The rest:

Singapore to Shanghai

Tuesday, 29 March 2005

Singapore to ShanghaiI’m on my way to a travel conference in Macau. I could just fly there, but where’s the adventure in that? I’ve decided to don my backpack and travel overland from Singapore to Macau, and then head on to Shanghai after the conference.

This trip will be not too fast, not too slow, not too cheap, not too expensive. I’m not doing much preplanning: I’ve got a visa for China already, but I’ll sort out travel, hotels and other visas as I go. I’ll try and stop somewhere interesting every night, and schedule in enough time to look around – and to eat well, of course!

The Plan
I’ve got to go to Macau to speak at a travel conference. I don’t want to simply fly to Macau, so I’m going to travel there overland from Singapore (and then carry on to Shanghai after the conference).

Why Travel Overland?
Because a few years ago it would have been impossible – Cambodia was still a no-go zone into the 1990s, and Vietnam and China had a short border war in 1979 and their border remained closed for many years. Come back in a decade or two and there’ll probably be a high-speed railway line all the way from Singapore to Shanghai, but right now it’s still likely to be a bit of an adventure.

The Method
This is not going to be a high-speed trip – I don’t intend to do any 24-hour non-stop slogs, but I’ve only got 18 days to get from Singapore to Macau, so I won’t be able to spend days lazing on the beach, either.

There are some places I plan to try some fairly ritzy hotels, and some places where I’ll be in ‘business’ mode and plan to act accordingly. But there will be other places where backpacker travel will work just fine. Ditto for the travel: some places I could just rent a car and driver and say ‘take me to the next border’, but I don’t intend to do that. I’ll be travelling by train, bus, share-taxi or whatever.

Planning & Preparation
Travelling overland means backpack travel, but speaking at the conference means I need a laptop loaded up with my Powerpoint presentation, and my Armani jacket will also be in the backpack. I intend to work on the wash it tonight/wear it tomorrow program and carry the absolute minimum of clothes. If I find I’ve underestimated, it’s not a problem; there are plenty of clothes on sale where I’m going.