Sunday 29 May Shanghai Maglev Train & Pearl Tower

Sunday morning in Shanghai – light showers, mist and low cloud!

Our bus picked us up from the hotel at 830am and took us to the City Maglev Train Station. Built with technological help from Germany, Shanghai Maglev Train (SMT) has operated since the end of 2002. It is the world’s first and only commercialized Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) train line in operation. It runs from Pudong International Airport to Longyang Road Station in Shanghai and return.

Our local guide bought our tickets; we went through security and boarded the Maglev Train at 9:15:16 for our 7 minutes and 20 seconds trip to the Airport, which is 30 kilometres. This is the first high-speed train we have been on and it was amazing to watch as the train reached a speed of 431 kilometres per hour. The ride was very smooth, with no sensation of speed at all, except when we passed the Maglev Train travelling in the other direction. Despite being warned about the noise that was generated as the two trains passed each other, we all still got a surprise at how low the bang was!! There was lots of laughter.

At Pudong International Airport, we had to get off the train, go out, then back through security before boarding our return Maglev Train into the city. This time it reached the same speed – 431 kilometres per hour, but it only took 7 minutes and 17 seconds. We all still jumped when the Maglev train going the other way passed us.

We were lucky that our guide arranged for us to do early trips because after 9.00am until 3.00pm the train speed is reduced to only 300 kilometres per hour. What a great experience!

After being collected from the train, we were taken to the Jiangnansilk Silk Factory. On the way, we marveled at the way the Chinese have developed their highway networks, especially in Shanghai, where the highways are high above the city streets and in some cases there are up to three levels of roads. Our silk factory guide, whose name was also Tracey, talked to us about the history of Chinese silk manufacturing, the life changes in the growth of a silk worm and also about how the silk is made. We were then taken into a showroom where they showed us various doonas, covers etc. and then into another section where they had scarves, ties, blouses, shirts, pyjamas etc etc!!

We had a delicious lunch at the Xi’an Qing Fang Restaurant before heading over to the Pudong side of the river via a tunnel under the river. The city has 8 tunnels and 4 bridges spanning the river.

Our next stop was at the Oriental Pearl Tower, even though it was foggy and the top was disappearing in cloud, we decide, as a group that we still wanted to go to the top. We took the elevator, which took 40 seconds to get us from the bottom of the tower to the highest sphere, the viewing deck, 468 metres and instead of stunning panoramic views, all we could see looking out was white. As we wandered around the viewing deck and looked down on the city, the fog was swirling and we could get occasional glimpses of the ground and some buildings that were close to the Tower. After completing a lap of the top level, we walked down a flight of stairs to the Glass Corridor, which, as its name suggests, had a glass floor the whole way around the outside edge – about 2 metres wide and a glass exterior wall from the glass floor to the ceiling.

Towering high above Pudong New Area, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower has been the outstanding landmark of Shanghai since its completion in 1995. The tower is 468 meters high, the highest in Asia and the third highest in the world, next to the 553–meter-high CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, and the 540-meter-high Ostankino TV Tower in Moscow, Russia.

This evening, we enjoyed premium seating at an acrobatic show. Chinese acrobatics are widely known around the world and we had been looking forward to seeing them. We were impressed with the acrobats’ flexible limb-contorting theatrics and balancing acts and thoroughly enjoyed the whole performance of these exceptional acrobats. The show was called ERA – Intersection of Time and went for one and a half hours with about 15 wonderful acts including girls doing amazing leap-frog from one bike to the next over the top of the head of the rider; amazing trampolining; an incredible man who juggled with large china pots and the main event was when motor bikes rode inside a small sphere, which sounds pretty good, but the amazing part was when they kept adding bikes until they had 8 of them, all circling around and doing crossovers etc.

When we got back to our hotel, Anna & Chris came with us for a walk down to the river (across the road from our hotel) and we were able to take photos of the Pearl Tower as the evening was quite clear. We wandered along the river enjoying the lights, along with hundreds of other people, just out having a good time by the river. We finally tore ourselves away and went back to the hotel for showers and bed after a great day in Shanghai.

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