Tuesday, June 18, 2013

SUZHOU TRIP: GETTING INTO THE BULLET TRAIN

The original plan was to go to Hangzhou but according to the forecast, the weather was not good so we decided to reroute to another small city by the name of Suzhou. First of all, we had to get to Shanghai Railway Station to get the tickets for the bullet train.

This was a very big terminal with a lot of people and the biggest problem was everything was in Chinese. We could not find any information counter or booths for tourists, so it was just a matter of going here and there, and trying to converse with the police officer asking where the ticket booth was, using minimal Mandarin and sign language. I really felt like I was in the "Amazing Race".



Muslim store selling halal food


in front of the ticket counter


the ticket

We finally managed to get our tickets. And we were lucky when two travel agents approached us, asking whether we would be interested to get a guided tour in Suzhou which we quickly agreed. Not only the price was reasonable, but we would not face any problem going from one place to another later.

getting information from the agents







going down to the platform


the slow train


the fast train
To get into the train one must have a pair of strong feet. The time to board was really short so we had to run a bit as we were worried we would be left behind, especially when our coach was right at the other end of the track.




This was actually my second ride on the bullet train. I had experienced this when I was in Beijing when the train took us to Tianjin. In Beijing, the staff were more tourists-friendly, or most probably we were travelling in a bigger group at that time with a local tour guide.

The journey from Shanghai to Suzhou took only 30 minutes - it was too fast, we could not even catch our forty winks.


Another tour agent was waiting for us once we arrived at Suzhou station. He was holding a placard with my name on it. Although it was wrongly spelled, it was alright. We were then ushered into a van waiting for us in the parking lot. 

T O   B E   C O N T I N U E D . .