Beijing to Shanghai Feature
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Full Speed Ahead!
Bullet trains are rapidly changing the country's landscape, making life easier for everyone, including tourists. What took days now takes hours. A prime example is the Guangzhou-Wuhan high-speed railway, which only a few years ago took 10 hours, now travels over 600 miles in three hours (reaching top operational speeds of 350 km/h or 217 mph). Reliable, comfortable, and clean, these sleek and efficient trains are a convenient way to quickly jump between major cities and avoid taking domestic flights or long bus rides. And thanks to generous government funding, which is fueling a construction boom, the entire high-speed network is expected to reach 10,000 miles by 2020.
Most five-star hotels have business centers or travel desks that can help you book tickets for a small fee (Y30–60/ticket). With a country of 1.3 billion upwardly-mobile people, remember to book in advance—up to 10 days is recommended for long distances, but short distances such as Ji'nan to Qingdao or Hangzhou to Shanghai have frequent daily departures and can be booked the day before. At the station, look for the D-coded trains and the letters CRH, which signify high-speed rail. Just remember, this is still China; there's plenty of pushing and shoving to get to an assigned seat.
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