Friday, 7 July 2017

Hong Kong to Shanghai, by Train! — July 2017

Always preferring the more civilised form of travel, train over plane, I decided to make the 1,300 kilometre journey between Hong Kong and Shanghai by train. Overall, a pleasant and easy experience.

I booked a ticket at one of the three train offices at the Hung Hom Rail Station. This station is near the city centre, and is also a subway (MTR) stop, so easy to get to. The cost for a second class ticket was $467 Hong Kong dollars (us$60). A fair price. Apparently, there is no online booking service offered by these offices. Limited English spoken, but enough to communicate my simple needs.

The day of departure arrived. With my two bags I took a taxi from my hostel to the station (hk$40 and 15 minutes). Then, wait, and then follow the crowd into a waiting area, with a duty free shop (I thought all of HK was duty free?). Then, more waiting, then into immigration. The HK office only checks you out. The inward China immigration is at Shanghai. 

The trip, comfortable. I had a cabin with 6 beds, 3 high. The top bunk was a bit of a climb, but it actually had more space. I would recommend the top for future travel. I shared my cabin with two Chinese ladies, who had 0 English and chattered continually during the trip. Outside the cabin was a tiny seated area where one could sit and gaze out of the windows at the passing scenery. On this trip mostly green farm land interspaced with passing towns and cities. A direct trip, we did not stop.

I had a second class sleep, speed about 120kph. A fine choice. I bought the ticket at the station a few days before, though there are several online services—not the office itself, who told me that they have no online service—but private dealers.

Arriving in Shanghai, immigration was fairly fast and polite. The search was less intrusive than in Kunming and GZ. No idea why, but there were drug sniffing dogs. 

Anyway, the greatest delay was getting a taxi from the Shanghai Train Station to my hostel! I waited half and hour or so for a taxi. As always I had the Chinese name of the hostel written into my notebook. The taxi driver looked, muttered, and then off we went!

Great fun.

* cannot post photos while in China, will post later.

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