend Bety and I decided that it was about time to make a move too. What better place to start than Shanghai, an enormous economic hub only a few hours away from Ningbo. Well… I say a few hours away, but it depends on how much you want to splash out on a train – the trip could be 2 hours or 6 hours… Fortunately, we opted for the faster G train, so it took around 2hrs30 to arrive in Shanghai.
You can be sure we were super productive on the train ride! Translation: we both bought our Macroeconomic textbooks for the train ride, but didn’t actually touch them… heh
So, how does one ‘survive’ a trip to Shanghai?
Figure out the train system
So we booked tickets on ‘C Trip’ and arrived at the train station in good time – we left at 6:15am (we’re crazy… I know).
We took an Uber taxi and arrived to Ningbo train station where we tried to get through security, but we weren’t allowed to pass without our train tickets. Off we went in search of a place to pick them up. First, we decided to try our luck at the automated machines, but we were confused when there were no options to pick up tickets, so we asked the woman behind us “请你帮我们” – can you help us?
She was quite friendly and pointed us towards a desk. Yay! We were all ready to receive our tickets now until the woman behind the counter had no idea what were were trying to do and sent us downstairs to another counter. Third time lucky – we arrived at the right counter and managed to get tickets, get past security and onto the train.
The larger city train stations are much more similar to airports than train stations – it was a pretty awesome experience.
The trains are super comfortable and quick too, I think ours went around 250-300km/h, but it was so smooth and barely made any noise.
+1 for China!
Avoid tea-house scammers
Okay, you must be thinking what even are tea-house scammers? Upon walking around Shanghai we were approached by several ‘strange’ characters. Let’s start off with strange man A.
Okay, so the guy told us he was a teacher and he did seem quite friendly and he offered to show us a special famous teahouse which was nearby. So what’s the problem… what’s the catch? Well, these people lure foreigners to teahouses and charge them upwards of 3000RMB (£300) for tea. Luckily for us we’d read about these people online, so we managed to avoid strange man A, that was until we ran into… yes you guessed it… STRANGE MAN B.
The next guy told us about the horror stories of tea houses, but then tried to lure us into his strange art den where he wanted to sell us artwork… erm no thanks 😉
The moral of the story: keep your wits about!
Overall, the trip was an amazing experience and I think it’s safe to say we’ve caught the travel bug.
Time to book tickets to Beijing…