China....!

Shenzhen Travel Blog

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Cycling Around Yangshuo
Ok….so what can we say about China - There isn’t a week goes by without a news story emerging from China so I’ve been looking forward to a visit here for some time. I spent 4 weeks in this vast country of 1.3 Billion People so I only got to see a fraction of the place. Therefore I am reluctant to summarize in just a few paragraphs, but here are my thoughts / observations after my visit.

I suppose I’ve had a picture in my head of China being a largely primitive, peasant country with “some development” in urban / industrial areas, so I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I got there. The enormous scale of “developed” China blew my mind. No doubt the poor primitive side we frequently hear about was very evident as I travelled around. However, I feel news reports etc.
Great Wall
don’t accurately portray the enormous scale of the “Developed China” which of course has been going on for decades unknown to us all.

The number of gigantic, metropolitan areas is mind boggling. I visited / passed through cities such as Shenzen, Chongqing, Xian, Wanzhou, Guilin, Yichang. Some of these I scarcely heard of before - all are cities of over a million people - most have large modern airports, are on the country's vast train network, have efficient modern subway systems, miles and miles of roads, bridges, tunnels and hundreds of apartment blocks with more being constructed as we speak. The scale and number of these modern cities that I had never heard of before definitely caught me off guard. I've read since that there are between 100 and 160 cities in China with populations of over a million people!.
I should clarify that while these are modern cities, they are not glistening or pristine by any means. Traffic congestion, noise, ugly high rises and very dense smog are present in many of these cities.

Across the country, away from the cities, there are thousands of miles of interstates / motorways on a scale similar to what we see in Europe / USA. Some of these are by no means new but are obviously well maintained and are in excellent condition.

China has one of the largest train networks in the world. While some of this consists of old “hard seat” trains much of the network is serviced by modern, efficient medium speed trains. The network is undergoing constant expansion and upgrading. The overnight “Fast Train” connects Shanghai to Beijing, covering 910 miles in just 10 hours.
Forbidden City, Beijing
Of course this isn’t acceptable so they are now looking at constructing additional High Speed Train lines similar to those running in Europe / Japan, capable of 180mph. This will reduce travel time to about 5hours! Money of course is not a problem.

China also has the first commercially operating Maglev Train in the world which reaches a top speed of 431km/h (286mph) on its 18 mile journey from Shanghai Airport to the city. The journey takes less than 8mins.

China has lots of records of course - largest population, fastest train, biggest hydroelectric dam......the list goes on.....it certainly is an interesting place. Like I said at the start, I'm reluctant to summarize the country in a few paragraphs. However, these are my observations / experiences of this fascinating place....


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Cycling Around Yangshuo
Cycling Around Yangshuo
Great Wall
Great Wall
Forbidden City, Beijing
Forbidden City, Beijing
Financial District, Padong, Shangh…
Financial District, Padong, Shang…
Oriental Pearl Tower, Padong
Oriental Pearl Tower, Padong
Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City
Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City
Gateway at Entrance to Forbidden C…
Gateway at Entrance to Forbidden …
Tiananmen Sq
Tiananmen Sq
Shenzhen
photo by: darlingwish