Left sunny Brighton at 8am on a beautiful Saturday morning, a few issues getting on the peasant wagon (National Express, coach company) really rude driver who was very unhappy about the fact he had to leave his precious egg sandwich and lunch hour to inform the crowd that the bus was cancelled, the next one was in half an hour. So after a little delay and a whistle stop tour of every airport terminal in the south of England I eventually arrived at Terminal 5 at 11am, for a 13:50 departure to Shanghai Pudong.
The flight was a little delayed due to congestion at Heathrow (build that runway will you!) and a last minute runway change I took off in the lovely 5H on a Boeing 777 for a 10 hours 50 minute flight, the crew looked a lot more fresh and young, they must have been the mixed fleet crew as opposed to the vintage worldwide fleet! Drinks were served followed by dinner, food was really surprisingly good, delivered in a relaxed manner served with a good choice of fine wines,the seat was comfy and I managed to get around five hours sleep so overall it was a great flight and experience.
I arrived into Pudong and jumped on the Maglev reaching speeds at over 400kmph before making it to the amazing Peninsular Hotel right on the bund, the staff were so attentive and thorough, giving us a thorough introduction to the room and all the many gadgets including ,my favourite the built in nail dryer!! The hotel is prime location with spectacular views and is every inch the 4 star executive hotel.
After a little nap a spot of lunch and a stroll along the bund I hit the amazing shopping on Nanjing road including the famous market. This is really great fun, really having a laugh with the Chinese traders who really are good fun and so in tune with the British sense of humour, it was crazy busy on a Sunday afternoon, I would avoid this time if I were you. That night I just took in the crowds and walked up the pedestrianised area of Nanjing road spotting more familiar shops such as Apple, Forever 21, H&M and then hit the fabulously plumped and luxurious pillow and woke up TEN hours later. I was really struggling with the jet lag but because of the 48 hours in the city I fought it as much as I could.
Breakfast was very high end at the Peninsular, tea leafs, silver latte glasses, foes gras and a chunky kit kat (ok not the kit kat), I then went to explore the city using the hop on hop off bus, picking it up from right outside the hotel. I was able to take a tour of the whole city and get a feel for the location and suburbs and diversity of Shanghai.
That evening I went for thai food to Simply Thai, then went to a fabulous bar called Glam, its in a a building called M on the bund, check it out I would really recommend it here.
The next morning I took the Maglev again, back to Pudong for the 11:30 flight back, the lounge at pudong was a little disappointing, the seats on the BA flight were great 15 E and F was like a little pod/room, very spacious, food a little disappointing this time, my first choice wasn’t available, I suppose the down fall of great seats 15 E &F as last row in club world and the crew start to deliver the service from the front. I had the gnocchi, it was un-edible, gross, but the starter dessert were okay, I then enjoyed lady in the van (excellent performance Maggie!!) then the Reverent, not really my genre but at least it dragged on and took up most of the 12 hour sector! I skipped the light meal at then end. British airways are just so professional , British and consistent.
Shanghai is such an amazing city, with a population of over 25 million! The lights, the architecture, its fascinating to experience. The Chinese, the strong sense of culture it really is a great place to people watch, especially the Chinese ladies wandering around in wedding dresses getting their photographs done.I was really lucky enough to fly BA business Class for free, and this is how I occasionally get to travel for free! Click Here! to find out how you can too!
If you ever get the chance, check this city out. If you are the type of traveller that likes to take the hassle out of travelling and join a well organised tour, the people at Titan Travel do this so well, check out their Wonders of China Tour from £1999 per person, this is amazing value considering what it includes!
I’ve also teamed up with Lonely Planet who are offering 3 for 2 on travel guide books!