Busan Gimhae International Airport is tiny, but efficient. I took the subway there, but unlike last time there was a bit of a wait at the China Eastern desk. The line moved quickly and I was through security pretty quickly too. There’s free wifi and comfy chairs. I love this airport. Between my easy experience getting a Chinese Visa in Haeundae (Busan) and the ease of the Busan airport, my trip was starting out just right!
I was asked if I wanted a window or an aisle (choices!) so I took the window seat and asked for it to be as close to the front of the plane as possible. This was perfect. Unlike my experience heading home on Peach Airlines, there was a lot of leg room!
Another bonus to flying Shanghai Airlines (via China Eastern) was the bottle of water and dinner provided! The food wasn’t spectacular (airplane food rarely is), but it was a great surprise to have some food and water included on my 2 hour flight.
A friend had suggested taking the Maglev into town. At a speed over 400 km/ hr it’s a 10 minute trip into the city. The cost was 40 RMB (50 RMB if you don’t show your airplane ticket so make sure to hang onto that) which is about $8. The train goes from Pudong Airport straight to Long Yang Road. This is the only route, I believe. Make sure to keep your ticket as, like the subway, you’ll need it to exit.
After the Maglev I hopped on the subway on line 1 to People’s Square, then transferred to get to Xinzha Road. I stayed at SOHO International Youth Hostel Shanghai, which is really conveniently located near People’s Square, but is a little daunting and tough to find in the dark. I had grabbed a map at the airport which ended up being a huge help the entire trip since most websites I’m grown accustomed to using are blocked here. That’s a whole other story, but for now I’ll just say it’s probably not a wise investment to get a Chinese sim card or wifi egg at the Shanghai airport since the only website you can really use is yahoo.
I remember back in 2009 I went to Beijing and regularly took the subway. Shanghai’s Metro system just seems a lot easier and more straightforward. There are subways all over the place making transit really easy. There are currently 14 lines but by 2020 there will be 21. The subway (the world’s longest) spans about 550 km currently (isn’t that wild?).
When I finally got to Xinzha Rd. station I was a little concerned as to how I’d get to the hostel being that it was pitch black and there were a ton of scooters darting by. I made it, though, and in a few short minutes I was in my room with 5 roommates and a wooden bunk bed with a poor excuse for a mattress (it may as well have been a comforter). We had a private bathroom, though, which was exciting!
The hostel was huge and cheap, but my roommates were really disrespectful. Going to the bathroom and finding out that the toilet paper is entirely soaked through is not my favourite. My roommates listening to music without headphones at obnoxious hours? Not cool. The rats (yes, plural) I saw climbing down the wall of the hostel bar my last night freaked me out (I guess that’s why they keep the cats around). Anyway, the hostel was well-located and nothing got stolen so I guess I’m happy!
My first evening in Shanghai was awesome – I met some cool people, but didn’t really explore too much. The next couple of days ended up being wonderfully packed. I can’t wait to tell you all about them!