For the foreigners, train travel is a safe, funny and cheap way of traveling around China. Due to the convenience of taking trains, you can visit numerous places of interest and lean more about China and Chinese people.
The trains in China can be divided into hard-seat, soft-seat, hard berth and soft berth, among which soft berth is most comfortable and expensive choice and fits for a long journey together with hard berth, which is cheaper than soft berth. By comparing to the above two berths, hard-seat and soft-seat are best choice for short trips due to their cheapness. Besides, at each carriage, there is one washroom, which sits at the end of the carriage. When you feel thirsty, you can get the hot water offered for free at each carriage or buy some soft drinks before getting on the train. If you feel hungry, you can go the dining carriage. Generally, shower or tub isn’t equipped on the trains.
In China, there are five kinds of trains viz. D Train (bullet train), Z Train (express and nonstop train), T Train (express train), K Train (fast train) and ordinary train.
Train travel in China is actually comfortable and convenient if you choose right. Most trains consist of hard seats, soft seats, hard berths and soft berths, among which hard-seat is the cheapest way, and chosen by a great number of people; soft seat is more expensive and comfortable than hard seat; hard berth offers narrow bunks; soft berth is the most expensive and comfortable way, and chosen by small group of people, offering wider and cleaner bunks. If you take a short trip, hard seat or soft seat is recommended to you. If you take a long journey, hard berth or soft berth is more suitable for you.
Generally, T Train, K Train, Z Train and D Train are air-conditioned. If you want an air-conditioned train, you can choose any of the above trains to the destination.
Generally, the following ways are the widely used to book train tickets: to buy the tickets 3-10 days in advance directly at the railway stations or train ticket outlets; to ask for your travel agency or hotel where you live to book for you.
A China train ticket includes much information, such as the depart station, arrival station, number of train, depart date and time, number of carriage, number of seat or berth, ticket fare, type of train and valid period viz. valid for the same day. The following picture is a true train ticket, and you can refer to it.
According to the regulations of China Railway, the passengers can book train tickets 3-10 days before departure. On the ordinary days, you can get a ticket just on the day when you depart. But during the Chinese holidays, numerous Chinese people will travel or go back home by train, so it isn’t easy to get a ticket. You have to book it at least 10 days in advance.
You should book the international train ticket 40 days in advance. At the same time, you have to offer your passport number while making reservation.
Normally, the soft berth compartment on most trains in China contains four bunks. Only some trains starting from Beijing have compartments for two. So if you really want a private compartment for two, you can buy four tickets in one compartment for you two.
Yes. But the conditions are simple. There are no other toilet facilities beside one to two squat toilets at the end of each carriage. You have to prepare some toilet paper for yourself.
You needn’t to take beddings because if you book the train ticket for berth, there will be free beddings for you. But food or drinks aren’t offered, so you have to bring with them or go to the dinning carriage to buy.
According to the regulations of Ministry of Railways of P.R.C., one person can only carry at most 20 kilograms of baggage with you on the train. Other overweight baggage should be checked separately in advance.
In China, most train stations broadcast in Chinese. But, those in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an broadcast in English as well.
Yes. You can find restaurant cars on all trains except some Ordinary Trains. Generally, the restaurant cars will be set in the 11th carriage on the train.
In general, you can have five options, three of which are about berths viz. deluxe berth, soft berth and hard berth, and two of which are about seat viz. soft seat and hard seat.
Deluxe Sleeper is the most comfortable but expensive way of overnight train. It offers some compartments, each of which contains two very clean and comfortable berths and a private toilet. You can spend a free and pleasant time on the train. However, not all the trains offer deluxe sleeper. On the contrary, only a few trains, such as Beijing-Hong Kong, Beijing-Shanghai and Beijing-Xi’an, have this kind of deluxe sleeper.
The Soft Sleeper contains some compartments, each of which is closed and has four berths. The Soft Sleeper has the same beds with Hard Sleeper, but has better blankets and sheets. Besides, you can find the washroom and toilet at the end of each carriage.
The compartments of Hard Sleepers are open, and offer upper, middle and lower berths with clean sheets, pillows and blankets. Along the corridors by the windows of the trains, there are rows of seats for passengers to sit on at daytime.
Soft Seat and Hard Seat are the same category. The differences between them are that the Soft Seat is more comfortable but expensive than Hard Seat, and the carriages of Soft Seat are air-conditioned and not as crowded as those of Hard Seat.
The Hard Seat is not as comfortable and clean as the Soft Seat. Comparing with the others, Hard Seat is the cheapest but crowded one. Some trains even have no air conditions.
No. The large dogs can’t accompany you on the passenger train and have to be checked in a cage before your departure.
For the short haul, train is cheaper anyway. The only thing you need to do is to take care of your valuables such as wallet and passport to prevent the pickpockets. For the long haul, berths are better than seats, and usually cheaper than aircraft. However, when the airfare is discounted, train may be a little more expensive than aircraft.
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