Chengdu seems dismally small in the light of bustling Shanghai! Looking back, I wish I had been able to squeeze in another day or two in this crazy city, I feel like I only began to scratch the surface of what it had to offer in my whirlwind day there!
I survived my domestic flight within China easily enough (thankfully they spoke English in plane, even though I was the only international person on board!) and managed to navigate the metro to my hotel. I only had a short time to refresh and check in before I wandered down to the lobby to meet my tour group – the Shanghai to Hong Kong Fujian Adventure, ran by G Adventures. Everyone was lovely – and either British or Irish – and we were soon on our way to dinner. Most of the group had been on a tour, run by the same company, from Beijing. As a result, they had already had an extra day in Shanghai, so myself and the two other newcomers headed down the Bund with our guide to witness the city at night. I was surprised by the European architecture on our side of the river!
Afterwards we wandered back down to the Bund, which was completed clouded over by the foreboding weather! Our tour guide had suggested we go to a viewing tower the night before, but we opted to avoid it due to the hefty price tag. It was a good thing we didn’t go, we couldn’t even see the top of the building!
Next stop was the insanity of Nanjing Road, which was over run with shops and people. We checked out a local food shop and M’n’M world (complete with the Great Wall of Chocolate) before joining up with the rest of the tour group.
After some local lunch, we walked over to the French district to visit the first meeting place of the Chinese Communist Party. The rain continued to set in, so we made our way back to our hotel to stay dry and to rest up before our sleeper train. Most of the group had already experienced the fun-tastic mode of transport on their earlier tour, so I was filled with dread and curiosity as we boarded. It was as cramped as it looks, but it was an effective way to travel. I would have slept fine if it weren’t for the snoring man opposite me!An experience, to say the least!