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China Trains

Old May 9th, 2006, 11:55 AM
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China Trains

I'm planning an October China trip for two couples and am thinking of taking overnight trains between (1)Beijing & Xian,(2)Xian and Shanghai and (3)Shangahai and Shenzhen (flying back to USA from Hong Kong). We like trains and hope that this will be a good part of a China experience. Is this crazy or will it be fun? Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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Hi

My wife and I took the overnight train from Beijing to Xi'an when we went there a couple of years back. I have posted some details and pictures in a trip report on my homepage http://gardkarlsen.com/china_beijing.htm Maybe you can find some useful info there. Get in touch if you have any questions

regards
Gard
Stavanger, Norway
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Old May 9th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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I was in China last month. Here’s my train advice:

From Beijing to Xian, take the nonstop train Z19. Take the soft sleeper, which has four comfortable beds per room. It was $52. Avoid the hard sleeper, soft seat and hard seat.

On the way back from Xian (to Beijing), we had a little scheduling confusion and wound up getting tickets for a much more expensive room with just two beds and a private bathroom. It was a nice treat, but probably not worth the extra money (just letting you know it exists).

Not speaking the language, I went to the ticket office with a piece of paper that said:
Z19
RW (for ruan wo/soft sleeper)
The time the train left
The date I wanted to take the train

That worked perfectly in Beijing; in Xian they sold us tickets for the wrong date. By the time we noticed, the cars we wanted were sold out, which is how we wound up with the more expensive tickets.
So, check your ticket carefully. If you try to return it more than 30 minutes after purchasing, you can argue for a portion of your money back, but you won’t get everything.


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Old May 9th, 2006, 01:50 PM
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ray1818, I can't say whether this was a factor in your getting tickets for the wrong day, but I note that in the US '08/07/06' means August 8th, 2006, whereas elsewhere the date is generally written in day-month-year order, so it would signify 8th July, 2006. When I say 'elsewhere' I think, but I'm not 100% sure, that includes China.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 01:57 PM
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This will be fun. 2 couples traveling is the best, as the soft-sleeper sleeps 4 in a room. [2 upper and 2 lower berths.] The bathrooms are tolerable - just forget about showering.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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BTW, you can take a direct train from Shanghai to Hong Kong, without having to get off at Shenzhen (which has little to offer other than counterfeit goods). This direct trains operate every other day, and also has the "deluxe softsleeper" which has two people in a room (no upper berths), in additional to the regular accomodations.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 05:02 PM
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Thanks for everyone's input. Gard, your trip report is excellent and a big help. Thanks!
rkkwan, thanks for info on Shanghai-Hong Kong train. I was only going to Shenzhen because I thought that was the last stop and I had to cross the border there and take a HK train or bus to continue.
Ray1818, thanks for your warning on train dates. I'll be careful.



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Old May 11th, 2006, 05:08 AM
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Here's a website I found helpful:

http://www.seat61.com/China.htm#What...0trains%20like

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Old May 11th, 2006, 06:55 AM
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Thanks cactuslady. It's avery helpful site.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 07:56 AM
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Also ... in Beijing, the train station was very far from our hotel so I wouldn't have wanted to make a trip there to buy the tickets ahead of time. Some hotels will arrange the tickets for you, but mine wouldn't so a "friend of a friend" purchased the tickets for me.

In Xi'an, the tickets were purchased for me and sent to the Sheraton by Josie for a fee of a few US dollars. [email protected]
Xi'an China Travel Service Co., Ltd
Cell: 13709191815
Tel: 86-29-88143853, 86-29-85362953
Fax: 86-29-85361807

She speaks perfect English and was very friendly.

Hope that helps! It will be fun!
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