Trains in China

Jul 16th, 1999, 07:25 PM
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Trains in China

I'll be spending 6 weeks in Asia this fall using a Cathay Pacific airpass. Will be joining a two week tour in China in Shanghai - my airpass will get me to Hong Kong. I want to go to Shanghai by train - has anyone done this? I read somewhere that it is a 29 hour trip - read elsewhere that there is new express service - I don't know if the 29 hours is the express train or regular. Any info will be appreciated!
Jul 16th, 1999, 09:10 PM
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Why would you want to take the train ?
Trains in China is nothing like the ones in France (TGV), Japan or US. It is not comfortable and you don't get scenic views along the way. I suggest you fly over to Shanghai and spend more time in Beijing, Hanzhou etc. If you have never been to China you must see the capital Beijing. Shanghai is a polluted , crowded city but you can still find some old hotels and historical houses. I would spend 3 nights there. My advise is to avoid the train ride unless you have to like going from a big city to the villages.
This is the HK tourist association page on transprotation, you can inquire about trains there. Good Luck
Jul 18th, 1999, 06:02 PM
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I had a good experience with the train in China. We took the train from Shanghai to Beijing. It is a 14 hour trip and we took "soft sleeper" which is the railrodas version of first class. I highly reccomend that. The classes below that are usually crowded and stuffy. There is also a speaker system that announces where you are arriving that you can turn off in soft sleeper. In the other areas of the train you just have to put up with it. We shared the comparrtment with a taiwanese couple. They spoke english very well. We really enjoyed visiting with them. Also, soft sleeper has large windows so you get a chance to see the country outside of the cities.

I highly reccomend taking the train. Any other questions feel free to email
Jul 19th, 1999, 02:20 AM
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Depending on what type of person you're, train travel in China meant a lot. Of course, they are uncomfortable as compared to the standards in the west. However, most backpackers seem to find the hard seats very interesting. I myself could not handle the hard seats. The hard sleepers are okay last time I took it 5 years ago. The soft sleepers are usually air-con and is very comfortable. They are better than some of the 2nd class sleepers in some European trains. The toilets might be a problem.
Jul 19th, 1999, 08:08 AM
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Yes, the cleanliness of the toilets, dining car, and kitchen leaves much to be desired.
My husband and I took an overnight train after our tour to Huangshan and on the way to Suzhou. We shared the compartment with 2 guys who snored. I did not sleep much. In the morning, we had some time to converse with the 2 gentlemen who spoke some English; it was an enjoyable conversation and great contact with the locals. We were also given some lessons in Mandarin.

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