Beijing to Datong

Old Feb 4th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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Beijing to Datong

Are there any sights on the way from Beijing to Datong?

What is traffic like on the 109 to Datong? If we spent the entire day in Beijing, could we leave about 4-6 PM to go to Datong or would we hit terrible traffic? Is there a rush hour on that route? What time is it?

What about returning from Datong? Is there a rush hour period on the way back to Beijing?

What about the day of the week? Is there more traffic out of Beijing on Friday and into Beijing on Sunday or is there no difference on the day?

Thanks for your help!




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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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I would recommend taking the train, then you don't have to worry about the traffic. If you're planning on visiting the sights around Datong you can hire a car and driver in Datong. I notice you usually post on the Europe and Africa boards - you're not planning on driving yourself in China, right?
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 04:47 PM
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No, we were hoping to take the bus but I was having trouble finding the schedule.

I have come to the same conclusion - we should take the train to Datong. Do you know what train station it leaves from?

Also, what about returning? The train schedule isn't as convenient for returning. Is there less traffic coming into Beijing, if we returned by bus? What about flying back? If we arrive at the Beijing airport around 10 AM, would we waste a long time getting to our hotel?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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When I did it the other way (train from Datong to Beijing) we came into Beijing West. But it may depend which train you catch - the Trans Mongolian stops at Datong, and I would think it terminates at Beijing Main. Avoiding Beijing traffic is worthwhile at any time of day. As more and more people buy cars it's turning into perpetual gridlock.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 05:38 PM
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There are a lot of trains to Datong from beijing, some depart from beijing main station, some depart from beijing west station. Check the timetable through http://www.adventurechinatrip.com/chinatrain.asp.

For the return leg, I thnik you can choose coach.

Cheers
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 05:38 PM
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From the timetable, I count 11 trains from Beijing West, 6 from Beijing Main, and 3 from Beijing North.

The fastest train, N215, origin from Beijing West and terminate at Datong. Takes 5:30. Other trains are 6+ hours.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 09:45 PM
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Thanks to all! I am now thinking we will definitely take the train from Beijing to Datong. I am trying to figure out the return portion.

I know there is a train from Datong to X'ian but it is 17 hours on the train, without air conditioning. I am afraid the kids would be toasted by the time we arrived.

If we fly back to Beijing, we could turn around and fly out to X'ian. If so, if the flight is suppose to land at 10 AM, what would be the earliest to book the next flight, without fear of missing it?

We had planned to take the overnight train to X'ian so maybe it would make more sense to put this in the middle of the Beijing stay.

Alternatively, we could arrive, tour around Beijing and then take the overnight train that night.

Or we could take the 4:11 PM train back to Beijing and spend the night in Beijing. This would work if we put the Datong trip in the middle of the Beijing portion.

What would make the most sense, logistically, as we have kids?

THanks!
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 11:36 PM
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Do you mean you need to travel to xian after beijing/datong?

Directly head to xian from datong is not a good choice as you said. So my point is back to beijing and take overnight train to xian.

How many days you planned to stay in beiing?

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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 03:49 AM
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Not counting the day we arrive, we would be in Beijing for 3 1/2 days.

Do you suggest we return to Beijing by air? If we return in the morning, we could spend the rest of the day and take the overnight train to X'ian that night.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 04:07 AM
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Yes, by air could save your some time.

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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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You only have 4 days in Beijing. You don't have time to go to Datong. It's not a day-trip or not even an overnight trip destination. More time, or next time.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 05:51 AM
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I agree with rkkwan. Datong is interesting, but in 3 1/2 days you won't exhaust the better sights in and around Beijing. Plus getting there and back and then going on to Xian would be hectic.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 09:06 PM
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Thanks for the advice. We are rethinking our itinerary.
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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We are now considering the following:

Day 1 - afternoon train to Datong, overnight Datong
Day 2 - sightsee during day, overnight train to Pingyao
Day 3 - Pingyao and area
Day 4 - Pingyao and area,overnight train to Xian
Day 5 Xian

What does everyone think about this? What are the overnight trains like between DAtong, Pingyao and Xian? I realize there aren't any Z trains and they aren't air conditioned but will we get any sleep?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 03:49 PM
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Soft sleepers are pretty nice on all trains, not just the "Z". Whether A/C is needed depends on when you're going, of course.

You can also consider travel Datong-Pingyao by road.
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 05:30 PM
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withkids:

Just remind you, the train ticket to xian from pingyao is very tough to get.
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 07:45 PM
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Thanks for the response.

We were going to try to check the bus schedule for taking a bus from Datong to Pingyao. Does anyone have a link for this in English? If not, is there a link in Chinese?

We were thinking we could potentially break the trip up and stop in Taiyun and overnight there. However, it doesn't seem that far from Pingyao so we may not be accomplishing anything.

Is this a popular route? Why is it tough to get train tickets? Any tips?

We would be going in June so I suspect it will be very hot. However, we are assuming the windows would be open and we would get a nice draft. Is that correct?

Thanks again!
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 08:09 PM
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I'm no expert on this train route, but I see 4 trains a day between Pingyao and Xian. One of them arrives Xian like 2am, so forget that one.

Of the other three (all overnights), two of them origin from Taiyuen, the third one from Baotao. I think if you may be able to pay for the whole trip Taiyuen to Xian, and that may be easier to guarantee a softsleeper berth; rather than just buying the Pingyao-Xian fare.

Again, just a hypothesis. You'll need the help of some agent to figure this one out.
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 08:31 PM
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That's a great idea! We would be happy to do that. I wonder if that's the answer to the question.

Do you think the itinerary is doable? We have now decided to stay 4/12-5 days in Beijing prior to starting the DAtong portion.

Also, even though it is June, it should be cooler than Beijing.

Thanks!
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 09:35 PM
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Pingyao station is a small train station, so few train tickets will be available there. So even for soft sleeper ticket, it's not easy to get. One solution is taking coach/bus to taiyuan and then head to xian. If still have question about this route, just email me.

Cheers
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