Monday, July 29, 2013

Traveling to a Far Away Yet Nearby City

Five years ago I traveled by bus about 280 km (175 miles) by bus from Shanghai to Yangzhou, Jiangsu province. I was told the trip would take 3.5 to 4 hours.

In afternoon traffic the trip actually lasted about 5 hours.

Three days ago I traveled on land 1318 km (819 miles) from Beijing to Shanghai. I was told the trip would take 4 hours and 55 minutes.

It did.

Such a feat is now possible with China's high-speed rail. Like many other times, I appreciated the convenience it provided. In this case it allowed me to avoid flying -- no small matter. Of the world's top 35 international airports, Beijing's and Shanghai's are the worst for on time departures.

The similarity of my trips to Yangzhou and from Beijing in terms of time despite the difference in terms of distance reminded me that the "closeness" of cities to each other depends on the factors being considered. For example, some aspects of Shanghai and Beijing are similar since they are two of the most economically developed and international cities in China. Yangzhou doesn't fit into those categories, but due to its proximity it has some closer cultural similarities, including cuisine, with Shanghai than does Beijing.

More on this theme later. For now, I'm just happy I didn't need to take a bus from Beijing.


  1. My daughter traveled from Shanghai to Beijing but by plane. Yes it was faster but I doubt that it was as scenic!! The combo for safety, speed, and scenery makes the train a perfect choice! Interesting post. W.C.C.

    1. Thanks! When you factor in distance to the airports, checking in, average delay, baggage claim, etc., the time difference isn't as much as may first appear. And yes, I enjoy staring out a train window. Though, on a high-speed train you don't have much time to enjoy closer scenes.