Monthly Archives: May 2007

Trip Plan Case Study – Shanghai – Hangzhou

This is a case study of a typical trip, along with my suggestions. (The questions were edited a little bit – just some editorial changes).

I read your blog. It’s very interesting, especially because I’ll visit Shanghai in next 10 days. Well, I’m Indonesian Chinese overseas, not fluetly Pu Tong Hua speaking, so will be though back to mainland :)

I have free time before my course, I’ll come to Shanghai at 2nd Jun morning. I plan to go Hangzhou, to visit Xi Hu and Long Jing, then the next day go to Suzhou, do you have any recommened place to visit in here?

and 4 Jun will back to Shanghai, i’ll stay at cypress garden hotel, is it good hotel?

At 4 I plan to visit Shanghai museum and have dinner in Bund area, any recommended place?

After all, is it a “make sense” plan? because actually I don’t know exact distance between the place :)

Need you advise

Thanks in advance

First of all, let me tell you how far Shanghai and Suzhou and Hangzhou is.

Hangzhou is 2 hour to 2.5 hour’s drive from Shanghai, or more than 200 km. Suzhou is about 100 km away from Shanghai and takes about 1.5 hours from Shanghai.

Hangzhou is at southwest of Shanghai, and Suzhou at west. Look at the map below.

So it makes sense to visit Hangzhou, and then go directly from Hangzhou to Suzhou, and then back to Shanghai. It is not a perfect triangle, but very similiar.

I would say, if you arrive in Shanghai, and then go to Hangzhou the same day, it can be too rush. Why not spend the rest of the day in Shanghai and have some rest and then go to Hangzhou the second day? Typically Hangzhou needs one day or two days, and if you go directly there, at least half day is wasted on the road.

The other way to do it is to arrive in Hangzhou in the early afternoon (depending when your flight arrives in Shanghai), and spend after at Xihu (or West Lake). Spend as much time as possible at West Lake. It is really good.

For Suzhou, definitely go to Hupao (or the Tiger Spring?) That is my favorite place.

Cypress is a good hotel. I would recommend it.

On the Bund, my favorite place is the Three on the Bund. It is expensive though.

The M on the Bund on the opposite side of the street is also good.

There are not so many restraunts along the Bund. If you want, the Shanghai Uncle restraurant under the Bund Center is good.

So have a good trip – it seems you have put a lot of places into your tight 3 day schedule. It seems to me that there are too much – you may think about extending for at least one day for better experience.

Happy traveling!

Jinjiang Inn at Pudong Airport – Part II

This is the second part of my first part on Jinjiang Inn at Pudong Airport.

There are basically only two hotels near the Pudong Airport – within walking distance – one is a little bit more expensive – the Ramada Pudong Airport Hotel, and the other is cheaper, the Jinjiang Inn.

Here are the questions about the hotel:

We have some questions about the Jin Jiang Inn and we hope you will be so kind to give some information.

1) Will that hotel still be there January 16th, 2008?

2) Is there a possibility to make reservations via internet in English?

3) Is there a shuttlebus from the airport to the hotel or is it really on walking distance?

Of course we have time enough to arrange but nevertheless we hope to hear soon from you.

Here are my answers.

1) I don’t know exactly whether they have room on the specific date. Check their website (English) for more information and make reservation accordingly.

2) Yes. Use the website I provided. They provide hotlines and an email address.

3) It is REALLY within walking distance, but it is not a very short distance – depending on how far you think is acceptable for walk.

Check this map below to see the satilite image of the hotel: You can see on the map, there is a rectangle building with parking lots – that’s it.

On this map, I put the small image of the hotel just near the middle of the upper edge of the map (left of the map button), and show you the Pudong Airport at the bottom – the big square lake is the entrance to the airport and you can see planes there.

Judge whether it is OK for you to walk – depending on many luagge you take. Anyway, just as I suggested, don’t take the taxi since they have been waiting there for hours and don’t want to take you for that short distance.

Pudong Airport to Ramada Plaza Hotel

Today, I want to help a visit to Shanghai to find out his/her hotel – Ramada Plaza at 700 Jiujiang Road.

It is obviously impossible for me to answer all the questions related to a hotel, and it is boring for my reader, but the motivation behind every entry like this (I mean post answers for a very specific question) is, I believe details in trip planning helps more than just overall introduction. MAYBE in the details, you can find some good information about this city. Let me try this one:

Your website and blog will be a big help for my trip to Shanghai next week. However, I need to ask you if it is possible to take Maglev train from PVG to Longyang Road, then Metro Line 2 and stop at Henan Road Station? From the station can I take a cab to my hotel, Ramada Plaza Hotel in 700 Jiujiang Road? How much is the total fare? Hope you can enlighten me. Thank you so much.

Bingo! Your planned trip was wonderful one. Let me walk you through the trip.

Take Maglev from PVG to Long Yang Road Station?

Exactly. This is my recommendation. Maglev is not just a train to get to you, it is also a good experience that you won’t want to miss in Shanghai.

Then Metro #2 to Henan Road Station

Yes. The transition at the Long Yang Road Station is very easy, just 20 meters away, and the two builds are so close that you won’t get wet even when it rains.

One thing to pay attention. The Middle Henan Road has been renamed to East Nanjing Road. Don’t miss it. If you do miss this station, you can also exit at the People’s Square Station. Both station can get you to Ramada – it is just in the middle.

Taxi to Ramada

Well. I may not suggest so. It is not far from the station, and if you have a map and you don’t have too big luaggage, you can just go by walk. It should be within 5 minutes.

The other major reason is, it is even more confusing to get a taxi than walking in that area. The Nanjing Road is the pedstrain road, and there are no cars on it. You have to walk to nearby Road. Jiujiang Road (where the hotel is) is a single direction road, that your way is the opposite direction. If you take a taxi, the driver has to you to the other single direction road heading west, and then get back to Jiujiang Road – at least twice the distance than walking.

Ask your hotel to get more details…

Visited Bund Again Today

People may guess people in Paris will visit the Eiffel Tower everyday, right? I guess the truth is not, just as people in New York don’t visit the Time Square or the Empire State Tower everyday.

It is the same for me – a normal resident in Shanghai. If there is only one place you should visit during your trip to Shanghai, it is the Bund. It is the standard portrait photo for Shanghai, as appears in all postcard, or travel guides.

So, what I want to say is, I am also excited to visit Bund again after many months, although it is now far away from where I live or where I work.

Here I came!

Changes on the Bund

The #1 change is, the Bund is extending to the north. I don’t know why it was named after a word that is not so popular, and more interestingly, “The Bund” seems to be just referring to this place in English worldwide (is it true?). It is just the west bank of the Huang Pu River. In the last 10 years, the Bund extended from the west bank to the east bank, and recently, the area at the north part of the Bund (north of the Waibaidu Bridge) are lit up, and it looks much wider.

The second change is the Peace Hotel – the third most significant building on the Bund (this is my personal ranking – Wangjianshuo List). If you are curious about the first two, I would say, it is the Custom Building, and the Shanghai Pudong Development Building (the former HSBC building). Back to the Peace Hotel. There are interior re-building going on, and the outside lights were turned out. It looks really weird when all the surrounding building are light – it reminds of the old Shanghai…

The third change is the tallest building on the south end of the Bund – the 20+ stories tower. I would say it may be a mistake in city planning to put such a tall building out there along the historical Bund, but the current re-modeling has changed it from the building of ICBC (Industry and Commercial Bank of China) into a 5 star hotel, which means better sense for that location.

Outside the Bund

There are two major changes outside the Bund.

#1 is the progress of the Shanghai International Financial Center – it is significantly higher than the Jin Mao tower now. After finished, Jin Mao tower, once the tallest, will look shorter in comparison of its nearly added neighbour.

The second change is, there are many new shops along the Huangpu River on the Pudong side – for example, there is a bar called Bindview – good location, good name, and seems has good business there.

I didn’t bring a camera with me, so I was not able to take pictures. Hopefully, I will bring some updates with pictures the next time.

Find out Bigger Images on this Site

I often get request to republish my article. Normally, I will give the permission for reprint. However, to send out the original image is a big headache to me.

Since most of my images are hosted on flickr, and I stored my original image on the server. You can get it on the server.

This is the method to find out the original location.

  • View the page containing the image you are interested.
  • Copy the locaiton the image. (In IE, right click on the image, and click Properities, and then you can find out the URL of the image. In Firefox, just right click, and click Copy Image Location).
  • Paste the URL into the box below, and typically, you can get all different sizes of the image.

URL of image:

Take Taxi or Buy a Car?

There are still many people debating about which is more cost-effective, taking taxi or buying a car.

There are many people claim that taking taxi is cheaper, since you don’t have to buy the car, and don’t need to pay all the related fees, including but not limited to: road construction fee, annual checking fee, gas, fine (if you drive violately), parking fee, and repair/maintance fee.

There are other people claiming that buying a car is cheaper in Shanghai, since taxi fair is way too expensive compared to the gas cost – 2.1 rmb/km, and no one will take a taxi to go camping or outting.

My answer? I would say, to buy a car is definitely more expensive than taking taxi. Why?

Take my car as an example. In the last 3 years, the decrease in price is around 80,000 RMB (or 10K USD), and my car went about 40,000 km. That is almost the same as 2.0 RMB/km – the same as the taxi rate.

This is just for the car itself. I didn’t count on the much more expensive cost as I listed above.

The answer is clear – to buy a car is much more expensive than taking taxi.

However, buying a car has much more than taking taxi – it is something called freedom.

What do you think?

Chinese Stock Market is More Crazy

Just 4 months after I posted my last comments (Chinese Stock Market is Crazy), the Shanghai Stock Index raised from 3000 points to 4000 points, and keep increasing.

That means, the stock index increased from 998.23 in June 2005 to 4040 in May 2007 – 4 times increase!

What a crazy market.

Shanghai is an economic center for China, and everyone is involved. I am back from a wedding dinner tonight, and on the table, the major topic was “stock”!

I have no idea about stock – I was not in stock in the last round of bull or bear market in 2001 – 2004, and not in this round of stock change. I didn’t pay too much attention about it. Today, when Wendy told me that the stock index has been above 4000 for some time, I was really surprised. What is the next?

There are people claiming that the stock will be 6000 shortly… Who knows?

Back to Technical World

I am trying to get back to the technical world a little bit.

With a technical background, I left the technical world for many years (maybe 4 years?). Recently, during the code review, I found I should be more involved in architecture and developing the team. So I am back.

In the last week, I wrote many PHP sample code myself, and finally, I tried to write a basic classified application from scratch up, in 1 hour – I repeated several times, and continously find new ways to do old things. I am happy about that.

Sometimes I wonder, if I am back to the stage of TechEd or other technical forum, I still can contribute a lot.

Good. Good.

<?php

echo “Good.”;

?>

Shanghai Maglev Timetable

According to the Maglev Corp offical website, here is the schedule of Maglev:

Pudong Long Yang Road Station <----> Pudong International Airport

Time:

Long Yang Road -> Pudong Airport 7:00 – 21:00

Pudong Airport -> Long Yang Road 7:02 – 21:02

It runs at interval of 20 minutes sharp.

It means the train from Long Yang Road to Pudong Airport starts at

7:00, 7:20, 7:40, 8:00 ….. 20:40, 21:00

Please note that the top speed of Maglev is 430 km/h, which you will experience at day time. In early morning and late night, the speed will be reduced to 300 km/h for safty reasons.

P.S. This is the updated information for this old entry.

Shanghai not as Safe as Before

The other day, when Wendy and I was talking about the safty in Shanghai, we both agree that Shanghai is not as safe as before.

There are several reasons for us to have that kind of feeling.

1. There are more and more (bad) beggar and other misbehaved people on the street. Please note I mean bad beggars (they almost do robbery instead of just begging).

2. There are more murder cases on newspaper than before.

What do you feel? Safer? Worse? or no change?

How to Get to Dishui Lake (Dishuihu)

Dennis about where Dishui Lake (Dishuihu) is. That is the most beautiful lake in Shanghai – because 1) it is big, 2) There are very few people there – both are very hard to find in Shanghai.

Here is how to get there.

By Driving

By driving, it is very straight forward.

1) No matter where you are (I mean within outer ring), get to the nearest A20 first – the outer ring road.

2) Turn to A2 (Shanghai-Donghai Bridge). The intersection of A2 and A20 is at the south-east corner of A20. A20 is actually not a perfect circle – there is a almost 90 degree corner at southeast. It is also the intersection of A1.

If you want to view the satellite map, here you are:

As you can see from the big interchange on the map:

To the west, is A20, Xupu Bridge Direction.

To the north, is A20, Outer Ring Tunnel Direction

To the east, is A1, to Pudong Airport

To the south, is A2, to Donghai Bridge

OK. Then turn A2, and prepare to run for about half an hour.

3) Take the final exit (where A2 ends), and there is a Dishuihu Logo and Direction board.

4) Turn left (heading directly to east), and keep going (don’t turn left, and turn right. When the road ends, you see the lake.

Bus

There are not many buses to Dishuihu. This route MAY work – I didn’t try it yet, and let us know when you do try it yourself.

1) Take Long-Lu Line 龙芦专线 at the Long Yang Road Station (Metro Line #2).

2) When you arrive at the terminal station at Donghai Bridge (before the bridge), take a motor cycle (notice: it is illegal for them to operate but it seems the only way to do it), to Dishuihu. Price on the Internet was 5 RMB for the trip.

Others?

If you take motorcycle from Ningbo (like Denis), first find road to Donghai Bridge – you won’t miss it on the map, and then the lake is just 5 minutes drive away.

Hope you are able to visit the lake before too many people know it.

Big Circle Roads South of PVG?

I have all kinds of interesting people reading this blog. Among them is a pilot GC (I am not sure if he is comfortable to expose his name, so let me use initials before I asked). He said he flies big planes to PVG frequently (a real frequent flyer). He noticed my trip to U.S. via United Airlines, and checked his logbook to see if he was my pilot – what a pity that we missed each other (or I missed his flight) several days both way.

Anyway, he asked a question maybe only a frequent flying pilot to PVG (airport code for Pudong Airport) will ask: What is the Big Ringed Roads South of Pudong Airport? Here was his question (with my editorial change):

Here’s a question for you… When we approach Pudnog from the south, to land to the north, we pass over an area 16 nautical south of the airport that has a huge ringed road. Any idea what it is? I was looking to see if I had a photo of the area but can’t find one. I also looked for satellite photos but can’t find the road. It is very obvious and would certainly chow up. Someone told me it was an atom accelerator research site. Others have said a resort area. Maybe you have an idea.

My dear readers, anyone has any idea about it?

My Guess is the Dishui Lake

At the very beginning, I completely have no idea about what the ” huge ringed road”. It may be a atom accelerator research site – splendid imagination. I don’t think it will be.

Finally, one idea hit me – the Dishui Lake. I posted picture of the lake in my previous post, but people cannot have an idea about how big and what shape the lake is.

It is actually a huge round lake – a precious circle since the place was original sea, and people put sand and soil into the sea to built a huge lake from the sea.

Here are some bigger picture (I used picture quoted from Internet since there is no way for me to climb that high).

Image in courtesy of Shanghai Harbor City

Image in courtesy of Shanghai Harbor City

Image in courtesy of Shanghai Harbor City

Image in courtesy of Shanghai Harbor City

Image in courtesy of Shanghai Harbor City

Image in courtesy of Shanghai Harbor City

Image in courtesy of Shanghai Harbor City

Check their website

At night, the several rings of the road was lit up, and I believe it must be very obvious from the sky.

I am very sure the “atom accelerator” the pilot saw should be this lake.

You cannot find it in Google Map, or Google Satellite image, since in that old image, the location of this “lake” is still sea.

Congrats to George!

Congrats to George and Iris for their wedding today. I share their happiness and best wishes!

I was happy to attend their wedding at beautiful Gaoyou Road in Xujiahui, and took the chance to reunion with fellow Microsoft guys.

When I meet Annie, and exchanged name, she asked: “Are you THAT Wang Jian Shuo?” I said, “Yes. I am the Wang Jian Shuo of Wangjianshuo.com”. :-)

Flowers in Spring, in my Garden

This is late spring, or arguably early summer. Look at these flowers in my garden. All the pictures were taken in the 24 Hours of Flickr event on May 5, 2007.

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

Shall I create some post cards with these photos, and nice flowers?

Flickr Meetup This Saturday

Shanghai Sky sent me a note in Flickr about the Flickr Meetup This Saturday (tomorrow). I’d like to spread out the word.

Time: Saturday, May 12, 7:00 PM

Location: La Bella Cafe, 127 Yongfu Road, Shanghai

If you are interested, you are suggested to go. Here is more about the photo competition/auction/charity/event/group…

BTW, I love the phrase of “China Next”. There are a lot for us to expect for the next stage of China.

China Next: China’s Future

PhotographyShanghai Flickr Meetup/Charity Photography Competition

Date: May 12th, 2007

Location: Labella Cafe, 127 Yongfu Road

7:00 PM

1. Description

a. China Next: China’s Future. A photography competition raising money

for Shanghai’s underprivileged students.

b. The Shanghai Flickr Meetup group is organizing a charity auction

event。 Flickr members submit their digital photographs under the

theme “China Next: China’s Future” as seen by the photographer. The

winning photographs will be printed, framed and then sold at auction

for charity during the event. The competition is open to anyone (to

enter get a free account at www.flickr.com and post entries at

www.flickr.com/groups/chinanext.

c. For this event, the Shanghai Flickr Meetup group will be raising

funds for Shanghai charity Shanghai Sunrise. Shanghai Sunrise aims to

help remove Shanghai families from the poverty cycle by providing

education scholarships for disadvantaged students.

d. All funds raised from the auction will be donated to Shanghai

Sunrise. Our host of this event, La Bella Café will donate 30% of the

evening’s takings to Shanghai Sunrise. Kodak China has graciously

donated the printing and framing costs for the chosen photographs.

e. This competition is open to all photographers. The photograph

entering the competition can only be submitted via the Flickr system

at www.flickr.com/groups/chinanext/. You can register for a

free account at Flickr.com.

2. Competition and event schedule.

a. Competition entries can be submitted from Friday 6th of April 2007.

b. The competition will close on April 27th 2007 6pm Shanghai

Time (+10 UTC).

c. Our guest judge will make a shortlist of selected photographs from

the submitted pool according to the guidelines outlined below.

d. Flickrites owning the short listed photographs will be notified by

Flickr Mail by May 2nd 2007. To proceed to the printing process, the

short listed candidates must provide the organizers with high

resolution images by May 5th 2007. This can be done via email or FTP

transfer. The photographs will then be printed and framed by Kodak

China. The photographic auction will be held at the La Bella Café in

Shanghai on May 12th, 2007 from 7pm.

3. The Judging Process

a. The judge is a renowned professional journalist

b. Our judge will select 9 photographs that most closely match the

theme, and what appeals to them the most. The judge will also choose

one of their own photographs for the auction event. These 10

photographs will be printed and auctioned.

c. The judge will also select an additional five (5) runner’s up

photographs in case the owner’s of the selected photographs cannot be

contacted or produce a high-resolution image of their winning image in

time for printing.

d. The remainder of the photographs submitted to the competition will

be streamed during the charity auction for everyone’s enjoyment.

4. Awards

a. You get the warm and fuzzy feeling that you had one of the 10

winning photographs. Sorry, this whole event is for charity and all

the time, effort and materials involved in this event are donated.

b. If you wish, your Flickr name or real name and a short biography

will be placed next to the photograph when it is exhibited. We will

also attach a similar biography label on the rear of the framed

photograph as well.

c. If there are any inquiries regarding people wanting to purchase or

reproduce your images, we will direct them to your Flickr account.

5. Specifications for submissions.

a. It has to be a photograph (no artwork or photographs of artwork).

b. You must own and possess the photograph you submit!

c. We only accept digital files for this competition. The file can

come from either a negative scan or a digital camera.

d. Please submit a digital image of a minimum of 800 pixels in length

for the judging process. Bigger, the better for judging.

e. If you are selected as a winner, you must be able to supply the

organizers with a minimum of 3000 x 2000 pixel image in TIFF format

(.tif) for the final print. If you can’t supply this larger file

size, we can’t print your photograph (and will choose another

Flickrites’ entry).

f. Each Flickr account can submit a maximum of 3 photographs for this

competition.

g. Both color and black and white photographs are eligible.

h. Submission to be made by Flickr in

www.flickr.com/groups/chinanext/ group.

i. If the photographer cannot produce a high-resolution photograph by

May 3, another short-listed candidate/photograph will be chosen.

6. Use of images and copyright

a. We respect your rights. Any images submitted to this competition

remain yours. Copyright and all other rights remain that of the

photographer.

b. By submitting your photograph to this competition, you agree that

you are the owner of the photograph and submit this for use within the

competition. The organizers accept no responsibility for fraudulent

submissions.

c. By submitting your photograph, you understand that your image may

be used by the organizers for promotional purposes of the auction

event, such as printing for auction, or use in a slideshow at the

event. You also agree that by submitting your photograph to this

competition, you agree that one (1) sole print may be produced for

fundraising purposes only by auction for this specific charity auction

event.

d. We will try and respect your wishes in the printing and

presentation of your images. However, some minor image adjustment may

be required during the printing process to make your image look its

best on paper or card. Any adjustments will be done by a professional

photographer and printing technician with your wishes taken into

consideration.

http://www.flickr.com/groups/chinanext/

Living with Bad Environment?

Google is facing big challenges in China. Google was talking about the “don’t be evil” philosophy, which I respect a lot. However, how to make it happen in China is not an easy answer.

The question I asked Kai Fu twice was: “You always talk about Google’s principle. When in certain geography (China) and certain period of time (these 10 years) that the principle conflict with user experience, what is your choice?”

I know many people may be surprised to see why a not-be-evil principle can hurt user experience. It does. If Google helps to find all information for users without censorship, users will experience DNS error for Google every few attempts. Leaving along all the censorship stuff, it is very bad user experience.

Good user experience means good business. Bad user experience means bad business. In China, it basically means if Google don’t do the censorship, they can very hardly please end user, and will face commercial failure.

I will admire Google as a great company if they fail in China just because of they stick to their principle, although it is strange to claim a company who don’t care about user experience is doing the right thing – in U.S., user experience means protecting the users. Here, it is not the case because of the existence of a great firewall.

It is the same as driving. Typically, traffic rules and road safety are consistent with each other. However, without feedback system to the road design department, there are many places in Shanghai that fall into a strange situation that the traffic rules are in conflict position with the road safety. To follow the rule means to drive dangerous. It is not easy to live in this environment. Hard decision everyday.

It seems the only solution is neither follow the bad rule (censorship or dangerous traffic signs) nor completely ignore rule or principle (user experience or safety). The ultimate solution is to fix the system and make the rule consistent with the goal. Before removing the conflict, it is really hard to make decisions or even praise or blame someone for doing something.

Airport Construction Fee for Connection Flight?

Hello! First, thank you for your informative site, it has been very useful.

I travelling to China this week. My flight arrives to Shanghai Pudong on May 13. The same evening I’ll be flying from Shanghai (Pudong also) to Wuhan. I was wondering about the construction fee you mentioned at your site. Do I have to pay it before entering a certain area?

I suppose there are some waiting areas (before the check-in)? I’m travelling alone and have to wait the whole day for my flight to Wuhan. I think it’s wise not to leave the airport so that I don’t miss the flight.

I hope you have time to answer, thank you already!

Best regards

from Finland

For the Airport Construction Fee, you still have to pay for it. Here is the reason.

If you transit to another flight in China airport from an international flight, and you don’t enter custom gate, you don’t need to pay for the fee. For example, if you are transition in an airport in China for international flight, for example, from SFO – Shanghai – other Asia countries, you don’t need to pay for airport construction fee.

In China, however, based on my knowledge, you always have to clear the custom or enter the custom gate at your arriving airport, like Pudong Airport, before you can transit to another domestic airport, so it is for sure that you need to pay the fee.

Whether Included in Ticket

It is worth checking to see whether the fee is included in the ticket price already. If you buy the ticket in China, it is for sure that it is included. From Sept 1, 2004, all tickets have that fee included. I don’t know about your travel agents. I checked expedia.com and it does not seem to have that fee included.

Check it in case you don’t need to pay it twice.

Maglev

You may try maglev if you have some time – it may take 1 hours for round trip (14 minutes in trip, and up to 40 minutes for waiting). Check these entries.