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TR: Asia 2012 BA F, KA F, CX J, CZ J, JL J

TR: Asia 2012 BA F, KA F, CX J, CZ J, JL J

Old May 11, 2013, 2:39 pm
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TR: Asia 2012 BA F, KA F, CX J, CZ J, JL J

Trip Report: An Accountant in Asia

I awoke. It was early. Very early for a Sunday. I stretched and yawned and was confused. Ah yes, I am off to LHR this morning and this was going to be a trip to remember. Let’s rewind to some details about the trip.


Background

I had decided to book what would be for me a trip of a life time, with a decent pooling of Avios, and a kind gift from my parents, I wanted to go all out and make this a really special trip, booking my first NF with BA. I was interested to see what the fuss was about, as I had previously flown OF and came away feeling very underwhelmed; I am really quite happy back in CW!!! After months of planning I had finally sorted all the details on what was a monumental trip.

The trip took place during the last two weeks in December and the first two weeks in January. I generally spent 3-4 nights at each location.

I apologise for those who like short/sharp trip reports, this will not be one, I’ve tried to make it user friendly by linking to various parts of the trip (see below), but there are a lot of photos and a lot of chat. Also bear in mind that I am a simple bean counter and certainly not a photographer or a writer. I have tried to incorporate my own thoughts, feelings and ideas the best that I can. Whilst walking around and travelling I kept my iPhone close and made constant notes of what I thought, I found this a good way to relieve the trip later. Anyway, let’s go!

So here’s a world map courtesy of openflights.org:



map by stevieed, on Flickr


Quick Links

1 - Flight - BA F - LHR to PVG
2 - Hotel - Pullman Skyway Shanghai
3 - City - Shanghai
4 - Flight - KA F - PVG to HKG
5 - Ferry - CKS Y - HKG to SHZ
6 - Hotel - Grand Mercure Shenzhen
7 - City - Shenzhen
8 - Flight - CZ F - SHZ to KWL
9 - Hotel - Sheraton Guilin
10 - City - Guilin
11 - Flight - CZ F - KWL to SHZ
12 - Ferry - TJ J - SHZ to MAC
13 - Hotel - Sofitel Pointe 16 Macau
14 - City - Macau
15 - Ferry - CJ J - MAC to HKG
16 - Hotel - Novotel Hong Kong
17 - City - Hong Kong
18 - Flight - CX J - HKG to SGN
19 - Hotel - Sofitel Ho Chi Minh City
20 - City - Ho Chi Minh City
21 - Flight - CX J - SGN to HKG
22 - Flight - CX J - HKG to ICN
23 - Hotel - Grand Ambassador Seoul
24 - City- Seoul
25 - Flight - JL J - ICN to NRT
26 - Hotel - Conrad Tokyo
27 - City - Tokyo
28 - Flight - BA F - NRT to LHR


Photography

Firstly, many thanks to matthandy for offering some great advice on formatting of trip reports and travel photography. I used two camera for this trip report; a Canon EOS 50D with a variety of lenses (see below) for most of the travel photos and a Canon SX260 IS ‘compact’ for the airport, on-board and some walk-around shots. I have also used my iPhone 5 where I wanted to be rather more discrete. All images were processed in the excellent Adobe Lightroom 4, with HDR editing courtesy of Photomatix Pro. Not all of the photographs I took have been included in the main body of the text, there were just too many. However, for anyone who is interested, I have included the links to the full albums, all in full size.

Last edited by stevieed; May 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:40 pm
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BA First – London Heathrow to Shanghai Pudong

I awoke to the sound of my alarm blaring out, it was far too early for anyone to be waking up on a Sunday (it wasn’t really that early, but I wanted sleep!)). I had packed the evening before, so I got myself ready and did a quick check of my gear. I was set. A text arrived from Crawfords, my car was waiting outside; I was off!


As I was sitting in the back of the car I was wondering what the Concorde Room would be like and what BA First would be like. I know some people on here are fairly unimpressed, but I was hoping that being a relatively infrequent traveller, and a very infrequent F traveller, that I would be impressed.


One thing that I am always impressed about is Heathrow Terminal 5, I think it’s a fantastic design and one of the best terminals that I have been to.

The car had dropped me at the South end of T5, so that I was close to the First check-in area.


I must admit that when I entered I was a little underwhelmed, it looked like a zoo! I guess that this was due to this being the first weekend since a lot of schools had broken up for the Christmas break. I was quickly seen and had some decent banter with the check-in staff. One suitcase down, but unfortunately still a backpack and satchel up (both very heavy), I was off to security. Holy crap, this was looking busy! One guy who was behind me in the queue actually swore at the sight! It turned out to not be so bad afterall, maybe 10 minutes wait. I turned right into the Concorde Room, past a gentleman who was very politely trying to get 2 guests in with him. He was declined by the equally polite lounge lady; on second thoughts I should have offered to guest in one of his guests, damn. My first thoughts when entering were “woah, where on earth am I?” I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I found the layout quite complex to start off with, which looking back seems insane as my later impressions were of a lounge much smaller than I expected. In terms of style I guess CCR resembles a gentlemans club, with the mixed furniture, fires and general “British” feel. It really was rather pleasant.

Anyway, I found the dining room and headed in, being greeted and offered a table immediately. Sitting down I thought that this place is quite special. I know people have their complaints, but looking back, most people will never get to fly business class, let alone first class and experience this type of lounge. I did feel privileged, which I guess is part of what they’re aiming for with First.


Anyway, I digress as usual, I ordered a glass of champagne (of course, this is an FT TR after all…) and an Eggs Royale (i.e. with salmon not ham). It came 5 minutes later with ham, nevermind. It was very good, regardless.


I thought the service in the dining room was excellent; they could not have been more attentive. Thank you! On another note, the champagne was wonderful, however a much larger glass than I imagined!

Breakfast devoured I headed off to collect my currency from the Amex counter. After a few minutes of frantic searching by the assistant she informed me that I had requested my currency to be collected landside. &*$%! Luckily, she was able to, and willing, to go collect for me. Again, thank you! I scuttled back to the sanctuary of the lounge, via Harrods to pick up some gifts for my Japanese client, and decided on Galleries First this time. On entry the lounge lady (I will not call them dragons as they were delightful) informed me that I was eligible to go into the CCR, which I thought was a nice touch. Anyway, proceeding into the lounge I thought that it was huge, but somehow managed to stumble upon the champagne bar, oh well. I went for the glass of the Tattinger 2005, decent enough for me, and made my way on to the terrace. I sat there with a rather large grin on my face, this really was nice!


A glass of champagne depleted and I decided that I should head back to the CCR. I tried the terrace this time. Service was non-existent and there’s a distinct shortage of power points. Anyway, I got off my ... and headed to the champagne bar to order my sustenance, as I was at serious risk of being without a glass of champagne for over 30 minutes!

Whilst waiting for World Order to be resumed I snapped a few photos, it was a pleasant place to be.


I maybe should have picked a better vantage point…anyway, a brunch of pink Bolly and bacon roll was served. Delicious.


I was quite happy sitting on the terrace, watching the planes go past.

Lunchtime rapidly approached and I wandered back to the dining room, again I was met immediately and guided to a booth.


I had heard good things about the wonton broth and bad things about the BA burger, maybe if I ordered both I would get an average meal? I ordered both. Along with a glass of Berry Edwards 2011, which was sublime. The pork wonton broth arrived, it looked good.

Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:10 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:40 pm
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Let’s go in for a sniff.


Hmmmm, smells delicious. It also tasted delicious, very fresh.


The burger was next to arrive. I was actually nervous. Am I insane? I am nervous over a burger! I went in for a taste.


I was right to be nervous, it really wasn’t very good. Anyway, it was nearly time for my flight, so I dashed off to collect my rucksack that I had placed in storage and headed off to my gate. It was gate A10, I had heard about that on FlyerTalk, I couldn’t remember why and I was sure I had only heard good things…oh look, we’re going down an escalator, it’s strange that all the other gates are at a higher level…oh, there are buses…&%^$! It was at this point that I recalled why people disliked gate A10. After a superheated bus journey that seemed to take a tour of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and for all I know Shanghai, I arrived at the plane. Normal service was resumed at the top of the stairs “Hello Mr D, let me get someone to show you to your seat”. Excellent (said in a Mr Burns voice). I dumped my bags unceremoniously onto my seat and relaxed.


Looking around, the cabin was really impressive. A very understated, elegant, and yet somehow modern First class cabin.


The seat in particular looked like something from an Aston/Bentley/Jaguar – it felt full of that certain British smugness that says “yes, we know that we don’t have the best technology, we don’t have the best service, we don’t have the best this/that, but we know that our products come together with a certain charm that is unbeatable”. The French would probably say je ne sais quoi.


The storage is particularly impressive at 1K, better than other seats (other than 1A). Infact, I can imagine that other seats are rather limited for storage.


My view across to what would become my neighbour.


Looking out of my window I could see the food being loaded, yummy!


Looking around, whilst a few others boarded, the cabin really was classy:


Of course, there has to be an obligatory leg room shot (there was a lot of leg room).


Overall I thought the space around the seat was excellent. I was promptly offered a glass of champagne, which of course I accepted.


I was rather embarrassed, when looking back through my photos, at what a mess I had made of my table. I had only been n the plane for ten minutes! The already excellent, although a bit old (I am sure that will get some comments…) crew asked if I would like another glass of champagne. Given that they asked in such a way that any refusal would be incredibly offensive, I of course graciously accepted.


Whilst waiting for take-off I decided to take a few more photographs of the seat area, I hope someone is interested!


Just before take-off I was informed that the bottle required emptying, I was happy to help the crew.


Whilst my glass was being cleared away the CSD introduced himself, he asked me to contact him if I had any problems or questions. I know it’s what they are expected to do, but it’s still a nice touch nonetheless. Shortly afterwards we taxied, I was somewhat concerned that the plane would not make the runway, it was extremely bumpy and rattly! Of course we did make the runway, you would have heard otherwise by now, and proceeded to hurtle towards V1 rotate – what a thrill. I could do this every day and I would still grin like a child at Christmas. I love it.

Shortly after take-off the menu was delivered, hmmm, there wasn’t much I fancied from the starters!


Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:41 pm
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Whilst pondering, champagne and warm nuts were offered, I accepted both. I really do think the cabin looks wonderful, very Orient Express.


I was perhaps overzealous in depleting my glass and the crew offered to refill. Being the inoffensive type I accepted.


I was quite happy sipping away at my champagne, too happy in fact to notice that I had nearly depleted the glass again, curses. Thankfully the wonderful crew offered to solve my problem.


With that the table was set and food was on the way. I had ordered the chicken liver parfait (not normally my thing), soup and the steak. At the same time I was also asked my drink choice for the evening, I went for the Montrachet; was offered the bottle and a taste – bliss!


Before I could judge the dishes I was offered an amuse bouche of stilton cheese on a bed of celeriac.


It was really rather good, excellent flavour, a bold in your face stilton flavour followed by the crunch of the celeriac. The starter was next.


Interesting, I don’t usually like liver anything, but this was really excellent. The brioche could have been crisper, but it was a good dish. The soup swiftly arrived.


Not bad, certainly not the best soup I’ve had and a bit of a disappointment as I’d heard so many times that BA do very good soups. However, taking it in context, it was decent. Nice flavour. Now, the main course was due to arrive, the steak! I’d had steak LGW-MCO in BA J and although the flavour was there, the steak itself was soooooo tough. What would this be like? Before I could find out I had a top-up of Montrachet, thank you kindly.


Well, it was good. Not amazing, but good. The steak was overdone for my liking, but then I enjoy mine rare, so am in a relatively minority. The flavour was excellent though and it was not tough at all. The vegetables were sublime.
Onto dessert, I ordered the chocolate and orange cylinder but the spiced pudding with custard arrived – oh well, it was rather nice. Accompanying this was the dessert wine, which was very good.


After everything was cleared away I took a couple of photos of the table, as I know some people will want that.


Coffee ordered, it was good, and shortly followed by a Johnny Walker Blue Label. I absolutely adore whiskey and I was really looking forward to trying this. It was worth the wait, pretty nice.


A combination of time, alcohol and food made me feel sleepy, so I put on The Sweeney and relaxed for a bit. The bar near the start of the movie is very close to me office, you can never escape eh?


My stomach started rumbling, my I was a greedy one today! I grabbed the attention of a passing CC and asked if I could have some cheese and biscuits. I was sadly informed that he thought they had run out, but promised he would rustle me something up. He rustled me up a feast! A glass of Woodford Reserve, very nice but not as good as Johnny Walker Blue IMHO, some sandwiches from CW and a lot of cheese!


Last edited by stevieed; May 12, 2013 at 1:49 am
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:41 pm
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Post feast I couldn’t hold out any longer, I asked a member of the crew to make up my bed, very comfortable indeed, and dropped off for a few hours sleep.


It was time for breakfast, it only seemed like a few hours since I’d eaten…it probably was only a few hours…

<Breakfast menu>

I had the fresh fruit to start, which was nice and refreshing. Followed by the salmon, egg and asparagus thing. The muffin was terrible, so dry, basically inedible! The remainder was fine, although not really passable in F.


The flight was coming to an end; I guess it is a sign of how good the flight was that I was quite sad at this fact. Before landing I watched the BA arrivals video, I am sure it stated that BA fly to 400 countries??? Surely they mean destinations? Anyway, a smooth landing and a rapid taxi to our designated gate. Immigration was easy, Heathrow could learn a few lessons from Shanghai in this respect! Within 35 minutes of plane doors opening I was in the back of an S-Class taking me to my hotel. That’s pretty good going.

Verdict: So what did I think of BA F? I was impressed, the cabin is understated brilliance, the alcohol was amazing and the crew were sublime. The only thing letting the side down was the food, which although good, was not F good.

Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:42 pm
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Pullman Skyway Shanghai

After a typical drive through Shanghai, i.e. totally insane, I arrived at the Pullman Skyway Shanghai. First thoughts are that the building looks very interesting from the outside.


Check –in was a simple affair, I was offered to check in at the Executive Level floor, but declined as there was no queue downstairs and I was quite happy to gaze at the lovely lobby.


I was guided to my room, a Skyway Club Executive Room, and suddenly things became less impressive. The room seemed very dated and quite lacking in inspiration. The room was just a bit, well, beige.


The hotel was strangely quiet, infact one evening I visited the fairly unimpressive buffet on the top floor and I was largely dining alone. The buffet may look good in the photo below, but it really wasn’t. Due to the low volume of diners the majority of the buffet had not been refreshed for a while and so was going rather stale. Criminally all of the seafood in the photo below was thrown away at the end of the evening.


One evening I decided to have room service, as let’s face it, I’d largely be eating alone whether I was in my room or the restaurant. It was pretty good.


There was also an Executive Lounge where I could sit largely on my own. It was decent enough, although getting more than one drink during the happy hour was infuriatingly difficult! Plus the food offering was a bit school disco, with mini sandwiches and chicken bites.


Verdict: I wasn’t overly impressed with the hotel, it was decent enough, but the rooms were dated, the service in the Executive Lounge wasn’t professional enough and the food offerings were a let down for a 5 star hotel.

Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:42 pm
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Shanghai

Shanghai is the largest city in China and indeed the largest city in the world. It has a population of over 23 million and is known as the “Paris of The East” largely due to historical French influences, the wonderful old architecture and the fact that Shanghai is probably the most progressive of Chinese cities.

My first impressions are of a place very different to home. A place where I felt quite alone, especially as everyone looked different to me and I could not even guess the words written in Chinese characters. An accountant alone in China. I decided to go for a walk on my second day to acclimatise and grab some food/culture. I did my usual trick of heading to a shopping centre to get some good, cheap, authentic food. The rest of the day I did very little other than chill out at the hotel, I’d had a fairly busy few months at work and so needed to catch-up on some rest.

After a decent breakfast the next morning I jumped into one of the numerous and cheap taxis and headed for Nanjing Road. Nanjing Road is a pedestrianized shopping street in the centre of Shanghai, it’s quite a pleasant walk although be wary of people trying to scam you.


Popping into the Apple store I was surprised that the prices were similar to the UK. I decided to take the subway back, which takes a little getting used to due to a lack of English signs, but is cheap at 3 Yuan (approximately 30p) and safe. On arriving back at the hotel I tried to book my overnight trains for my Shenzhen to Guilin leg, but the decent classes were fully booked. Now, let me explain. Chinese overnight trains have 4 classes; Hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper. Essentially soft sleeper gets you a bunk in a 4 bunk room, whilst hard seat gets you a bus style seat. I decided to check out the flights, as the train routing was looking pretty unpleasant! Argh, nightmare, the flights were almost fully booked, but I managed to snap up an F return on China Southern, albeit arriving and departing a day earlier/later than my initial plans. A quick call to the hotel soon extended my booking. Phew. Problem solved.

The next day I shamefully didn’t leave the hotel, I mainly stayed in my room and watched movies. I guess I really did need that rest! The next day wasn’t much different, although I did venture out to The Bund, more on this later, and visited a few shopping malls. Whilst in the malls I did wonder how the Chinese economy was going, the shops were absolutely deserted! However, the weather was terrible, it was raining and foggy, so I decided to make my soaked way back to the hotel for more movies and relaxing.

The next day I knew I had to explore some more, granted I had been to Shanghai before and seen the main highlights, but this was getting embarrassing! First I headed to Tian Zi Fang, which is a tourist area near my hotel. It’s a really interesting rabbit warren of shops, bars and restaurants. It has a very arty feeling to it, with a large number of photography shops. I must admit to feeling rather deflated looking at all the amazing photographs on offer.


I decided to jump in a cab an head on over to The Bund. The Bund is an area of central Shanghai alongside the river. It’s a tourist hot stop and, in my opinion, a must visit area. The views both side of the river are breathtaking, on one side you have classical French buildings and on the other you have buildings that look like they’re from another planet. I wandered off to take some photos…but…what’s this…noooooooo, dust on the sensor! I tried some manic field cleaning, but to no avail. Luckily I had noted on my Lonely Planet app that there was a large photography shopping mall in Shanghai, so I hailed a cab and off I went. 50 Yuan later I had a cleaned sensor and was heading back off to The Bund.


Before I knew it my time was up and I was back off to the airport.

Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:43 pm
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Dragon Air First – Shanghai Pudong to Hong Kong

There was a slight issue on checking out, where the hotel didn’t apply my 30% discount to the airport car. That took quite a lot of explaining as the lounge assistant didn’t speak much English. Anyway, it was sorted in the end and I was in the back of a car starting a 45 minutes journey to the airport. I duly arrived at the wonderful Shanghai Pudong airport.


I can’t help but think that first class is a waste for a 3 hour flight, but hey-ho, I may as well make the most of it. I checked in using the first class desks and headed off to security, there was no fast track line but security was a breeze regardless.


I was soon in my place; the lounge. The lounge was a bit lacking in any character, but it was clean, spacious, had a nice selection of food and drink, plus a lovely view.


I decided I needed some sustenance and so headed to the buffet and the bar.


After an “English” course I thought I should go local.


Then it was time for Flyertalk, a Gin and Tonic and thinking of England.


It was soon time for me to head to the gate. Typically early I had time to take a photo of the plane that would take me to Hong Kong. There was fast track boarding, but everyone in the Marco Polo Club is allowed to join in the fun, so that effectively means there’s very little difference in fast track and normal track. I noted that several people in the queue were pushing their luck on the hang luggage allowance. On boarding, via one air bridge, I noticed a Lufthansa 747 at the next gate which only had one air bridge at 1L, not ideal.


On entering the cabin I thought this was pretty damn nice for a short haul first class! It may look a little dated, but there is bundles of space and the seats are oh so comfortable.


You can just about see the J cabin in the background.


Of course there had to be an obligatory legroom shot.


You can see the impressive legroom.


The seat controls were a bit dated, but they worked.


Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:43 pm
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It had been a while since my last glass of Champagne so I was grateful when the cabin crew offered me a glass.


The already excellent and plentiful cabin crew offered me a top up which I duly accepted.


By the time the doors closed we were 2/8 in F, which meant 4 cabin crew for just 2 of us! The crew really were excellent, they addressed me as Mr D and could not have done more to make my flight more pleasant. About their only failing was the lack of banter that I so enjoy on BA flights, but nothing is perfect.

I ordered from the Chinese menu and the food quickly arrived.


The prawn starter was interesting, it was very good but I can’t fail but note that it would have been tastier without the grapefruit.


Gosh, this soup is lovely. Great flavours, very fresh. Just lovely.


You can see the Dragon Sunrise cocktail in the background, it was very refreshing, but lacking in alcohol so I ordered a glass of Chardonnay to set things straight.


Dessert consisted of Haagen Daaz and Chardonnay.


I decided to play around with the seat. It doesn’t go quite flat, but it’s certainly good enough for a short haul flight.


Infact the seat was so comfortable that I drifted off to sleep for an hour or so, but was hastily awakened for landing. The connection information was played on the IFE, which I think is a fabulous idea. Just before touching down a hefty side wind caught the aircraft, I’m not sure how much we moved, but it was pretty interesting…

Verdict: the flight was excellent, the crew were attentive, the food was tasty and the cabin spacious. I found it difficult to find any fault in the flight to be honest. Maybe the crew could have been more human, maybe the cabin could have looked more modern, but I’m really clutching at straws here!

Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:44 pm
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CKS Y – Hong Kong to Shenzhen

I had 12 minutes to make my ferry connection, I feared this wasn’t possible. My fears were realised when it became evident we would be taking a bus transfer to the main terminal. Curses. Once in the main terminal I sprinted to the CKS check-in desks.


Which were thankfully lacking in queues!


Damn, I had missed my ferry, but that was another leaving in an hour, although only one class. I was due a mighty 2 refund to downgrade me to Y from J. The ferries are bonded, which means that you do not need to pass through passport control, you stay airside and jump on the ferry and pass through immigration at your destination. It’s a pretty slick operation, with lots of signs in the main terminal and numerous ferries. The main destinations are Macau and Shenzhen, but I believe other destinations are served. A ticket is approximately 20.

It was soon time for boarding and I hopped on the train system to take me over to the ferry terminal. On boarding I was surprised at how quiet the ferry was, I was one of a hand full of passengers.


Of course I had to take an obligatory leg room shot. It’s pretty tight, especially as there are no overhead bins for luggage!


At the front of the ferry there was a small snack stand, but it’s a very quick journey so it wasn’t used by any of my fellow passengers. On arrival at Shenzhen I waited on the pier for my hold luggage to be offloaded. It’s quite clever really, on check-in you give the ferry company your luggage receipt from your airline and they pull the luggage from the carousel and put on the ferry.


I jumped in a taxi to finish my rather convoluted journey from Shanghai to Shenzhen.

Verdict: not a lot to say really. The ferries are easy to use, cheap and clean.

Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:44 pm
  #11  
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Grand Mercure Shenzhen

A quick taxi ride and I was at my hotel, The Grand Mercure Shenzhen. I had read fairly mixed reports on Trip Advisor, so I wasn’t expecting much. It looked OK from the outside though.


The inside was pretty nice too.


I checked in at the front desk, it was very easy and the staff was really excellent. So far so good, I was wondering what the rooms were like. Quite nice as it turned out! First impressions of the hotel room were excellent, especially for a mighty cost of 54 a night! Very impressed.


I freshened up and headed off to one of the restaurants in the hotel for some Japanese food. I know, I know, I’m in China eating Japanese food, what can I say. Unfortunately no one in the Japanese restaurant, where I was the only customer, spoke English. This made ordering quite difficult, but we got there in the end. First course was my octopus (and other fish) sashimi, my nemesis.


From then on the food just kept coming, I was in genuine fear everytime the chef started cooking again!


After the excellent dinner, all for 25, I headed down to the bar where I was yet again the only customer. This place is a bit weird!


Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:45 pm
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The next day I popped into the Executive Lounge which was fantastic, a great range of food/drink and very stylish.


Verdict: this was an excellent hotel. The staff were very friendly, most of them spoke excellent English, the rooms were modern and very well designed.

Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:46 pm
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Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city of approximately 10 million people, situated just North of Hong Kong. It’s a Special Economic Zone and is home to a huge number of manufacturers and foreign companies. It’s not typically a tourist destination and, as such, there’s not a huge amount for foreign visitors to do.

With just a day in Shenzhen and an early evening flight to catch I decided to spend my time at Splendid China, which is a Chinese style theme park depicting buildings of historical and cultural significance in China.



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 002.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 005.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 023.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 027.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 044.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 048.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 082.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 147.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 157.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 169.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 195.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 219.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 229.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 239.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr



Asia 2012 - 7 - Shenzhen - Splendid China - 243.jpg by stevieed, on Flickr

Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:23 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:46 pm
  #14  
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China Southern F – Shenzhen to Guilin

Heading back to an airport for my next flight, I was already slightly regretting having booked so many flights. I do love flying, but the constant packing and unpacking and carrying of numerous heavy bags was going to grate. Anyway, I arrived at Shenzhen airport, a fairly new structure.


Check-in was easy, with a dedicated first class check-in area, much like LHR T5, and a dedicated fast track channel from first check-in through security, much unlike LHR T5. On entering the lounge my heart sank, this was pretty awful. OK, I realise that this is a first world problem and all, but the lounge was terrible. Smokey, busy, loud, disorganised, terrible food, no alcohol. I didn’t stay too long before I decided to go to gate and get away from the hell lounge.


Boarding was delayed by over an hour due to late arrival of inbound aircraft. Boarding was a bit of a scrum as I couldn’t see a fast track boarding until I arrived at the front of the queue…ah well. On board. The cabin was nice, had a good welcome from the crew.


There was no alcohol on board, so I opted for a diet coke and a fruit platter.


After a very short flight we were on final approach. Bump. We were down.

Verdict: apart from the lounge at Shenzhen the flight was very good, with the cabin slightly roomier than BA’s Club Europe.

Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm
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Old May 11, 2013, 2:47 pm
  #15  
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Sheraton Guilin

Arriving at the Sheraton it looked a little like an American motel from outside…


However check-in was efficient and the staff were very friendly. The hotel looked great inside, as it should, it’s been newly refurbished.


Heading off to my room I was impressed. It wasn’t the largest room I’ve stayed in, but it was very well appointed and had a great view.


What a view the next morning.


There was an Executive Lounge, which although not huge, was a nice little refuge with decent spirits in happy hour.


Verdict: lovely hotel, it felt like my home after a couple of days. The staff were excellent, the breakfast great, the rooms well appointed. I struggle to know how it could have been bettered.

Last edited by stevieed; May 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm
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