Shanghai, Nanjing, Beijing, need advice!

In a month or two I’m hoping to hit some of those big PRC cities. Fly from Songshan airport to Shanghai, I think they fly only Friday through Monday. Then visit Nanjing and Beijing. Maybe just 10 days total. Can the travel agent send out for my visa? I am a US citizen. I wonder what class of visa they are offering, if I can get double entry, wonder if they have loosened up now that the Olympics are over. Have any Forumosans flown on these new direct flights? Do they still have to orbit Hong Kong on the way? And… what’s up with the bullet train from SH - BJ. At one point China was talking about a fast train cutting it down from 10 hours to 5, but I am starting to suspect they couldn’t finish it in time for the Olympics so they stuffed all references to it down the memory hole. I think right now there is just an overnight 10 hour sleeper train and also a daytime 8 hour train? Maybe I’d be better off flying NJ-BJ, though I think those flights may hardly be safe or on time, I mean those airlines don’t even show up on If anyone has an thoughts I’m all ears.

Yes, they still fly over HK air space, and the train started running just before the Olympics …

I’m a Canadian and just got a visa through Whose Travel. Sent them my passport and they did the rest. Took 2 weeks. Only a single entry though you should have better luck in 2 months.

BTW, sleeper trains are quite nice in China. The mattresses are soft and clean and pretty wide and long, and if you take a soft sleeper there are only 4 bunks per room and no smoking. I’d way rather spend 12 hours on a sleeper train than an airplane.

Thanks. Actually I must have been confused about the 5 hour BJ-SH bullet train. I think they just have 8 or 10 hour trains currently. Here are some useful links … _train.htm

[quote]China Plans Building 350-km-per-hour Bullet Train for Beijing-Shanghai Shuttle 2008-02-27 15:25:53 Xinhua

China will start research in building a 350-kilometer-per-hour train for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway that has been under discussion for years, said the country’s science ministry and the railway ministry. The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Railway signed an agreement on Tuesday night to collaborate in developing an upgraded version of the present China Railway High-speed (CRH) trains. The latest model of CRH series with a speed of 300 kilometers per hour, rolled off the production line only last December. It will first serve on the Beijing-Tianjin railway in August this year, in time for the Beijing Olympics.

The two ministries did not specify a timetable for the development of the upgraded bullet train, but said they intended the new CRH train to provide service on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway which would kick off construction “very soon”, according to the railway minister Liu Zhijun, present at the signing ceremony.

The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, expected to extend 1,318 kilometers long, has been under discussion for more than 10 years. With an estimated investment of 160 billion yuan (21 billion U.S. dollars), the railway upon its completion would become the largest as well as the most expensive engineering project in the country. It would cut travel time between the Chinese capital and the country’s leading financial hub from around 10 hours at present to about five hours, doubling the existing transport capacity to carry 160 million passengers annually.[/quote]

One last question: Inside PRC, does a 1-way trip cost nearly as much as a round trip? I guess: for train NO it is half the price of the round trip, but for flight I am not sure. In Thailand the 1-way was half the round trip but that is rarely the case in the USA except on Southwest Airlines.

Shanghai - Beijing is 10-12 hours on a train, but from all reports, a nice trip. I did Guangzhou to Beijing (24 hours) awhile back and loved it, but then I’m a train nutter. There is a fast train between Nanjing and Shanghai which takes around 2 and a half hours.

Flights are often delayed, but they seem alright.


One-way flights are half. In fact most tickets sold seem to be only one-way. Really cheap too so shop around as prices can be different from morning to night.

Huang, ever taken the Lhasa train? I’m doing the two day route from Chengdu to Lhasa next week.

MM, never been to the occupied territories, love to take that train, though. Will definitely appreciate a write up on your return.


You sure you’re not already living in an occupied territory… :wink:

Sorry, that should say Free HK. There’s no baby-devouring commies in my manageable little patch of HK.


I love the Beijing-Shanghai train because you can hop on it at night and arrive the next morning and spend one less night in a hotel. I absolutely love riding in the hard sleeper cars. Try to get the train ticket a little in advance.

For cheap airline tickets, try checking out I remember getting some crazy cheap plan ticket from Shenzhen to Beijing for like US$80, but I had to have a friend with a Chinese credit card pay for it.

[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]MM, never been to the occupied territories, love to take that train, though. Will definitely appreciate a write up on your return.


Will blog on it. Here’s my set of pics from last year’s trip to Tibet if you care to have a look. First few are Chengdu. No train ones of course. … 763305818/

Slightly off topic, but related: I used to lob into HK and with a bit of grease (aka money) and a well-connected tout, could expect to get a China visa in 24 hours or so. Is this still the case? I’m travelling in mid October though Hong Kong and intend taking the train up to SH. Would it be better to go through the visa hurdles at home (Oz)?

It’s hard to explain why, but this emoticon makes me slightly uncomfortable… :lick:

Yes, 24 hours is the norm here in HK. What did become more difficult, and I didn’t think about this when you started the let’s have an adventure on the way to Shanghai thread, is that you supposed to show air tickets and hotel bookings for the period you plan to be in China.

Maybe MM, who is a bit more of an off the road top adventurer can advise how you get around this one. I don;t mind, by the way, you can stay at my gaff for a week while you get your visa.

MM, thanks for that link, will check when I have more time.


Actually until the spring of this year you could get a visa the same day if you applied in the morning. Now it takes a couple days so you should apply in Oz. Also, you do need to show tickets in and out of China and hotel reservations. But none of that has to be real. My travel agent here in taiwan just sent in a complete fake itinerary and all went well. If you plan to travel to Tibet you have to have a fake itinerary as any mention of Tibet would see your visa rejected.

Most travel agencies that handle visa can also handle the fake stuff so make sure you ask yours how they will handle the new regulations. If they aren’t sure find someone else. The agencies I talked to said right away that they send in a fake itinerary. In other words, they knew their stuff.

This is what my travel agent said are the visa options:

  1.  Transfer at HK and get visa at HK, but have to stay overnight.
  2.  Get 1-year, multiple-entry visa, NT $8800.  You need to apply 3

weeks in advance, sending in your passport and photo, and sign an
authorization paper.

  1.  Get single-entry, business visa, NT $6500.  You need to apply 1 week

in advance, sending in your passport, photo, business card, ARC, and hotel
reservation info.

I like the multiple entry option. Is this any cheaper or faster if I do it in person in HK? Seems a bit worrisome that they’d process the paperwork in time while I’m busy eating Indian food and buying childrens clothes in TST for several days. PRC says the high costs are because USA charges high fees to PRC visitors, but PRC sometimes speaks with forked tongue…

One other quick question, when does that October 1 mainland holiday operate this year, and does it affect HK?

No, October 1 is not yet liberation day for HK, that’s July something or other, so no impact to HK offices, although one could imagine the PRC embassy thingee might be shut.

So they are handing out multiple entry visas again? that didn’t take long after the oh limp dicks.


[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]
So they are handing out multiple entry visas again? that didn’t take long after the oh limp dicks.
I’m not 100% certain I believe my travel agent, but I will post my experiences.

By the way, i just discovered that October 1 is a holiday here in HK.


Hey, it may soon be a holiday in Taiwan…

An interesting thing I found out about the flights: one-way, round-trip, triangle, open-jaw, Songshan/CKS, HK layover, its all about the same price 20,000- 23,000 all in.

I’m gonna look at these Asia air pass programs just in case though