Traveling to China
ReChina Asia Expo
is in full swing, with the show less than a month away. Visitors to the thriving city of Shanghai will enjoy a new exhibition hall, new scenery and the cosmopolitan Shanghai neighborhood of Pudong where ReChina Asia Expo will be held December 2-4 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC).
Pudong, officially known as Pudong New Area, was named due to its location on the east side of the Huangpu River. Since May 2009, Pudong New Area occupies the majority of the land in Shanghai. Pudong is home to much diversity with Chinese history, modern architecture and a blossoming culture.
The Shanghai New International Expo Center, the home of ReChina Expo 2009.
Unfortunately, for many travelers getting to Shanghai is no small feat. A non-stop flight from New York to Shanghai takes approximately 14 hours, and from Las Vegas to Shanghai , travelers can expect close to 17 hours of airtime. But there are some tips and tricks to help pass the time and have a good flight.
Snacks and Drinks
Although international flights provide food, there is no guarantee that it will be something you want to eat or even that it will fill you. It is always a good idea to bring snacks. Although food regulations are still strict, TSA will allow passengers to bring snacks through security as long as they are contained properly. Passengers can pack an empty water bottle to fill once past security and containers of mixed nuts, dried fruits and crackers are also good snack ideas.
Water is the most important liquid on a long flight. If you don’t buy or bring your own water, make sure to ask the attendant for some throughout the flight.
Of course, enjoying a cocktail or two to help relax you and calm your nerves is not a bad thing, especially if it’s free, but getting drunk may not be the best idea. Although this might help loosen you up, hangovers are never fun, and a hangover in a country you’re not familiar with, with a language and food that you’re not familiar with probably won’t be the ideal situation, especially if you have to conduct business soon after arriving. So, enjoy a couple cocktails, but keep your limits in check.
Keeping entertained is key. Most international flights have individual screens for passengers to watch select movies, TV shows, music and flight details. Although this entertainment is often free, headphones can cost. The airline ones can produce poor quality and could be too big or small for your head, leaving you uncomfortable and not able to hear. In the long run, it may be better to bring your own earphones – ones that you know work and fit your head.
If you are picky about films and/or music, it might be best to bring your own entertainment, such as a portable DVD player, iPod and/or portable game systems like the Nintendo DS or the Play Station Pocket. The problem with these is battery life, which can be quite minimal and definitely won’t last the entire flight.
Other forms of portable entertainment are books, magazines and puzzle books like crosswords or Sudoku. Beware though of weight. Books and magazines can add up and cause unwanted bulk in your carry-on or checked baggage. After a tradeshow, you will probably have more than you came with, so weight is definitely something you’ll want to consider.
Fourteen hours is a long time, and it’s not like you can lounge in an airplane unless you’re in first class, so you’ll want to do everything you can to be comfortable. Wear clothes that are loose, or pack a set of cozy clothes to change into once on the plane. It is a good idea to bring clothes that layer in case you are hot or cold on the flight. Also, check with the airline to see if they provide pillows, blankets and eye masks. Those are all things you will want to relax, or at least comfortably tolerate the trip.
Stretching your muscles can make or break you on a long flight. Every so often circle your ankles, stretch your arms and try to walk around for a bit. This will help prevent body aches and will help you relax.
Sleeping is by far the best way to pass time; however, sleeping aboard an airplane is not easy for many people. Some like to use the help of sleeping aids. There are both over-the-counter and prescribed varieties. If medicating is a route you are interested in taking, make sure you do a “test run” with your sleeping aid of choice before the flight. Some medications can have nasty side effects and symptoms, so you’ll want to know how they will affect your body before you’re stuck in an airplane for hours.
Arriving in China
If you are flying into the Pudong airport, you are flying into one of the most famous and important airports in China. The Shanghai Pudong International Airport stretches over 40 square kilometers (15.4 square miles) and has many accommodations including restaurants, coffee shops and shopping. The airport also has access to shuttle buses, taxis and the Shanghai Maglev Train. The Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) is only seven minutes away by the Maglev. However, if you would like to take a taxi, the fare is reasonable. Day taxi fare runs at 11 yuan (about US$1.61) for the first three kilometers and 2 yuan (29 cents) for each additional kilometer. Night taxi fare (11 p.m.-5 a.m.) runs at 14 yuan (about $2.05) and 2.6 yuan (about 38 cents) per kilometer. Make sure you have a Chinese map, a business card of where you are going, or the address of the location written down in Chinese for the taxi driver. This little tip could help break down communication barriers.
Sites in Shanghai
Shanghai sparkles with sites and activity for ReChina attendees to enjoy. This color cosmopolitan city boasts true diversity from historical areas, to the modern skyline and amazing architecture to more shopping, restaurants, nightclubs, music and entertainment than one could fit in a single visit.
If you’re a history buff, The Bund is definitely a place to visit. The Bund has many historical buildings set alongside the Huangpu River, which were once trading houses and banks from Britain, France, Germany and other countries around the world.
The Shanghai skyline cannot be missed with three of the tallest buildings in the world. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower reaches 468 meters (1,535 feet) from ground to antenna. The Jin Mao Tower, which houses the Grand Hyatt hotel, conference and banquet facilities, a shopping mall, restaurants, nightclubs and a post office, stands 421 meters (1,380 feet) tall from ground to antenna. And the Shanghai World Financial Center, which sits directly next to the Jin Mao Tower, stands at 492 meters (1,614.2 feet) tall. It houses offices, the Park Hyatt hotel, conference rooms, observation decks and shopping.
For those who wine and dine, entertainment can be found close to the Shanghai New International Expo Centre including the Syzgy restaurant, Seagull Palace, Sea Palace, Bar Rouge and Tan Wai Lou. A must-see this year is the X46 Bar, located in the Sofitel Shanghai Jin Jinag Oriental Pudong Hotel, this year’s show hotel and the location of Recharger and Lyra's China Forum. X46 sits atop the hotel and boasts panoramic views of the city.
Good luck with your travels, or more appropriately, hao yun.
This article originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Recharger.