March 2009 - Splendours of China tour pt1

We flew Virgin Atlantic A340 from Heathrow to Shanghai with an extra night in London before hand as it was an afternoon flight. Gave us time to see the musical Wicked again.
The flight was relatively easy - a few films, a couple of meals served with green tea and we seemed to be there in no time.

Shanghai Museum
Quite apparent on arrival that we were a very small group. Ordinarily I would say not a bad thing - in this case I would say it was problematic due to the way Virgin ran the tour. Most companies it seems have a UK based tour manager travel with you and deal with any issues (trust me in China there will be issues). Virgin had taken the cheap option and simply hired a third party agent based in China - It didn't work. Anyway moan over and on with the tour.

The Bund, Shanghai
 We had 2 nights in Shanghai - our first destination was the Shanghai Museum an impressive building filled to the brim with 5000 years of Chinese culture. As wonderful as this sounds its rather badly placed on the first day as its all a little overwhelming when you haven't seen enough of this history  yet to place things into context and with no guide to highlight the best examples.

My other criticism of the tour (in case you wondering we are glad we made the trip) was the timings;
our visit to Tianzifang Street took place on a Sunday when basically every family in Shanghai visits yet the following day we could have done this and had the place to ourselves :-(

Pudong—literally "The East Bank of the Huangpu River" seen from the Bund.

Bullet train Shanghai to Suzhou ( pronounced sue-joe) city of 6 million.

A trip along the canals in the Venice of the east.

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