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D I Y Hangzhou, China from Shanghai

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We will be in Shanghai, China for three days in March.

We are considering taking the high speed train to Hangzhou on our own.

Has anyone succeeded in this adventure?

 

Barbara

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Easy to do. However I would get the tickets in advance. Get the app Ctrip. Has a new name but it’s the same. You can buy rail tickets very easy. They will send you a receipt. You go to the station and pick up the tickets.

China rail tickets sell out very very fast. And all the info on the app is in English. You must have your passport to pick up the tickets. And you must have a real visa. The 72 hour visa is no good. Only good for where you arrive and transit to point of dep.

 

 

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Thank you, JIG. That takes care of one piece of the puzzle as long as the ship docks as scheduled.

We were thinking it would be easier to take a taxi from the ship to the train station. Would that be outrageously expensive?

 

Barbara

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Thank you, JIG. That takes care of one piece of the puzzle as long as the ship docks as scheduled.

 

We were thinking it would be easier to take a taxi from the ship to the train station. Would that be outrageously expensive?

 

 

 

Barbara

 

 

 

Not really. However you have to deal with many factors. I guess I misread. Didn’t realize your going from the ship. You must have Chinese money. No $. Then you need to make sure which station you leaving from. You must have it written in Chinese. Once in the station there is an info desk in the middle. Show them the app ticket and they will give you the window number to get the ticket. If it’s a rt you will pay a fee if $1 for the return ticket. You go through an airport like security and then it’s easy. Get a fc ticket.

 

 

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JIG, you had no way of knowing what I had not shared.

We do not like the price of the ship's shore excursion to Hangzhou, so DH announced, "We could do it ourselves!"

My research has uncovered many, many matters to consider. Yes, we will have Chinese money and Chinese Visas. We know which train station for Shanghai and for Hangzhou, and there is even a tourist bus system that I would not dare step off of in Hangzhou. We do not speak or read Chinese. We know a few words, and I do carry a little translator.

On the other hand, DH flies by the seat of his pants and usually lands on both feet. It could turn out well. Very well.

We watched a couple on U Tube exploring Hangzhou, but they had a car and he knew what he was doing.

I keep hoping to find someone who has actually done this and dealt with all of the many matters that are involved.

Thank you for helping.

 

Barbara

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The main thing in hangzhou is the lake. When you get off the train there is a metro. All metros in china are in English. Take it to the stop closet to the lake. I think it’s one or two stops and walk around as much if the lake as you want. There are two causeways that cut some of it. As you leave the train station take a picture of it. When you done with whatever your doing get a taxi and show the picture of the station. Very easy. Beautiful place. If it’s too much may I recommend Suzhou. The city of gardens. Many more tourists but still nice.

 

 

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The 1st class ticket is $18 and the business class is $34. Much much more comfy but on a train less then an hour not needed.

 

 

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I have done the same from Shanghai to hangzhou on a day trip. Start from Hongqiao railway station. The first high speed train starts at 6:05 and the last return train ends at 10:22. You may not want the risk of missing the last train. The train stops at Hangzhou east, exit D to find the subway #1. Take subway #1 for five stops to Feng Qi Lu stop, exit B and walk south for one kilometer to the west lake. The whole journey from hotel door near nanjing lu to the lake took me three and a half hours.

 

 

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If you want to take a taxi from Hangzhou east to the west lake the distance is 9 kilometer and the fare is about 30 rmb, 5 USD only. Taxi is a good option but finding a taxi has become a challenge if you do not have a Di Di smart phone app so always prepare to take public transportation. Taxi from Shanghai Hongqiao to the west lake costs about 700rmb for an hour 45 minutes over 180 kilometers.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you, Peelboy, for so many encouraging details.

We are fine tuning a way from the cruise ship to Shanghai's Hongiaio station. Possibly the metro?

You mention your hotel near nanjing lu. Was that in Shanghai?

Why go to Hangzhou EAST railway station? Hangzhou Railway Station is closer to West Lake, and there is a tourist bus stop nearby.

 

Barbara

Edited by bcummin

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Shanghai Wusongkou cruise terminal for smaller ships is closer to the city. You take bus 51 and then subway 3 and subway 2 ( a total of 32 stops) to Hongqiao station. It takes close to two hours. Taxi fare according to Di Di app is 120 rmb.

 

 

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Waigaiqiao cargo terminal for bigger ships is further away. You take bus 1027 and then subway 6 and subway 2 for 31 stops. The journey will take two hours fifteen minutes. Di Di taxi fare is 179 rmb. Taxi fare is dirt cheap compared to USA and for cruise day trip every minute is important so I don’t recommend public transportation. Also when you return to the ship at night taxi may be your only option. I am kidding though Shanghai is a modern city the subway stops running to suburbs at 10:30 and possibly there will be no bus. Taxi could be your only option at night.

 

 

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Nanjing Lu is near the bund. Every tourist for their first visit will go there. It is People’s Square neighborhood. Nanjing lu subway stop or Nanjing lu east stop will take you there.

 

 

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Hangzhou station is closer but older. There are only a handful of high speed trains go there. If you miss a train you will have to wait for an hour or two for the next train or there is no more train. High speed train goes to Hangzhou east every fifteen minutes so you miss a train but you will have so many chances for the next one in fifteen minutes. You also don’t have to worry about buying tickets in advance. You can buy tickets for both ways once you arrive at Hongqiao station.

 

 

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You have shared a lot of information for us to consider, Peelboy.

Thank you so very much.

Barbara

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Easy to do. However I would get the tickets in advance. Get the app Ctrip. Has a new name but it’s the same. You can buy rail tickets very easy. They will send you a receipt. You go to the station and pick up the tickets.

China rail tickets sell out very very fast. And all the info on the app is in English. You must have your passport to pick up the tickets. And you must have a real visa. The 72 hour visa is no good. Only good for where you arrive and transit to point of dep.

 

 

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Incorrect. You do not need a visa. If you enter Shanghai under the visa exemption, you can travel to the Zhejiang province where Hangzhou is located.

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When you arrive in Hangzhou, there is a subway station next to the train station. Take the subway, it is simple and cheap.

Watch this video of Hangzhou east:

If you arrive at the other station then check the video of the other station.

 

regarding the advice above about going to the information counter to ask where to pick up the tickets, this is irrelevant. You just go to any ticket counter. It is well signed in English.

This ticket agent that made the video above also has one about the Shanghai Hongqiao station. You may want to search for it on their Youtube channel.

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Thank you, TravelMore&More, for adding so much more helpful information.

Barbara

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Incorrect. You do not need a visa. If you enter Shanghai under the visa exemption, you can travel to the Zhejiang province where Hangzhou is located.

 

 

 

You sure? In canton you can NOT get a train ticket to Guilin with the 72 hour non visa. You must have a full visa to pick up the ticket. Maybe Shanghai is different. They do enforce things differently here and there. But unless your entering one city and leaving another you are to gave a full visa. It’s good now for 10 years and as many times. If your an American.

The 72 hour non visa is issued city by city to encourage people transiting to stay. Chinese airlines allow stopovers for free or $100. I use china southern to fly from USA to Australia all the time.

 

 

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You sure? In canton you can NOT get a train ticket to Guilin with the 72 hour non visa. You must have a full visa to pick up the ticket. Maybe Shanghai is different. They do enforce things differently here and there. But unless your entering one city and leaving another you are to gave a full visa. It’s good now for 10 years and as many times. If your an American.

The 72 hour non visa is issued city by city to encourage people transiting to stay. Chinese airlines allow stopovers for free or $100. I use china southern to fly from USA to Australia all the time.

 

 

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Yes, I am 100% sure. It is not about how it is enforced, every place has different rules.

Firstly there is no 72-hour visa exemption, it is 144 hours. Then you can travel to 2 nearby provinces and enter and exit from various ports. It has been like this for 2 years and it has been discussed at length on this board

Here are the official rules again: http://www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4421

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In canton it’s 72. I’m aware of the 144 but never had to use it. Not avail in all cities.

I gave the reg visa, as everyone should, so never had to deal with the rules. But it’s good to know. The 144 seems to be much looser.

 

 

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Yes, I am 100% sure. It is not about how it is enforced, every place has different rules.

 

Firstly there is no 72-hour visa exemption, it is 144 hours. Then you can travel to 2 nearby provinces and enter and exit from various ports. It has been like this for 2 years and it has been discussed at length on this board

 

Here are the official rules again: http://www.sh-immigration.gov.cn/listPageEn.aspx?lx=40&id=4421

 

 

 

I just read the rules and they are for Shanghai and ajoining areas. I never dealt with that. I wonder if Beijing is covered in its own right. Canton is not. And 72 is not 72 there.

 

 

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I just read the rules and they are for Shanghai and ajoining areas. I never dealt with that. I wonder if Beijing is covered in its own right. Canton is not. And 72 is not 72 there.

 

 

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Beijing is 144 hours and like Shanghai it covers various ports in nearby provinces such as Tianjin cruise port , Shujiazhuang, the Qinhuangdao port and the Beijing west railway station. At airports in Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Tianjin , Wuhan, Xi'An, Xiamen the maximum transit time is 72 hours starting at 00:01 on the day following the day of entry, making it effectively more than 72 hours.

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Used to be 72 hours. Extended to 144 hours mid 2018.

 

 

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Used to be 72 hours. Extended to 144 hours mid 2018.

 

 

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You mean Beijing? It is effective now.

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I mean in Guangzhou

 

 

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Nobody really knows. It was "announced" some time ago but it seems that they can't get approval.

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The Guangzhou one is interesting. China Southern is a major player and China’s best and business class cheapest airline. I use it a lot and will continue. I stop over on way. Ack to the USA for several days but I have my regular 10 year visa. Thanks for the info.

 

 

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Beijing is 144 hours and like Shanghai it covers various ports in nearby provinces such as Tianjin cruise port , Shujiazhuang, the Qinhuangdao port and the Beijing west railway station. At airports in Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Tianjin , Wuhan, Xi'An, Xiamen the maximum transit time is 72 hours starting at 00:01 on the day following the day of entry, making it effectively more than 72 hours.

 

 

 

We arrived in Guangzhou at 5AM and my Australian wife was using the 72 hour. They counted from 12:01 that morning , not the same day. So they told us. You never know when there are so many different rules in different places.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

We have returned from a wonderful cruise. I want to thank everyone who offered helpful information.

 

We succeeded in DIY to Hangzhou from Shanghai. It was an expedition. We took a taxi from the ship to the Hongqio? train station. It was a maze inside with nothing in English except for "Information" in the center. Got in the wrong line to buy tickets, but English speaking locals told us where to go. We had everything printed in Chinese, but ended up with round-trip tickets to the wrong train station. (two train stations in Hangzhou) The old station was the one with the tourist sightseeing bus outside. We went anyway to the new station in Hangzhou. Jack loved the high speed train, his only goal. Lunch at McDonalds in the train station. A local boy gave Jack a pie. We gave him a brochure about our home town. Tourist Information told us that the metro would take us to the old train station and the tourist bus. Found the line to the metro ticket machines and chickened out. We were exhausted and decided to wait for the train back to Shanghai. We never left the train station. I was heartbroken, but we did succeed in experiencing the high speed train to Hangzhou and back. Had to wait an hour for a taxi back to the ship. "Mario Andretti' fought the rush hour traffic and had us back to the ship in time for our 5:30 dinner. We spent $96 for the day.

 

A faster way to the train station might have been the metro, if you know how to use it. I wish that we had insisted on changing the "Hangzhou Dong" train tickets for ones to the old train station, where the tourist sightseeing bus was nearby. Not speaking or reading Chinese was our biggest problem. However, we did succeed in riding the high-speed train and returning to the ship.

 

We stayed on ms Volendam to return to Shanghai, when we did take a ship's tour to Suzhou. It was lovely.

 

Barbara

Edited by bcummin

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Wow, thanks to everyone for all the great information, especially from Peelboy. Our Ship, Celebrity Millennium will end in Shanghai and we are planning on spending three or four days in Shanghai and do some day trips from there. Want to see

Hangzhou and Suzhou - might even spend a night in Hangzhou. Appreciate all the information. Gives me a good start in my planning.

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Barbara,

What an adventure! You achieved two things, the ride on the high speed train and a story you can tell. With group excursions and group tours, one seldom experiences local culture directly. We've booked the Hangzhou excursion with HAL. After we went through 4 Chinese train stations on our land trip, we felt unprepared for another one completely on our own. :cool:

The modern Shanghai subway was comparatively easy with signs in English and a multiple ride day ticket.

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We also succeeded in returning to the ship in one piece. We have great memories.Saw not a single other American on our adventure. Most Chinese were not able to help us, but the ones who spoke some English were most generous and friendly.

Enjoy your shore excursion to Hangzhou. I still remember reading how much Marco Polo loved the place.

 

Barbara

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Possibly the reason that we were given tickets to the new Hangzhou train station instead of the old station that we wanted, is that more high speed trains go to the new station. Maybe there were no seats left on the trains we wanted in the time frame we wanted?

Possibly buying train tickets online to the station that we wanted would have worked better?? Or been more complicated???

 

Barbara

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No. Not more complicated. The CTrip app is wonderful. You buy the tickets from them and you pick up at the station. No need to speak mandarin. Just show the receipt to anyone info center at a station and they will print them out.

The main subway stations at airports and train stations have a booth that sells day tickets. Very easy to use.

Sorry you didn’t get to see the city.

 

 

 

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I really appreciate all of your good help, JIG.

Jack was thoroughly pleased just getting to ride the High Speed Train. And we have visited two other beautiful water towns, Suzhou and Z . . . Thanks for more precise information.

Barbara

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JIG, you had no way of knowing what I had not shared.

We do not like the price of the ship's shore excursion to Hangzhou, so DH announced, "We could do it ourselves!"

My research has uncovered many, many matters to consider. Yes, we will have Chinese money and Chinese Visas. We know which train station for Shanghai and for Hangzhou, and there is even a tourist bus system that I would not dare step off of in Hangzhou. We do not speak or read Chinese. We know a few words, and I do carry a little translator.

On the other hand, DH flies by the seat of his pants and usually lands on both feet. It could turn out well. Very well.

We watched a couple on U Tube exploring Hangzhou, but they had a car and he knew what he was doing.

I keep hoping to find someone who has actually done this and dealt with all of the many matters that are involved.

Thank you for helping.

 

Barbara

 

Don't worry too much about "stepping off the bus"

The main attraction is the lake and once you get to that as long as you are ok to walk she should easily be able to do it on your own maybe with a write-up about what you are seeing. Honestly I wasn't too impressed with the place. The crowds are oppressive (as in many tourist attractions in China) and honestly it is not strikingly beautiful. I assume you have (or will have) already spent time in Shanghai? I felt about the same of Suzhou though probably found it slightly more interesting if a bit more rundown.

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