How to go to Hong Kong via Shenzhen

I spent some time relaxing and buying clothes in Hong Kong yesterday. Previously, when I visit HK whilst being in mainland, I would fly to HK airport but recently I found out it is much cheaper through Shenzhen. I saved half of my travel expenses. If you are not interested in saving money at the cost of time (or like to see beautiful HK airport), this guide is not useful for you. I bought my plane ticket one day before my trip. The 900 RMB flight to Shenzhen was much cheaper then the 2200 RMB flight to HK. I was flying from Shanghai, but also from Beijing, Chengdu etc. this should be cheaper. You land in Shenzhen, take the bus, change bus at the border and arrive in the heart of HK city. Shenzhen airport – when I landed in Shenzhen, I found the bus companies selling tickets at the exit of the arrival hall. Bus rates varies from 100 to 150 RMB. There is also option to take the turbojet boat. I would advice to take the elements bus company. They have options to drive directly to Kowloon, central (100 RMB) or Kings Cross. Total driving time: 1.5 hours. Crossing the border – Passing the customs is a breeze, you exit the bus, just follow the customs tunnel and enter the bus on the opposite end. Both sides I was surprised it was not so busy. It took me about 15 minutes to pass. Note that mainland residents still need a HK/Macau entry visa to cross the border.
Arrival in HK and the way back to Shenzhen – I decide to get of at Central and take the metro from there. When I wanted to go back, I took the metro to metro stop ‘Kowloon’. Get of at exit c2 and find the elements bus terminal.

Spilgames outing 2010, Moganshan and Nanxun

I’ve spend last night at Mount Mogan 莫干山, the destination of the Spilgames spring outing, is about 250km south-west of Shanghai, close to Hangzhou. Build by missionaries in the early 1900s as a retreat from the Shanghai heat. These days Moganshan is experiencing a true revamp in tourism, particularly contributed by Mark Kitto’s permanent establishment there. After a early bus ride from Shanghai we arrived around noon. Whilst it was a misty day, the calm river streams and the bamboo forest were a great place to be. Some pictures. That night, there were presentations from the Chinese and Dutch management team in a huge room. It was so well organized, I felt like I was at a conference. The next day the weather cleared up and we packed to drive back to Shanghai. The drive back to Shanghai was quite a long run, I was happy we made a stop at Nanxun. The town is quite well preserved and not as crowded with tourist as most water towns around Shanghai.

Dutch day at the Shanghai World expo

A few weeks ago I was asked by the Dutch ministry of Foreign affairs to help with a special project. During the time it was a big secret that during the Dutch National day at the World Expo in Shanghai (18 May), the crown prince of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander would visit with his wife, Maxima Zorreguieta. A very exciting thought to help out with a royal event like this! I can’t really disclose what I did, but as complimentary gratitude, I received tickets for the event. The day started with a reception at the Expo site and ended with a special show of the “Netherlands Dance Theatre II” in the shanghai theatre.

We visited the expo for the first time. At around 3pm, we arrived at the dutch pavilion. The Dutch pavilion has an open architecture – you can walk through. (So one of the few without lines on the expo) and instead of a hall, allows people to walk by. (Hence the name Happy street) It shows typical Dutch artifacts like the process of making cheese, ice skates, Miffy, but also modern things like Armin van Buuren (dutch DJ) and our princes Maxima. They also put stone sheep everywhere which proved to be useful as seats as well.

For the day, the whole area was closed down to the selected people that had an invitation. It felt like the entire dutch community from Shanghai was present. Also some VIP’s including the earlier mentioned Dutch royalties, but Suna and I also ran into Dutch rapper Ali B. Funny to meet him here.

The catering was superb. from Champagne to special dutch kroketten that included Beijing duck filling and Chinese shrimp. I still prefer the classic dutch croquette’s. After the reception at the expo, there was a show by the Netherlands dance theater in the Shanghai Theater. The contemporary dance was interesting to watch. There were expressive scene’s with two intermissions. The royal members were welcomed with a big applause. I wonder how this royal appreciation was received by the Chinese. It was a special day which I won’t forget soon!

picknick (wine and cheese) with @akinasuna

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At zhongshan park. Can’t you see? :) no really, 24 degrees C, light breeze…. perect. we packed a basket with blanket, french cheese, lambrusco wine etc. But it is too dark. So we ended up in a pizzeria.

Celebration of Dutch Queen’s day in Shanghai 2010

Whilst Shanghai is upside down due to the opening of the Expo with many world leaders flying in, the dutch in Shanghai held a separate party: ‘Queen’s Day’ a Dutch public holiday celebrating the birthday of the Queen of the Netherlands and supposed to be a day of national unity and “togetherness”. To celebrate, Suna and I visited the Millennium hotel. The honorary guest at the reception was Jan Peter Balkenende, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Balkenende is visiting to open the Dutch pavilion at the world expo tomorrow, we talked briefly and he is a very friendly patient man. Similar to when I met Maxime Verhagen (demissionair minister of foreign affairs), I noticed politicians are much relaxed meeting people abroad. Suna wondered whether something like this would be possible in any other country. In Korea for example, people wouldn’t be able to even ask these kind of things. Happy Dutch Queensday everybody!

 

Big bus tours in Shanghai

From today, well known London double decker buses from The Big Bus Company will allow tourists a grand city tour of Shanghai. Whilst I was waving back at that bus riding sunburned crowd, seeing them take pictures of everything the bus drives by, I realized Shanghai is about as ready as it can get for the Expo.