We arrived in Beijing yesterday evening, but it wasn't without some pain along the way! When we arrived in Shanghai from Nanjing over a week ago, we didn't have a great introduction to the station we knew later had to return to, for this recent trip up to Beijing. Shanghai Hongqiao Train Station is massive and the layout like most other Chinese stations, is poor. Mostly all the ticket machines for the Metro were broken and trying to find a manned kiosk to ask about advanced rail ticket purchases was impossible. We decided that we would just take the risk when we came back to buy the tickets on the day.. What a mistake we made there!
Just a tip for travelers looking to use China's new High Speed Railways, without advance ticket purchases.. Get to the station early if you want to stand a chance getting a seat for long distance high speed trains! We read online that as long as it wasn't a weekend or holiday period, you shouldn't have to worry about buying soft seat tickets in advance. This is not the case with the Shanghai to Beijing High Speed Train! We were lucky, we had checked out earlier than usual from our hotel and were at Shanghai Hongqiao Station for just before midday. Already all 2nd class seats were sold-out for the Shanghai to Beijing High Speed Train. Our only choice was to pay the extra for a 1st class seat on the Shanghai to Beijing High Speed Train, which you'd think, oh well that's not too bad then, stop complaining. Well I am not, in fact we were relieved to get a seat on a train at all, let alone 3 hours in the future. Of course, our travel budgets are now shot to pieces a little and it makes our daily budgets for Beijing more tight.
Anyway, our 1st class seats on the high speed train were great. We had 2 together on our own for the first time and plenty of room to stretch out for the journey. Although the Shanghai to Beijing High Speed Train journey was almost 6 hours. It went by incredibly fast, just as much as the countryside outside our window!
Watch our video of the Shanghai to Beijing High Speed Train journey:
Beijing is already looking to be different than the South Eastern cities we have visited so far. I guess the 1,300km distance is bound to change a few things! Below are some photos of Shanghai, an incredible / modern city which is perhaps too big to appreciate unless you live and work there.
Photos of Shanghai (The Bund, Pudong, Hooters Bar)
Check out our other articles on Beijing: